Archive for the ‘self help’ Category

So it’s been a little while since the last time I wrote something, not much new has been happening except for me just working hard and getting Never Never out there a bit more. 🙂

Today is the start of a new year for us at girls brigade and this means that I will returning to my old school once more. Every time I step through the door it feels strange and my head fills with memories, some good and some bad. School played a massive part in my past not only because I went there 5 days a week for so many years but because that’s where I was at some of the hardest points in my life. School was one of my safety nets. I wouldn’t say I loved school but It was something that kept me going and the routine I had during the week helped me get through many stages of my life.

When I was in school I knew that I had people around that I could run to when I needed help, well in the latter years anyway. I knew that no matter what someone would be there to help me through. Whether it be a teacher, the nurse or even the librarian, one of them would be there. I didn’t necessarily tell them how I was feeling or why I was there but just spending time with them and talking about anything, even the weather, helped me feel safe and often stopped me from feeling as bad as I did. I guess in a way they were one of my distraction techniques.

There are also certain parts of the school that hold stronger memories than others. One place in particular was the bathroom up stairs in one part of the school. I used to spend so much of my time up there. It was where I went when I was having a bad day, I knew that it was hardly ever used and that I could just sit there. It was also close to the guidance department which meant that if I needed them I was close, especially when it was my first guidance teacher and things had only just came to light for them.

I spent hours in that bathroom (picture below) and it has so many memories, not many good ones. It was my place where I would harm myself. The lack of people going about made it easy. It was the bathroom I used when I would make myself sick time after time. It was the place where I felt safe. Where I could be ME. I didn’t have to pretend in that room. I now go back there having come through the other side and I see the old me sitting in the corner doing the things I did, but it makes stronger knowing that I no longer need to that. I’m happy! That’s something I never thought I would feel when I was in that room.

It’s scary to think just how much I’ve changed in the last 3 years after leaving school. I wouldn’t go back there but it definitely was a good place for me to be when I was at my worst stage. What would’ve I done if I didn’t school? To be honest I don’t think I could’ve coped. So many people say that school days are the best days of your life but for me the were the hardest days, but school in itself helped me become the person I am today. I am grateful for my time at school and the chance I got to grow.

So the whole point of this blog is that if you have somewhere that makes you feel safe then use that place to help you to recovery. I have other places I would now class as my safe places and I love to spend time there when I’m having a bit of a down day. Use your safe place on your journey and hopefully it will you as much as mine did for me.

Keep strong 🙂

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I want to share something with you that I very rarely mention. I want to tell you about the days I find myself struggling.

Although I am past my dark stage and doing really well I still have days when I find it tough to get through. I guess there are obvious ones that I have mentioned before like birthdays and anniversaries of loved ones who have passed. But sometimes they are not so obvious.

I have one example of this I want to share, just over a week ago I was meant to be up for jury duty, after phoning twice and being told to call back again the next day I though I would get away with not having to go at all but it didn’t work out like that. I had to go along on the Friday. When I first arrived in the court my heart started to race, memories were coming flooding back, memories I would rather forget. Although it was a different court to what I appeared in when I was sexually abused it was still that same atmosphere and in my head it was exactly the same place. After waiting downstairs for about 10 minutes we were taken up to the court room. I stepped in the door and it was as though my trial just happened yesterday. I was shaking like mad, the person sitting next to me must have thought I was rather strange. It was then announced that it was going to be a sexual offences case. At this stage I was finding it very difficult to hold it together. I couldn’t put myself through that. It wouldn’t of been good for me. Luckily I got the chance to speak to one of the ladies in charge of us and got out of it after explaining my situation, but even doing this was very difficult and I broke down in tears. I could hear his voice, I could smell that same smell I had on the day and I felt as though I was about to stand in the witness box again.

It really threw me. I thought I was strong, I thought I had dealt with most things but I guess I wasn’t as strong as I had thought. It made me feel quite down for the day and I had frequent flashbacks for a few days after it but I dealt with it much better than I would have previously. I made sure I was busy and surrounded by people who understood.

