This is a post I have wanted to write for a while. It has taken me a while to be able to write about my experience with self-harm.
Firstly, what is self-harm?
“Self-harm is when somebody intentionally damages or injures their body. It’s usually a way of coping with or expressing overwhelming emotional distress.” – NHS Choices
Self-harm for me, was a comfort. I first self-harmed when I was about 14. I remember feeling so far from the rest of the world. I sat on my bedroom floor with a dismantled pencil sharpener and I took to my arm with the blade. I was terrified of death, as I have said before, I didn’t want to be dead, I just didn’t want to be alive. I wanted to feel. I needed something physical to reassure myself that I was there, that I was still a person and that part of me was ‘normal’.
At the time, it didn’t hurt. I kept going and going. I felt the blood run down my arm, I could see the damage I was doing, but it didn’t faze me at all. I wanted to feel something. I needed to be real.
I realise just how monstrous this must all sound. Depression can cause feelings of depersonalisation. I was staring into the mirror and had no awareness that the person staring back at me was me. I was like an outsider looking in and I couldn’t get back in. I still get this and it really gets to me. Having no self-control is terrifying. I tend to wrap myself in a duvet and not move when I feel like this, that way no harm can come to me. I’m safe.
I remember wearing long sleeves to keep the cuts hidden as I was embarrassed about what I was doing. I remember the cuts being so sore and stinging in the following days. I remember not being able to string together a logical explanation as to why I was feeling the need to do that to myself. I made up reasons to tell friends and teachers if they asked, I didn’t want to talk to them, I didn’t know how. I knew that to an outsider it looked mental. I knew that they would think I was attention seeking and I knew they wouldn’t understand.
I’ll never forget how I felt. I will never forget how those cuts made me feel so reassured. I can never forget these scars.
It has taken a lot for me to be able to write about this. It is something that is so personal, I wouldn’t ever expect anyone to fully understand why or how I could do that. Do I regret it? Yes. Would I do it again? Yes.
It wasn’t all that long ago I fell back into it. Last year, I was in a particularly dark black hole. I remember sitting in bed and staring at the scissors on the sideboard. I resisted for a while, but I needed something. I’d made my decision and nothing or no one was going to convince me otherwise. I cut, and I felt such a release of tension. I felt like I’d let it all pour out, only this time, it was physically.
I felt so guilty a few hours after I had done it. I hated that I was going to have to justify myself to Nick when he came home from work. I felt like I had really let myself and him down. I was so embarrassed.
All the time I have self-harmed I have been in particularly bad situation and places. It is not something that I take lightly.
I would never condone or ‘promote’ self-harm. We are in a world now where attitudes can be changed and are changing. Mental health is being talked about, education is getting out there and more and more help is available.
1 in 6 teenagers self-harm in the UK.
This is an important subject that needs to be bought to light! WHY are we still so taboo about it?!
Being understood and supported is half of the recovery.
I can only talk about my experiences with any of the topics I talk about. There are so many other reasons that people self-harm.
I would like to reinforce what I have said, I in no way condone or promote self-harm.
There are so many other things you can do. I found this really useful http://www.thesite.org/mental-health/self-harm/self-harm-coping-tips-and-distractions-5696.html
Just know, that you are never alone. There is ALWAYS someone to talk to. I for one, will always be available.
Your story is not over;
Be kind to yourself.
Stay with me here.