Tag Archives: Seeking Help

Hope – even in the darkness.

im-sorryI haven’t written a post on here for some time now.  It was a realization which came to me sometime during the wee small hours of the night last night/this morning.

The truth is that it appears that I had, without realizing it, been going through an episode where my mental health was not as good as I thought it was.

I don’t know about you, but that happens to me sometimes.  In my head, and as far as I am aware, I think that I am managing much better than I really am.

And then something happens and I realize that this has just not been the case.

Now depending on what has happened during that period, or more specifically, how much damage has been done during that period.  I either do my best to fix any damage and move on or – where the damage has been great – it sends me into another deeper episode of poor mental health.

And that is what happened this last time.

But thankfully I think I am at least coming out of that episode now and whilst I know my mind still isn’t ‘right’ so to speak.  And whilst writing posts like this is taking me way longer than it would normally take (and requiring far more corrections that normal), I am at least able to post again.

So I wanted to apologize for not having posted here for such a long time.

And I also wanted to share some good news and some hope for those who like me struggle with self-harming.

Even though I had obviously been going through a period of bad mental health and even though – on realizing this and that some damage had been done as a result of this – I am so grateful that in all this I haven’t, as far as I can tell, self-harmed.

That is not to say that the need or the urges haven’t been there.  In fact it was during and fighting the most recent compulsion to self-harm which made me realize that despite knowing that I had had them, I hadn’t responded to them how I normally would.

I am so encouraged by this!  And I wanted to share it with you as a way of sharing that there is hope.

Thankfully, I have had a lot of support lately – even and especially whist going through this latest bad episodes and I am sure that this has helped.

I think that this whole realization and indeed the thought processes surrounding my self-harming came as a result of my watching a movie yesterday and a song which was featured in that movie.  It is not a song (or artist) which I was aware off, until now, and it really spoke to me when I heard it.

So I thought I would look for it on YouTube and share it with you.  The song is “Breathe Me” and the artist is called ‘Sia’.  I hope it speaks to you as it spoke to me.

🙂

 

 

 

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“Scars Are Meant To Heal”

To-Save-a-Life-christian-movies-paddedScars are meant to heal“.  I chose the phrase as the title of this article as it is a quote which stood out for me from the film ‘To Save A Life.’

I have been slowly building my library of Christian and faith-based movies of late and one of my kids (Devon) told me about the ‘To Save A Life’ movie.  “Dad, you simply have to get it.  It is one of my favorite Christian movies.”  He told me.

But he also added the warning, “But be real careful when you watch it Dad, because it deals with, and even has a scene with, some self-harming.”

Of course, he knows that I have had a history of self-harming in the past and that I – like many others – still struggle with it when my mind gets bad.

And the truth is that one of the aspects of self-harming (and one which is extremely dangerous and unhealthy) is that it is often done in secret and all too often kept hidden.  Fears of being considered a freak, or judged or ridiculed, or rejected, accompany this and all too often compel us away from the very help that we need.

So, as a Christian Dad, I decided that I would not allow myself to hide this – or my mental health issues – any more.  Either from my children (who were old enough to understand what was going on) or from anyone else who should know.

And I have to tell you that it (deciding to no longer hide it and to actually get help with it) was probably one of the best decisions I have made.

Do I still struggle with self-harming?  Yes, the truth is that I do.  [And I say that in full knowledge that articles from this blog automatically go on my Facebook page and that others who know me (including folk from church) might read this.]  But I truly believe that there is indeed hope and that sharing information about this particular movie – and it’s content and message – is so very important.

Actually. the film deals with far more than self-harming.  It deals with teenage suicide as well.  And it looks at feelings of; isolation, loneliness, hopelessness, alienation and desperation, as well as other topics and it also challenges the church’s approach to these issues.

In truth I am no teenager, and in truth it has been many years since I was one.  But those feelings – feelings of; isolation, loneliness, hopelessness, alienation and desperation are far from being exclusive to teenagers and in truth suicidal thoughts and suicidal ideation are no respecter of age or color or status or creed.

