This article is being written with my own experiences of self-harm in mind and while I have lived experience, I understand that self-harm comes in many forms and that my experience may not be representative of self-harm on the whole.
So, to those of you who may be engaging in self-harm, just know first off, that you are not alone.
Self-harm comes in many forms and while the physical or mental act of self-harm may differ to someone else, the chances are that your thoughts and emotions and reasons for wanting to hurt yourself may be similar to another person’s. This means that there is likely to be help available to you that will address some of these worries. Granted, no two people’s paths in lives are the same, but you might find comfort in knowing that you’re not all alone in the world. The main thing, above all, is your safety. Believe it or not, I remember the release self-harm gave me. It gave me a sense of control and while I often instantly regretted it, one thing that helped me, was to know that I was ‘safe’ and I wasn’t going to jeopardise my health any further than I really meant to. This means being aware of what you may be using to hurt yourself. For example, is it clean? During my recovery, I was able to move from cutting, to having an elastic band round my wrist to ping when I needed a similar sensation.
In regards to support from friends and family, it took me a long time to open up to those closest to me. Instead, I used to speak to a teacher at school who I trusted. It was actually the school who first involved my parents (with my consent) and this really helped bringing the situation to light. It sounds incredibly scary and I would be lying if I wasn’t worried about it at the time – but it was one of the best things I did. Having other people (in my case teachers) in on those tough initial conversations, helped my parents understand and come to terms with it also. If you have a close friend who you trust too, you could always ask them to help you approach a teacher.