Sunday, 5 April 2015

TW: Self Harm

Just a quick trigger warning for self harm

I wanted to post this back when I posted my depression post - that's when I originally wrote the first draft of this, in a fit of tears after receiving so many replies, comments, tweets and emails about my bravery and honesty. It has been humbling, inspiring, it has made me sad but overall - I feel like a fraud. I haven't been honest, I have barely scraped the top of what's going on in my life. I don't know if I'll ever post this, I don't know if there will come a time when I'm brave enough to put this out into the world, I don't know if I'll ever get over the way it makes me feel the few times I've had to admit it to partners who've questioned me, I don't know how long this post will lie dormant in my drafts, I don't know if it will ever make it out - but writing heals, and I could do with healing, right now.

Self Injury Flow Chart

For the past ten years, on and off, I have self harmed. Looking back, that fills me with such sadness I doubt I could accurately write it down - from the age of eleven I hated myself enough that cutting myself became an all too regular habit and, at the time of writing, I am 21 and still struggling with it; that is nearly half of my life. When I told my doctor this, she seemed shocked that so few people knew about this, especially the people that lived with me - I'm willing to tell my story the best I can.

When I was eleven I started harming myself - I needed a way to cope with things that felt out of my control. When I was twelve my parents found out - when they discovered it was happening they were appalled to find thirteen cuts down my forearm, wrist to elbow. There was shouting, rowing, a room search and a speech off my mum that still makes me cry to think about it now - "We brought you up protecting you so that nobody would hurt you, only to find you've been hurting yourself." The next year was a blur of long sleeves, my parents finding new cuts on me, and me promising to stop. It was ugly, there was a lot of crying, I feel awful for what my parents went through that year - I feel awful that there might well be a time that we have to go through this all over again, my parents don't deserve that. I lost my best friend to a heart problem that year and the idea that I wasn't invincible struck me harder than I ever could have imagined - for a while, I stopped.

My teenage years I remember it happening sporadically, I went a few weeks without hurting myself then I started again. Then, when I hit twenty, I fell into a spiral. There were months I wasn't eating more than 500 calories a day, I was barely sleeping, my hips and feet were covered in cuts and scars. I was awful to be around, I pushed everyone away including my girlfriend of the time who gave me a plea that spookily echoed my mum's - "I would try to protect you from most things, but I can't protect you from yourself." This continued until I was ready to ask for help, and that brings us pretty much to me writing this. 

My self harm is the one part of my mental illness that I'm ashamed of. It makes me sick to my stomach some days, looking at myself is overwhelming, I spend hours planning the tattoos that will eventually cover up the worst blocks of scars. I might not be able to say that this is a habit I've completely kicked just yet, but I hope that I'm making steps towards getting there - it's something we need more awareness of, more help with. I doubted posting this for fear that it would come across as attention seeking; but the fact is, those are exactly the type of stigmas that I'm trying to break by writing this - self harm is serious, it's anything but attention seeking, and it's something more people struggle with than you might ever realise, it's time that we started to allow ourselves more knowledge around the subject.

Sammy xo.

If you're struggling with self harm, please know you can find help through Young Minds

p.s sorry I've been away for so long, and sorry to come back on such a serious post - but stick with me here, guys.

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