I guess I wanted to share this because I want people to know that wobbly days still happen. They will always be there but you have to realise they don’t need to knock you back. You can learn from them. It’s natural to have an off day, you just don’t need to give in to the thoughts you may have. And I think that it’s a good learning curve when you have a day like that because you see how far you have come. I also believe that it balances things out as no one can be happy all day every day.

Just remember to believe in yourself and if you have a wobbly day, it’s okay, you’ll get through it and feel rather good for it!!

H 🙂

Never Never…

Posted: June 3, 2013 in growing stronger, self help

nevernever

So today I delivered my first workshop in a local school 🙂 It went really well and I shall be going back very soon to do some more. It’s scary how fast things have moved and how things have just fallen into place. Who would have thought that just a few months ago this was all just a dream inside my head and now my dream is coming true and changing into reality. The adventures just keep coming and I can’t wait for them.

You know something Im grateful for my life and I am going to continue to live it to the fullest. Who would of thought that just a couple of years ago I was stuck in a rut, with very little hopes for my future. I am now here with lots of hopes and dreams and i know that i can now achieve anything I want to. All i have to do is believe 🙂

Never Never give up on your hopes and dreams, they will come true if you believe. You just have to wait for the right time.

Thats all i have to say today, just a quick update on my progression with Never Never.

Bye for now. 🙂

So a couple of months have gone by since I last wrote anything. But I felt like i needed to share something with you. So its almost 3am and instead of sleep I’m blogging but what better way to put myself to sleep then getting whats keeping me awake off of my chest.

A couple of days ago I was having a conversation with someone who knows me very well (or so i thought) and we got talking about my past and how much i have changed from then. But the only reason we got on to that topic was because of a stupid remark they made. I had toothache and was taking painkillers for it and they said oh you better be careful taking those you don’t want another overdose to happen. This infuriated me, do people still see me the same way as I was before? Do they not see the huge change I see?

Well I didn’t let it go I made sure I stood up for myself and told them exactly what has changed. Although i did this it has been bothering me these last couple of days and tonight I couldn’t sleep for thinking about it.

If you have read my last blog you will be aware that I went through some really dark patches just a few years back but this year is 2 years since i last harmed myself, and i am now on a mission to help others. surely that in its self is enough for someone to see i have changed.

Whilst i was thinking tonight i looked out my old sketch book and i began looking through some of my sketches from the past. i haven’t used this sketch book for some time now as it has all my dark days in it and i want it to stay that way so that i can show people just what others missed.

There are a number of sketches in it and they all show how crap i felt during this time and my sketch book came with me pretty much where ever i went as it was one way of me letting out my emotion without harming myself. i have attached some examples below of things people missed. ImageImageImageImage

i guess what i want to share with you is that even if there are clear signs there, self harm is something that many people do not pick up on or bother trying to support people with. when i was at my worst and needed the support i was very fortunate to have friends that picked up on the signs and told someone. if it wasn’t for them noticing, i would probably be dead. That may sound a bit over the top but i was on a path that had no return until my friends did something about it. It was because of them that i spoke out about what i had been going through and eventually got through my recovery. My friends have been there for me the whole way through and i am very grateful for their support. i know that if i ever need them they are there and i for them.

My mission is to get information out there to other young folk who don’t self harm but may know someone who does. if you notice something that you think is out of character for someone, do something about it. you may save that person.

My friends saved my life and I am forever thankful.

So yeah one comment sparked off a lot of thoughts and I needed to get some of it out there. I’m no longer at the place i was and i don’t need others to tell me that, i know i have changed and for the better. i will continue to go forward with this new chapter of my life creating many more positive experiences using the negatives from the past. My past is what has made me and i am not ashamed of any of it!

If you think someone is going through a hard time, please do something about it, dont wait for someone else to do it as they are probably thinking the same. your friends need you and you can truly make a difference.

Take care and bye for now. 🙂

Okay so its been a while since I last wrote anything, been rather busy but here I am with a little something.

