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Self Harm If you or someone you know is struggling with self harm and needs advice or alternatives, we're here to help.

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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
Owl Offline
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My self-harm - November 2nd 2013, 03:46 PM

Hi all.

This is just going to be a long ramble. I don't normally talk to people about this stuff so I'm just going to get it all out I guess.

For about a year and a half or a bit more, I've been self harming. It was only every now and then for the first year or so, but in the last 6 months its been pretty regular. It has never been really serious, I haven't had to go to hospital or whatnot. It has been worse in the last couple of months though.

I hadn't told anyone at all until about a month ago when I actually told my best friend by accident haha. I'd been toying with the idea of telling her for a long time and written text messages before deleting them. I accidentally clicked send instead of delete. Which I guess is a good thing. Thing is, I don't see her that much anymore, as she lives back where our high school is and I've moved to the city, so I only see her every couple of months and she's a bit busy to call/text too often. She was great and understanding though, she actually went through a stage of self harm briefly a few years ago but got through it, which is why I felt safest telling her. Haven't really talked about it since though, the one time we saw each other was with other friends, though she has texted asking how I am doing and such.

Anyway, I hadn't told my boyfriend until even more recently. We have lived together for 2 years, and I think part of the reason its been so minor is so I could hide it from him. I lied about my cuts, made up excuses. He never doubted me. But about 2 weeks ago, I had more than ever and I guess it was pretty suspicious, and he asked me straight up if I did them. I said yes. He took it pretty well, asked me to tell him if it gets that bad again and has encouraged me to seek professional help. We've barely talked about it since. I'm hopeless at talking about my problems with anyone, even him, and he hasn't pursued it. I have still been doing it, I'm not sure if he hasn't noticed or just hasn't brought it up. I told him the other night I didn't think I could stop and he said he really thinks I should see someone.

I really don't want to see someone. I don't really know why. I guess I don't like talking about my problems, I find it hard enough writing this up, I hate burdening other people and with this I feel like I could be judged, though I know its their job and they wouldn't do that...

I have been depressed and had insomnia for years and years, I guess that unhappiness is what led to this. No big problems in my life, just the normal stuff, relationship worries, uni stress. My mum is an alcoholic which was always hard, but I haven't lived with her since i've done this. I'm really close to my pets and I think my depression has been really bad since my dog died 5 years ago, I think about that way more than is healthy, as well as now my horse who died earlier this year in a really horrible way I witnessed. I really miss my pets that I can't have where I live so only see every few weeks when I visit home. I guess I have self esteem issues. That's about it. I should note that I haven't been diagnosed with depression or insomnia, haven't wanted to go to the doctors about it, so I don't know if its okay for me to say I have them, I'm pretty confident of it though.

Sometimes I don't feel like I want to stop. It makes me feel better. But at the same time I do want to stop, if that makes sense. I don't want to be covered in scars and have to hide my arms and legs and be scared of people finding out and being judged. I don't want it to be a problem for my boyfriend and friend as well. And I know its not healthy. I just think that whatever in me that doesn't want to stop is going to make it even harder for me to give up anyway.

Anyway, I've already written enough of a huge long post, so I'll stop finding more to add in to drag it out. Thanks if you've actually read all this. I've never told anyone a lot of this, or more than one little piece per person haha. I don't actually have any specific questions, I guess i just needed to let it all out and see if I can get any support or general advice, if anyone has managed to get through this whole post? Thanks so much for reading!
  (#2 (permalink)) Old
Hypothesis. Offline
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Re: My self-harm - November 2nd 2013, 11:23 PM

Hey there,

I'm really sorry to hear about what you are going through! It's awesome that you were able to tell people, even if it was by accident.

When it comes to talking to people, maybe what you can do is do it through writing? This may make it easier to get all of your emotions out without nerves and interruptions getting in the way. It is clear that people such as your friend and boyfriend do care about you a lot, and I bet they won't judge you since they have been very understanding and one of them has actually been where you are. You won't be burdening them, just like you aren't burdening us. I bet they know that if they need it, you'd be there as well. And a therapist joined their job because they want to help.

But a letter would at least let you get everything out without some of that worry, since they'd just be able to read it and discuss. Even a therapist may be willing to allow you to keep a journal, and they can read bits that you find significant and discuss from there.

Do you keep in touch with your family at home at all? I know that it definitely isn't the same, but maybe your family can send pictures of your pets to you and give you updates on how they are doing, just to ease your mind a little bit.

As far as your self esteem, maybe you can write down things that you, and your friends and family like about you. You can also write down anything you have accomplished. These things can be big or small. The point is to be able to look back at them and remind yourself that you are more amazing than you think and you have a whole lot going for you, even if you don't always see it. You can also write down or print out encouraging quotes and pictures as a reminder that you can do this and get through everything.

