My self-harm story

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My self-harm story

If you haven’t already please read my previous blog post by clicking the link: Self-harming. However, if you just want my personal story, continue here.

*Trigger warning on this post!* 

This post may trigger some readers, so read with caution! I do not condone self-harming and do not support it. This is just my story and my recovery. I’m hoping this post will help either people who are self-harming and want to recover or parents/friends to help and understand. 

*Please read with caution! I won’t be held responsible for any actions*

I wasn’t too sure how much detail to put into this blog post. I didn’t want it to be too long and equally, I didn’t want to miss anything out. I hope what I’ve put is just the right amount. I was also a little scared of talking about this subject as mental health is such a frustrating topic as it still seems to be taboo. It’s really annoying but, it needs to be talk about.

I’m currently 26 and still battling self-harming however, I am a lot better.

I first started self-harming in 2001 when I was just 8 year’s old. I remember it as though it was just yesterday. I was at a friend’s house with another friend and they were teasing me and pushing me out. Literally just childishness playing, however, I was also being bullied at school and had family personal things going on, it just all pushed me to the edge. While sobbing in a room alone, I just started rubbing my house key along my arm getting harder and harder until blood started appearing. Obviously, my friends were in shock. I begged my friends not to tell my parents….. One of them told her Mam and then her Mam told mine. I understand now why she did it, but at the time I was furious. I can’t remember what my Mam said or what happened after that, but sadly it wasn’t going to be a onetime thing.

Over the year’s bullying continued, a lot of rumors were spread around school about my sexuality and kids being kid’s, it made the bullying worse. Also, home life could still be unpredictable. I decided to go to a different High School to everyone else in hopes of a fresh start. I didn’t move far enough.  The bully continued and the rumors followed me. Throughout my school life, the objects I used got worse. What started off with a house key lead to, broken bits of a Pen (plastic part), a scratch art tool, math compass and eventually breaking pencil sharpers. I even broke up ladies shaving razors. Whatever I could get my hands on, I would use.  If I was in class and the urges started, I would dig my nails into my palms until they bled. No one would notice and I felt so proud I could get away with it. Really, I was doing my body no good and I shouldn’t have been proud.

Throughout my school life, my parents knew, thought I’d got better than would find out again that I was still self-harming. It was like going around in circles over and over. I tried to get help from different mental health avenues, but sadly I felt like no one took me seriously and it was just a phase/attention seeking (…….18 years later…. long phase…. long attention seeking…..hmmm.) In high school, I was also in an abusive relationship; physically, emotionally and sexually (which I won’t go into as I’m not ready.) This only made me feel worse and worthless. I can vaguely remember at one point, getting a dangerously sharp industrial meat knife that my parents never let me use for obvious reasons, and cutting myself with it.

Once I was able to drive, I made a terrible decision one day to buy a Stanley knife. I was over 18 years old which made it legal for me to buy one. I kept it a secret from my parents making it too easy to use when I felt the need. I would cut pretty much all my legs. From the top of my thigh to the bottom of my ankles. Living in the UK we never have lovely sunny weather which made hiding my cuts to easy. I would also wear long-sleeved top’s and hoodies which no one would question.

Life got a little better for a while and I knew I had to stop self-harming. So, I went a period of time without self-harming however it didn’t last. It gets a little blurry around 2012 when I got my first full time paid job. I can remember I was still self-harming and when I needed to wear tights for work my ankles would really hurt rubbing against the material. At this point in life, I felt worthless, felt like everyone was out to get me, people I would deal with at work, I would take their comments personally and I kept having flash backs on the abusive relationship I was now thankfully out of. I was still using Stanley knife blades at this stage.

In 2014 moving into my own home only made it even easier to self-harm. I had knives in my kitchen I could walk around and not worry about my parents seeing my cuts. My partner at the time who I was living with, well he didn’t really help. I think he didn’t really know how to. My job was getting worse which was making me feel worse, I had also started drinking every night which wasn’t like me. So, I got a new job and for about 3months life was alright again. However, I had a breakdown and took some time off work to work on my mental health. I isolated myself, was self-harming daily, had suicidal thoughts but at the same time got heavily into weight loss. I then split up with my partner. I’ll hold my hands up and say I didn’t help our relationship, but I won’t take all responsibility for the breakup.

