Self Harm

I originally posted this on my old blog about 4 years ago, I had lost everything I posted… but recently found a notebook with half my posts in, it is still very current.

When you are in the deepest, darkest pits of depression and your coping resources have run dry, its difficult to know what to do to try to continue to cope. Your judgement will be completely clouded, and things which you previously thought to be an unthinkable option, suddenly seem like such a good idea.

In this situation, some people, myself included, turn to harming themselves as a way to release the pain. It can take many forms including cutting, scratching, pulling hair out or overdosing. Very few people on the “outside” understand what is happening if they find out. Many will brand it as attention seeking, most people will insist that you stop, this only leads to guilt and worsening the pain.

A lot of the time, self harm is far from attention seeking, it is something they are very ashamed of and will go out of their way to try to hide. Sometimes it may well be attention seeking, but not necessarily in a bad way, it can be a cry for help. When you are stuck in the pit, it is a very lonely place, talking to someone is a very hard thing to do, it is a way of showing that you are badly hurting on the inside.

Most people who self harm will completely deny that there is any element of attention seeking, this may be the case most of the time, but there will always be people that do. They should never be frowned at, they need a bit of love and attention. Maybe they don’t want to talk, but just be acknowledged. Even something as simple as a hug can go a long way.

The worst thing you can do to someone who self harms is to insist that they stop. The guilt can be far too high and can lead to them starting to bottle up their emotions, inevitably this will get to a point where they will just have a breakdown, possibly with far worse consequences. Just offer a listening ear, company if they want it. Make sure they are being safe, the majority of self harmers will have no intention of killing themselves, they are just releasing their inner pain.

I am not a doctor, I have made no in depth research into the subject. I talk from experience from being on both sides. I used to self harm regularly, I look back at what I did with so much regret, yet I fully understand what happened, and in the situation that I was in, it was the lesser of two evils. I had the guilt of people telling me to stop, that almost pushed me to suicide on several occasions. It was the friends that stuck by me throughout out that pulled me through one of my darkest times. I now have the scars as a constant reminder of the valley that I went through.

I’m not quite sure why I’m talking in the past tense, the problem hasn’t gone away. I rarely self harm these days, I’ve come a long way yet occasionally I will still slip up. I’m terrified that I will start to slip back down on a slippery slope and end up back to where I started. I am a much stronger person now to what I was then, but nobody can be 100% strong all of the time. If the fragile outer shell that I have get broken, then I’m screwed.

I hope this helps if you know or ever meet anybody who self harms. If you are reading this and you harm yourself, just remember that the other side of the valley is never that far away!

 

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Depression

If you read the blog I used to write, this may sound familiar… so I’ll forgive you if you get bored half way through and stop reading it! This is definitely going to be a “me me me” post, it’s my experience with depression.

That D word that people seem to avoid talking about, that D word that grips so many people, most of which probably won’t try and get any help at all. Who can blame them? When you do try and get help, a lot of it isn’t actually that constructive. What good are anti-depressants? I don’t think they have that much value, all they seem to do is remind you that you are depressed, and that you have to be depressed because you’re taking tablets for it!

I talk from experience, I went through a very dark time in my life and it wasn’t actually that long ago. Every time I look at my arms, I have a visible reminder of how things were, every time I look at my arms, I have a trigger… it’s not a good thing.

Was I depressed because I was a girl trapped in a mans body? No, I was depressed because at that time in my life, I just couldn’t cope with anything around me. I mentioned in a previous post that I really don’t think I could have transitioned during that period, and I’m really glad I didn’t. I had to sort out my life before I sorted out my gender. At the time, gender was only a tiny thing, amongst a whole array of… well… “shit”

I coped the best way I could, and that was badly! I descended on a slippery slope, each day that little bit worse than the previous, sometimes for absolutely no reason at all. I cried, I hid myself away, I self harmed, I attempted suicide. Getting to that point where you are willing to take your own life, right now, I can’t even put that into words but I do know it was the worst feeling that I’ve ever felt… I knew exactly what I was attempting, I knew exactly what was going through my head, I *was* thinking straight, even though I wish that the opposite of all those statements were true.

If I ever hear anyone point out how selfish suicide is, I do legitimately feel like punching them in the face. Nobody that has ever been there and felt the emotions that you do has ever called it selfish. Saying something like that is a great way to make someone feel so small and stupid… why could anyone actually remotely think that that is a sensible thing to say to someone already on edge? Yeah… go on, kick them when they are down, make them feel that tiny little bit worse about themselves.

But, I’m in the next chapter of my life these days, that was over 3 years ago. Am I depressed? Yes, even though I wish it would go away, it hasn’t. I can hide it, and I think I hide it well… the more I hide it, the more I convince myself it isn’t there… but it is. I wish I could count the number of days since I last self harmed in years, instead it is still only months… but being able to count it in months is still progress in the grand scheme of things.

I tried to push nearly everyone around me away, I found that my true friends gave me space, but were always close enough to pick me up when I fall. Unfortunately, some of them just couldn’t handle it, and gradually… vanished, and in the grand scheme of things, I think I’m better off without them anyway. It’s a brave person that wants to get deeper into my head and see what’s actually on the inside, the feelings deep inside are still pretty much the same as they’ve always been, I’ve just learned to cope a lot better.

I believe the way to get on top of depression is to find ways to cope, not to find ways to take away the feelings, and I really don’t think a solution lies in a packet of tablets.

 

 

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Memory Lane via LiveJournal

In reality, I’ve come such a long way since the “old days”

I was prompted to read through my old LiveJournal’s by someone today, all 3 of them! It made for pretty depressing reading really, I can’t believe how bad I actually got (and thats not forgetting that in my darkest times, I never even updated at all… that explains the big gaps). I struggled to find *any* positive posts in them.

I do wonder how anybody managed to put up with me in that time!

There was one comment though that I’ve just read, and, I didn’t realise it at the time, but it’s so true!

One day you will look back on this time in your life and you’ll see it in a different way. Rather than see things as impossible, for now, see them as a challenge that is accomplishable.

You know what? You were right, I am looking back at that time in my life, and I do see it in a completely different way. I look at it now as a building block of what I am today, without all the rubbish I’ve had in my life, I would probably still be that weak, quiet and shy person I was back in school. I’ve learnt to be strong, I’ve learnt to speak up, and I’ve learnt to come out of my shell. I look at it as a period when I found out who my true friends were, the friends that *did* stick by me, no matter what.

My LJ’s were friends only, and I kept that list rather short… everyone I had on there, will probably read this and you know who you are. Thank-you for the support you gave me, some of the comments are *really* touching and I’m glad I have been back through to read it all.

Oh, and there is a recurring pattern in those entries that still existed until recently… my car was never really good at working, even 5 years ago! 😉

 

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