OK guys, its time to talk self harm!
I bet most of you will think 'I would never do that' think again!! On average you will at least hurt your self once in you life!! Don't believe me? Take a look for your self.
The most obvious forms of self harm are:
Cutting / Burning skin,
Hitting body parts(aka wrist banging),
Swallowing/putting objects inside of them,
Interfering with wound healing,
Or less Obvious forms are:
Staying in abusive relationship,
Eating problems (Anorexia, Bulimia or Binge Eating),
Drug / Alcohol addiction,
Excessive risk taking (e.g. unprotected sex with strangers),
Excessive exercising (not weight related).
As many as one in twelve young people self harm regularly as a coping strategy.
Any questions? The usual ones I get asked are:
Why do you do it?
Do you enjoy it?
Does the more you hurt your self mean that the problems worse?
Are people who self harm mental?
Do people who self harm want to die?
Is it attention seeking?
First there is a big book called, "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders", or DSM for short. It has all the criteria for diagnosing mental health problems, and self harm is not a mental health problem, is is a symptom. It is an indicator that someone could have depression, be bi-polar, have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) e.t.c.
WHY?? that is not the easiest thing to explain because so many people have many different reasons, but Mind say
'A person who self-harms is likely to have gone through very difficult, painful experiences as a child or young adult. At the time, they probably had no one they could confide in, so didn't receive the support and the emotional outlet they needed to deal with it. The experience might have involved physical violence, emotional abuse, or sexual abuse. They might have been neglected, separated from someone they loved, been bullied, harassed, assaulted, isolated, put under intolerable pressure, made homeless, sent into care, into hospital or to other institutions.'
A few of my friends did it because they felt the need to be punished. I did it because I felt disgusting. Who could love a child who is tainted? It was my fault! All my fault! I was ugly.
Do you enjoy it??
NO, NO, NO!!! Think of it as a cycle.
1. Being depressed,
2. Self harm,
3 Feel better for a few minuets
4 Feel ashamed for self harming
Then back to square one again. its a terrible cycle that many get stuck in. I used to self harm on a daily basis because I felt so numb I felt so unreal, light as a feather and so detached at times, also I felt hate towards my self, I blamed my self, I needed punishing. I had bad feelings and memories I couldn't let out to this day. I still find it difficult to talk about 'Sex'. So how the hell was I going to tell my family and friends what happened to me???? Self harming was my release and for so many it's sadly a similar story.
'Emotions that have no outlet may be buried and blocked completely out of awareness. If a trusted adult betrays or abuses them, and there are no other witnesses, children will often blame themselves. They turn their anger inwards. By the time they become adults, self-injury can be a way of expressing their pain, punishing themselves, and keeping memories at bay.
There is often an absence of pain during the act of self-injury, rather like the absence of sensation that often occurs during abuse or trauma. The body produces natural opiates, which numb it and mask the emotions, so that little is felt or realised consciously. A badly traumatised person may end up feeling quite detached from their feelings and their body. Some may injure themselves to maintain that sense of being separate, and to convince themselves that they aren't vulnerable. Others may injure themselves in order to feel something and know that they are real and alive.' Quote From Mind
Does the more you hurt your self, mean the problems worse?
NO, NO, NO!!!! If ANY problem is making you resort to self harm its a problem worth sorting out like a scratch or a gash its need sorting out before it gets worse!!
Do people who self harm want to die?
Any one with a mental illness has an increased risk of suicide but the intention of self harm is to help them to avoid suicide. hard to believe, I know.
Is it attention seeking?!?!
No it is a way of communicating the pain and hurt to others. People who self harm tend to start on their legs but that quickly spreads to other parts, IT IS NOT INTENDED TO BE SEEN!
When my mum found out she went mad. I was mad. It was my way of coping, my secret way, now she wanted it to stop, It was all I had. She took my 'tools' so I found others and ended up hurting my self more than I intended to.
Let that be a lesson, never take a persons 'tools' they may use something that could cause more damage!!! (learnt that in my mental health training..... :D )
'Because it can be hard to understand, healthcare professionals, friends and relatives sometimes mistakenly regard people who self-harm with mistrust or fear and see their behaviour as attention-seeking and manipulative. If someone you know self-harms, you may feel helpless when faced with their wounds; your own feelings and fears about the situation may cause you to blame them instead of supporting them. Bear in mind they may be using the only way they can to communicate their plight and to get the attention, care and comfort they need. However upsetting it may be for you, it doesn't necessarily mean this is their intention.' Quote From Mind
Black stars top tips to stopping self harming:
Get creative when I look at my painting I think 'is that how I really felt' I spent 5 hours on it avoiding self harming.
Butterfly project, draw a butter fly. Name it after a loved one. If you hurt your self it dies, if it fades and you haven't hurt yourself it lives.
Good old cry. I grab my cat and use her as a tissue and she still purrs I always feel better after!
Write things down. Writing things down makes you think about what your thinking, its called CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) e.g. Its my fault but actually he made me do it!
Incentive bracelets. You can buy these from recoveryourlife.com The biggest self harm support network, got a few friends on there too ;D
Talking to a best friend, doctor or on a help line is good or on a website like kooth. There are people out there like me, who just want to help! Samaritans are also brilliant!
Thanks for reading its a subject that is close to me.