Stories of Hope
Taking a Breath
I have been self-harming for 7 years. It started when I was 9, because I was being bullied at school and my home life was turbulent. I scratched my skin from frustration to cope with my feelings of anger and I felt worthless and that I deserved to be treated in such a horrible way by people. By the age of 12 my self harm had escalated and got worse, where I needed stitches although I didn't get them. I felt guilty and ashamed. Eventually my parents found out and were mad at me. I told them I would stop, but their anger at me only made it worse. From that age I entered into a downward spiral. I slunk into depression and each day I was! in a catatonic state and couldn't function. Every day things got harder and harder to face. My family thought I was just suffering teen angst, because they didn't see a reason why I could be sad. They always said I was pretty and intelligent, and my mother said the reason I was depressed was because I was too intelligent and saw things too clearly. She was almost proud of my perceptions because they were intelligent, but she didn't understand how I felt. Eventually, when I was 14, I attempted suicide in order to escape. Instead of going to my family as I should've when I was ill, I sat in my bedroom for 2 days coughing blood and vomiting. I ended up collapsing and I told my mum that it was because I had flu. She believed me and I got worse. I was too afraid to tell her in case she got mad at me again. After that I got worse and worse, and my self harm got out of control. I had to go to hospital because I had slashed my wrists and cut a main artery. I had also severed nerves in my arm. My stomach needed stitches in the end, and I referred to a counsellor. I made an effort, but she didn't and just wrote me off as a "troubled teen". After that I tried to stop and feel better, but when my boyfriend of a year started hitting me, I snapped again. Eventually we split up and I fell to pieces as he deliberately tried to ruin my life. I ran away that and then slashed my wrists where I thought no-one could find me. My mum had phoned around and one of my friends found me the next day, dazedly walking the streets. He agreed to let me stay with him that night, and then I spent the night in agony and crying. My ex ran into me the next day and told me to go home, then hurled abuse at me. At that point everything had come to breaking point and I snapped. When I went home I w! as sent to the doctor who diagnosed me with severe depression. After that I suffered a nervous breakdown and again attempted suicide, this time trying to make sure it would be done right, by slashing my throat, taking 60 painkillers with a bottle of vodka and opening scars on my wrists. A friend got concerned when I didn't answer the phone and rang an ambulance. In the next few months I made a friend who was just like me, and we became instantly close. We resolved to help each other and understood each other, and no-one ever had done before. We became extremely close friends and I started to feel better because I knew if I did it would help her. She gave me hope and love, and I loved her. She committed suicide a month after her 16th birthday. Her best friend and I pulled together, and she's now my best friend. While she kept in it, we both fell apart. I fell back into the old depression from grief, guilt and anger. I was so angry at her and everyone else for leaving me, and I felt so guilty because I didn't do enough. I missed her insanely and in a twisted way, punished myself for her death. When I returned to school I was a wreck and had to take 2 months off because I was not sleeping at all and wasn't eating. After a few months I began to feel calmer and things came into light. I began to realise the pain that I would cause if I committed suicide, and the worry I was causing with my self-harm. I'd been begged to stop before by friends and had driven people away for it. I started to view life as it was, and realised I only had one chance to live it and that I was wasting it. I mourned those who had gone, and am still mourning, but although my situation hasn't improved, my way of dealing with it has. Instead of reaching for a blade, I take a breath and write instead. It was hard stopping, I was like an alcoholic drying out, in moments of severe sadness I would end up pulling out my hair from frustration and rage, but I eventually learnt new responses. I haven't cut myself in 2 months. The guilt and dread I carried around lessened, and I understood that my self harm was more a problem than solution. My self esteem suffers badly because of my scars, as they are very noticeable, and I had also deeply cut my face. But its part of who I am, and I would feel guilty if I had them removed. They are my physical diary, my history. But I've overcome it, and I'm taking each day as it comes. I returned to school after a struggle with myself, and it isn't as bad as I thought it would be. My depression is still a problem, as I still get extremely depressed, but I cope with it differently and this helps. I'm trying to enjoy things before, and to stop blaming myself for things that have happened that I now know weren't my fault. It's been hard, hurtful and often it just seems futile, but I stick to it and gradually I'm getting better. I miss my friend and I miss everyone else who's gone, I still despise my home situation, but now I tell my mum how I feel. I've helped other people cope with their problems, as I have a policy that no matter who you are, if you need to talk come to me, and people take me up on it, and are thankful. The rage I have for myself has lessened, and I've stopped.