Self harm is a journey for me. It begins with a rising tide of emotion that can swell over the course of hours or days, hot on the skin and scorching from the inside. It builds and builds until the act itself, a daze of relief, dissociation and euphoria, helps to extinguish the overwhelming feelings. This is the feeling that I return to over and over again, the reprieve and feelings of dissipation. After, once it is done, comes the guilt and often shame. Self harm isn’t a positive long-term coping strategy, but for me it has served a purpose and without its ability to effectively manage my emotions, I’m not sure I would be here.
What is recovery? Daniel Regan is wary of the term. He suggests it is unhelpfully finite. In Threshold he uses projected light to simultaneously trace his personal journey building up to a moment of and reflecting upon his history with non-suicidal self-injury. The final ‘release’ is unrealised in the photographic self-portraits. But his emotional experience and physical and mental scars are implied by the patterns playing over his body.