Anxiety, art, depression, mental health

It’s time to talk about self-harm.

I know. No one really wants to broach it. Or hear about it, and definitely don’t want to see it. But it happens. Everyday, all over the world. People are using self harm as a coping mechanism.

According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, 1 in 10 people self harm. This can be through cutting, taking tablets, burning, piercing, or even swallowing objects.

My chosen method has always been cutting. Yep, I’ve been a self-harmer. For years, on and off.

I’ve had to answer the awkward questions about the scars (rooky mistake as a 17 year old, doing it in obvious places, what an idiot eh). I’ve honestly come up with the most stupid excuses, and I know people know exactly what they are, so why do you even ask?!

Some of the best excuses for the scars have been;

“Oh my cat did it, she had really sharp claws when she was younger.”

“I was moving a fence panel with me mum and chunks of the wood splintered and cut me.” – why oh why did I ever use this one.

“It’s from when a mirror smashed and fell on me as a kid.” -this actually happened but the scar from that is on my hand.

Sometimes I have simply just said “it was a long time ago.” Because I know you know what they are.

So I moved on to my thighs, I’ve never got them out. Unless I’m on holiday sunning myself up, or if you’re a lucky enough person to see.

A common misconception I have come across in my years of slicing and dicing, is that people think these scars are from a suicide attempt. Let me clarify, I, and many others do not self-harm to die.

For me, it’s to get a sense of control when I have none. No control over my racing thoughts, panic, fear, hopelessness. I’m in so much pain mentally, I want to feel something physically. And for a short amount of time I’m feeling something else. Physical pain. The mental pain is still there, but I can focus on the stinging.

I was taught distraction techniques as a teen.

Like putting an elastic band around my wrist and pinging it when I want to cut – didn’t make a blind bit of difference. Just aggravated me having a laccy band on my wrist.

It upsets and angers my family and friends. They tell me not to do it. Or to talk to them when I get the urge – if it was as simple as that I wouldn’t have scars all over my thighs. Sorry guys, I can’t stop myself when I get the urge. When I’m that hopeless and out of control. That’s what I want, and need to do.

I’m sensible about it (which is odd for what I’m sure a lot of people won’t see as a sensible choice). I obviously use clean sharps, I care for the wounds, I know signs of symptoms of infection to look out for. I’m my own patient post cutting.

The closest people in my life have resented me for it. I’m not trying to hurt you. In fact, I’ve hidden it so well a lot of the time, not to hurt you.

Basically (after all this rambling). What I’m trying to say is. If you see someone with scars, don’t point, don’t ask. Support, keep that extra eye on them. They’re fighting a painful battle. But not from the pain of their injuries, from the pain that caused them to injure.

Standard
Anxiety, art, depression, mental health

Abandonment Part 2.

Just what you need on a Saturday night eh!

So now we’ve got the curtain call on my last piece of the abandonment pie. I’m going to tell you about another one.

Let me tell you now, I am absolutely TERRIFIED about writing and publishing this one. I feel I also may need to hide it from some people (but you can’t hide on the internet! Shit!)

My Mother and Father divorced when I was 14. As divorces go, this was no Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow ‘conscious uncoupling’. There had been violence, alcohol, police, arguments and so on. All the fun stuff right?!

Now I forgive what happened, partly. But I can’t forget. My Dad left the family home for the final time. And our relationship faltered. I’d see him for an hour or 2 a week at my grandma’s house. It was weird, strange and confusing. It’s like we became strangers. Especially for a few months when, I had decided I was strong enough to stand up in court (probably shouldn’t have thought that because solicitors are mean, even to kids.)

I saw my mum try so hard to bring two children up alone, through heartbreak and hurt. I had her. Who was amazing, the woman has been through a lot shit. She even slapped cancer in the face not long after this time. But again, where had this other male figure gone from my life?

He was a good Dad, embarrassing, with crap dad jokes. But he had struggled since losing his father – and he showed some maladaptive anger.

Eventually my dad met someone else (well quite quickly really). I was diagnosed with depression and my dad just didn’t know what to do. He wasn’t there.

When I went off to uni, I passed comment on Facebook that him and his partner always go on holiday to the same place (he always said you should travel to different places and see the world.) To which I received threatening messages from his new partner (one saying I was an ungrateful T**t that should have been drowned at birth) and from her friends on Facebook. She’s always had a problem with me and my sister. Particularly me. I wasn’t even invited to my own dad’s wedding. My sister was, and she went. And I stayed at home. Unwelcome. And he didn’t fight my corner. He abandoned me.

And I can never ever forget that.

He’s supportive now, he rings me every other day. We’ve built up a relationship. But it’s a relationship that doesn’t involve his wife. She’s equally been as nasty to my sister.

She may be facing her own demons. Maybe she needs to access and accept some help. But in my eyes, she was chosen over me.

And the only man a woman often feels she has through thick and thin, is her father. And I didn’t.

So there you go (cheery isn’t it!). But just know. We are okay now, I can slightly forgive, but obviously not forget. It’s just been an added brick to my abandonment wall.

He’s still also majorly embarrassing and tells the worst jokes. I tend to laugh at him now with him (the man has his reading glasses on a bloody string around his neck!)

Standard
Anxiety, art, depression, mental health

1 step forward, 2 steps back.

Motivation is extremely difficult when your lucky enough to have depression. It can easily, by seen by those not in the know as laziness. Please don’t mistake the two.

With laziness, which we’ve all felt. People don’t WANT to do anything. Often with depression, you DO want to do something. You want to get out and about, you want to have positive experiences, be productive. And the annoying thing in my case, after struggling on and off for almost a decade is that I KNOW being productive, engaging in activities will lift my mood. But it’s as simple as this, I just can’t.

I can’t face the idea of having a shower, getting dressed, eating, or engaging in conversation face to face. Fear builds at each thought of those, how can I possibly even complete any of those tasks?! I want to, but my head won’t let me.

I just stay in bed, in and out of sleep. Passively watching Netflix (friends is my current choice). I often just stare at nothing, with thoughts racing in and out in succession.

Today is one of those days. I feel horrendous. Also slightly numb and flat at the same time. My stomach is churning (a combination of not eating and anxiety) I just can’t see a better time ahead of me.

I’d like to thank every single person who has got in touch with me as a result of this blog. Sharing their experiences, letting me know I’m not alone. I know I’m not alone. And I certainly don’t feel brave as people have said I am (I’ve not wrestled a grizzly bear). But today is one of those days I feel truly and utterly alone. Alone in the presence of people, alone with my self-loathing, panic and questions.

I do want to get better. I want to look back at these posts a year from now and think “Christ, look at me now.” But today, I’m just not feeling jumping over those hurdles (I’m short as it is, hurdles are difficult at the best of times!)

I want a hug. I want someone to just hold me and tell me everything will be okay. But unfortunately, the only person I ever felt safe in the arms of has shown their true colours. And it makes me sick to the very pit of my stomach.

I am FORCING myself to go to the gym tonight. I even bought gig tickets today, just to have something to have to do in the not so distant future. But I can’t see past this dark, thick fog (even with my full beams on.)

I just want today to be over. I just want to fast forward to a better time. I want my new meds to kick in. But you know what they say, want doesn’t get (I think that’s what they say I’ve forgotten, my brain is all fogged up too).

I want help. And the mental health system is on its arse, after my stint as a patient in A&E with all this I’m still waiting for therapy. I hate waiting.

Standard