Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Self-Injury Awareness Day - My Story

Self-Injury Awareness Day on March 1st, is about raising awareness for all variations of self-harm and encourage people to speak out about their experiences so that we can continue to breakdown stereotypes surrounding self-harm.
When we tell the truth - the whole unedited truth - about ourselves it gives the world the opportunity to see us for the very first time. Once someone can see us for who we truly are then they can choose to accept us. Warts and all.

I'm Tabby, I'm 26 years old and I was a self-harmer.
I first started cutting my body when I was 13.
I cut my arms at 21.
I tried to kill myself at 22. 

It has taken me 14 years to be able to say that. For 14 years, I hid and I lied. 

I was afraid of what people would think about me. Afraid it made me bad. Afraid I was a freak. I was afraid I was broken, damaged and that no one would understand. I was afraid no one would accept me. I was afraid I'd be alone. 
By lying and hiding and believing the lies I was telling myself; the lies that I was bad, broken or damaged, I was isolating myself more than any rejection ever could. 

I was never going to stop hurting myself until I spoke up and spoke out. 

My truth telling was more a consequence of a particular episode in which a friend had called an ambulance and I was in A&E. I couldn't hide that. Even as the stitches came out and the angry, red wounds healed to thin silvery white scars, I couldn't hide that.

Everyday people would steal glances at my arm. Friends, family, employers, strangers; you name it. I could see the same confusion on their face every time. They tried to connect the dots. How could this happy, bubbly, fun, outgoing girl do that to herself? Why would she do that?
It was simple ; I wasn’t happy. There was no great mystery as to why I self-harmed. I was in pain and by cutting myself I could control that pain. The confusion was created by my sheer will not to speak out.
Last year at a friend’s birthday, someone asked me about my scars. I can’t tell you what changed. I don’t know if I wanted them to know or if I was just sick and tired of hiding, but I turned to them and plainly said ‘I did that to myself. I was a self-harmer’. 

What followed was a perfectly normal discussion. There were no shocked gasps, disgusted outcries or mass exodus of the building to run away from me, we just had a very cool, open conversation.
Since then I have written two blog posts on topical talking points relating to self-harm and published them on the internet for the world to read. I have comfortably and confidently answered questions and had countless conversations about my scars.

I have felt overwhelming acceptance and love from sharing my story, by telling my truth. Even better has been the people who have messaged me and shared WHO THEY REALLY ARE because they can see me clearly.

Now, I’m only human, it’s not always easy and at times I still want to hide my past, my scars, but at those moments I make a decision to push my boundary even further.

If you’re reading this and even a glimmer of it resonates with you or your experience - tell someone, connect and start the conversation.

Here I am, speaking out, writing things I’ve never written, saying things I’ve never said and I feel freer, more accepted and more loved than I have ever felt in my life. If I can tell the truth about myself, you can do it too.

Until next time . . . Take Heart x

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2 comments

  1. you are a true inspiration Tabby, this is an incredible blog post. It will really benefit all who read it! Lots of love xo

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