Monday, 28 April 2014
28th April 2014 - Self Harm
Again I was browsing through images of Kellin Quinn on Google when I stumbled across this photo.
Every time I go to concerts if you look around you when everyone has their arms in the air, all you can see is arms full of wristbands and bracelets, the level of support for the bands and brands selling the wristbands is overwhelming but sometimes you can't help but wonder if they're hiding something else beneath them.
Why should people feel like they have to hide their self harm scars, or in fact scars in general?
Society puts so much pressure, especially on young people to be and act a certain way so that they can be categorised and put in to boxes but no-one takes the time to understand people in general, let alone the motivational factors behind their actions.
Self harm is a coping mechanism, maybe not the safest or most conventional but in many cases including my own it is used as a method of swapping emotional pain and distress for something physical, something you can control. It gives you back that control of your body as you can't control your mind, it let's you feel empowered.
But does it really help?
In my opinion it depends on each individual person, thankfully I was never able to self harm "properly" I never seemed to bleed when I cut, my skin just never seemed to break, no matter how many times I went over the same bit.
I know for some people self harming is the only thing that gets them through what is happening or how they feel, but the fact that people make them feel so wrong for doing it just makes the situation worse.
I don't think there should necessarily be an emphasis on forcing people to stop but on self harming safely and on not making people feel like they've done something wrong, especially not instantaneously because it as silly as it sounds to those of you who haven't self harmed, it becomes highly addictive due to that moment of release though often short lived when the guilt kicks in.
We all have our own ways of coping and self harm is just another, yes unconventional method but it works for a lot of people, especially in the younger generation.
I now have tattoos on my wrists which say the Such Strange Arts lyric "Our Time is Now" and "Never Give Up" so when I feel like self harming there is always that reminder there that I'm stronger now than I was back then and that I have found other ways of coping.
Let's stop wasting our time on guilt tripping people when they self harm but on teaching them other methods of coping and giving them support and the tools and strength to quit!
I hope this photo speaks to you in the same way that it spoke to me when I saw it.
(Please note the views expressed are my own, this doesn't mean they are right or that I expect you to agree with them, but ultimately the point I'm trying to make is that it takes time, and encouragement to stop self harming, and it takes a lot of strength often that young people will need help in finding)
28th April 2014
I listened to a few different Sleeping with Sirens songs and was having a browse through the photos of Kellin Quinn when I came across the image above and it spoke volumes to me.
As someone who knows people who have successfully committed suicide, people who have tried and thankfully are still here and having myself tried to end my life and failed the words written above meant so much to me.
My life still isn't perfect and it never will be, but I don't want it to be, I want my life to be real, I want to experience things, make mistakes, learn and grow. If life was perfect it wouldn't be worth living you'd become so complacent with the way things are you'd never want better, you'd give up trying.
I still have times when I wonder if the world would be a better place if I wasn't here but why should I play with the life I have been given... out of the two suicide attempts I've made I'm still here so surely that shows that it's not my time to go.
My life in many ways has got better from the dark place that I was in when I was rushed in to hospital blue, and floppy, unable to walk and barely able to stay concious. I'm making a success of myself and I'm determined to prove to everyone that said I wouldn't ever be anything that I can be whatever I want to be, and so can you.
It takes time, determination, effort and hard work but your life can and will get better if you want it to. It's called YOUR life for a reason, and only you can take ownership of it and influence the good things that happen!
No-one really understands it when you say you have a mental health condition, how can they when you don’t understand it all yourself?
How much of it is normal teenage behaviour and how much of it is because it’s a symptom, sign or trigger of your condition – a side effect of medication.
I previously started writing a blog but I usually only wrote when I was at my lowest point and even then it would be rare for me to write at all – so after having lay in bed for hours trying to sleep, my thoughts darting quickly around my head like a rabbit caught in the headlights and getting highly over emotional without really knowing why, contacting friends via text hoping to be able to explain and failing I thought I would again begin to write. At which point I should thank Chris for always replying to texts at ridiculous hours and talking to me even when I fail to make any sense.
I thought that when I picked up my pen (I handwrote this particular post first) that this particular entry would be about my own self-loathing but the moment the pen hit the paper that all changed. I’ve come to realise that if I only write during the bad times that is all people will see but especially with the volunteer work that I do I feel it is important to show all aspects of living with a mental health condition, the highs and lows, the happy and sad times, the recovery process and the times of relapses, my current state and also previous experiences. I want people to see and understand the reality about being a young person with mental health conditions, show the light at the end of the tunnel and give hope to others.
If this only ever reaches one person but speaks to them then it will have been worthwhile.
Life with a mental health condition isn’t easy at any age – there are so many assumptions made and stereotypical views that need to be challenged and the only way to do that is to be honest and speak out about mental health. “It’s about the 5 in 5 talking about mental health, not the 1 in 5.” (Justin Scaini – IAYMH Conference, Brighton, 2013)
My energy levels are lacking so much today, I didn’t drag myself out of bed until 12pm and even then it was a struggle – I set my alarms but constantly sleep through and I know that I need to get back in to a routine but I could sleep for a week and still be tired – is this normal teenage behaviour or my physical and mental health taking their impact on me?
I’m supposed to be getting ready to go to London and see my friends, Ashes to Angels and meet some friends there but so far all I’ve done is watch the telly, eat chocolate and sort the cats out. Maybe I need to write out a daily routine and stick it to my wall so that everything gets done and I get in to a regular pattern.
(This was all I managed to get written this day but I’m sure in later posts if you choose to read on you will hear all about the gig, I’m going to try and post at least once a day to give a real insight in to not just my life but generally being a young person with mental health conditions.)
Having spent a good few days wondering what I should title my blog it occurred to me that the whole reason for doing this is so that people get a real insight in to the reality of what it is like to live with a mental health condition, especially as a young person, to en-still hope and self belief and to help to stamp out stigma and raise awareness of mental health and the highs and lows that go with it.
Whenever I am doing a talk about my mental health or mental health recovery in general, I always refer to "mental health problems" as mental health conditions because with or without a diagnosis having a mental health condition doesn't have to be a problem in your life, you can still lead a "normal" life and just because you feel awful now, you won't feel that way forever. Which is when I realised that there would be no better title that "You won't feel this way forever" which I have tattooed on my foot and speaks to me more than I can even express!
So thank you AshestoAngels for writing such inspirational lyrics and Adam Crilly for giving me the permission to use your song lyric as the title of my blog!
Let's hope this blog inspires people as much as your music does!
From the bottom of my heart, thank you, not only for letting me use the lyric but for all the support, time and love you guys have shown and given me since the first day I ever met you, it really does mean the world to me.
Check them out at www.facebook.com/ashestoangels