Returning to West Virginia was fine but brought along new challenges: my parents were going through a divorce, I was starting high school, we were living with my grandparents, and many other things. My health for the most part seemed fairly under control for the first time in years. I started Humira that year, at the time I still had not learned how to self inject due to fear and so I had my grandmother’s friend (who’s a nurse) do them for me. They seemed to really help minus some side effects which would eventually get worse over time.
Seeing as how I was feeling better though, I began to pick up on some of the things I enjoyed again.
Before I had gotten sick I was extremely active; I did tap, jazz, ballet, kung fu, cheer leading, and student council. I had lost most of that, but that year I got into soccer which was the first sport I had played since I was diagnosed. I also got into bowling since my grandfather was an extremely good bowler.
My mental health though suffered that year greatly, the stress of moving back, feeling like I didn’t really know my friends anymore and that they didn’t know me, the stress of my parents divorce and them constantly putting me in the middle despite them trying not to. I got in with a sketchy crowd of kids that year in my science class, ones that did not stick with my long because they were more detrimental to me than helpful. One girl the first day I met her had long cuts all over her arms, and talked about how it was how she coped with her dad and various other issues she had. Regardless, I was 14 and impressionable and wanted to fit in and find somewhere I belonged. The only issue with that was that cutting really did help, more so than I wished. It didn’t really hurt because I was used to chronic pain, but the endorphins made the emotional pain sort of numb. The problem with it was that it was addictive and dangerous. With my low immune system I was putting myself at risk of infection, I was hurting my family by hurting myself, and I was not learning proper coping mechanisms.
I started going to therapy though and talking to professionals but none of them really taught me how to cope, they talked about techniques and things to destress me but I still had no idea how to cope with the stress and feeling lost. So it continued. It still happens from time to time, not always in the form of cutting, but I still have extremely self destructive behaviors when I have melt downs such as hitting myself, digging my nails into my skin, biting my skin, scratching myself, etc. I have recently been working on them and learning replacement coping mechanisms and ways to channel that energy in different ways.
9th grade ended and I was still alive though, my mom and dad were civil, we got a house of our own for a short while, my mom and dad started dating other people, I adjusted, my brother not so much- but talking about him would require a whole post to cover his complex personality- and things kept going just like they always did.