As I’m sure you all know, or just in case you don’t, today is Self-Harm Awareness Day here in the UK. So I decided to write a blog about my personal experience on the topic, from the past seven years.
I began deliberately hurting myself around the age of 14/15. For me it was a way to deal with the anger and frustration I felt towards myself when things went wrong. An argument with my family, or a falling out with a friend at school would lead to the inevitable. It was my way of coping with things that were out of my control. Mix that with the anxiety problems I also experience, and I was in a never-ending cycle that took me years to escape, and still plagues my mind today. I became very secretive, constantly anxious that someone would find out what I had done, which did nothing but fuel the vicious circle.
The urges to slip back into old habits have been a constant in my life. More recently, with moving to a new city, living completely alone for the first time in my life, and having to face almost total isolation, I have gone through some of the worst months of my life. Even now, in a new job where I am much happier and making new friends, my days off can often seem endless and empty, full of anxiety and temptation. The threat that I would return to that constant, seemingly inescapable cycle became very real, but is something I’m battling back from now.
I have never been able to say out loud, or even really admit to myself “I am a self-harmer”. It would have become too real then. Writing this blog is the first time I have ever really delved inside myself to explore the reasons behind it all. It is one of the hardest and most terrifying things I have ever done. I have never properly opened up to anyone, my anxiety telling me that I’d lose those closest to me if I did. Some small attempts were made, but I would always put them behind me and move on, never doing anything serious to tackle it.
I’ve come to realize that opening up to someone I trusted would have been the best thing for me. Although I sometimes can’t find the words, speaking about it would have been the first step to getting the help I needed, rather than struggling to cope on my own, rather than bottling it all up and potentially making it worse. I currently consider myself as “out of the wildnerness”, although it is always going to be a part of me. I’ve learned to accept this though, which makes it much more manageable to live with.
In a way my experiences have made me who I am today, led me to the Think Positive campaign, and to becoming a Think Positive Ambassador. I am a much stronger and more confident person than I used to be, which has helped me to live mostly well. Volunteering in an area I have experience of, and being able to help others, is something I love and try to put a lot of myself into.
Well, thank you for taking the time to read this blog. I hope I have been successful in doing my little bit to raise awareness and that you, yourselves, are doing well.