“I really want to talk to someone about my thoughts and feelings, but I can’t”
* THERE IS A TRIGGER WARNING ATTACHED TO THIS BLOG POST, PLEASE LEAVE IF YOU SELF HARM, OR GET TRIGGERED EASILY *
On the First of March every year the world honours Self Harm Awareness day – A day where people who have suffered from self harm in the past and those who are currently self harming can raise awareness, get support and get help.
Although self harm is spoken about very regularly, it is still such a taboo issues. Everyone assumes that self harming is for girls, or that it just consists of cutting yourself but this isn’t the case. Mental health issues aren’t spoken about as regularly as they should be and I feel the need to speak about those issues that we have within awareness and experiences a person with mental health issues may face.
I started self harming when I was 12 until I was 16. Those 4 years were some of the most crucial years of my life, and somehow I was a mess. I was cutting myself, bruising myself, smoking and taking drugs – which are all forms of self harm.
I was in a downwards spiral, I was depressed, I was unhappy and I wasn’t comfortable within my own skin. I was going through bullying, I was going through the worst puberty ever, I was trying to figure myself out and I was having family issues – So due to all of these I was in such an isolating place and I became addicted to hurting myself. I was crying out for help, but nobody could offer me the help I needed until I was at my lowest point – when I found the best counsellor at the NHL’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, also known as CAMHS (Another CAMHS post shall be up soon about my experience with them).
Ill never forget when I went into school for my English exam in year 11, I wasn’t wearing long sleeves for the first time in years as it was the summer and extremely hot and my scars were showing – half way through my exam I got called out of the room and I got put in a room where the teacher explained that she called social services and had to search my bag for anything that I could hurt myself with – that day was very degrading, I got told that I was attention seeking, I got told that I was never allowed to wear short sleeves ever again and I wasn’t allowed to go to toilet during classes. I never once self harmed when I was in school, but they assumed that I did and punished me for it. I found that the school that I was in wasn’t trained in relevant mental health issues and that they didn’t know how to approach an individual – Since the school has shut down, I pray that the new school has got better when it comes to mentally ill students, as they don’t need to feel more worthless.
Although I was alone mentally, I sought friends through twitter who were going through the same thing – There are so many support groups, chat rooms and charity organisations online who can support people 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year to ensure that they are able to talk about any issues.
I managed to get into recovery because of my campaigning, on a daily basis my mind is thinking about hundreds of things so I don’t even think about it – I am constantly busy whether its university, working, volunteering or blog writing and now I feel like I can finally say with confidence that I am over this one bad stage in my life – Although when you have suffered a mental health issue you aren’t 100% recovered, it will always creep up on you in one way or another, and it will be at the back of your mind sometimes, but you need to ensure that you know what you need to do when you do feel like relapse is about to happen.
8 Years on, I walk around with my scars on my sleeve with no shame, it’s a part of my past, my present and my future. I know that things do get better, and I know that life is a huge roller-coaster – its an amazing roller-coaster of good times, bad times, sad times and emotional times.
There are many myths surrounding self harm, and I’m going to correct some of them;
- “Only girls self harm” – This isn’t the case. Men self harm too – Although it may not be noticeable. As a society we already know that men find it extremely hard to share their feelings so they may result in self harming.
- “Self harm just involved cutting yourself” – Self harm is an umbrella term for loads of forms of self harm which includes cutting, burning, bruising, breaking bones on purpose, smoking excessively, drinking excessively, doing drugs and loads more. Self harm means to “deliberately hurting oneself” – so it can be in any way possible.
- “Self harming is attention seeking” – Self harm is a cry for help, self harm is a way of hurting yourself and self harm is a way to release feelings – it is far from attention seeking as in some cases, some people don’t know that an individual has / is self harming until they admit it.
- “Only teenagers go through it, it’s just a phase” – Some adults do self harm – more with alcohol, drugs and cutting but they do self harm. It is a very taboo subject for adults, and most adults refuse to get help until they’re at rock bottom. Self harming doesn’t have an age bracket.
- “I can’t see your wounds so you can’t be self harming” – Not everything can be seen by our own eyes, some people could cover up what they have done, some people may not tell you that they’ve drunk 2 bottles of vodka last night. You can’t tell someone that they are lying, or being stupid because you can’t see it.
If you need support there are many charities, organisations and people out there who can support you, here are some of them;
- You can always contact me via my “contact me” box if you do need support
- Ele Friends
- Life SIGNS
- Young Minds
“Look for something positive in each day, even if some days you have to look a little harder”