I said to the sun . . .

I’m going to begin with one of my all time, absolute favourite quotes – “I said to the sun, ‘Tell me about the big bang.’ The sun said, ‘it hurts to become.'” (Andrea Gibson).

And my oh my, that quote just fills me with so much power and so much strength; strength that it not my own but something that I feel as though I can be apart of.

These past two months have been a whirlwind. Everything has just been going and going, and these days have been all about hard work and consistency, and just getting stuff done. It’s exhausting, but a good sort of exhausting. It’s a normal kind of being to busy to breathe kind of exhaustion, rather than my mind is going crashing through the ground. It’s a refreshing change.

Some solid, concrete steps for the future are fitting into place. This morning I was offered a new job, and it has made our future far more secure and stable. It hasn’t sunken in yet really. It will change a lot of things, in a good way.

Lately my head has been doing so good. I feel burnt out, but not because of what’s going on within, but because I am able to do so many things beyond now. I have felt so confident and content. I don’t know what has changed. Maybe it’s all the therapy work. Maybe it’s all the pushing to change. Maybe it’s just a new season. But what I do know is that I feel more me than I can ever remember.

For years I was stuck within illnesses that took over my entire world. Every decision, perspective, and moment was controlled and dulled by their graces. I was never me. I was just trying to survive, and knew only how to exist just beneath the surface.

However today, I feel more authentic to who I am supposed to be than ever. It sounds cheesy but I don’t know how to describe it. I have been trying to stand up for myself and for what I believe is important. I am talking to people I would normally be afraid of, because I can think “what’s the worst that can happen?” and actually go ahead and do it. I’m trying to stay true to my values in all situations. Anxiety, where are you at? It’s weird but enchanting. It’s amazing how much life expands when anxiety lets you push it. I truly don’t know how all these things have changed, but for now, things are wonderful. Thinking to how things used to be – to hell and back – I don’t know how I am still in today. But heck, I am so thankful for it.

Right now I am living in these days where I don’t constantly think about and dwell on bad things that have happened, and it’s such a strange, yet absolutely amazing feeling. To have my mind not imprisoned with a reel that replays the worst on repeat – it’s crazy. I still think about these things, a lot, but they are not my every thought anymore. I’m trying to build new moments and thoughts to outgrow the old. Bad, triggering songs are being replaced with songs to make new, good memories with. My psychologist and I are working on my safety behaviors, and it’s horribly difficult but good too.

The sun has told me that I can cope, that I can survive and keep living, and today I am beginning to believe her.

A small hello.

Hello lovely blogging friends!

It’s really nice to be back, even if it’s only for a little while.

I took around a month off from blogging – a month away from writing lots and lots, and sharing difficult things, and connecting to wonderful souls all across the globe. You see, several things happened which prompted me to step away from this world for a little bit. I missed everyone here a lot, but it was good in ways too.

University began and was hectic from the get-go. I’m trying to juggle classes, my research project, co-leading a club, volunteering, working two part-time jobs, married life, house hunting, recovery, and just general life too! I really admire people that can keep their blog up despite living crazy busy lives – go you! I am learning an awful lot, and am loving what I get to study more and more each day. Alongside this there are always so many meetings to attend to, emails to reply to, and plans to make. But I’m happy. And I’m good. It’s a stressful, yet beautiful whirlwind.

In terms on mental health, things are okay. It’s kind of weird though, because apparently I’m not very good at telling when I’m not doing okay. Despite being the busiest that I have ever been, and from my perspective coping better than ever, I have been referred to a specialist centre for a higher level of treatment. It made me laugh a little bit, because I feel that I’m doing better than ever, which may be true, but I guess it shows that we can always keep going upwards. That we can always keep pushing forwards. And it doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m unwell, or that I’m not making progress, as I am, but my therapist said that she would be doing a great disservice to me to not hand my treatment over to people she think could help even more. Have I mentioned that she is one of my favourite people? I am so grateful to her.