I watched the ‘To Save A Life’ movie this morning and I would (the warning below having been given) recommend it to any one – especially parents, youth workers and church leaders as a movie well worth watching. And I am very grateful to Devon for recommending it to me.

TW SIGN

– TRIGGER WARNING –

BUT if you struggle with suicidal thoughts or self-harming I would not recommend that you watched it alone.  The movie is both very real and very hard-hitting!

Please, if you struggle with either of these, only watch this film with others who you trust.

Scars are meant to heal.”  I absolutely believe this.  And I absolutely believe that that healing is available if only we know where to look for it and if only we can reach out and grasp it!

I know that mine, by the grace of God and the love of those who truly care for me, are healing.  And it is my hope and my prayer that you too – if you are struggling with these issues can reach out to someone and find that help and that healing.

There truly is hope and you truly do matter!

God bless you.

Kevin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dispelling The Myths.

There are without doubt numerous myths or incorrect beliefs out there concerning self-harm in its various forms and those who suffer from it.

Personally I think this is quite natural given the covert and often secretive nature of self-harm and the fact that mental-illness (for want of a better phrase) has always had a certain amount of misunderstanding, lack of understanding and also stigma attached to it.

This is of course a sad state of affairs but what we also, in my opinion, need to be mindful of is the fact that very often some of those who suffer from self-harm can themselves be subject to these misconceptions and this can have a very direct and unhealthy impact on; how they view themselves, their actions and indeed their potential to obtain the very help they need.

So no matter what the reason is for these myths, misunderstandings, or misconceptions dispelling them and providing accurate and correct information is essential if we are to fully address this issue.

So here are some of the most common myths and misunderstandings along with the related facts/truths…

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Myth:  People who self-harm are just seeking attention!

Fact:  Generally speaking people who self-harm  do so in secret.  For someone who suffers from self-harm, expressing or sharing this fact can be extremely difficult.  Often because of the fear and/or shame and very often as a result of this very same misunderstanding/myth.  Understanding this is a very real step in dealing with it correctly.

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Myth:  People who self-harm do so to manipulate others!

Fact:     The truth is that whilst it is possible that this may sometimes (albeit very seldom) be the case, the plain simple fact is that this is the exception to the rule so to speak. Let’s remember that generally speaking people who self-harm do so in secret.  However, even in a situation where this is the case, the more healthy approach is not to focus on the method chosen as much as to consider why that person is feeling the need to do this.

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Myth:  People who self-harm aren’t really that serious or their problems that serious if they don’t hurt themselves really badly.

Fact:  As strange as it may sound, Self-Harm is not about harming yourself but about coping.  Additionally it would very wrong to believe that people who self-harm want to do so.  Very often it is seen as the only way to cope and let us not forget that it is fundamentally counter-intuitive and thus the need to inflict harm to oneself in order to cope is very often accompanied with the intuition not to harm oneself.  Therefore the severity of the harm cannot be seen as an indication  of the severity of the difficulties faced.

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Myth:  Self-Harm is something that only teenagers do and mostly just teenage girls.

Fact:  Self-Harm covers many different forms and is neither gender nor age specific.

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Myth:  Self-Harm is all about cutting isn’t it.

Fact:  No not at all.  Cutting is in fact just one form of self-harm and whilst it may be the one that the media seems to focus on there are in fact many other forms of it.

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Myth:  People who Self-Harm just want to commit suicide but can’t bring themselves to do it.

Fact:  To say that no-one who suffers from self-harm ever wants to commit suicide or to die would be just as inaccurate as to say that everyone who suffers from self-harm does want to commit suicide or to die.  The truth is that for many self-harm is a coping mechanism used in order to survive.

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Myth:  I lived with or knew someone who used to self-harm so I know all about self-harm.

