Okay so this is a positive post but I guess it’s also got a bit of negativity within it as well. Pretty big topic for me and that would be self-harm.
Today is the first of April, as I’m sure most of you know. Today I am two years cut free from self-harming and I couldn’t be happier with myself.
This is another mark on my steps of getting there. Right now it seems like a bit of a big deal to think “wow I’ve gone two years.” Maybe when I get to six years this won’t seem like such a big deal to me, but right now it is and right now I have found a way to deal with my urges and put the bad things to the back of my mind when I am down.
I started self-harming about four or five years ago, and I’m not even sure how I heard about it or how it all came about I just knew that after I started it was a really bad idea. I got hooked on hurting myself physically to relieve my mental pain. Wrong decision.
I was good at hiding it, I became a professional in what to wear to school to make sure my arms were covered, plenty of jumpers and hoodies and cardigans. Never ever wearing short sleeves, even when going to bed just in case my mum would happen to see it. This is where I don’t understand where the idea that self-harming is attention seeking comes from. I did everything to make sure that my family and other onlookers didn’t find out my dirty little secret.
There were a few friends that I confided in at the start of my struggle with self-harming. They did the right thing, as I see it now, to go to the pastoral care teacher within my school and raise their concerns. At the time however, when I found out about this I was beyond angry, I didn’t see it that they were trying to help but that they had betrayed my trust. I was able to convince the school not to tell anyone (which they should have done anyway and therefore made my parents very angry because it could have been stopped much sooner)
After about a year and a half of hurting myself I finally managed to confide in my brother after nearly running out in front of a car and scaring myself silly. My brother told my parents for me which made it much easier for me, however it broke my heart for him to tell me he used to hear me crying myself to sleep.
I attended CAMHS for a while (if you don’t know what that is it is Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) they provide counselling sessions with a psychologist/psychiatrist. I was referred to them through my doctor who first told me I was and quote “too smart to be depressed” I think that is one of the most stupid things I have ever heard.
However, after going and talking to these professionals, I went back to the doctors and diagnosed with depression. My mum was adamant about me going on anti-depressants so that never happened. After a while I stopped going to CAMHS and tried to take my recovery into my own hands.
I used methods like the butterfly project –
1. When you feel like you want to cut, take a marker, pen, or sharpies and draw a butterfly on your arm or hand.
2. Name the butterfly after a loved one, or someone that really wants you to get better.
3. You must let the butterfly fade naturally. NO scrubbing it off.
4. If you cut before the butterfly is gone, you’ve killed it. If you don’t cut, it lives.
5. If you have more than one butterfly, cutting kills all of them.
6. Another person may draw them on you. These butterflies are extra special. Take good care of them.
and also pinging an elastic band against my arm/squeezing ice. These helped but there was always relapsing. Finally, after I just kept trying I manged to stop, and I reached a year and my boyfriend bought me a massive cookie and loads of little gifts to show me how proud he was.
This year, I have a tattoo now to remind me that life is hard, but shit times pass. I can’t wait to help others who are struggling and be able to tell them that their life won’t be dark forever.