How talking with friends or family helps with self-harm
"It is so brave to come forward and say how you feel and that you need help"
This is an opinion of a young person and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of SpunOut.ie. It is one person's experience and may be different for you. If you'd like to write something for SpunOut.ie please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
"I’ve learned to be understanding towards myself"
Since I was 11 years old, self harm has been an escape for me. If I had a rough day or an argument with friends or family, the first thing I would do to get me through it was self harm. For years I did nothing to help myself, I continued to self harm and hate myself. I considered suicide daily. It was a vicious circle.
At the time I never told anyone or looked for help. I was too scared and young to understand the damaging effects of what I was doing. The pain I inflicted on myself, in my head at the time, took my mental pain away. I now realise that’s not true. It didn’t help me, it just made things worse.
When I was in my 1st of year of secondary school my mother found out about my self harm problem and got me the help I needed. We first attended our GP who then referred me to a therapy service near by. I hated going at the start because I was ashamed of going to a counsellor, but I have since learned there is nothing wrong with getting help and trying to make yourself better. When I had finished with the counsellor I felt a lot better.
The weeks of attending the sessions really did help me but this year I started to self harm again. I had very triggering thoughts, so this time I looked for help. I told my mother about how I was feeling and she straight away got me the help I needed and supported me. I still attend a counsellor every two weeks and it helps me a lot as does physical exercise and music. I find that picking up an instrument can be relaxing. You can get lost in learning songs and progressing as a player. You can also get a sense of accomplishment and be proud of yourself when you see the progress you’ve made. I’ve found that making progress on an instrument and making progress with my own mental health was much the same. I had to work and practice and not give up. I also found listening to music was therapeutic when things would get too much. I would put in my headphones and play some songs and just relax for a while and my head would even be clearer. It also helped going for a walk or a run because I would listen to music and stop overthinking and upsetting myself. I would just be concentrating on the music and my walk and it made things a lot easier.
I have learned there are lots of things out there that give me relief from daily struggles rather than the vicious circle of self harm. I battled with depression and anxiety for years. But I learned I have to let people help and let people in. I’ve learned to be understanding towards myself. I’ve learned that coming forward and saying how I feel is not weak and it is not attention seeking, though some people may say that, it’s not. It is so brave to come forward and say how you feel and that you need help. You may feel that you’re being a burden towards your friends and family but everyone goes through bad patches in their life and you may very well be helping them while they help you! What you have to remember is you are never alone and that nobody has a perfect life or are perfect themselves. We all have ups and downs and make mistakes. We can’t neglect our mental health because we feel we don’t deserve the help, because everyone does.
My experiences have helped me in life too. The bad years I have endured have helped me help people, like my friends who are feeling suicidal and depressed, who don’t see a future in life. But I know there is a future because I used to feel like that and now I can see a future so clearly. I’m happy to wake up every morning alive and healthy.
What I would say to anyone suffering from suicidal thoughts or self harm and depression is to talk to a family member you trust, a friend or a doctor. Get yourself the help you need and deserve. There are also help lines you can call such as:
Samaritans - 116 123 (free call)
Pieta house - 1800 247 247 (free call)
Bodywhys - 1890 200 444 (for help with an eating disorder)
Then when you get yourself help you will soon feel yourself growing, getting better, becoming happier and someday everything will seem better. It may not seem like it now but it will.