My story starts at the delicate age of 12. I had my trust shattered and my world ripped apart when I was raped. I never told anyone until eight years later as I didn’t want to be different and I wanted to pretend it didn’t happen.
Keeping to myself
I spent the following years at school keeping to myself and pretending everything was fine and I even started to believe it was. Until one day I got so angry that I cut myself. It was such a release and became a way of dealing with my pain. Thoughts of suicide came and went as life was unliveable.
One day I had to go to hospital for something and the doctor noticed the scars. It was suggested that I get counselling. I was reluctant at first but I found out that my college offered a free counselling service so I made an appointment. I didn’t know what to expect but it felt good making the decision to get help.
Feeling listened to
I went to the appointment and was surprised to find how easy the counsellor was to talk to. She didn’t judge me and she listened and after a few sessions I spoke about what had happened to me for the first time. She saved my life.
What helped me
I have now been in therapy for 18 months. I still self harm but not as much and I am working on healthier ways to express and deal with my feelings. Some of the strategies I’ve learnt for when you get the urge to self harm are:
- Go outside and take some deep breaths. Sometimes the fresh air is enough to clear your head.
- Write positive sayings on pieces of paper (such as , you are a good person, you are not worthless etc…), put them in a box and place your cutting instrument underneath them. When you go to cut you read the sayings.
- Do something active. A walk, run, bike ride or play a sport.
- Get some cheap ceramic tiles and smash them. It feels good and you can use the smashed pieces to create a mosaic afterwards.
- Write what you are feeling on a piece of paper or in a journal then either put it away or destroy it as if you are getting rid of the bad feelings.
It’s worth it!
If it wasn’t for taking that first step to seek counselling I don’t know if would still be here. It hasn’t been easy but I’m getting there and I urge anyone else out there having problems to take that first step and get some counselling, it might save your life.