I'm 16 and doing a levels and I've been a self harmer for well over 3 years. I began self harming because of family problems but as the years went by, I began to hurt myself more on a daily basis. When I started a levels in September, my parents began to put more pressure on me (I don't have a good relationship with my parents) and I began cutting my arms around the veins. My dad calls me fat,my mum calls me dumb and worthless and I feel as if I have nobody because my self esteem is so low. I don't have any family and I can't seek professional help because my parents are so so controlling and they have this idea that self harmers are attention seekers and deserved to be locked up in a mental asylum somewhere.
I have so many slash marks on my arms and legs and I try so hard not to get triggered but I do whenever I get called fat/worthless by my parents.
I don't know what to do..x
MAY BE TRIGGERING- I can't stop hurting myself? Watch
- Thread Starter
- 17-01-2015 19:44
- Thread Starter
(Original post by Libertah)
- 20-01-2015 18:58
Hello Anon, thanks for coming forward, I'm new here but I'm going to try to give you some advice because there's nothing worse than feeling out of control in your life.
Firstly, I'd say that self-harm, like many harmful human behaviours like taking drugs/drink in harmful amounts and being physically aggressive towards people (provoking attack) are symptoms of a mental disorder. There's a lot of misinformation and stigma about what mental illness is, and I'd say the best way to describe it is "a reaction to an external or internal stimuli which causes negative emotion, thinking and actions that are not in the best interests of the person experiencing the reaction". Mental illness can affect anyone, consciously and/or unconsciously.
I've been diagnosed with major depressive disorder for some 5 years, which means that several times a year, I experience an episode of depressed emotional states, but really it feels like a void of negative emotions. I can't sleep, I can't eat, I can't concentrate, I find all the things I used to love boring at best. All of this makes me feel, when I am in the depressive episode, like I'm completely screwed - I think I'm going to hurt myself because of how little I can enjoy any part of my life. I'd say this is a reaction to a lot of things that happened to me in the past (my external stimuli), but over the years, the mere fact that at times I know I can feel this way at all is enough to make me depressed (an internal stimuli).
I dropped out of university last year because of how depressed I became. I'm not quite fully recovered I'd say, but basically the first step towards improving was getting myself medical help. I went unmedicated for so many years because all the anti-depressants I had tried before didn't make me feel any different. I had to try 4 different meds before I found the one that worked for me, fluoxetine and citalopram (when I was 14) and last year venlafaxine and mirtazapine. Many people like to think that the frontline service is talking therapy like counselling, but 4 month waiting lists are killing people, so the earliest form of intervention is pharmaceutical. But it starts by making an appointment with your GP. You don't need your parents' permission to do this, just call your doctor using a phone-box or better still try to make an appointment in person. Your doctor must treat your conversations with confidentiality and you can tell your doctor that you want this kept from your parents and they have to abide by what you say.
Secondly, you need to try and identify the external and any internal stimuli that causes the behaviour you want to stop. You mentioned in your above post that you have problems talking with your parents about these issues and you're studying for your A-levels, well my studies put me under a ton of stress - and I'd say that those two external stimuli are causing you grief. An internal stimuli could be your memory of family problems, as well as your low self-esteem which is affected by how you feel your parents treat you. These are problems which can sometimes go away over time, when you finish your A-levels those stresses will go, but memory may fade over time but they'll still be there, and your parent's attitudes may not change. I'd say your self-harm is an expression of anger and sadness about these things - but you have to accept that no action like that will change their attitudes or what things have happened to you. I have had to come to terms with this also.
Living in the past and trying to deal with uncontrollable problems is something our minds love to do, and it causes untold misery. I have been trying to live instead, in the present moment and I have found myself feeling better and better as time moves by. What this means is essentially trying to avoid falling into old patterns of thinking, which are borne of stress and suffering. After a stressful event happens, try to take some time to yourself and do something simple you enjoy- like eating your favourite food or walking in your favourite place. Try only to focus on your senses, you have everything inside of you to be amazed at whatever you choose to do, and should something come into your mind that makes you feel negative, remind yourself that it's not you thinking about it, it's your mind (which is completely different from you). I'll admit that it will take practice to achieve relief from the thoughts you have at the moment but it will come, and I have found that now I have become medicated I can do this much easier.
If you have any more questions about this I'll do my best to answer, but do try to talk about the issues you are having with someone in a professional capacity- internalising stress can destroy you and believe me you don't want to destroy yourself.
Thank you xx