Self Harm - A Personal Account

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Jayne's story

I was very 'accident prone' as a child.   As scabs grew, I would pick them off, loving to watch the fresh blood ooze out.   I was unhappy at school and aged 11, I began overdosing, explaining the ensuing sickness as a tummy upset.  I also became obsessed with sewing thread into my toes, fascinated by the way I could change my skin.

As I reached puberty, I began pulling out my hair and cutting myself with knives.  It was a wonderful release from the anxieties I had about the changes in my body.  It was actually quite accidental that I discovered cutting.  I tried to cut my wrists but found that it provided me with an instant feeling of release.  I also felt proud that I could have such power and control over my body, and created my own 'pain control' - it never hurt at the time but my goodness, it hurt after!!

As years passed the frequency and severity of the cutting increased, and by the age of 18 I had reached the stage where I required suturing for my injuries.  I didn't ever see it as a problem at that time, it was just a way of getting relief from overwhelming emotions.  I just saw it as a 'quirk' an unusual way of coping with things.  Some people saw me as a freak, but I just ignored them, although it did hurt me sometimes.

It was not until I realised that my cutting was a problem - an inappropriate way of coping with life's problems - that I began the slow, painful recovery process.

Initially, the severity and frequency of my self harm escalated.  I felt it was like losing a best friend and I couldn't let go.   The wounds got deeper and even life threatening.  It's like ending a relationship, giving up a way of life and a means of survival.  I still can't see self harm as an enemy, more as a bad friend.  However, I do believe that I can be cured, both of the self injury and of the associated emotional problems.  There are hurdles to jump, mountains to climb ahead of me, but I believe I can do it.  Already I have found some alternative coping strategies, and a sense of inner strength.  I can beat this.

One day, when I am leading a happy, fulfilling life, I will look upon my faded scars and remember, not only the relief that cutting, burning and everything else brought, but that I had the strength to recover and learn to deal with life's rainclouds as well as the sunshine.

Good luck to everyone - self harm is curable.   It is not an addiction.  There is light at the end of the tunnel.


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