Another reason why I had to step away from the blog for a while was due to fear. I was afraid that a couple of people who are very dear to me would find this space, and that my writing would either upset them, or change our relationship in some way. It’s a tricky one. So, I took a few weeks to try and decide what to do with this blog, and where it is going. I don’t want to get rid of it entirely, because the connections it has allowed me to make are too precious, and writing 60 pieces over summer was a great learning experience. However, I have decided to just leave it as it is, where it is. Whatever happens, will happen. And all that has happened so far is amazing conversations with special people. This tool is such a blessing.

Someday soon I would like to write more in depth about what I’m up to this year, because it makes me so happy, and it would be nice to have a living record of it. But for now, I am just going to stick with writing on here irregularly, and with reading blogs irregularly and such. I don’t want to place more pressure and deadlines on myself than necessary, and turn this space into “work”, when it is supposed to be natural, organic and flowing. So we will see what happens.

I’m looking forward to catching up with everyone, and I hope that your todays all around the world are beautiful and peaceful.

Sending lots of love and hugs,
Kaitlyn.

 

Expanding the narrative of mental illnesses.

Today I’m writing about why your voice is important, and about why it deserves to be heard.

The stereotypes of mental illnesses portray a narrative; a story of what it means to be mentally ill. These stories are often limiting, damaging and aren’t the full story. They often don’t capture the experience of having a mental illness, and being a person beyond that.

The stereotypical story tells of what it should look like to be mentally ill, of what it should feel like to be mentally ill, and of who you should be if you are mentally ill.

A young, thin white woman who has a feeding tube and suddenly is miraculously recovered but is still very thin and doesn’t eat carbs, is the story of an eating disorders.

Self-harm is a lost, slightly confused teenager, who just needs to be requited with their crush and then they will be cured

Depression is a short stint with feeling a bit glum, but once you smile more and think positive, everything is sunshine and rainbows.

Need I go on?

These stereotypes aren’t just false, but they are also harmful. They spread the message that to be sick and to get treatment, your experiences have to mirror these stories.


That’s not to say that actual, lived experiences of mental illnesses do not contain some of these elements, as they certainly might. However they are so much more than these simplistic, one-dimensional viewpoints.

Eating disorders are messy. They can involve screaming, sobbing, your hair falling out, gaining weight, losing weight, eating, or not eating, isolation, obsession, disgusting ways of hiding and getting rid of food, pushing away those closest to you. They are definitely not a diet gone too far, or a supreme example of self-control.

Eating disorders can affect any person, of any weight, gender, race, socio-economic status, geographic location, sexual orientation, religion and age.

They involve food, yes, but they are also involve so much more. They are an accumulation of a lifetime of chemicals, experiences and circumstances. 

They are so much broader, and deeper, than a false impression of Anorexia.

And this is just with eating disorders.

There is a plethora of damaging stereotypes surrounding the lesser spoken about mental illnesses – schizophrenia, psychosis and dissociative identity disorder just to name a few. Stereotypes consisting of violence and fear, casting cowardly shadows on an already deeply discriminated community.

These false impressions do no good, and they do not serve a purpose in healing, in well-being, or in a society fighting the stigma against mental illnesses.

So this is what we must do, despite being afraid and despite not fitting in with what mental illnesses are deemed to look and be like. Share our stories, the messy, horrible and happy parts. The spectrum of emotion that goes with being a human with a mental illness, rather than a mental illness itself.

Share the good parts, the bad parts, the confusing parts. Share the parts that don’t fit in with the stereotypes, and those that may do too, to show that we are more than a singular, flat existance.

Share that there are many roads and paths to recovery, and that recovery does not look the same for everyone. For some, recovery is about eliminating symptoms, and for others, it’s about learning how to live alongside them. Some paths are short and others are long. Some are well-supported while others are not. 

All of these voices can, and should contribute to what being a person with a mental illness means. A myraid of perspectives, a full sky of meaning, a vast and brilliant constellation of being human, and of one that experiences hard things.

