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 8 years later as I didn’t want to be different and I wanted to pretend it didn’t happen.
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 became a way of dealing with my pain. Thoughts of suicide came and went as life was unlivable.
One day I had to go to my doctor for something and the doctor noticed the scars. It was suggested that I get counseling. I was reluctant at first but eventually made an appointment. I didn’t know what to expect but it felt good making the decision to get help.
I went to the appointment and was surprised to find how easy the counselor 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.
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 learned 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 afterward.
- 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.
If it wasn’t for taking that first step to seek counseling I don’t know if I 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 counseling, it might save your life.