Tuesday 3 September 2019

Managing Self-Harm Continued

Jasmina shares her experiences of dealing with self-harm, and how she came to term with these struggles, in the 2nd of a 2 part blog post.

- Jasmina Kemp

Self-harm is when someone intentionally hurts or injures themselves. It is a way people deal with difficult feelings and allows them to relieve emotions they cannot express. Self-harm is unfortunately relatively prevalent in the student population. According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, about 1 in 10 young people will self-harm at some point. As a student myself, I will share with you five main points that helped me deal with my self-harming behaviours.

1. Experiment with what makes you feel better.

To begin the process of recovery, you need to try and resolve the feelings that cause you to self-harm. There are so many things that could help you to cope with your difficult emotions. I personally do not think anybody's suggestions have been particularly helpful in relation to my self-harm so I encourage you to experiment with what works best for you.

To deal with the emotions I previously identified, I have found a range of different things to be helpful. If I miss someone, I write down what I would tell them if I were to see them. I find that an object like a teddy to cuddle gives me a form of comfort, but ultimately a hug from somebody I love would probably cheer me up the most. Similarly to this, if I am feeling stressed or anxious about a situation, I will write down a plan of action, to put my mind at rest.

2. You have to want to be able to stop.

Know that self-harming is damaging both for you and the people who care about you. Somewhere inside you, you have to find the motivation to stop, such as the encouragement of a personal goal or just simply the fact that you want to get better.

Personally, I am set on going to university as I am now behind a year, which is a big motive for me. I am striving to be happy and self-harming will not help me achieve my goals.

3. Surround yourself with positive people in a positive environment.

Try to spend time with people who make you happy and genuinely want you to feel better, whenever possible. If the people around you think positively, it is likely to lift your mood and encourage you to recover.

4. Know that some people will just not get it, and that is okay.

Even with an extensive history of mental health difficulties in my family, it took a long time for them to accept that I was struggling, potentially due to past experiences and probably culture too (me being half Polish). It can be draining and you can feel very alone. Self-harm is a coping mechanism and people who have not struggled with it themselves may find it difficult to understand or relate to. If people make insensitive or unhelpful comments but it’s important to ignore these as best as you can.

5. Do not put pressure on yourself to stop completely.

Setting yourself realistic goals and not being too hard on yourself will make recovery more achievable. If one day you suddenly decide to stop self-harming for good and then slip up after a while, you may feel disheartened and believe that recovery is impossible. Even once you have recovered there is always the possibility of relapse, so it is important to develop the tools and mindset to deal with the situation.

Read more of Jasmina's tips on dealing with self-harm in her further blog post here

If you are struggling with self-harm or any issues described in this post, you can find support here.

I’m Jasmina and am currently studying for my A-Levels in Biology, Chemistry and Geography. I am a keen harpist and also enjoy spending time with my horse in my spare time. Recently I have started blogging to try and help break the stigma surrounding mental health, support others who are struggling with their own emotional issues and raise awareness.

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