Wednesday 23 November 2022

Scars, Self-Harm And Other Tales

Hello, dear reader!

Don’t ever say I don’t make good of a promise!.

With a very busy few days behind us, and even more ahead of us - I said that I would write this amazing blog this week. It probably won’t be very funny, but I hope it’s honest, interesting and maybe even inspiring to read.

You may recall that I am the very proud ‘Mrs’ seated perspective, I am also a mum to a brand newly qualified paramedic ( Yes, I am unbelievably proud ), but I am also a sufferer of severe mental illness ( Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder ) which often manifests in self harm behaviours.

Self harm is a very destructive behaviour - the clue really is in the name, I cause harm to myself in varying degrees.

Warning - if you struggle with absolute honesty and talk of self harm - then please do not carry on reading !.

My self harm habit started way before I ever realised it was actually self harm. From a young age, I have had very low self confidence, and would often skip meals and pick at my skin when I felt particularly under stress. This on the whole went completely unnoticed by my family, but living in a busy household with a single mum trying to bring up 3 kids and look after a sick mum, this was hardly surprising.

I am the youngest child, and I could easily go under the radar when growing up. My sister definitely had a much louder personality than me, and she would often display behaviours that caused attention ( sorry Jen!)

I learned a skill when growing up, one that unfortunately lots of people adopt. I began to hide emotions ( apart from being a horrendous ‘ tell tale ‘ ), and pushed painful events and emotions to the very back of my mind.

This continued throughout my teenage years, my training college years (Salvation Army Training College), a very unhealthy marriage, motherhood, family illness, divorce etc etc. But surely there is only so much hiding and avoiding a person can do right ?

I occasionally would scratch my arm, and the searing immediate pain would provide emotional release somehow. I would also not take my medication (I have a longstanding thyroid condition), and this became a successful way of harming myself without anyone even suspecting. Or so I thought!

Doctors began to question when I didn't request repeat prescriptions, and the excuse of me saying I had ordered too much just stopped being believed.

Mark and I have been married for over 10 years now, and it's never been a secret that we both wanted to try for a baby. For a while this ‘ Want’ made me realise that taking my medication was important, so with a very amazingly supportive and persuasive husband, I got into the habit of actually taking my medication.

But my unhealthy habit of hiding my emotions, and burying my pain was very much like an unexploded bomb. It had got to a stage where only the slightest stress would just push me right over the edge.

And that's just what happened just over 18 months ago. I just broke !

The result of this became an ever increasing need to harm myself. I didn't deserve what I had, I was just rubbish - and at times I really did feel like the world would be better off without me.

I began to scratch my legs, then my arms, and eventually my chest. I found ways of scratching that made quite deep wounds, which in turn would bleed when I picked them, and would become infected needing antibiotics.

I often feel relief when I scratch, I feel that my inner pain has found a voice at last. But this feeling is always very short lived, and it wasn't long before I found the need to harm myself again, after all, I had a lot of buried pain than needed to find its way out somehow.

The deep wounds that I self inflicted caused their own issues too - as well as being a ground for infection, they also became a symbol of my mental stability. I wanted the pain out, but I didn't want the stares and the comments of concern about my bleeding arms and copious scars.

Anxiety, panic attacks, and crippling fear became part of my life very quickly, and are still an issue, even today.

But I've been lucky !

My help eventually came in the form of a fantastic mental health nurse, team, and therapy group, who have helped me to begin to turn my life around.

Old habits do die hard, so the need for me to harm, or hide away, or over criticise myself haven't miraculously disappeared. My high dose antidepressants have not been without issues, nor have they cured me.

But I am now pointing in the right direction - and believe me for someone with my horrendous sense of direction - that's some achievement !

Until next time.


Hey, folks! If you would care to take a look at some of my more creative writing, then the links below will transport you to the magical worlds of a few anthologies my short (and in two cases, very short) stories have been included in. Feel free to check ’em out!

New Tales Of Old: Volume 2

Death Ship



The Musketeers Vs Cthulhu

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