*The following post may be triggering to those who are struggling with self harm thoughts. Please make sure you are feeling safe before reading.*
If you or someone you know is contemplating hurting themselves please get in contact with a GP, go to your closes ED or give the wonderful people at Lifeline a call.
On 60 minutes on Sunday, they did a story on Self Harm. I will admit that I was apprehensive about it and didn’t actually watch it until it was available online. After I knew that other people had watched it. After I knew whether they had portrayed it in an understanding light. I just knew that I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to deal with it, if it was anything else.
I’ve made no secret of the fact that I have self harmed in the past. It is something that I deal with on a constant basis. It is something that I will probably deal with for the rest of my life. Was it easy to stop? No. Not at all.
Self harm has been toted as ‘attention seeking’ among other derogatory things. Things like that do nothing for the shame and guilt that someone who self harms or has self harmed feels. The worst comments I have received have actually been from ‘professionals’. The pearlers have been when presenting to the local Emergency Departmet with injuries that needed medical attention ranging from ‘so’, ‘you know you’re doing it the wrong way’ to when presenting with self harm thoughts and not actions ‘just come back when you’ve done it’. Emergency Departments are the first port of call for mental health patients and really need to be trained in ways to deal with these patients. Psychiatrist Professor Graham Martin talks about it during his interview.
“I hear of therapists running away. I hear of people in hospital running away. Nursing staff who can’t face up to somebody who has cut themselves deliberately. Because they’re not important, and they did it to themselves, and they’re just attention seeking. I don’t believe any of that. I think when somebody goes to these lengths, they need help.”
One of the most common questions asked of someone who self harms I think is “What made you think to pick up something to hurt yourself with”. There is no one moment when you think oh yep this is what I am going to do. It is something done out of desperation, of feeling like there is nothing else that will work. When I started I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would still be struggling with urges 10 years later. That 10 years later, whenever things get shit, it is my first port of call. One of the girls interviewed for the story I think sums it up perfectly.
” I don’t remember why I chose self-harm. The chaos and the feelings that were all trapped inside my head got to a point where I needed something.”
I was quite impressed with the way that the story was portrayed in such a sensitive way. It didn’t poke fun or minimise the behaviour in anyway. I just hope that this story was able to reach a few people, to help them understand.