Fact:  That is the same as saying I knew a brain surgeon so I know all about brain surgery.  The fact is that you don’t.  Whilst it is true that you may have witnessed part of it or even experienced some of the pain, concerns and frustrations experienced by someone caring for a person who self-harms, it does not make you an expert and there is in fact a whole myriad of reasons why folk self-harm just as there are multiple ways in which folk do so.

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Myth:  Once you start to Self-Harm it will be with you for life.

Fact:  Whilst there are many underlying reasons for someone choosing to Self-Harm, in many ways it is often chosen, whether consciously or sub-consciously, as a way of coping.  It is without doubt not the best way of coping and indeed other better ways of coping and indeed addressing the issues causing this response are available.   Freedom from this is therefore possible.

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Myth:  Self-Harm is not a recognized condition or disorder.

Fact:  Self-Harm is indeed recognized nowadays and there is a growing amount of professional help out there.

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An Invitation

Allow me to share something with you, if you will…

“I sat feeling horrible,  alone, like some freak, dishonest and damaged even.  And what is worse is that I couldn’t tell anyone.

All around me people would be carrying on with their normal activities, laughing, chatting, sharing, and yet there was I sat hiding the very thing I needed to communicate but somehow couldn’t.

Every now and then something would happen, I would brush up against something or a friend’s child would climb up on me for a hug and I would wince. 

“Are you Ok?”  The more observant onlooker would ask me.

“Yeah, I am fine.”  I would answer. “Just in a little pain today.”

In truth I hadn’t lied.  I was in a little pain. 

The fact that they assumed it was because of my generally poor health and not because I had harmed myself the night before was not down to me, was it? 

Of course their assuming this was natural since they were aware that I have for a long time now experienced poor health and since I have never once shared with them (or anyone else for that matter) the fact that I self-harm.

So I sat feeling horrible, alone, like some freak, dishonest and damaged even.  And what is worse is that I couldn’t tell anyone.”

-oOo-

Do you recognize that kind of experience?  Does it or those thoughts and feelings contained within it resonate with a ring of familiarity for you?

Well you are not alone and certainly whilst that is actually an account that I wrote about an experience I personally had it could in fact have been written by so many people who self-harm and who feel they have nowhere to turn.

Check out the opening and closing statements of that little story..

“I sat feeling horrible, alone, like some freak, dishonest and damaged even.  And what is worse is that I couldn’t tell anyone.”

Do you recognize the mixture of correct and incorrect statements there?

“I sat feeling horrible, like some freak, dishonest and damaged even.”

That is a perfectly natural response to your situation but the fact that you feel that way doesn’t make it true!

Due to the secretive nature of this condition, statistics are hard to come by but it has been reported that about 3 million people in America alone exhibit some type of self-abusive behavior.  So you are neither ‘alone’ nor are you a ‘freak’.

“And what is worse is that I couldn’t tell anyone.”

Again, this is a very natural and common response.  Even though there is good, professional and confidential help available out there, sufferers of self-harm are very often reluctant to access it.

However, the fact is that accessing that help is usually a very safe and confidential option and certainly one that I would personally recommend. But even if you don’t feel able to seek professional help I would encourage you to seek help from a friend whom you trust and respect.  Sharing your experiences and enlisting the help of someone you trust and respect really can be such an important step on the road to conquering this.

Which brings me to my invitation…

This blog/site, ‘Reson8 Freedom’, was started specifically in order to provide information, understanding and support for folk impacted by self-harm in its various forms.

So why not spend some time checking it out as it grows and why not share your experiences, challenges and victories?

Obviously we need to be careful how much specific detail is shared and also how it is shared so as not to cause distress to either the person sharing or to anyone reading it, but you are very welcome to participate.

It is my sincere hope that what is shared on this blog/site will not only resonate familiarity for others who suffer from self-harm but will also show that, as in my own situation, it really can be conquered and that by sharing our experiences we will not only resonate familiarity but also Resonate Freedom.

Kind Regards,

Kevin.

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