I had family members who self harmed. Plus, I’ve met and talked with teens who have and still do. Sharing stories like this is important.
And when working at the library I never assume someone might not like a story like this. I did that once, a long time ago when I had just starting working at the library. I’d read a fabulous book by Beth Goobie. The main character was a young girl who used self harm to deal with her pain and help her move through the day. The _next_ day I was helping a young girl (maybe 13/14?) in the teen section, giving her book recommendations. Every rack I looked at to pull books from to show her had a copy of this book on it (sadly I can’t remember that title right now), I’d pass it by thinking, no…this would not be a right choice for her (thinking content, edgy etc etc) because to me this girl looked ordinary, band kid, library club kid, science club (yeah, the stereotype, shame on me!). When I passed the book for what seemed like the umpteenth time I thought Deb what the heck are you doing, you loved this book, recommend it, let her decide. I pulled it, did my quickie book talked, including that the girl in the story cut herself. The girl I was helping immediately put down all the books I’d passed to her that she wanted to take, pushed up her sleeves and showed me her arms. Covered in healed over scars. She explained she was better now-but still working things out. She could. not. wait to read the book, because she knew what it was like. Yeah. That was about 20 years ago. Never made that mistake again.
i like your blog, please check out the first anonymous social network support group at www.shareascare.com and join a community like no other, made up of individuals going through similar things as yourself or become a friend/supporter of somebody that may really need your companionship, or simply help us spread the word about our message that no one has to be alone...thank you!
Asketh - shareascare
This looks like a possible place for support for people, if anyone wants to check it out.
by Cheryl Rainfield
- Because you do not deserve to be hurt, not by anyone, not even yourself;
- Because you deserve the same compassion, kindness, and love that everyone else does, and that you would give to a friend;
- Because if you hurt yourself, you are repeating and reinforcing what your abusers or people who put you down told you, and none of that is true;
- Because any relief you may get from hurting yourself is only fleeting and will not last, and because you will need to keep hurting yourself more frequently and worse to get that tiny bit of relief, and may end up doing permanent damage or may even inadvertently kill yourself;
- Because you have already been through so much pain and do not need more pain added to that;
- Because you have a voice and have a right to be heard;
- Because you deserve to have compassion for yourself, the way others have it for you;
- Because there are safer, gentler ways to find some relief and you deserve to find those ways;
- Because even if you do not believe it, hurting yourself will hurt the people who truly love you;
- Because you deserve to be treated gently and with love, not with hate;
- Because you are not to blame for anything that happened to you as a child;
- Because you will hurt your body and your body is not to blame for anything;
- Because hurting yourself is abusing yourself, and you do not deserve to be abused;
- Because it’s better and kinder to reach out to others and get support, or to find inner resources to rely on, rather than to add to your own hurt and torment;
- Because one day you will see the beauty in yourself and know that you should be treated with care;
- Because you are lovable and loved, and deserve to be treated with love; and
- Because things will get better, and you will find more of what you need.
© 2011, Cheryl Rainfield. All rights reserved. Cheryl Rainfield, author of SCARS
Hello! I really enjoyed Scars, and I really appreciate what the book and what this blog does. But I was wondering, have you considered putting a trigger warning on the blog, just in case someone clicks onto it without realizing it?
Asketh - Anonymous
I’m glad you liked Scars; thank you for telling me!
That’s a good idea; I’ll see if I can find a way to put the intro posts (at the bottom) on the top as sticky posts.