So on the 1st of March it was self harm awareness day, I wrote the words on my wrist “keep fighting” a few days later I got this tattooed on me. This is a constant reminder to me of just how far I have come. It is also a good way to explain to people a little about what self harm is.

I guess this blog is a little different to ones in the past, although like all others it has a positive message, I also want to go into some detail about the dark times in my life. I want to share with people exactly how crap I felt and the sorts of things I used to do. If you have read my blogs before you will know a little about what I went through but I think that I always skim over the self harm thing. I do talk quite openly about it in the sense that people know I used to self harm, but I still find it difficult at times to talk about things I did to myself.

I started self harming when I was 8 years old, it kinda just happened, it wasn’t something I had ever thought of before or even heard of. When I first started it was to heal some of the pain after I lost my dad but it happened by accident. I had hung my self in the school toilets and had the tie so tight around my neck that it cut it. When I came round after being cut down I felt the blood and it gave me a sense of relief. I didn’t understand it at the time but I know now that when you get a cut it sets off endorphins in your body a bit like a work out but much more painful. This was the beginning and no one questioned me about this act, so I knew no one would ask me if I started to cut.

When I first started to self harm, I just cut my arms when I was having a bad day, this would only be like one little cut and I would feel that sense of relief again. When I was in primary 7 at school (aged 10), I was sexually assaulted and this was something I blamed my self for. I didn’t speak to anyone about this and I coped with it by cutting a little more. I left primary school and I was probably cutting every other day, maybe a couple of times those days and the cuts were beginning to get deeper. I had been hiding this for now 3 years, I knew I was good at it and I knew that I could hide what ever I liked from people.

First year started and I began to misbehave in class to cover up my true feelings. I was cutting quite a lot by this point, not every day but probably every other day and I was trying to make the feeling last but it never did. The behaviour got worse and so did the self harm. I began getting detentions on a daily basis, often 3-4 a day. This was all part of the way to cover up what I was doing to myself.

In 3rd year i was in a big mess. I was cutting almost every day and the cuts were getting deeper and deeper. I was no longer feeling the same relief from these but I continued to cut. I started to do other things on top of it, I began to burn myself, I used to carry lighters about with me and I sat with the flame on my skin waiting till the pain set in. I would then use the burning hot metal and stick that on my skin.

I soon became unresponsive to the burning, I had to do more. One day I was very low and I snapped my finger in half. Looking back it kinda amazes me how I used to think up all these things and also the excuses along with them. On this occasion I went to hospital and I told them I had fallen over. They didn’t question me, had I became so good at lying about these things that even professionals were starting to believe it? Probably not, its more likely they didn’t want to know the truth as they would have to deal with it.

My friends had became aware of how I was feeling and had approached my guidance teacher with my planner that had a note in it saying how I felt, this also had blood on it as I had cut just before writing it. I was pulled up and I revealed for the first time what I was doing to myself. This didn’t do what i had expected, I felt so guilty that i had dumped this on someone that i went off and cut again, not only did I cut I banged my head off the concrete wall about 50 times. This was a new form of self harm for me. This soon wasn’t enough for me either, I began to take overdoses of ibuprofen. I split the lining of my stomach. This still wasn’t enough for me. I felt like i was sinking and i was never going to get back on track. At this time my guidance teacher announced she was retiring. I gave up. My behaviour became so bad, I couldn’t care less what they thought of me and I wanted them to know what I thought if them. I got an exclusion warning for swearing at a member of staff whilst telling her exactly how i felt. I then ended up getting excluded for swearing again, i didn’t say exactly what they teacher said i did but i did swear at him. Did i just blow everything? Did i just throw my whole life away? The answer to that at the time was probably yes. I had to do a lot of hard work to prove my self, allowing me to stay on at school. Even though my behaviour improved my self harming got worse. The end of 3rd year arrived and i was in such a bad place. I started drinking, I used to drink a half bottle of vodka a day and often anything else i could get my hands on. I had a local shop where i went to buy my supplies. The guy there became my friend, he was the one who allowed me to drink my pain away. I don’t know why but i never got drunk, no matter how much i drank, but you know what i do know is, that i thought drinking would solve all my problems.