Try not to be afraid to share your voices my sweet friends.

More than an illness.

Sometimes mental illnesses can become so overwhelming, so all-encompassing and bold, that it can feel as though we have lost our entire selves to their entity.

During the deepest, most destructive stages of an illness, everything can feel subdued, isolated, and lacking in richness; colour. What would usually mean the world to us could become meaningless, or be a source of pain and guilt. Feelings of unworthiness and of not being good enough, to be worthy of good things in our lives, show their sneering faces.

It’s not as though any part of who we are is necessarily taken away, but rather that there is a heavy filter over ourselves and all we experience. A thick raincloud that buckets down abuse, regardless of if we are walking beneath the sun. 

Through learning how to live a full, rich life alongside whatever is going on in our brains, whether this be recovery, healing, or any word you wish to use to describe your journey, these filters can fade. They may always have a presence in our lives, but they will not always dictate our experiences, and who we become.

Something that both the stigma surrounding mental illnesses, and being deeply unwell with one, have in common, is that we can be told, whether it’s by ourselves or from others, that this is who we are. That we are depression, anxiety, self-harm, the whole shebang! That our experiences from a particular time, while being unwell, defines who we are. That our potential is tethered and capped by the arms of the mental illness. That mental illness is who we are, and who we will be.

The day that I asked my closest friends if they would like to be my bridesmaids was during my recovery. We went out to a cute little cafe, and it was the first time I had eaten out with them in about four years, and one of the first handful of times I had eaten with them at all. After we were done, I got a message from my best friend, saying that in all honesty, she didn’t think she would ever see that day come. She also said how proud she was of me, and how far I had come.

This is a person who had seen me at my worst, for years. Who saw me refusing to get help again and again, and saw how it tried to destroy everything in it’s path. Who saw me make up lie after lie after excuse as to why I couldn’t go to to certain events, and who saw my anxiety bubble over countless times when food was present. Her message meant so much to me, and to be honest, I didn’t think that day would ever come either. Of being able to do something as normal as going out to eat brunch with your best friends. 

That day gave me so much hope. And it still does, thinking back. Because when you are utterly consumed by a mental illness, it can feel as though you are the embodiment of it. That your entire past, present and future will be tormented. There is no light, there is no hope. Your horrors are all that you are.

Well I’m here to tell you that this isn’t true.

You are so much more than an illness.

Remember that the illness resides in your life, rather than you within it.

Here I am.


My name is Kaitlyn, and I experience depression, an anxiety disorder, and dermatillomania. I have largely recovered from an eating disorder and self-harm too.

This things are part of me, but they aren’t all that I am.

And that’s the same for you too.

There was a time in my life where they felt as if they made up so much of me. But it’s important to note that they weren’t everything.

I am so much more than some of the stuff that goes on in my head.

And you are too.

Think of all those little moments where you feel wonder to be alive, of all the songs you sing along to, of all the people that bring you joy.

Think of the flower that catches your eye, of what you gravitate towards, of what makes you laugh.

Think of all the times you have helped others, of when you have accomplished hard things, of when you have been honest.

This all helps to build up you too.

You can be everything beyond what mental illnesses say you can be.

You are so much more than a label.

Losing all control.

Sometimes I wonder what would happen if I just lost all control.

If my mind completely spun into a whirlpool, and it just kept going around and around, and I went along for the ride too.

Sometimes I’m scared that’s going to happen.

Tonight while walking across the foyer at work, I suddenly thought “what would happen if I just lost it all, right here?”

Sometimes I just want to scream and self-harm and not use coping techniques, and just spiral and spiral and float away. Just to run and run and keep on going.

Sometimes I get so caught up in what I believe other people think of me, or in all the things I believe I have done wrong, and it’s hard to escape.

When I was a little kid, I used to see animals that weren’t really there.

Seals would curl around my bed, cheetahs would mark bedroom walls, and rabbits would hop across the footpath.