Obviously, this made it hard for me when it came to trying to recover from self-harming. From 2016 to now has been the most challenging time for me. I know this is getting long so I’m going to keep it simple.

My new partner took all sharp objects off me and checked my body very frequently to support and help stop me self-harming. However, I started scratching myself, biting myself, hitting my head with my hands and even pulling my hair. Voices in my head got strong and I remember at one point having what I will call a freak out episode. I broke an empty can open and used that to cut my legs. My partner and I had a wrestling match in a hotel room to get me to stop. It’s a very blurry memory and I do feel ashamed thinking back. When he took the can off me I started hitting my head against the wall and broke pens. I WAS CRAZY!

Since then I’ve had another pretty terrible breakdown. I moved onto surgical blades and 1.5 years ago, I cut my leg so bad I should have got stitches. However, I was so scared I’d get locked up in a mental unit I begged my partner and my Mam to take me to Asda so I could buy dressings and steri-strips to close it up. Thankfully it healed completely within a month, however, it looks horrible in my eyes. I have also tried to commit suicide 3 times (I may do another blog post in the future.)

Bring you up to today. I haven’t self-harmed in a while. I can talk a lot easier to people about my mental health. I don’t have the suicidal thoughts as strong or the self-harming urges as strong. I am finally getting mental health support and feel I can quite openly talk about my experiences. I’m moving forward in life with new hobbies and another new job. My relationships are stronger than ever and I think I can finally say I am happy!

I wanted to be as honest as I felt comfortable in this post. I know it’s a heavy one.

If you are struggling with self-harming, I know how hard it is to fight the thoughts/voices/urges you have, it does get easier once you start to open up to the right people and get the right help. You are only going to start recovery if you talk and open up though. Never ever be ashamed. I am nowhere near ashamed of my mental health or habits as it’s made me a better and stronger person. I’m going to leave it here, but feel free to leave any comments (please be respectful and not hateful comments please) or contact me via email: vicky_watson@live.co.uk and I will try and get back to you ASAP.

 

Toria

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Self-harming

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Self-harming

Trigger warning!!

This post I talk about self-harming. This post may trigger some readers so read with caution! I do not condone self-harming and do not support it. I’m hoping this post will help either people who are self-harming or parents/friends to help and understand. I’d also like to add that I’m currently battling each day with self-harm myself.

Hello, my lovelies.

Recently in the news, it’s been discussed heavily about teenagers self-harming. Apparently (quote) “more than a fifth of 14-year-old girls in the UK said they had self-harmed’. This is unbelievable, and there was a lot more to say.  We as a country need to figure something out and quick to help support these young people so it doesn’t get worse. It’s not just young people though that self-harm. I’m 26 years old and still battling with self-harm on a daily basis. However, I take one day at a time and try not to worry about it.

What is self-harming?

Self-harming is a very personal thing. It’s when an individual hurt’s themselves on purpose to deal with difficult feelings, situations, past memories, experiences, and much more. However, this is extremely unhealthy and as much as some people may think it does, it doesn’t help.

(Trigger warning!There are several ways that people self-harm.

Cutting (with a sharp object) Poisoning
Overeating/under eating (can lead to other mental health problems) Biting
Picking/scratching/ burning Hitting
Over exercising Pulling your hair

These are the main ways people self-harm. I have experience with cutting, biting, picking/scratching/burning, hitting myself and pulling my hair.

(Trigger warning!) Why do people self-harm?

Again, this is definitely a personal thing. It all depends on each person’s situation and what they’re going through or have been through.

Expressing feelings Escaping memories
Make feelings/thoughts visible Punishment towards yourself
Changing emotional pain into physical To feel something other than numbness
The feeling of control Expressing suicidal feeling

I pretty much self-harm with all these linked apart from feeling something other than numbness.

