Thursday, 13 March 2014

My Starfish Story: Healing Self Harm


So in my last blog "My Starfish Story: Bullying", I mentioned my battle with self harm. Now
traditionally, this is a topic not many feel comfortable discussing. People's stomachs turn, the idea of self harm is mocked and those who do it hide in shame and force a smile. It is a difficult topic to face, but I believe it is one too important to ignore.

My first encounter with self harm was through my frustrations during my bullying and abuse (which will be a future starfish story). 12 year old me in 7th grade, sitting in the school bathroom in tears and dragging my nails across my arms and face. The heat from the nails felt good and I felt my frustration becoming numb.

Skip to a few weeks later and the 'emo' names began. The razor blade bag appeared in my school bag and the vicious name calling became worse and worse. It was at that point I began to believe them. I began
to give in to the demands of my peers telling me to "cut myself". This began using a mathematics
protractor to create light cuts and puncture marks on the top of my hands.

At this point, my older sister noticed what I was doing and told me to converse with the school counsellor. Within my first session, the counsellor told me "if you don't tell your parents, I will". At that moment I lost respect for her.

Over the next couple of days I told my Mum what was happening. She contacted my teacher and another parent of one of my peers who was involved in the bullying.

This helped and the bullying died down. Until word got out...

The next thing I knew, the bullying was even worse. Everyone around me seemed to know about my struggles with self harm. . .

As aspects of abuse and they bullying continued my self harm escalated. I began using sharper tools to cut into my arms, shoulders and even behind my ear. I began to learn how to hide these areas and everyone around me seemed to think it had been a phase and the "emo" bullying faded out.

I moved back to my previous school where the bullying did not cease. The mixture of highschool, bullying and abuse got the better of me and I became quite the dark minded teenager. I listened to nothing but dark music, created extremely disturbing artworks and the self harm escalated further.

At 16 years old, everything seemed to be too much. I was struggling to grasp God, had little to no friends and was hiding everything from my family. I decided enough was enough. I attempted to take my own life. 20 year old me is extremely grateful that this attempt failed and I believe it was God
who saved me.

My attempt should have been lethal.

***Trigger warning of self harm and warning of graphic description for sensitive readers***

Using an extremely sharp blade, I created quite large and deep cuts in both my thighs, attempting to find a main artery, vain or simply bleed out. None of these happened and I felt this strange calming sensation over me when it was over. I was able to carefully bandage myself and much to my confusion even to this day, I took care of these cuts very carefully over the next few weeks.

A year later, I confessed to my Mum about these cuts via a text message. That afternoon, she asked me to show her. Her response was "You could have died from that". It was then I knew. God had saved me that day.

Although the scars are still there, I no longer feel pain. I survived the bullying, the abuse and the war with myself. I am a proud, healed woman of God and have not self harmed in any form since that day.

My Self Harm Starfish Story has a positive end but a lot don't have one. I encourage any of you who struggle with this nasty disease to seek help. This sounds cliche' but trust me. It's worth finding that one person who understands, doesn't judge and simply listens. For me, it's God.  Trust in him. He saves lives. Trust me on that, I am living proof that he does!

Your Starfish Story is being written. . . Have faith.