Self-Harm is where a person deliberately inflicts pain on them self, it is typically thought of to be done by mostly young girls, but this is not the case and I am one of the thousands of males in Ireland who have self-harmed. Another myth is that people who self-harm are doing it to look for attention, but this is not so and this thinking this can cause a lot of upset and distress to people who use this behaviour, this attitude won’t stop the behaviour. I don’t find this easy, but I will try to explain the reasons why I self-harmed, this is just my story around self-harm and what works for me may not work for someone else.
My first ever memory of self-harming was in secondary school. I feel that it was the Bullying in school and the lack of understanding of ASD in and out of school that caused me to use self-harm as a way of relieving a lot of emotional pain. I would dig a pen into my hand when the pain of school got too much, I would continually scratch my hand and would then start to bleed. This would give me a different type of pain to focus on as I could not manage the other pain inside me. I self-harmed because in that moment it released the stress I was feeling but the problem with that is the release does not last long and I would hurt myself again. There was a lot going on in my life that I felt I could not control but with harming myself I felt I had control over something. I wrongly thought it was helping me to cope with my feelings and make me hate myself less for all the emotion in my body. There are many different forms of self-harm such as scratching, face punching, burning, banging and overdosing.
What has helps me most to deal with my self-harming is to remove myself from situations that stress me out, I do this as best I can, and I prepare myself in advance for a situation that I might find difficult to cope with. Also going to the gym and exercising helps me a lot as I feel in a more positive mind frame from the endorphins that are released from a good physical workout.
I recently attended the National Self Harm Prevention conference hosted in the Aviva Stadium by St Patrick’s mental health hospital and Pieta House suicide and self-harm prevention agency. At lunch-time I was sitting at a table surrounded by people I did not know (teachers and health professionals) as I listened to their conversation I realised that from what I was hearing the people around the table did not truly understand self-harm and really unless you have done it yourself how could you? I am certainly not advocating that people should self-harm to understand what people are feeling, but the person desperately needs to be understood and listened to, it’s not something they can just stop doing as it is giving them some relief. Not everyone is the same and the model of one treatment method will help all is not right and telling someone to stop or getting upset with them will only make the situation worse. Here is a list of different activities that might help you if you are self-harming or know someone: Exercise, Talking Therapy, CBT, Mindfulness, Music, Writing, Occupational Therapy, Medication from a doctor.
Thank you for reading my blog, there is a lot of help and advice out there if you would like more information or need support I would encourage you to visit:
Pieta House also have a confidential helpline 1800 247 247, You can also text HELP to 51444