They wouldn’t harm me, and I wasn’t scared of them. They were just there, and I liked their company.

Tonight I wondered what would happen if I just went along with everything my mind would say to do.

To do all sorts of ridiculous things which I’m guessing would not end well.

It always gets better at some point, I know that, it’s just the very being in it which is hard.

What does all of this mean?

Am I going crazy? Am I losing my mind?

I know some people don’t like those phrases and words, and I can understand why. But this is how I feel right now.

I think I am.

Or maybe I am already there.


Some days are good days, and some days are tough. This was written a couple of days ago during one of anxiety’s rages, and I don’t usually write in the moment when things aren’t good. What matters now is that things are okay. There is rain, my husband’s arms, kind friends, a beaming sun. So many wonderful things. Life has many ebbs and flows, and we just have to find a way to keep on going.

Recovery & joy.

Hello everyone! I’ve not been able to write as frequently on here for the past few weeks, which makes me a bit sad. I love the WordPress community I’ve found here, and following along on everybody’s journeys and adventures. Currently I’m working on catching up on all the blogs I have missed reading, so I’ll get through them all eventually!

The past couple of weeks have been hectic and so, so busy, which is why blogging has taken a backseat, and become a little bit neglected. Hopefully in a week or two, things will settle down, and I can get back to rambling on here more often. I’ve been working all the time, as well as spending a lot of time with family and friends, and while both of which has been anxiety provoking, they have brought me so much joy. I am so thankful for the past few weeks, and all the wonderful people in these moments.

A massive highlight has been celebrating our first wedding anniversary!

We spent a weekend driving up and exploring the very tip-top of our group of islands here in New Zealand, a place called Te Rerenga Wairua, or Cape Reinga. It’s over 100km away from the nearest small town, a distance which makes the final destination even more special. Neither of us had been up that far before, and so it was magical to see it all for the first time together.

Right at the very top, the view is magnificent, surreal. There is a cute, little lighthouse, and you can see the waves coming in different directions, crashing against each other, marking where the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea meet. It looks like something out of a movie – too spectacular to exist in this life. The deepest, rich blues of the oceans, and the sheer, stark quiet of the place, was incredible.

We camped at a beach about 45 minutes away, at Spirit’s Bay, an isolated, gorgeous coast with a wild swash. About 10m from where we pitched our tent, there was a herd of around 20 horses, all carefree playing and grazing. We drank moscato, got a bit giggly, and reveled in our surroundings. It really was the most special place.

The next day, we explored the Te Paki giant sand dunes. It was nothing like I ever expected, or even could have imagined. It was like stepping into a whole, new land; a sand desert so different from all other landscapes here. The sand dunes are dynamic – ever-changing and shifting. We climbed up so many sand dunes, people were boogie-boarding down them and everything, and I can’t even explain how vast and brilliant the world felt from up there. It made us feel so small, in the best of ways.

This beautiful celebration that we were so blessed to have made me think about a lot of things.

About joy, about luck.

About the little things, which can be as meaningful as the big things too.

It made me think about recovery, and how thankful I am for it.

Without recovery, I doubt I would have been able to get married. I wouldn’t have been able to give all the time and energy that marriage deserves, because I would have been to preoccupied being trapped in the eating disorder. I wouldn’t have been able to wake up and eat cookies for breakfast outside our tent. I wouldn’t have been able to go swimming, and I definitely wouldn’t have made it up those crazy huge sand dunes. I wouldn’t have been able to have fun.

I wouldn’t have been able to live the journey, of our first year of marriage, let alone find joy within it.

Without recovery, from many other things as well as the eating disorder too, I doubt that I would still be here today.

Recovery is the hardest thing. But it is so, so worth it. I promise.

Keep fighting, my sweet friends.

P.S. Hope you like the photos! I’ve decided to try be brave, and start using our own photos instead of CC0 images. It might help to put a face to all these ramblings too.

A reason to recover (number one billion).