I hit 4th year and I was cutting on a daily basis, several times a day. They were deep but they weren’t enough. I needed to still burn my self and hit my head off of things. I then began punching things. I broke several bones in my hands. This still wasn’t enough. I began hitting myself with a hammer. This made me feel better for a short time but again it soon wasn’t enough. At the end of my fourth year my behaviour began to slip a little, i got a detention from my year head after a shit morning. That was it for me, I couldn’t cope any more. I had had enough! That afternoon I took a lot of paracetamol. I ended up being hospitalised, I didn’t want to die, well I didn’t think i did i just wanted to ease the pain.

Looking back i guess i must have though about killing myself before doing it as otherwise i wouldn’t have done it, i may of just cut more or burned myself more but i didn’t. I think this was when people realised just how shit i felt. They started to see what was going on and i guess in a small way began to help me. Sitting my 4th year exams i was drinking the most i had been, but you know something i passed every single one of them and proved all my teachers wrong!

5th and 6th year at school were a lot smoother than the others but i was still harming myself daily. One day in 6th year I cut myself about 100 time just at school. I began getting ill, my asthma began to really flare up. I was having attacks on a daily basis. I stopped using my inhalers. I thought i could make myself so ill i would end up dead. I thought that i would no longer be a burden to all the people who i felt like i was dumping all my crap on.

I left school at the end of 6th year, pretending my life was going well. I had got a new job, started college and made on that even though all my support was dropped i would cope just fine on my own. This was all an act. I had no idea how i was going cope or how i was ever going to stop cutting. College found out about it because of school, so i didn’t have the chance of a fresh start.

I had been self harming for 10 years, i had had enough of what i was doing. I needed to make my dad proud. I needed to do something with my life. The 21st of june this year will mark 2 years of being self harm free. It controlled my life for so long. It made me who i am. I am not ashamed to show people my scars or tell them I self-harmed. Every single one of my scars tells a story. They will be with me for life. They do not show weakness, they show the strength i had to carry on.

If you self harm or know someone who self harms, it does get easier! You can get over this! You will beat it and you will go on and do great things with your life. Yes it took me time to get through it and it wasn’t easy, but with hard work and determination, it is possible!!!

Keep Fighting!

So these last few weeks have been rather hectic. I’ve started placement, won an award and had so much other things going on at the same time.

So where to start? Well I will start with placement, I have been on placement now for a couple of weeks and really getting into it. I love what I am doing and it’s great to help people in a different way to what I do at work. As I have started to build relationships with the people there it just keeps getting better. It’s also one closer to achieving my dream of being a social worker.

Another great piece of news is that I was nominated for northsounds young person of the year. I received the news that I had been short listed, this meant that I had been put in the top four. I was over the moon it’s a massive thing for people to final see the real me and praise me for all I do. Being in the top four was amazing but on the day of the awards we were invited along to see if I had won. I am pleased to say I did and this to me is one of the greatest achievements so far.

For people to recognise all the hard work I have put in these last few years is the most amazing feeling. It’s great for people to see that bad experiences can be turned into good ones. At the event there were people who came over to speak to me who had been asking questions to the people at Northsound and were impressed with what they had heard. It’s great to hear people say these things and even more great to have people who are willing to support me to achieve things I want to.

One goal I have is to set up a charity that educates people about self harm and allows more support to be there for suffers as in Aberdeen there is only one project that currently supports people who self harm and this is something I want to change. I now have contacts to be able to do this a lot quicker that I would have been able to do on my own.

The more things that happen in my life the more I believe that everything happens for a reason. All the bad things that happened to me happened so that I could turn my life around and help other people who are going through the things I did.

Thank you to everyone who ever believed in me, I now believe in myself too. Let the new exciting things begin. I will keep you posted of all developments.

If you believed in me when I didn’t, thank you for giving me the opportunity to blossom and become who I am today. I am very grateful.