I know that sometimes you feel as if you don't want to stop, but in the end self harm makes things worse. You're right that one of the major downfalls of self harm is that you have to hide it and you will always have the scars. Another one is that no matter how deep you go there is the risk of infection, and who knows, maybe one day you'll be tempted to go deeper. The problems also come back because you aren't actually doing anything to solve them. Maybe you can try and find things to do instead of self harm. For instance, you can write, draw, listen to or make music, or exercise. If those aren't working for you, this is a link to a list of alternatives to self harm. If one doesn't work, don't get discouraged. There are plenty where that came from!

Keep your head held high, stay strong, and keep fighting. The fight is so worth it and you can kick self harm to the curb. This will get better.

  (#3 (permalink)) Old
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Re: My self-harm - November 3rd 2013, 10:18 AM

Hey Owl

Thanks for sharing with us. That's a really important first step to take, I know it must have been difficult.

Self harm is always a concern, more because of what's causing it than the actual harm. Although, as Dez said, there are always risks in the harm itself. But the real thing that is of concern is what is behind, that you're not dealing with. (In your case the possible depression?).

I know it is terribly difficult to talk to people, particularly in person. As Dez suggested (coz Dez knows her stuff) - try writing stuff down. Sometimes it can help to keep a journal (paper or electronic), or write a letter/email to people.

You're at uni, which means there will be staff on your campus who will be able and willing to help you. Might be called student services, or student support, or something like that (depends on where you're going), but generally they offer some free crisis counselling as a start. Otherwise, I can suggest some places you can call for immediate help if you feel the urge to harm again.

As for the depression. None of us can make a diagnosis, because we're not medical professionals. However, given your age, depression is best treated by therapy such as CBT. Basically, antidepressant drugs are generally a bad idea, as they can lead to suicidal thoughts and some other problems. But for you, counselling will probably be the best path forward as it sounds like you've got a fair few concerns.

Another place you can go is E-Couch. It's an Aussie-based website, that helps develop your skills and attitudes (based on CBT techniques).

Keep on talking Owl, we're all here to help

Feel free to email/PM/VM/whatever me if you want. I'll answer as soon as I can.

New blog - http://www.trueartisangsty.com/
Trying to keep it updated more or less daily as I write.
  (#4 (permalink)) Old
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Re: My self-harm - November 5th 2013, 03:35 PM

Thank you both for the detailed replies!

Terabithia, the main way I've managed to talk to my friend is through text, so I'm sort of employing that, its definitely easier. We haven't really talked much about it though since, I guess she's pretty busy! I might try writing stuff in a journal, then, it sounds helpful. I have a bit of a paranoia about someone else seeing it though, I feel weird enough about posting on here even though I know its really unlikely anyone I know would happen upon this and recognise that its me without a name and more details, but can't help but be paranoid about it. :/

As for how I feel about my boyfriend knowing, sometimes I don't feel like I can easily talk to him about things, he often seems a bit annoyed when I mention things that perhaps most people wouldn't be so upset by or would have gotten over long ago (e.g. my dog/horse). Don't get me wrong, he really is an amazing guy and has been a great boyfriend for two and a half years now, I think its just that he doesn't really understand how serious these things can seem to me. I haven't really tried to talk to him about such stuff since I mentioned the self harming to him, so maybe that will have given him a better understanding that I'm really struggling, I don't know. Mind, he was really great when I did tell him about the self harm, so I really think its just he didn't know how serious it was and I was complaining about stupid things, I guess? I guess I'm just still sort of put off talking to him in much detail about things that really get to me anyway.

I do keep in touch with my family, talk to them once or twice a week on the phone and visit once or twice a month. They always immediately give me the animal updates, haha. I feel pretty bad that my parents are stuck looking after my pets. I do have a lot there. I know that they agreed to me having them knowing I probably wouldn't be able to take them immediately when I left home, but its a lot of work for them, and they spend money on them even though they are struggling money-wise. I feel horrible about that enough, and recently they've been giving me more money on top of that just to pay my rent. But at the same time I'd hate to find somewhere else for them, as mostly they're animals that are generally not treated well (especially the cockatiels and budgies, usually confined to a cage for most of their life) and I can't do that to them. I'll take them as soon as I can, and when I did have enough money I was helping to pay for their expenses, but I haven't been able to recently. I feel so unfair on them, yet they don't complain. My boyfriend brought up recently that he feels its unfair that they are looking after my pets when they're struggling too, so its not just me thinking it. They insist its fine though, and I can't deal with sending my cockatiels/budgies to live with someone they won't be treated well with. Anyway, that was a pretty unnecessary tangent, but just another thing thats been getting me this way I guess.

While most of the time I don't want to be doing this to myself, when I really feel the need to do it I guess I don't see the problem in it somehow. It just seems like a way to make me feel better. Other options don't seem like there's much point, all I want to do is self harm. Not sure how to get over that obstacle, but it makes it hard for me to consider alternatives to self harm when its what I really want to do.

Thanks Dez!

Mahray, I might try the counselling service I know my uni has. Not sure how often they'd deal with issues like self harm though? I was also considering going through a GP and getting a referral to someone. Not sure if that would be very expensive though, with Medicare and Healthcare, as I really can't afford much right now at all.

I'll definitely have a look at e-couch, sounds like it might be helpful! Thanks for that!
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