WordPress is prompting, encouraging eagerly to “share your story here” but this particular story is a really difficult one to share.

It’s one that is close to my heart, that has shattered me and broke me in ways I never knew possible. It’s also one that I don’t know if it is right to share.

However in saying that, it is part of my story, part of me in some way, and I’m trying to learn not to be so darn ashamed all the time. I yearn for honesty – to share openly and with vulnerability – as this is where I’m at in recovery.

I’m at the stage where I’m trying to stop running. The stage where you learn to stand still, strong, in the face of all the old gusts of wind trying to force you to bend, break.

Before I begin, I must say that what’s to come discusses miscarriage, pregnancy loss and self-harm. Remember to put yourself first, and please stop reading if it won’t serve your recovery.

About two and a half years ago, I was a broken, confused, and very, very lost person.

I was 20, had just dropped out of university due to being too unwell to attend, and was deep in the hardest slog of recovery from the eating disorder. I spent the next eight months working incredibly hard to gain back all that I had lost – weight, energy, friends, the ability to learn and understand, and most importantly, my life.

I moved in with love of my life, my now-husband, and had enrolled to begin a new course at a different university. A brand new start all round. Things were looking up. I was learning how to be stable in my eating disorder recovery, though still struggled immensely with self-harm and anxiety.

In the weeks leading up to beginning my new degree, I felt a bit different, a bit “off” you could say, and was experiencing symptoms that weren’t normal for my cycle. Despite not believing that it could be a possibility at all, I took a pregnancy test just as a precaution, so that our minds could be at ease.

We were not prepared for the result.

Those two, little purple lines, a positive, changed life as we know it.

We were terrified, confused and shocked to say the least. We always, always would use contraception, so were baffled at how it could have happened. No form of contraception is fully 100%, but it’s not the sort of tiny chance that you think would happen to you.

Until it does.

How could it all be real?

However, the positive result lines were not the only marks that caused immense feeling. Days earlier, in one of my many, messy episodes of intense self-harm, I had slashed into my stomach, leaving behind superficial trenches of hate, of hurt.

Right across where our apple seed sized baby was growing.

I don’t think I have ever hated myself as much as when I realised what I had done.

background, blur, bokeh

A few days later, I woke to the sound of my alarm going off, waking me to begin my first day of classes, in my brand new course.

Immediately, I felt that something wasn’t right. I didn’t feel nauseous, as I had every day before. All my pregnancy symptoms were gone. As nice as it was to feel normal again, it was confusing, so I took another pregnancy test.

This one came back negative, meaning that my body had stopped producing hCG, the pregnancy hormone.

As if with perfect timing, blood flowed, and I lost our baby.

What I didn’t know, or expect, or anything, because nobody really talks about early miscarriages, is that it takes days. It takes days for your body to pass the pregnancy tissue, to empty your womb out, and that it’s a really, really hard thing to go through.

When researching early pregnancy loss, I found out that miscarriages are actually really common. One in four pregnancies end in miscarriage, and most of the time nobody really knows why. It’s just part of life, sadly.

One of the most difficult parts of it all to deal with is the guilt.

The guilt for feeling afraid of your pregnancy, especially because it was unplanned. We were young, financially struggling, and I was still unwell with mental illnesses. I feel the need to point out, though it really doesn’t matter, that although I am staunchly pro-choice, I wouldn’t have chosen an abortion. However the thought of bringing a child into our lives was still, nevertheless, incredibly frightening. And that’s something that it’s hard not to feel guilty about.

Then there was all the guilt about the ruins I had turned my body into, merely months earlier, from the eating disorder. That this could have been the reason for our baby leaving us.

There was also the guilt about all of the self-harm, all of the time and energy spent into tearing myself apart, all while unknowingly pregnant. What if the baby knew how much it’s mother hated herself, and left because of that?

Although we don’t know the reason for the miscarriage, it could have been anything really (and logically I know that, I promise), and in a way it has really influenced my recovery.

