Monday, 26 March 2018

MY TWO YEAR MILESTONE

Today, March 26th, I celebrate a two year milestone. 



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I want to be open and honest with you, as I always try to do, and as I have done so recently. This post is brutally honest and so may not be for everyone.

For those who read on, thank you.

If you had asked me 2 years ago if I would be here I would have laughed. But then again, 2 years ago I was sat in A&E with my friend.

You all know some of my story - the school years, the bullying, various unhappinesses throughout my adult life. I have been honest about my struggles (to a degree, some things I will never tell, some secrets hurt too much) but I am ready to tell this secret. Not many people know, and for those close to me who did not know this story, I am sorry I lied. I am sorry I deceived. I am sorry if I hurt you by not telling you.

You see, 2 years ago today I was picked up from work by my friend and taken to A&E because I had self harmed so badly the night before that my right thigh was open so much it had not stopped bleeding, and I had a very deep and scary cut that had made my jeans stick to me. That day at work I had to do a window change (basically redoing the window display at the front of the store) and because the window is raised I was climbing up and down for several hours which was aggravating it more. I am so so thankful to the friend who took me (you know who you are, I owe you so much) because I was not alone there.

My reasons for doing it were simple - a boy. As I have said previously, my past does not affect me like it used to. It is no longer the cause for my "down days" but merely something that comes about when I am down. When I have a bad day, for one reason or another, the past affects me as my brain lets everything in, but it no longer causes me to be bad. 

Things were not great with this person, and it was affecting my day to day. I was living alone, had very little or no contact with anyone outside of work, and all we did was argue and fight and bicker and it did not help anything at all. I will never again let someone affect my life so much that it causes me to hurt myself. And yet at the time it did.

I have suffered too many years of bullying, in one form or another, and one of my coping mechanism for that was self harm. It is self destructive, it is painful and above all else I will wear these scars forever. Although I am now proud of them because they show my growth as a person (much like a wise old oak tree, although I am certainly not old nor wise) at the time I hid away from them, pretended they weren't there, and I felt so awful that I could something like that to myself that my only way to cope was to do it more. It seemed a vicious and endless cycle.

I want to share another school experience of mine that affected me very deeply and just added to the cycle. We went on a school trip in Year 10 to a zoo (I cannot remember where, maybe Marwell Zoo) and I was harming at the time. Being naive and trusting the wrong people, it was known by a few that I was doing it, and so (again being naive) tried to cover up my arm and wrist with a bandage - (at the time I hadn't learnt how to conceal it from others, as I later did by doing it on the tops of my thighs). On the drive home, I was sat towards the front with 3 friends and we were chatting across the aisle to each other, I was in the aisle seat leaning out and had taken my cardigan off because it was too warm, meaning the bandage was on show. Some of the kids I had taken abuse from before were sat in the back of the bus and started to yell things at me, one of which was "why don't you just kill yourself" and the other "why don't you use a bigger knife next time". As someone who was struggling anyway, those words were viscous. And they do haunt me still, how some kids can be so cruel and heartless.

I cannot remember what happened that particular night two years ago, or what drove me to hurt myself more than before, but I know he was involved. I had to get a note from the doctor in A&E because I had to break uniform policy and wear leggings at work because the dressing on my leg was so big.

And now I celebrate 2 years self harm free. I did not think I would ever get here, and after spending a third of my life hurting myself, punishing myself, to be able to celebrate 2 years without such a debilitating thought...well that is an achievement for me.

Self harm is not a disease (as someone once told me it was). It is a symptom of something. It was my coping mechanism, my way of escape from the thoughts in my head. It was, as I said, self destructive, and I am happy not to be in that cycle anymore. But I want to help those who are. I am not defined by my depression or my self harm tendencies or my past. I am defined by the choices that I make, the lives that I change, the words that I write. I always said one reason I wanted to be honest on here with you guys was so that if I could help just one person, impact just one persons life, then it would all be worth it. I have learnt to grow from my mistakes (and I still am, every single day, and that is not weakness), no, I have overcome my own personal weakness, and that is good.

I am not better in my head, and at the moment I am having more down days than good, but I will never find myself in such a place again. My reasons for being down now are adult, and understandable, and when I look back at the reasons before I think how silly I was for letting such little things get to me, but obviously at the time they were the end of my world.

But I am here. I am getting there.

Here's to another year. Here's to another milestone. Here's to another success.



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