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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
tamz Offline
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My Self Harm Story - February 21st 2011, 12:13 AM

This thread has been labeled as triggering, particularly on the subject of self harm, by the original poster or by a Moderator. The contents of this thread might therefore not be suitable for certain sensitive users. Please take this into consideration before continuing to read.

Self harm is something we are constantly felt to feel is a shameful thing. Okay, so I know it's not the best of coping mechanisms but we do what we do to get by. I've recently submitted a story to a book for publishing. It's anonymous other than age, rough location etc but it's to help other self harmers / people who know self harmers. Anyway, I thought I'd share my story with you guys and girls here.

Hi. I’m a 19 year old female student from Wales. I was sexually assaulted by my best friend in February of last year. A month later, things became too much to deal with on my own and this was the first time I turned to self-injury. I’m not sure why I did this at first. I just know that my thoughts were overwhelming. I felt trapped within my emotions, like I was losing control of everything and there was no escape. Everything around me was slipping away from me. My colleague was talking about sexual abuse and unbeknown to him was seriously triggering me. I’d spend hours at a time in my room alone, without a clue what was going on. I was scared and would just rock back and forth. Whenever this would happen, if someone spoke to me, I wouldn’t hear a thing they were saying. The first time I took the blade, I felt such an amazing relief. Like I could finally let a small amount of that pain out.

There were many reasons I carried on doing this. Sometimes I felt nothing at all, I felt completely empty. So this was a way of being able to feel something, anything. Other times I’d be angry. Angry at myself for not getting out of the situation in the first place, for allowing such a thing to happen to me. I’d be angry for not being a stronger person. Whilst some may say I was being the opposite of strong by giving into the urges to self-injure, it was never about regaining that kind of strength. It was almost as if I was punishing myself even further. That by punishing myself I could forgive myself for getting into that place. I was also so angry at him and as I couldn’t take my anger out on him and taking it out on anyone else would be unfair, I had no option but to take it out on myself. I felt by injuring myself, it calmed me down without interfering in anyone else’s life.

But most importantly, self-injury is and always has been a form of control for me. When your head is all over the place, when you lose control in such a big way, sometimes any control is better than none. Even if that means hurting myself to gain back that control. I lost so much that night, it hurts a lot knowing that someone who was supposed to be my best friend wouldn’t listen to me saying no, took every ounce of control from me and I would do anything to get that back. I was going through so much emotional distress, questioning everything that has ever happened in the duration of our close relationship, questioning everything I did and if there was anything I could’ve done differently that night. Calmness washed over me every time I self-injured, my racing heart beat slowing down to a normal pace again. My feelings were back in control again, even if just for a few moments. The pain I was feeling was because of something I had done, not because of a decision someone else had made.

However, it soon became addictive. As it had such an instant, intense calming effect, I found myself doing it more and more. A lot of the time I would get anxious throughout the day if I hadn’t had the opportunity to be alone and self-injure. It was becoming my addictive habit, something I did on a daily basis, sometimes more than once daily, the calmness was like a drug to me.

I’ve had mixed responses from people who have found out about the self-injury. Most of the time it was unintentional that they did find out. I sometimes wish it could have been in better circumstances but then I guess there aren’t really any good ways to find out someone you know self-injures. My male best friend, who is now my partner, found out through an online message board. He was finding it difficult to understand my depressive feelings so I sent him on a board I had recently written on, forgetting I had also posted about the self-injury. As soon as I realised what I had done, I begged him not to read the rest of my posts. But it was too late. Luckily he was supportive. He was hurt and upset I could do such a thing. But, whilst he struggled to understand exactly why, he did and still does do his best to support me. A few months later, I told my female best friend about it who, aside from the self-injury, has been there through some of my worst moments. Her response totally shocked me. She was completely understanding and showed me her scars from a few years previously. I was upset that she’d felt that low but glad she has found the strength to overcome it. She told me that I will stop when I feel ready, no sooner, no matter what anyone else tries to tell me. One of the best comments about it I’ve ever received was from one of my close male friends when I was upset about the scars. He said; “I know you self-harm, it’s no wonder. But you’ll always be beautiful to me.” That actually made me cry because it was such a lovely thing for him to say and really means a lot he thinks that.

Things have also gone the other way. My mental health nurse demanded to see and told me I was stupid and should stop. That really hurt! Two reasons, one, because she was so blunt about it. No one had ever seen my cuts before; it was always my little secret. And two, because a trained professional, someone who is supposed to understand, called me stupid. I know full well it’s not the ideal coping method, but if it was that easy to stop, I would’ve have done it already. To be honest, she just made me feel worse about myself and want to do it even more; “I’m a stupid girl that needs to be punished!” That’s how she made me feel about it.

My new counsellor is so much better. Of course, she asks if I have self-injured recently or if I have thought about it but she never makes a big deal out of it. Instead, she chooses to focus on resolving the issues behind it all.

I don’t actually know exactly what made me stop so much. For some reason I just realised I couldn’t carry on like this. I tried all sorts of things to distract myself. But when I did slip up, I’d beat myself up about it and feel so bad. I’ve come to realise now that it doesn’t matter if I slip up. It’s great if I can distract myself, but it’s not the end of the world if I can’t. My main trigger now is anxiety. The anxiety inside builds up and up until I can’t take it anymore. Often, I’ll try going for a run to take my mind off things or listen to happy music. But sometimes things just become too much. I realise I still have a long way to go but I’ve found talking out about my issues can help a lot. It’s a common misconception that self-injury is about attention seeking. It has never, ever been about that for me. I used to hate, even fear, the thought of someone knowing about this. But if talking to a close friend helps, telling them about my need to self-injure and the feelings behind that, I can’t see how that is a bad thing.
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lola jonson Offline
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Re: My Self Harm Story - February 21st 2011, 01:06 AM

thanks for sharing, its nice to read about the experiences of other self harmers.

We do not fear death, we fear that no one will notice our absence. That we will disappear without a trace.
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Re: My Self Harm Story - February 21st 2011, 02:46 AM

I think it's great that you are going to be in a book that helps educate people on the real reason people self-harm. Doctors think they know everything but they don't, I even tell my therapist all the time when she says "I know", I'm like, "no, that's the thing, you don't know." Books like this are what helps people know that they aren't alone.

"Shoot for the moon, even if you miss you'll land among the stars."

"For those who don't care, for those who can't see, never give up, always thrive to be free."

Smile, you are beautiful www.operationbeautiful.com

Blessed Be!
Nicole AKA Nikki
Artist, Poet, and Future Social Worker
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harm, story

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