Archive for truth

listen…

Posted in mental health, self harm, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 01/03/2014 by doyourememberthattime

Today is Self-Injury Awareness Day (SIAD). As expected most of the mainstream mental health organisations have been out in force on social media. This should be a good a thing, but as usual the almost entirely miss the mark. All of the major charities trotted out the same tired recovery narrative with a sprinkling of inspirational bullshit. Did anyone ever manage to quit self-harm by drawing fucking butterflies? I doubt it.
If I sound frustrated, it’s because I am. These organisations are supposed to be for people like me. They are meant to advocate for me, but they are not remotely interested in what I have to say. When I tell them what I need and want, I am ignored. I have approached numerous organisations both directly & through social media to explain that they do not represent me (or the many people I know who struggle with mental illness). I am always met with silence or a patronising we know best attitude.
I don’t want to hear exclusively about teenage girls when discussing self-harm. It’s a stereotype & it makes it perpetuates a stigma that makes my life harder.
I don’t want to constantly hear tales of people who have recovered. I’m happy they are no longer suffering, but their story is not my story. Some people do not get better. Mental illness is a life long struggle for many people. Where are those voices? This representation of mental health difficulties is not accurate or helpful. It creates a misleading picture for people with no experience in the field. Even more problematic is the message it sends to those of who are still ill. It says our lives have no merit; that we will only be worth talking about when we recover.
I’m sick of the success stories. All those wonderful people who fought & won. The ones achieving amazing things. It just makes me feel a greater failure. I want the truth. Publicise blogs like this one. Tell the world the blood and guts reality of this disease. Let me speak. Give me (& others like me) the opportunity to show people they’re not alone. That the daily (hourly) fight to keep breathing is not that uncommon. Our lives are still have meaning & value even if we never get back to work or publish a book or raise a million pounds for charity.
Stop giving me stupid advice. Writing on my arms cannot replace cutting. Ice and rubber bands are just telling its ok to hurt myself as long as it doesn’t get messy. Having a bath will not stop a war raging in head. Ditto a cup of bloody tea. Lavender doesn’t cure insomnia. Painting my nails will not make me love myself.

Most of all, listen to us. We know best. We wake up to every morning. Our knowledge is hard won. Please use it to help others who are suffering.

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it’s got to be worth it….

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 22/09/2013 by doyourememberthattime

I have had a couple of emails & lots of search terms on the topic of self-harm & dating. I can’t claim to be an expert, but I do date & I’m happy to share my tips.
I’d like to start by saying no one has ever flat out rejected me solely on account of my scars or my cutting. That is not to say that self-harm has never caused a problem in relationships, but no one has run away screaming.
I find that being upfront and forthright has worked best for me. On a first date with someone new I will wear something that allows a little bit of scarring to be seen. This is scary, but less scary than getting to know & like someone all the while worrying about how and when to tell them your secret. It also gives anyone who can’t handle scars or their implications a chance to bail before anyone gets attached. Be prepared for some lingering glances when they think you aren’t looking. It’s also possible that they may ask questions right away, whenever they do ask, I always answer briefly, but honestly. If you develop a relationship with this person any lies you tell will be uncovered. Again it allows either party to walk away if they aren’t comfortable with the route the conversation takes.
I have been internet dating & I deliberately uploaded one picture that shows some scars. I think this is a good idea as wards off anyone who has a real issue with self-harm or scars. As we all know, people can be crueller online than they would be in person, so weeding out the bastards early can only be a plus.
I think once the relationship progresses & people start to care about each, the scars are less of a problem than they actual self-harming behaviour. I’ve had men admit that my scars disturb them a little, make them feel sad or protective, but never enough to stop them wanting to have a relationship with me. I know a lot of people worry that their scars make them unattractive; I use to be scared that mine robbed me of any desirability. I have been reassured by men that I’ve dated that after the initial shock; they mostly cease to really notice them. Certainly no one has ever found them so distasteful as to be turned off.
If you are still actively self-harming relationships can be difficult. Obviously it’s distressing to know that someone you care about is in so much pain. There is no easy way around that. I’m not relationship expert or counsellor, but what I can tell you is be truthful with your partner. Open up, let them support you if they able. Love & self-harm (or any mental illness) are not mutually exclusive. When you meet the right person, it can work.
Having said that, there are pitfalls. Don’t be afraid to walk away, if the other party is detrimental to your mental health. Please don’t feel that you have to change or ‘get better’ for someone. Recovery is a personal journey. It will only work if you’re doing it for yourself. You don’t need anyone in your life that makes you feel guilty. Nor do you want someone who is ashamed or embarrassed of your problems. Remember you are worth just as much as everyone else. Be brave and stand up for yourself if needs be.

In conclusion I would say, go for it. There are kind, decent people out there who will see the whole you. The right person will try to understand. There are lots of wonderful men & women just waiting to meet you. You can have lots of fun trying new people on & seeing who fits best. You’re good enough as you are. Keep telling yourself that until you start to believe it.