StrongerMy earliest memory of self harm is at age 5. I say memory because my parents have known of my self harming since I was three years old, though I have no recollection of it. I have suffered from bipolar disorder my whole life and self harm had always been my escape from my various mental health issues. As a small child I used to place my hand or arms on hot stove tops while my parents weren't looking, take the blades out of plastic pencil sharpeners and cut myself with them or use my grandmother's sewing needles to scratch my arms. I didn't understand why self harm was a bad thing, but I was still ashamed of it.
The problem escalated as I got older, when I faced more mental issues and struggled with my sexuality and bullying at school. My parents were in denial of my self harming issues and still refuse to believe that I am bipolar or that I suffer from clinical depression, although my psychologist and doctor have spoken to them on multiple occasions. They have not talked to me since I came out as gay though.
I became more and more secretive with my self harming, I learnt to hide it from my parents and pretend that nothing was wrong. It worked for a while, I suppose.
Everyday was the same, I would go to school and be bullied, come home and be bullied by my family and deal with my bipolar disorder and not yet diagnosed clinical depression. It was all too much for me too take and so my self harm increased to the point where I would self harm on average about 5-7 times a day. I used to cut and burn myself frequently, which I found where the only things that helped me.
I don't think I have ever felt so alone, so broken. It was a complete and utter addiction. There seemed to be no way out, I thought that I would always be that way. Self harm ruled my life, self harm WAS my life.
Someone found out eventually, my football coach. I hated football, but played it to please my parents. I would always wait for the rest of the team to leave the room before I changed, so no one would see my scars. I was changing when my coach walked in (He was going to ask me a question about one of our drills) he saw my scars and freaked out.
I ended up being forced to see a psychologist 3 times a week for an hour each session and was prescribed anti-depressants.
It was an uphill battle from that point, trying to overcome something I have struggled with ever since I can remember. But I did it, which is something I am immensely proud of.
That's not to say that I don't have off days, or moments when the craving becomes near too much to bear. But now I know that I'm a stronger person coming out of that experience, I can always look back on it as something I overcame. It gives me strength to realize that if I can do that, I can do anything I put my mind to. It was really a learning experience for me. It always gets better.