Newest Review: ... rarely the case. Most self harmers' will hide their injuries, and go to great lengths to do so. If someone wants attention then why wou... more
Not the best way to cope but it kept me alive
Member Name: hayley_dl
Advantages: took the edge off the pain, kept me alive through a hard patch in my life
Disadvantages: difficult to beat, a negative coping mechanism
I'd like to start this review with a warning. I'm going to talk very candidly in this review, I won't shy away from difficult subjects or hard times in my life so if this is likely to bother you please stop here.
This is still a very sore subject for me but one I feel strongly about and one with a lot of stigma which I believe can only be removed by open and honest discussions such as this.
I don't remember how old I was when I started self-harming and I don't remember what was going through my head at the time. I'm not sure anything was except desperation.
I was mercilessly bullied at school and at one point even raped. When I eventually turned to a teacher I was told that it was "because of me". I will never forget those words. There was no explanation, no further action, nothing. At the same time I was having problems at home. I have always been the most sensitive out of me and my brother so to try and "cure" me of this my parents and grandparents would tease me to the point of tears then laugh and ridicule me for being "too sensitive".
Throughout my childhood and early adulthood I was diagnosed with several mental health problems, some of which I still suffer with now. I did however have one member of the family I could turn to - my cousin. One day though, I was texting back and forth with her and she replied that I needed to "pull myself together and get over it" if only it were that easy!
I don't blame her, I was hard to deal with and I'm happy to admit that I still can be when I'm having a bad few days. Anyway, at some point throughout all of that I began self-harming. Initially with scissors or whatever else was nearby at the time but it wasn't long before I moved on to razors.
I did it because I needed to feel the release. I once heard someone say they self-harm because then there's a "reason" to hurt and I can really relate to that. If I'm bleeding or have a fresh cut there's a "reason" to feel pain, also it's easier to feel physical pain then emotional. I didn't start because I wanted to die (although I have been suicidal at various points throughout my life) I started because I was trying to SAVE my own life.
Was it the best way to cope? No, but it did take the edge off it and it did keep me alive. The problem then was that it became the only way I knew how to cope. I knew that when I self-harmed I'd feel better for a few minutes. It became the answer to everything, I was hurting therefore I needed to stop and the only way I knew how to stop was to self-harm. It's a vicious cycle. Of course the guilt and shame would follow soon after I had self-harmed and I'd spend countless summers in sweltering heat wearing a long sleeved top just to try and hide my scars. Even now I'll favour long sleeved tops over shorter ones to hide the scars from my self-harm.
How to overcome it is trickier. I'm not going to sit here and say it's easy because it's not I last self-harmed 6 months ago but it was two years before that time. I still think about it even now and still want to some times. I don't know if that will ever really go away - the urges do get less though and do get easier to manage. I used to self-harm at least twice a day and it took years of therapy and medications to stop that. It's not something you'll be able to stop on your own nor should you in my opinion as you self-harm for a reason and without therapy to uncover that reason and either treat it or find healthier ways to cope depending on the problem then you could just end up replacing one unhealthy coping mechanism with another.
Summary: A taboo subject but one that got me through a dark patch
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