TRIGGER WARNING - Self harm mentioned
It has officially been one year since I last self harmed. Wow. That’s something I never thought I’d be able to say. I’d been doing that for about 6 years of my life, since I was 12-13 years old and I honestly didn’t think I’d make it to nearly 20. But I don’t want to dwell on that. I’d rather talk about what I learned about this elusive thing we call ‘recovery’ and hopefully help any of you.
The first thing I learned was to ask for help. And that this is easier said than done. Asking for proper, professional help was 10 times harder than asking a friend to listen to me ramble on for the night. It was scary, and daunting as hell but it ended up being the best thing for me. I did ask for NHS help, but the waiting lists are so long, and I was fortunate enough to get help from my school and a local charity that offered free counselling. Honestly, counselling changed my life around. I was coping better, I didn’t feel like a burden for telling my friends, and I learned ways to shut down negative and intrusive thoughts more effectively. There are so many places you can go to ask for support, but school or your GP should be the first place you go. If they can’t help, they can definitely point you in the right direction.
The second thing I learned was that relapse is okay. Relapse isn’t failing, relapse isn’t months of work down the drain. Relapse for me was something to learn from and to look back on and think ‘Okay, what were the events that led up to that? Were there any signs I was spiralling and how do I notice them next time?’. I try to think about relapse in a more productive way if that makes sense? Instead of taking bad thoughts and feelings from it, learn from it so you can get even better at coping every day.
The third thing I learned was to keep busy and don’t overthink the numbers. By ‘numbers’ I mean ‘it’s been x days since I last ---’, (this thought can apply to self harm, addiction, and a number of other issues). I found that by counting the days, it was having a negative effect on how I was feeling. The higher the number got, the more scared of ‘failing’ I felt, and all it did was push me to relapse more often so that the number didn’t get that high. Counting the days may work for some people and may encourage them to see that number go higher, and that's great! Do what works for you! But for me, that certainly wasn’t the case. Instead, I try to take each day as it comes and think that every day is a new day, a new beginning, whatever cliche little saying you want to use.
The last thing I learned that I have to share is to believe in yourself! Trust yourself! You know you can get through this, even though it may be the bumpiest road you’ve been on and probably will be on, recovery is possible, and you can get there!
Thank you for reading my most personal article yet, and if you have any questions or just fancy a chat about recovery (or anything please I’m so lonely) then feel free to get in touch!
Just a little note that if you need advice you can always message our Instagram and one of our lovely admins (maybe even me!) will chat with you @teenswithexperience
lease contact the Samaritans or call 999 if you feel in any immediate danger or need emergency help
Teenagers With Experience is an organisation created to provide teenagers worldwide with an online platform to share their own experiences to be able to help, inform and educate others on a variety of different topics. We aim to provide a safe space to all young people. You can contact us via email, social media or our contact form found on our home page.