Self Harm Series – 5th Entry – Interviewing Jasmine

Hi, everyone! I’m so glad you clicked the link and are here. We’ve come a long way in the self-harm series and we’re not done yet.

We all fall victims to ourselves in so many ways. We might overeat, smoke, drink excessively, or just not take care of ourselves in the ways we should. But when you self-harm in a way that causes injury to yourself, it’s different. Many people would never be able to go that far. But for some, their pain is so deep that physically hurting themselves is the only way to let it out. Like any addiction, the relief is temporary.

I’ve been so moved by the peeps I’ve been speaking to. They are definitely among the strongest people I’ve ever met. With that said, meet another strong young lady, Jasmine.

jasmine ramos

Jasmine, welcome. Thanks so much for being willing to share your story.

CL: Let me start by asking… in what way did you self-harm?

Jasmine: For about five years, I struggled with cutting myself.

What caused you to begin cutting?

It’s hard to say what caused this behavior. A lot of it was triggered by stress. I found out about self-harm because a friend of mine told me she did it. I thought to myself, ‘If she does, why can’t I?’ So in the seventh grade, I cut for the first time just to feel the pain. It slowly evolved into something I’d do to escape the stress of everyday life for a little while.

So you cut as a stress reliever? How did it make you feel?

After cutting, everything would feel right again. Any stress I had would go away and I would suddenly feel at peace. However, these feelings only lasted a little while. Once the feelings of relief faded, they were replaced with feelings of shame and guilt for what I had done.

How long was this going on before anyone knew?

I believe my mom suspected it around my freshman year of high school. However, I didn’t openly tell my family until the beginning of my junior year. A few of my very close friends knew about my cutting when it first happened.

Were you ever suicidal?

There were times I wondered about death and times when I wanted things to stop because of my anxiety. However, I don’t think I would quite say that I’ve ever been suicidal. While I did wonder about death a few times, I never seriously considered killing myself.

I’m so glad for that. Do you still have the urge to cut?

Occasionally I still struggle with the urge to cut when things get tough. When I get extremely stressed or sad, I start thinking of how much the cutting helped before. However, I also think of the guilt and shame that comes afterward and the people I’d be hurting if I relapsed. This is now enough to stop me from doing anything serious, although, on occasion, I will scratch myself rather than cut. I’ve learned recovery is a long process.

And thankfully, you’re doing so well. You’re still so young and traveled such a long road. What was the stress that drove you to self-harm? Can you identify it?

Most of the stress came from school, and even more I put stress on myself to do good. I’m an extreme perfectionist and always drive myself to do the best I can. I was valedictorian of my eighth-grade class and having done so well in grade school, I found the adjustment to the IB program to be tough. Dealing with the stress of a harder work load, the attempt of continuing to do sports, and have a social life was a bit much. I felt like so much was out of my control. On top of that, I was dealing with my aunt who was struggling from cancer from the time I was in the eighth grade as well as her passing. I had to deal with the same thing in my junior year of high school with another aunt who was diagnosed with cancer and also ended up passing. There was also a lot of stress and tension between my parents and that affected me as well. All of that was reason enough to cut in my eyes at the time.

Honestly, I think adults often forget that teens and even children are under way more stress than they could ever imagine. Often young people are seen as resilient. Adults need to remember that if they’re stressed out constantly, their children are likely equally stressed as well. What has been your greatest hindrance in your journey, Jasmine?

I have probably been the greatest hindrance in my struggles. I am, quite honestly, my own worst enemy. It is easier to let myself slip back into bad habits than it is for me to resist  the urge to do something that’ll help relieve me for a little while.

That is the truth for so many of us. If only we could learn to be our own cheerleaders instead. Who have been your cheerleaders… your greatest help?

My supportive mother, my extremely supportive boyfriend, and compassionate therapist have been the people who’ve helped me most through this journey. My mom helped me find a therapist and didn’t judge me when she found out what I did. My therapist helped me learn how to work through my self-harm and how to manage my anxiety. My boyfriend is the one who convinced me to seek out therapy in the first place and was by my side from the beginning. He was there while I was going through self-harm and he’s there now that it’s over.

If you were standing in front of a group of people who were all suffering from self-harm, what would you say to them?

I’d tell them they’re not alone. Those few words mean so much to someone when they feel that there’s no one there who understands them or can help them. I’d tell them that their struggle doesn’t make them weak or deserving of ridicule, but rather it makes them stronger. I’d want them to know that recovery is possible and so very worth it and that life is a glorious thing worth living.

Beautiful! Thank you for sharing your story, Jasmine!

 

 

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