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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