Do you believe in yourself? If not, you need to start believe. Anything is possible when you believe in yourself.

Bye for now. 🙂

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So it’s been a while since I last wrote anything. This is mainly due to the fact that I have been so busy lately with work and life in general. But I have something that I want to share so have found the time to do so.

For these last weeks I have been thinking a lot about the past and how much I have changed and grown as a person. I do however still wonder a lot about how other people see me, do they see me the same I way I do? There have been times where people have said things to me and I wonder if I really have changed as much as I think but looking back I know I have.

It’s almost 2 years now that I have been in “recovery”. You may ask yourself why I phrase it this way and the answer is this. Self-harm was a massive part in my life for many years and it still plays a big part now. I have not self-harmed for almost 2 years but it lives with me everyday. It’s like an alcoholic giving up drinking they are know as a recovering alcoholic and it’s the same here I’m a recovering self-harmer and will be for the rest of my life.

In some ways I am grateful that I have had the opportunity to grow into the person I am today and without the problems I had to face in my life I wouldnt be the same person so for this I am thankful.
I have had many ordeals to face and each have made a little part of the person I am. Who knows where i would be if these things hadn’t happened? I certainly wouldn’t be sitting here writing this just now.

To sit here and say I haven’t harmed myself for almost 2 years is a massive thing for me as when I stopped before whilst being supported by “professionals” I would sometimes get to a week and then fall back, I think I once managed a couple of months then something happened that knocked me right back again. This time I have done it all on my own and hitting this milestone I feel proud!

I have been talking about this with one of my closest friends and we were discussing some of the things I used to do and where a lot of my problems stemmed from. Not the problems that made me feel the need to harm myself but problems that got in the way of me getting better. One of the main things is that I had a lack of trust for professionals! This started when I was in primary school, the first time I tried to take my life, even though this happened whilst I was at school they still didn’t bother to try and put things into place to help me! I was a 10 year old trying to fight the world alone, and not a single one of them seemed to care!

Another issues was that it took 6 years for anyone to discover I was a self-harmer! 3 years in primary school where I had the same teacher for 2 years of that and also 3 years of secondary school where I would have up to 6 teachers a day 5 days a week. This put even more doubt in my mind about people being there to help me! My friends were the ones who noticed and brought it to the attention of my guidance teacher at the time.

I remember the day she found out very well and it will always stick in my mind. After pulling me up outside the hall before morning registration she took me into the hall so that we could “have a chat”. She asked me the question “how are you feeling”? I asked if she wanted the proper answer or the one I tell everyone else, the truth was what she wanted and so that was what she got! I don’t think she was quite expecting what came next. The first thing I did was show her my fingers which were strapped together and told her that this might explain something. Asking me what I had done, I replied and told her that I had snapped my finger in half by pulling it backwards. She thought this was bad but as she had asked for the truth a lot worse was to come. I told her everything, including the things that had happened to me to make me feel so low. She was the first person I had opened up to and the only person I had ever felt I could confide in! The scary thing is that if it wasn’t for my friends I wouldnt of had that and my recovery may never have started.

As I hit this milestone I do so with the attitude that I want to help many other young people who are facing similar things to what i did and also educate people who do not self harm about how they can support others. Staff in school should be trained so they can deal with this properly and things are now more out there than they were when I first revealed I was a self-harmer! I aim to get my message out there and show people the sorts of signs people missed with me so that I can help others who are suffering alone.

I will always have the tag “self-harmer” hanging from me and no one needs to remind me this is something I know will live with me forever but it now says “self harmer in recovery!”. I am slowly becoming more proud of who I have become and believe everyday is an achievement, although 2 years is a massive thing everyday I get through without harming myself is a huge achievement, the thoughts are still with me but I just control them now!

If you are reading this and at the start of your recovery journey, I wish you all the luck and just remember you can do it, even if your all on you own. I’m running the race with you cheering you on. We will beat this!

If you know me, do you think i have changed/ shaped into a better person?

How do you see me??

H 🙂

PAIN in my past, STRENGTH in my future!”