Monthly Archives: November 2017

Unconscious Self Harm *Trigger Warning* 

This is a personal piece. Please be trigger aware when reading.

Just lately things have been really tough for me. I have found living extremely difficult and getting through each day is a challenge. Part of my coping strategies has been self harm. Now I have always been open about the fact that I self harm on this blog and with mental health professionals, but I have noticed I am not just harming consciously. There has been a lot of unconscious self harm going on. I therefore thought I would explore this topic about ways I unconsciously self harm to raise awareness. These methods I do not condone and I would never want to tip share so will not go into a lot of detail. Please be careful when reading the following post.

A major way I have been unconsciously self harming is to make myself physically unwell. I have physical health conditions that can be exacerbated. Unconsciously this is what I have been doing by not taking proper care of myself. When depression strikes this is an easy thing to do as you can neglect your physical health in a number of ways unintentionally. This is part of what has happened to me but I have also pushed myself to limits I know I can’t deal with.

Another part of not looking after myself physically has been not taking pain medication so I feel the pain of an injury I have at the moment. This is self harm as I am causing myself pain even though I am unconsciously doing this. I’m also possibly exacerbating the injury by not taking the doctor’s advice.

Another unconscious method of self harm for me is hair pulling (or trichotillomania). I know a lot of people do this consciously but for me it is an unconscious action and I suddenly find myself with a bald patch or missing eyelashes. It is self harm as it causes pain and also, for me, embarrassment which makes me feel worse. I will try to do a fuller blog post on this topic in the future.

The final way I unconsciously self harm is to skin pick (or dermatillomania). I do this without thinking and pull away skin from my arms, chest and face. Quite often I make it bleed and am left feeling sore and even scarring myself. I know some people do this as conscious self harm but for me it is mostly unconscious and I have no idea to what extent I am doing it.

So those are some of the ways I unconsciously self harm. They are things I do without consciously thinking about the damage I may cause myself. They are things I slip into when things are particularly bad. If you find yourself unconsciously (or consciously) self harming there are things you can do to help. Being aware of it is the first step. Then there are alternatives you can try. They may not work straight away. For more information on self harm check out the Mind website.

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Bullying: My Story

This is a personal piece. Please be trigger aware when reading.

There are many things in life that can have a negative impact on our mental health. There are all sorts of trauma that we can go through. One thing that has impacted negatively on my mental health is bullying. Bullying is something many people experience and it can have a lasting impact on those it touches. Bullying is not the only reason behind my illnesses but it has had a major impact, therefore I thought I would detail my experience and show that you are not alone if you have experienced or are experiencing bullying.

The first time I was bullied was in primary school. A boy in the year below me decided he didn’t like me so started by calling me names. These names were hurtful and stick with me today, over fifteen years after the event. The name calling soon escalated until eventually he hit me hard. That’s when I had to tell someone what was going on. He was dealt with and it did stop him from attacking me further. Then I went to secondary school…

At secondary school things were OK for the first couple of years. Then a group of people in my French class started picking on me. It was a mixed group of boys and girls. It started off with masking commented about me. French lessons became hellish. I couldn’t walk into the classroom without some comment. No teacher picked it up as we had a run of stand in teachers and I was much too scared to take it further and tell someone what was happening. My mental health was already suffering at this stage and I was self harming. The bullying made this worse.

Then the bullying got worse and I started to be followed on my way home by the group from my French class and some older children from different year groups. The comments increased and I was threatened with physical violence. Life started to feel not worth living and I was self harming more than ever, but still I didn’t talk. I thought it would make things worse. I hated school. I didn’t want to go. The bullying continued over years.

The bullying continued to get worse. I dropped French classes but the bullying continued in other lessons. I found a new way to walk home but was always looking over my shoulder. I felt isolated. Then as I was nearing the end of my schooling, I had the worst comment I had to hear, “why don’t you go and kill yourself?” Suddenly in my head I felt like I had an answer to all my problems. I would end my life.

I made an attempt on my life. I was unsuccessful, obviously, and managed to hide it. I just made myself unwell. But it could have been so much worse.

While bullying was not the only reason for my attempt on my life, it did play a massive role. People’s words and actions towards me could have left me dead. Bullying is serious and needs to be treated seriously and not as something that we accept as part of growing up. If you are being bullied please talk to someone. Talking will help and that person can hopefully help you find a solution. It doesn’t matter if you’re being bullied at school or at work. It is not acceptable. For more information on bullying check out bullying.co.uk or anti-bullyingalliance.org.uk.

The Lies of Self Harm 

This is a personal piece. Please be trigger aware when reading.

Self harm has been a part of my life for a long time now. It has been something I have battled with on many levels, sometimes successfully, other times I have lost the battle. Over that time I have realised that self harm has told me many lies to keep me ensnared by it. I therefore thought I would share some of the lies it has told me.

1. “I’m all you need”- This is a big lie that self harm tells me on a regular basis. It makes me think that as long as I self harm I will be OK. This is obviously not true as I need food, water and people to get through everything. I need to look after myself in order to get better and self harm is not part of this. Self harm is telling me this to carry on holding on to me. Unfortunately at the moment this is working.

2. “I’m the only thing that can help”- This is very similar to the lie above. It is self harm’s way of survival. It tells me nothing else will help control the thoughts I am having or the voice I hear. It says that nothing is as effective as its damaging behaviour at giving me a sense of control. It makes me feel like this is the only choice I have and that it is the solution rather than the problem. It draws me back in time and time again.

3. “I will give you control”- This is a lie of self harm that makes it very appealing to me. It draws me in because I hate the feeling of things being out of control. There have been times in my life when things have gone on that have been beyond my control but self harm has been there to make me feel like I am controlling something. This is a lie though. In fact at times self harm is controlling me. I feel I have to work it into my routine and make time for it. I feel I need it. It is like an addiction and I am far from in control. In fact if I stopped I’d be more in control.

4. “I’m not hurting anyone”- This is a hard lie to deal with. Self harm tells me I shouldn’t worry as I’m not hurting anyone else by doing it. This is untrue as I have been friends with people who are self harming and it hurts to see them in such pain. It is so difficult to see someone you love physically and mentally hurting. So self harm is lying, it does hurt others.

5. “Its all you deserve/you need to be punished”- When self harm feels like its losing you it will say all sorts to hold on to you. This is something my self harm has said to me a lot and I struggle not to believe it. But please know if you are struggling with self harm, what you deserve is love and care. No one deserves to punish themselves in this way. I know it is hard to believe.

These lies are not all that self harm tells us and self harm may tell you different lies to what it tells me. I struggle still to always tell what is as lie and what is truth. Please know that if you struggle with self harm you are worth so much more than the lies it tells you.

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