When people hear the term ‘Self harm’ they instantly think of people physically marking their skin. However, self-harm comes in many forms. People drink, take drugs, stay in bed for days on end, they don’t eat, they over eat, they self-destruct in many ways.
It can be a tough subject to speak about and it can be difficult to speak to people who have never experienced it.
When people speak about other people whom self harm you usually hear phrases such as: he/she wants attention, he/she is crying out for help. When truth be told, that is so far from the reasoning behind self harm for myself.
I no longer self harm, and I have not for at least ten years. But when I did, it was not because I wanted attention. I did not do it because I was crying out for help. I did it because I felt some kind of relief. Which may sound silly to some but it made total sense at the time.
Self-harm was something I did not imagine myself doing but I just fell upon it. During the time of it, I would feel good for having some type of release but an hour after I would hate what I had done to my body and I was embarrassed by it. No-one really knew I used to do it. Truth be told people would not expect it at all. I’ve had peers speak about it recently around me using the same comments ‘they want attention’ not realising I was once a self-harmer.
Some people may not understand or may not be able to relate to this post but if you are a self-harmer, I would just recommended trying to stop. My body is for sure still scarred from it and people still ask about it now. It is only noticeable when I am in my underwear or bikinis but it is not nice.
I know it is easy to say, there are other ways in which you can release emotions. Talking to people. I know that sounds obvious but sometimes it is so difficult to voice how you are feeling out loud to other people. I was able to stop as I started to talk to Miles about it.
There are also forums online whereby you can speak about topics such as self harm. Some of you may find it easier speaking to people online as you are usually anonymous. Also, I know some people write journals to release their emotions, which may be suited to you. It can be just for you to read but I have seen some online journals too!
It can be a tough battle to face. It seems weird but it was quite addictive and maybe a habit. When I was upset or angry this was my go to. However as I started to say no to myself, it became easier and easier until eventually I stopped.
Heyy, Yasmin here! So I’m going to jump straight in… I’ve battled with self harm since I was 10 and it was triggered due to family life at home and that being a thing I could control I would say it became my go-to. Just like Lauren described it as a release.
For me self harm harm has come back up again as I recently relapsed in 2015. Before I would probably say I hadn’t done it since I was 15-16 but when I look back just because I wasn’t doing the traditional methods of self harm other stuff had taken its place… drinking a lot .. going out too much..engaging in unhealthy relationships. And I do think that is the problem. Self harm isn’t just causing harm in the physical abusive sense, it really is anything that isn’t good for your well being and you using it excessively to self sabotage.
But with that said, I’m almost glad I relapsed in 2015 because it was the first time I had told anyone. I reached out to an aunt of mine and also told friends. Some were shocked, I could also tell some didn’t get it. I would say the shame I carried around self harm was the worry people would think it was for attention, it wasn’t in my case, it was an addiction. A coping mechanism I literally do fight everyday. Also trying to ensure that I don’t replace it with something else that I know isn’t good for me.
I haven’t self harmed in almost 3 years and I have changed my life style and ways I get my release.
One of the first things I did was I got counselling, I went private and the beautiful thing about my counsellor was although she had high rates she took in to consideration how much I earned and gave me a fair price. She said she didn’t believe paying for therapy should be an extra anxiety. So that would be my first offering to anybody reading this and needing extra support. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask people their rates especially as I know money can be the reason that so many people don’t seek help and the wait for counselling on the NHS is a long one. So explore your options and don’t be afraid to ask.
My second go-to. Exercise! It’s is my meditation… it’s a chance where I reconnect with my body and sometimes it can bring me to tears when I think of how far I’ve come from wanting to cause myself harm to loving and looking after my body so well. When I’m lifting a heavy weight, I literally use all my frustrations and throw it in there. I also run a lot… I used to suck so bad! Haha! But a little run a day and I’ve found myself in big runs and even ran a relay racking up 23 miles in a space of 24hrs!
My pain has become my power and I guess where I’m at now is accepting that I will probably always battle with myself and that is totally ok, as long as I remember my tools and the things that make me feel good. I know I will be ok.
My last thing to say would be don’t suffer alone, I can’t say don’t feel shame or embarrassed because you probably will but that’s ok… seek comfort and guidance in the people you trust. And if you know somebody is self harming before you let judgment take the lead, communicate with love, have an understanding that this person is battling with themselves on an everyday bases and probably doesn’t have the energy to battle you too. It can be difficult and frustrations settle in but honestly I don’t know where I would be if my family hadn’t shown me the love and understanding they did. And I knew I owed it to them to show up for myself.
Thank you to Lauren for asking me to write about this as it’s such a sensitive topic but one I’m so passionate about. I hope that I’ve given a little insight in to the why and also how I’ve changed my life. Sending love and all the good energy that needs it.