(Trigger warning!)  What makes people self-harm?

There are many reasons why people self-harm. Below are the main reasons why people may self-harm.

Depression/anxiety Bullying
Pressures of life (school/work/home) Being abuse
Relationship problems (family/partner/friends) Low self-esteem/confidence issues

Sadly, I have self-harmed since the ages of 8. Many people can’t believe it when I say that, but it’s the truth. Due to being so young, the reasons for self-harm have changed over the years. All these above have contributed to me self-harming.

Signs to look out for

So, this part is for others to watch out for if they suspect someone to be self-harming. This is mainly aim around teenagers.

Withdrawn/isolating themselves. This can be hard as it’s natural for teenagers to do this. Depressed/low mood/tearful. Again being a teenager, hormones are all over the place.
Lacking motivation/interest/energy. Wearing long shelved tops/jumpers/jeans in hot weather. Never showing much skin.
Talking about self-harming in a worrying way to cause suspicions. Unexplained cuts/bruises/general marks

 

Abusing alcohol and drugs. Again, this is natural for teenager to drink alcohol and experiment with drugs. Being secretive. Teenagers like their privacy which is well and truly known. However, if they seem to be hiding things or not telling you come in their room until they say.

I have always been quite open with my parents so didn’t worry too much about privacy. However, I did become withdrawn, depressed, lacking motivation. Any marks I would blame on my pet rabbit or hamster and I generally bruise easily so didn’t feel I had to cover myself.

How can other help?

This sections mainly for parents/guardians. This is easier said than done, as the person self-harming has to have told you or you’ve seen self-harming being done. I wish I told my parents earlier and told them when I wanted to self-harm. However, things happen for a reason and they know now and support me the best they can.

Try to understand and show it Talk about it, ask questions
Work out what the triggers are Show you trust them, that they will come to you when they feel the urge.
Build confidence Explore ways for the self-harmer to cope
Choose who you tell carefully. Either the self-harmer or the person supporting them. REMAIN CALM! It’s scary for them to talk about it
Don’t take over. Don’t push the self-harmer. Let them take their time talking.
Don’ts show negative emotions. I know this is extremely hard, but the self-harmer needs your support. Don’t ask for any self-harm objects or to see the self-harm marks. Let the self-harmer do what their comfortable with.

I know and completely understand that these are hard and frustrating, but it’s extremely important that the self-harmer feels comfortable talking to you. It’s important that they feel they have support and some sort of control over the conversation. Best thing is to just sit and listen without interrupting and ask any questions calmly at the end. Obviously if its life threating then intervention is strongly suggested.

Moving forward

This is more for the self-harmers but can be suggested to self-harmers if you’re a supporter for someone that self-harms.

Keep a journal. This helps track emotions and you’ll find your triggers. It’s also good for getting feeling out. Create a safe box. (I will be doing another post to show what I have in mine) What makes you happy? Pictures, words, certain items. Place them all in a special new box. Look at the items when you feel you may self-harm or feel anxious.
Hit a pillow/ scream into. This could scare others around you, but it works well believe me. Talk. I know it’s scary but talk to someone. Even if you do it online or call someone anonymously it’s good to talk. It is normal to feel worse when you first tell someone. It gets easier though.
Learn to meditate Avoid alcohol and drugs and these are both depressants and will only make you feel worse.
Go for a walk somewhere safe. Do something you enjoy when you feel the urges. Draw, dance, exercise, sing etc.
Listen to upbeat music. Even if you don’t like it. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Take each day as it comes.

I’ve tried pretty much all of these, sometimes they work and sometimes my head fights a little more.

I want to write another blog post alongside this one about my experiences with self-harming. I want to go into a little more detail and explain more about what I do/did.

I know this post was going to be long so that’s why I haven’t added my story into it.

I will get another post done in the next couple of days if not done today.

I hope this can help at least one person.

Thank you

Toria

Sourse: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-45329030