Hello guys! I hope you are all having a wonderful day. Today I thought I would continue my chat posts. I wanted to talk about something that is very close to my heart. As you can see from the title I am going to be chatting to you about self harm. This is something that is close to me because I have experience with it. So I guess I’ll start with some background. I started self harming when I was thirteen years old. To this day I don’t know what drove me to cut myself but I did. I was self harming sporadically for 7 years (13-19 years old) before I finally broke down and told my family about it. Since then I have been trying to stop. I have had a few times I have reverted back to my habit of self harming but I am proud of where I am today. I am still self conscious about my scars but I don’t try to hide them. They are a part of me and I think it’s important for me to recognise that. I don’t know if I will always have urges to self harm when I am struggling or whether they will fade. Basically right now my mood is pretty low and I have had the urge, which I haven’t had for quite some time. So I wanted to have a chat about it.
Before starting, I feel like I should mention that I am not a professional regarding self-harm in any way. No doubt some, hopefully most of you have at least some idea of what self-harm is, but let’s be honest it’s not really talked about is it? Self-harm is the widely used term, but self-injury is another term you need to know. Self-injury can include cutting, scratching, burning, pulling out hair, hitting yourself or walls etc. Cutting is perhaps the most common, it’s certainly the most well-known form of self-harm but it’s definitely not the only way. However, self-harm, the term used more, is used to describe acts that can cause short or long term damage, such as substance abuse, excessive drinking, eating too much or too little, smoking etc. Just a side note to avoid confusion, I will use the umbrella term self-harm throughout this book to describe both terms. First off, self-harm knows no boundaries in terms of class, culture, education etc. Anyone can self-harm .The stereotype is that only young teenage girls self-harm, but it can happen to anyone, and is not something that just happens to young people. Next is the assumption that everyone who self-harms is doing it for attention. I certainly didn’t do it for attention and I doubt most people would self-harm for that reason. Many keep it a secret because they are embarrassed or ashamed of what they are doing to themselves and how society views self-harm doesn’t really help the situation. People self-harm for a variety of reasons from being bullied to low self-esteem, so for many it is just a way to get though daily life and definitely not for attention. The reasons for each person to self-harm will, of course, vary from person to person. Another myth is that self-harm is associated with suicide or that self-harm is a failed suicide attempt. Simply put, this is just not true (for most). For some it may escalate to suicide, or result in accidental hospitalisation when they may injure themselves severely without realising what they are doing. For most cases, I think, self-harm is their way to cope with life, and so suicide is not part of their thinking.
Self-harm is not rare, it is actually quite common and becoming more so with younger people. For some it may be a phase that they grow out of, but for others it will continue into adulthood. However it is extremely hard to know how many self-harm, because many keep it a secret and so there can only be a vague estimate at how many people self-harm. The key thing to take from that is that you are not alone. It may feel like you are, but there are so many people out there that may be going through something similar to you. Remember that. Also just a note to any self-harmers out there, please do it safely. If you really feel the need to do it, please just do it safely and avoid your veins. I also recommend trying the ice method as you still get the pain but you won’t get any injury or scars. The key thing I want you to do though is remember that you are not alone and that you need to talk to someone. Whether that’s a helpline, a friend or a family member you need to start the healing process. I don’t think the urge to self-harm will ever go away (for me at least), especially if you’ve done it for years, but I think the healing process will restore your mind set and just make you feel altogether better about life.
My one wish is if you take anything from this, whether you self-harm or not, is that no one should be made to feel ashamed at what they have done, and that you need to accept them as they are. We are human just like everyone else, we just cope differently, but that does not in any way mean that there is something wrong with us. Talk about self-harm openly and lift the silence that has lingered for too long. If we are to help those who need it, we need to talk about it and we need start the healing process for them. So please whether you self-harm or whether you know someone who self-harm talk to someone and start the healing process, because the first step is to talk. I know how hard it is to talk and admit that you have self-harmed; it took me six years to tell my family, but it was the best thing that could have happened. Please talk to someone. If you know someone who self-harms who has sworn you to secrecy please speak up. I know you don’t want to betray their trust but surely their safety and health are more important than your friendship.
Mind – self harm section
NHS – self harm section
Samaritans – 24 hour helpline
Sorry this how been quite a long post but I think it is important thing to talk about – I hope you don’t mind. If you have any questions or just want a chat, feel free to comment or message me via Twitter. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.