I think back about how ill I had been, both before that time and during, and I am astounded that person was me.

It has made me determined to be the best I can be. To work on my mental health, which in turn helps my physical health. To be the most well and healthy I can be, so that when we are ready, we can welcome our baby with open arms.

Sometimes we think of what could have been, and although painful, it’s comforting in a way. We like to think of that baby just visiting, popping in to say “hello, I’m waiting for you”, and that they will come back when the time is right.

All these experiences, they have broken, torn and ripped through me. But in a way, they have given me the opportunity to build strength, to work on being resilient, and heal, for when we do have our own family.

You maybe have seen me mention babies a few times on here, and that’s because the prospect of them makes me so excited. I am filled with so much joy and hope, at the thought of becoming a Mum, and same with my husband at becoming a Dad.

We are so excited to meet our future babies.

Light beyond self harm – A guest post for Be Your Own Light.

The amazing Eleanor from Be Your Own Light invited me to write a guest post for her blog, and here it is (the link is just at the bottom too)! Thank-you, so incredibly much Eleanor, for the opportunity to be part of the important work you are doing. Her blog is a wonderful resource for all of us in the mental health community, and she writes with honesty, strength and frankness about her experiences. Definitely check it out!

(image: Dare to Live SOS) The author Kaitlyn blogs at http://www.withbeingalive.wordpress.com . Trigger warning: talks about self harm behaviours (but not graphically), please be careful when reading. When you are curled within the cradling, spiked tentacles of self-harm – one wrapped around each wrist, and another brushing away any tears – those pesky alternatives of “holding […]

via Light Beyond Self Harm by Kaitlyn W at withbeingalive.wordpress.com — Be Your Own Light: A Mental Health Recovery Blog

A morning routine for a bundle of nerves.

As you have probably gathered from this little corner of the internet if you aren’t a stranger – I am a little bundle of nerves, all squishy and squeaky, and sometimes even am an entire, complete, mess. The mess part usually happens when I’m Wednesday-deep in a week-long bender of panic attacks, whereas the wild bundle of nerves part is my general, day-to-day state of being.

Mornings with anxiety are not often pretty. Instead of rolling out of bed and dancing around with some small, singing animals like in a Disney movie, you might kind of topple out of bed, with a mountain of panic about the day ahead rising in your chest. Sometimes I wake up with my heart pounding, my hands and feet numb and with pins and needles, feeling dizzy. It’s weird; like being awoken mid panic attack.

Having a good morning routine has helped me to manage my anxiety immensely in the past, however I also know that I can do better. A set plan of action, or plan of attack, depending on how you look at it, for the morning, has about an 80% chance of making your day just that little bit better and more bearable. This isn’t a scientific statistic, in any way, but I have found that my immediate actions when I wake up have a definite influence on how my day progresses.

Day 3 – Create a new morning routine.

early, morning, mountain range

Here are some ideas that help bundle of nerves me, to cope with mornings, and what helps to ease our good friend anxiety even just a little bit.

Eat breakfast. This sounds like your mum, teacher, and a Wheatbix advertisement all rolled into one, but it’s true. Your body needs fuel to give the day all it needs, and your brain needs fuel to keep recovering. It’s tough work! We cannot expect our bodies to live a good, whole life, when they have nothing to sustain them. Eat some food with lots of nutrients, or eat some food that makes you soul happy. Either way, simply eating something will help, an awful lot.

Get up. Get out. It seems as though every time I want nothing more than to stay in bed, hiding in our room all day, that this is quite possibly the worst thing I could do. Shock horror! Listening to your head telling you to isolate yourself, that everyone hates you, that you don’t deserve anything good, and all that palava, all day long, isn’t going to help you to feel better. It’s rubbish, and it’s just going to make you feel like so. Hop out of bed, and drag yourself out to the mailbox or into the garden, literally anywhere, aside staying in bed. Written from past experience of many miserable days, I promise it will help.