take good care,
I started cutting when I was 13. I cut steadily for 7/8 years. In high school I would roll my sleeves up with scars that were still new and no one noticed, not friends and not teachers. It made me feel like I was invisible and nobody . As the years went by it got worse and I was doing it in different places. I should have gotten stitches several times but didn’t tell anyone. My senior year I couldn’t take it anymore and told my guidance counselor who told my parents. I will never forget that day. At the time I didn’t have many cuts, only one on my arm and several on my legs. I started therapy and was put on meds, but I continued to cut. I started college and tried to stop so I got a tattoo of an orange ribbon with the words strength hope and survival on it. Unfortunately I couldn’t stop and it was getting worse. Sophomore year I was given something for sleep and it made me suicidal. I called my psychiatrist crying and I don’t cry. She took me off the med and while I wasn’t suicidal, I was still really depressed. Junior year began and things really went south. One night my friends were making a lot of sexual jokes which brought up memories and feelings for me, I asked them to stop but they kept going. That night I cut real bad and (in my opinion) stupidly showed other friends (I know it was good in the long run but still) They told an RA who told an RD and she brought me to campus safety’s office. An ambulance was called and a policeman came as well….I was threatened to be section 12d’(basically have my right to makes decisions taken away) if I didn’t go by ambulance and that scared me. I got to the hospital and was put in the er hallway. A physicians assistant came and gave me stitches (6 i think). She asked me why I did it then let me go. I wasn’t talked to by anyone from the psych department like I should have been. A few days later I cut deep again but this time went to a walk in clinic. They super glued my shoulder which came off the next day. A few days later my roommate decided she didn’t want to deal with me and moved out as soon as she talked to the head of student life and while I was taking a nap. That hurt deeply because she didn’t try talking to me about it and as far as I knew she was giving me another chance to stop cutting. That made me cut pretty deeply but didn’t need stitches. Shortly after, everyone (parents, friends, therapist, head of student life and school) said I should leave for the semester and go inpatient. I listened and went inpatient. I enjoyed most of it but hated the psychiatrist, she didn’t listen. The last week I was getting sick everyday and she didn’t do anything even when I asked for something for the nausea. The day I was supposed to leave I was getting sick every hour. she still wouldn’t give me anything to help with the nausea until my therapist went and made her.That was in October. I am proud to say that last week I celebrated 6 months of not cutting. I didn’t realize how many people cared until last week. I’m not ready to say I’m free of cutting but I’m on my way. I’m still learning coping skills but with the meds, I can handle the bad days.
I self harmed from when I was 15 until I was 21. And then started again in the fall of last year when I was 26. I am now 27.
3/24/11 I cut bad enough to have to go to the ER for stitches (only 5, and some surgical glue on smaller cuts) I said I was done with cutting for good…but a few days ago I cut again, freaked out that I cut and drove myself to the ER for a crisis consult with a social worker. She decided it’d be best if I checked myself into the psych ward for a few days…and i decided that might be best for me at the time. I only spent 3 days in there, but it put perspective on my cutting. I haven’t had urges since I got there and now that I’m home my roommates and gf are prettyy much making sure I don’t do it again, but I have no desire to.
I’m keeping all my psychiatrist, therapist and DBT appointments so I can learn to deal with my triggers better, but I know I’m not magically cure of my depression and pasts.
I'm 36 and I self-harm. I've done it since I was 13, I always thought I'd grow out of it, but I never have. I wish I knew how to stop, I have so many scars from it.
Asketh - Anonymous
I don’t think self-harm is something we just grow out of. I think it becomes something we automatically turn to because it works, even if only for a few seconds, a minute, an hour. But it hurts us so much, as I know you know.
I think if you want to stop, then you’re on your way. One thing that helps is that when you feel like you need to use self-harm, distract yourself and do something else instead that helps you feel better. Play music that soothes you or makes you happy; watch a movie; talk to someone you care about; sing to music; etc.
It helps to try to get out the emotion in safe ways, too—sing loudly; dance; punch a pillow or your mattress; draw, write, etc.
You can check out my <a href=”http://www.cherylrainfield.com/Articles/selfHarmAlternatives.html”>Alternatives To Self-Harm</A> for some more ideas on ways to distract, and my <a href=”http://www.cherylrainfield.com/Articles/howToStop.html”>How to Stop Self-Harming</A> tips for some ideas on how to stop.
I also have a much more detailed article on how to stop using self-harm that you can see here:
I hope that helps. Good luck! You don’t deserve to be hurt; I’m so glad you want to stop.