Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Mental Health Awareness Week: Self Harm

Hello there, Schneckens!
I'm late today, but that's because it was Arcadia's first dress rehearsal and it went okay. Improvements are always advised for any actor, but everyone did great. Plus, my AV was better today. So overall, I am knackered, but it's good knackered. Roll on tomorrow and the first show!! Eeeeek.

Of course I am still focussing on this week and today I am here to discuss Self Harm. The phrase 'self harm' is associated with physical acts of self inflicted injury, through cutting, yet unbeknownst by many, it's more than that. In this post, I will show that cutting is just one of the ways that it is done because yes, it is physical, but there are other ways in which an individual can do it though. Ultimately this has a lot of psychological effects, which can really impact a person further. The post will seem a bit formal with its layout, yet I think it will make it clearer to understand!

Cutting/Scratching/Burning etc:
Probably the most common and known way. For me, when I started doing this form of self harm, I used to scratch myself with sharp objects or stick my nails into my hands to make myself bleed. The feeling was sensational and it felt like I was ripping out all the tension in my body, releasing me from all the pain - anxiety and depression, for instance, as I did it during times where these feelings were at all time highs. Starting University allowed me to "up my game" in terms of self infliction because no one could find out. I was away from home; these new people didn't know me and I could do what I wanted. I used sharper objects like razors, but the feeling wasn't as sensational. I felt like I was getting stuck in a rut and I guess that's why I was doing it in the first place. My body was getting so used to the feeling of intense sadness, that the sharp stings were a welcomed change. I go to this form of self harm a lot, but I have it under control at the moment and I am proud to say that during this very stressful week, I haven't done it once!

Relationship with Food:
Our intake of food is really important because we need food to survive. But some can harm themselves with food. Eating disorders or those undiagnosed as one but share similar tendencies, can hurt themselves through restricting their food or eating too much just to stop a voice in their head and satisfy that voice. I have very low self esteem and after being rejected; told I wasn't pretty enough or not feeling adequate enough compared to other females, I started dieting. I tried many diets, but the most dangerous one was cutting out carbs (diabetic, yo!) At first, I felt great, I felt like my body was good and thought I looked hot; I was getting Pixie (the 'sex god' back then) attention, even if I wanted giraffe's. That's probably what set me off - wanting giraffe so much, but of course, he didn't want me. I skipped meals, made myself sick (after binging) and at some points, I wanted food so badly, that I just chewed the food and spat it out to get to taste it because that's what I thought I wanted - the taste. I was all over the place, but thankfully, I have calmed down now! I view food in a different way and today, for instance, I looked at my body and thought 'wow!' because that's the only thing that matters - what I think and feel!

Sex:
Yes, you can harm yourself through sex. You think it will fill something that needs to be filled, but it doesn't, it makes you feel worse most of the time. At my lowest points, I turned to sexual activities to really make myself feel better, thinking it would validate myself and make myself feel worthy. It didn't. I became uncontrollable and needy, just wanting that one guy to tell me I was fit, ask for pictures or want to have sex with me. When he didn't do these things, which aren't the nicest of things, I felt sad. I somehow convinced myself that I deserved this treatment and that I was cheap and deserved no better. I thought he was making me feel better about myself, but no. Now, however, I have a strong relationship with him and we are great friends now because we opened up. Casual sex doesn't allow that and that's why I am happy that I realised that eventually because now I have a friend for life, who respects me and makes me feel happy when I need it - he checks up on me, which is just lovely!

Drinking:
This one is also common. When one feels like they are drowning under their problems, drinking can briefly take those worries away. But then the morning comes and not only do you still have those problems, you also have a bitchin' hangover! When I started Uni, I was able to buy alcohol and drink it whenever I wanted. Freshers Week really strengthened that opportunity. As I got more depressed, the more I turned to the bottle of vodka. I drank in my room to get me outside or to text people I wanted to talk to (mainly the 'sex god' for sex) I felt like I was walking on air when there was enough alcohol on me. Yet as the weeks progressed, drinking just made me feel sadder. I was drinking in the afternoon and was crying uncontrollably. I never had a drinking problem because I never craved it uncontrollably, but I did turn to it a lot when I wanted to shut out all the dark feelings inside of me. I don't so much any more, I mainly drink for pleasure (Well, cheap freeze and squeeze stuff) So no more drunken woes for me!

I hoped this could help you if you needed it and I hope it opened your eyes about what self harm is. Let's keep this stigma breaking going, everyone!

Toodles :)