Shower and get dressed. Showering and putting on clothes for the day makes it feel as though the day is official. That it’s here, and that I can’t hide from it! Because I got dressed already! I feel more able to tackle the day when I’m not in pyjamas, and I’m also less likely to hide away from the world too (bonus points).

Do something for you. Having something to look forward to and be excited about, regardless of how small or trivial it seems, is so important for when the going gets tough. Your morning could include planning something fun for later in the week, talking to somebody you care about, having a delicious breakfast (yes, breakfast is definitely something you can get excited about), or even just reading a chapter of a good book. The mindfulness that may accompany this part will also do very nice, very sweet, massaging to those pesky little claws of anxiety.

Mornings can be wonderful opportunities and bright nightmares, all rolled into one. Yet they are also incredibly powerful, because they set the foundation for the rest of the day. What do you do in the morning, which helps you?

The pain of self-harm.

Here’s a thought; pain echoes.

Today’s topic is a sensitive one, and one that I believe is relatively under-discussed. There are different opinions surrouding it, and it can be an almost controversial topic. I’m just here to share my own, personal experience, and I welcome different viewpoints in the comments section. Today’s topic is also something that is very close and cuddly with my heart – self-harm has hurt me, and those close to me.

Lets start with this – the gut-wreching, heart-breaking, pain of self-harm. The physical pain of self-harm is central, obvious, and speaks for itself. However, the emotional pain of self-harm is often withheld it’s rightful voice, and is shadowed into the corner, where all the other elephants in the room as swept. The emotional turmoil of self-harm, both in the moment, and years into recovery, still breaks and burns. And not only for ourselves, the ones committing the act, but also in the hearts of those that care about us.

It’s an understatement to say that self-harm is tied, woefully strong, to our emotions. This could be in the way of how some believe they deserve the pain of self-harm as punishment, the later realisation of actually tearing your treasure of a body down, or the bundled feelings beneath, which self-harm releases. In all it’s ways, shapes and forms, self-harm is a heavy load to carry, and the burden of it can definitely trample the mind. In some instances, self-harm can be tethered and dragged by our emotions of impulsivity, and of wanting to feel something, when actually the mere wanting of self-harm is a feeling of pain in itself. 

Once the vicious cycle or addiction of self-harm is set in place, tearing ourselves away will release the floodgates to further emotional pain. The journey of reckoning and scuttling around “deserving” to be free of self-harm will bend your heartstrings until they snap. Furthermore, living life without self-harm can be incredibly painful at first. If self-harm is a blanket, a cover, a masked warrior to dealing with painful emotions, then ripping it off and having to feel everything that has been surpressed beneath physical pain, is a truly harrowing and difficult experience.


While the pain of self-harm is by every definition, substantial to the individual involved, this pain echoes. The pain we feel is also felt by those who care about us, even if some express it in a way that’s unexpected, or not as we initially understand. Imagine your dog or best friend is upset – you would feel upset that they are upset – and this is perfectly okay. It may not be their fault, that whatever has hurt them is causing them harm, but their pain still echoes regardless.

If you have somebody close to you that experiences self-harm, then you will be forced to understand – the pain they experience is not limited to themselves. It bounds, it leaps, it frenzies and weaves it’s way into the lives of others. Having somebody you care about engage in self-harm, is incredibly upsetting, and immensely awful. All the care and support you hold for them is seemingly not making a dent in the lows they are feeling. 

While self-harm is a battle that nobody wishes to fight, part of being a caring partner or friend is the responsibility of reducing the amount of pain that the other experiences. With self-harm, this is something we have at least a small amount of control over. Engaging in therapy or other professional help is a good place to start. Those that care about us cannot save us from self-harm, but they will continue to support, love, and feel the pain of it all, while we are in the progress of saving ourselves.

If self-harm is part of your life, I am sorry. It’s a truly awful and difficult experience. But you can, and you will, learn how to be free of it. It will become less painful, for both you and those close to you, with time. I promise.