Hey, all! Happy New Year! We made it to 2016 and we owe it to ourselves to do the best we can with it.
I love starting this year with the eleventh entry of the Self-Harm Blog Series. I’m honored to be a part of helping those who’ve struggled with this problem tell their story. With hopes of helping others who can relate to the pain of self-harm addiction, let us do our part in spreading the ‘word.’ The word is hope. The word is healing. The word is possibilities. The word is Love. God’s love. Your love. My love.
Let us begin.
Today is my interview with Kirsty. She is a young woman I met on Twitter who has been free of self-harm for a year! Woo-hoo!
Welcome, Kirsty, and congratulations on your success!
K: Thank you.
When did you first self-harm?
K: Honestly, I can’t put my finger on exactly when but I was around fourteen or fifteen.
What was going on in your life that triggered it?
K: I was suffering from grief, depression, and daily panic attacks. Life was just pretty hard and I didn’t know what to do.
Was the stress from school or home?
K: School. I had been bullied when I was young, but at the time, it was mainly just petty fall-outs with friends that didn’t last too long really. Obviously, I don’t know what caused my depression at the time but I did feel a lot of pressure on me to do well and get good grades. I was having daily panic attacks too because of the sheer amount of people there are at school which was just leaving me exhausted.
Do you have a hard time being in crowds or with large groups of people?
Do you still struggle with it today? I mean in such a way that it causes you to do things differently?
K: Yes, that aspect of my anxiety has never really gone away. For example, I can’t go to my local shopping centre very often.
So the holiday shopping season would be especially troublesome.
K: Yes! I won’t be able to go shopping until the end of January at least. When I do go, I usually try to go around 3 p.m. because I know people will be picking their children up from school then.
May I ask how old you are now?
K: I’m nineteen now.
So you self-harmed for quite some time.
K: I haven’t done it for a year so it lasted about four years.
What forms of self-harm were you involved in during those years?
K: I started off scratching my wrist when I got really frustrated, then I’d take the end off of a bobby pin and use that to scratch myself, and then cutting.
Honestly, it’s the first time I’ve told anyone some of this stuff so I’m kinda nervous.
I totally understand, Kirsty. You don’t have to answer anything you don’t want to. Did anyone know that you were self-harming?
K: My mom found out when she saw my wrist.
How long ago was that?
K: Like 3 years ago, I think.
So you kept doing it for quite a while after your mom found out. Did you convince her it wasn’t a problem or did she take you to the doctor?
K: She told me if I did it agin she’d take me to the doctors, but I promised her I wouldn’t. I did end up going eventually, though.
You said you were suffering from grief when you started. May I ask what your grieving derived from?
K: My grandad died when I was thirteen.
What was your relationship like with your grandpa?
K: I loved him with all my heart, but he lived a 4-hour drive away so I only got to see him a couple of times a year. My other grandad died in September 2014 which killed me because I was close to him.
Do you still struggle with the temptation to cut?
K: I do. All the time. I just try and keep my mind and hands busy whether that be texting someone, reading, or coloring.
What are your plans for the future?
K: Right now I’m just trying to get myself sorted and able to look for work. I’m not in the right place for it but getting a job will be my next goal.
That’s a good goal. I know it must be difficult since you have trouble with large groups. Did you stay busy during the holidays? I hope you enjoyed them.
K: Honestly my aunt ruined Christmas Day for me, which sucks.
That’s awful! What happened?
K: She said I need to get off my arse and actually do something with my life instead of just feeling sorry for myself all the time. It hurt when she said it, but I’ve realised she doesn’t even know me. I see her maybe three times a year and she doesn’t know what I’m going through or how hard I’m working, so her opinion means nothing to me.
Ugh. I’m so sorry. People can’t understand it unless they’ve been there or been really close to someone who has been there. And being close to someone helps you to understand but you never can fully get it.
K: Yeah I think so too. I’m trying so hard to get there. Like I said to my mom, I’d rather take tiny little steps and always be moving forward than try and take a big step and get knocked back (if that makes sense). The thing is, though, she’s been through depression herself so I’m not really sure why she’s judging so much. It upset me so much but I’m over it now.
That’s good. You’re really taking this all in stride and that’s important. Any progress is a reason to celebrate in my book! What is your advice to those who are going through something similar to what you experienced?
K: I know it sounds so cliche but my best advice is to ignore those who judge. Everyone struggling with mental illness needs to take recovery at their own pace. It’s not easy and it’s not something that gets better overnight. It’s a lot of hard work and dedication and as long and you’re doing all you can that’s enough. Even if doing all you can means getting out of bed or taking a shower. That’s enough.
Perfect. 🙂 Thanks again, Kirsty. I wish you the best in your journey.
Check out Kirsty’s blog HERE!
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