Friday, 24 September 2010

None D Day approaches

Ok Guys I'm going to preface this one. This is not a pleasant post. It deals with 2 topics that are still quite taboo; suicide and self harm. If either of these things bother you I suggest you skip this post and come back tomorrow. It's also a bit rambley. Thank you.

It's a light hearted title for quite a serious day for me. It's none dead day. On the 24th of October 2003 I took an overdose. It wasn't overly serious to be fair. I ended up in hospital being fed activated charcoal to make me throw up all the stuff. I didn't need a stomach pump or anything like that. I was released from hospital after a very brief chat with the on duty psych nurse. As far as the health system was concerned they were done with me.

It wasn't a spur of the moment thing. For the previous 12 years I had been fighting, and losing, a battle with self harm. I would dearly love to say that I had a good reason for treating myself thus but I didn't. There is no rape or abuse in my past. No drugs or anything like that. But from the age of 12 to 24 I hurt myself on a regular basis. It started out small, a few bruised from punching things. At 15 it escalated to a few cuts, usually with broken glass, when a bit tipsy. By 18 it was regular cuts with glass, craft blades and whatever was to hand. I was pretty good throughout uni, maybe 3 instances in total. But the strain showed. After uni I hit a point where I just couldn't cope anymore. So on the 24th I got up, went to lunch with a friend, came home and started taking soluble painkillers that I had left over from septic tonsillitis. I took them 4 at a time and I lost count. I took the time, lord knows how many swallows in, to call a friend, an ex, A~. Someone who I cared for a lot. I told them what I had done and that I didn't think they would come to me. I'd say it was a cry for help but I genuinely didn't think he would come, either through not receiving the message I left or through not caring. I was wrong. He came and arrived at the same time as my housemate, N~. It is a testament to how much they cared for me that they were able to be civil to each other as they really despised each other. They got me to hospital (in an ambulance. How guilty did I feel for taking that later on!) and they stayed with me. N~went to collect my friend B~ who I'd forgotten was coming to visit me. The trip tot he psych nurse was pointless. She agreed that I would benefit from seeing a psychiatrist but there was a 2 year waiting list. I was referred to the local women's centre where they had counsellors (that fell through which is a whole other story). So I went home.

After that I decided people could have me scarred and alive or perfect and dead. For the next year I hurt myself almost every day. Drunk or sober it made no difference except to the severity of the damage (drunk you don't feel pain as much and accidentally cause more damage than you intended). I cut, I bruised, I burned. I am scarred on my right leg, left arm chest and stomach. They are certainly not the worst scars I have seen from self harm but they're not the prettiest things in the world. The burns on my arm are the worst. They were done in the January of 2004. On a night out A~ whispered to me that he loved me whilst holding the hand of his current girlfriend. I had no doubt as to his sincerity and still don't. But what bothered me then, what sent me home in tears, was the fact that I wasn't enough. That he couldn't love me enough to be with me. It compounded my feelings of worthlessness. What was wrong with me that I could be an object of desire but not wanted enough to be someones partner? I went home, took a carving fork (those 2 pronged things for holding a joint still while you carve it) and heated it up on the stove. After a lot of determination I pressed it into my arm 4 times. I say determination because the body really does try and protect itself. Every time I got near my arm I shook so badly I couldn't do it. Looking at my arm now I wish my body had won that one. I made several more marks on that arm over the course of that year.

My self harm came to an end in February 2006. That January, on my 24th birthday, I cut myself co badly I scared myself silly. I am fairly certain I went down the subcutaneous at layer but as I didn't go to a Dr I will never know for sure. I didn't feel better afterwards though. The whole point of self harm for me was that it made me feel better. I was able to cope with day to day life. But I felt no better and no worse after that night. On the 16th of February I made 3 small burns on my hand and again I felt no better. That was the point that I decided to stop. If it was making me feel no better then what was the point? Clearly I had reached a turning point in my life.

I have not hurt myself since. I cannot say I am recovered as, like any kind of addict, the thought is there all the time. "Maybe it will work this time. maybe I will feel better." But it just isn't worth trying to see. It has been 4 years and almost 8 months since I stopped. It has been 7 years since I wanted to take my own life. Things have improved vastly in that time and for most of the time I am fine. But I still have moments. Things get on top of me, I feel overwhelmed, I feel unloved and most of all I feel stupid. Deep down I feel stupid for feeling all those things. I know I am loved and I know I can cope. I force myself to cope, to get on with it, to not lay down and wallow in self pity. I cry. Mostly when I feel like this I cry. I shout and I cry. One day I hope to be so under control that I don't do that but for the moment I'll live with that rather than damaging myself. Life was a lot easier when I hurt myself but it was certainly not better.


  1. You. Are. Awesome.

    That was the bravest post I've ever read, and I hope one day you will feel strong enough to go out and talk to girls and young women about what you've been through, and encourage them to have faith in themselves. But even if you don't, what you have overcome is monumental.

    I did a lot of 'cry for help' attempts to do myself in when I was younger (and drunker) and went through some pretty questionable relationships - but you know, the old saying - what don't kill you makes you stronger? It's true, you know.

    I stand in awe. Happy None D Day.

  2. Thank you for sharing something so intensely personal - I only "know" you through your blog, but I feel like I really do know you. And the person I see is really likeable, creative, and incredibly hard-working (I can't believe the mass quantity of stuff I've seen you kick out of that small kitchen!), and has a great sense of humor.

    Plus, I don't think that not crying is a measure of how "in control" you are. I've always read that people who engage in self-harm are doing so as a release - stress or tension or just feeling bad about yourself builds up and builds up and the self-harm is a way to release it. Not sure how accurate that is, but I think that crying would be a good thing - a catharsis. So don't feel bad - if it works for you, it's a good thing.

    Thanks again for sharing - it's very brave of you.

  3. It was very brave of you to post this. And I know that it will help others that have been through this.
    I too have struggled with emotional issues. I went to your profile to see if had an email address posted so that I could share some private things with you.
    My email address is on my profile if you would like to "talk."

  4. This was very brave, as stated above, to share this. When talking to others, even though you don't even know most of them, the fact that you got it out it a stepping stone. Sometimes just letting it out with the anonymity, rather than talking to a person that you know cares about the money rather than what you are actually saying, helps more too.

    Thank you for sharing.

  5. Feel hugged, you brave soul. I would like to say more but I'm lacking the words to express it.

  6. A squeeze for you for a brave and important post. Thank you. x