Your Story / Testimony of self harm and recovery!

For and about self harmers / people with other issues

Your Story / Testimony of self harm and recovery!

Postby Hash » Sun Aug 03, 2008 7:30 pm

The idea of this thread is for members to post their stories of their personal journey through life towards recovery,

When they started self harming:
why they started?
how it affects them personally and others around them?
How has God figured in it all?
Plus Whatever you want to ramble on about really!

Please be aware that people reading your story may be triggered so be sure to add our Warning for TRiggering content at the beginning of your post where necessary.

Please stick to the rules and regs of the site eg no method sharing, no graphic descriptions of self harm etc.

Please also be aware that often in sharing your testimony if it particularly figures God you will be challenged on it in the proceding future so do have prayer cover around you.
Last edited by Hash on Thu Aug 07, 2008 12:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby asc » Sun Aug 03, 2008 11:43 pm

When they started self harming: I am far from typical, as I started at 58, although for many years I had a symbolic 'key ritual'
why they started? I found it helped me when I was very stressed, and reduced suicidal thoughts
how it affects them personally and others around them? Short-term relief, but then I felt guilty. My wounds were never visible. I have shared with a number of Christians about this.
How has God figured in it all? I believe that my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, and that it saddens God when I self-harm, although I don't believe He condemns me for it.
Plus Whatever you want to ramble on about really!

I find that Christians are very lacking in knowledge about self-harm. I feel that my venture into this has enabled me to understand more and to try to educate others about what self-harm is, and is not, and the support that I, and probably others, would like for depression, suicidal feelings and self-harm. Ministers have very little training in this area, and I find with my Corps Officers that the do not know what would help, although there is a Salvation Army helpline where the officer is extremely helpful and indeed helped me to understand self-harm more when I started. His analogy of another person going out to blot out their stress by getting drunk, while I used self-harm was very helpful.

I want to use what I believe is a God-given gift with words to share God's comfort in poetry, and also, as above, in education.

I have been self-harm-free since November 2006, but still get very strong temptations.
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Postby janice » Wed Aug 06, 2008 11:34 pm

The first time I gave in to the desire to self-harm was six years ago. I'd been struggling with Anxiety and Depression for a while. In fact it's something I've struggled with on and off since being a teenager.
This particular day I was in my green house and I knocked something through the glass. I stood and looked at it for ages thinking "I could really hurt myself with this and it would look like an accident" I didn't. I made myself clear up the mess and walk away.....but I just couldn't get the idea out of my mind and later on I deliberately pruned some very thorny bushes next to my house with no protection. My arms were a mess but I had an alibi.
Because I didn't want anyone to know, either about the self harm or about feeling depressed (because I felt ashamed), most of my episodes of self harm have been "accidental"....I've blamed cats, hot irons, bushes, broken glass...I always had an excuse. But inside I was tormented and scared. I was afraid to be alone in the house because I knew I'd hurt myself but I was afraid to ask for help because I thought I'd be condemned. Each time I gave into self-harm it was preceded by many hours of visualising the act. I'd eventually give in just to get the pictures out of my head. Lots of self-harm followed on from difficult situations with friends too...I'd punish myself if I thought I'd upset someone.
Eventually I did confess to a friend who said that I had to choose between her friendship and getting help. It made me seek help because I couldn't face loosing her. I also confessed to my priest who was lovely and prayed with me and gave me a big hug! Being able to confess, I came to learn, helped to break the cycle. Because once I'd self-harmed I then felt guilty and bad about myself which would lead to me needing to hurt myself as "punishment". If I confessed to someone and to God then that cycle was broken. Eventually two close friends knew as well as my priest and my husband.They were all supportive. I also saw a counsellor who'd had personal experience with self-harm.
In August 06 I took part in a mission event called "On the Move" (a big BBQ) I was on the prayer team and during the week we had a reading from Is 55. Verse 13 leapt out at me:
"Where once there were thorns, cypress trees will grow. Where briers grew, myrtles will sprout up. This miracle will bring great honour to the Lord's name;it will be an everlasting sign of his power and love"(NLT)
I knew this was for me and I knew it was talking about self-harm (thorns and briers) I also knew that God was offering to take it from me.
Strangely I wouldn't let Him. It had become so much a part of me that I was afraid to let go. It took over a month before I was able to say "Yes Lord, take it away"
Almost 2 years down the line I haven't self-harmed.There have been times when I've come close and there has been times when the images have tormented me to give in.But it's as if God has shut the door. I can only go back there by wilfully disobeying Him and He's given me the strength not to give in.
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Postby smurf » Thu Aug 07, 2008 9:33 am

*TRIG*

When they started self harming: Age of 9 (now 22)

why they started? Bullying at home and school, getting neglected and hit/verbally assaulted by father

how it affects them personally and others around them? gives me a release and something to understand (dont understand emotional pain but understand blood and bruises). My brother became depressed partly due to my SH and SUI attempts (not actually SUI attempt but that what it looks like to everyone else), mum got hurt and upset that i felt the need, dad only found out in November last year after i got chucked out so I dont know how it affects him, other brother feels helpless as he didnt know for long enough and by the time he found out he was almost married and had too much to deal with. My fiance is scared I will take it too far some time.

How has God figured in it all? God is the reason i survived through my overdose (I should have died with the amount i took).

Plus Whatever you want to ramble on about really!

getting there now but still have my blips. My fiance says that my personality out shines my scars and because of that he only notices them about 10% of the time even though they are quite bad. He says mine are the worst he has ever seen on anyone yet because I have such a strange personalty he rarely notices them. other people also seem to not notivce them once they know me which is quite good but there are some people who stil check from time to time for new scars so i have to do them where no one will check.

I know that it is possible for me to stop....it is just that when things fet really really bad that I forget to find another way out.

Studying mental health Nursing is giving me the inspiration I need to stop completely!
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Postby Daisy » Thu Aug 21, 2008 11:37 am

Self Harm has been a part of my life for longer than I have ever admitted, it probably started when I was about 11 by accident, I hurt myself by accident and it felt releasing from then on Self Harm was a part of my life to varying degrees. The trigger at 11 was the death of my grandmother at that age it felt like she was the only person that loved me, i never grieved for her and just withdrew inside myself, I hated school I was bullied and at times I didn't have any friends. Home life was pretty bad too, my mum suffered from depression too and just wasn't a mother to us, my dad spent alot of time at work. The only thing I had was the Salvation Army I was accepted, I loved it I spent as much time as I could there.

In May 2003 I achieved a life long goal of being ordained as a minister in the Salvation Army, my joy was short lived when 2 months later my Mum was diagnosed with cancer. I threw myself into my work it was the only way I knew how to cope. I was diagnosed with depression early the following year. I spent my life up and down the motorway to care for my mum. 15th July 2004 my Mum died I was at a service station half way to mum when I recieved the news. My world came crashing down, I didn't want to live without my Mum we had become such good friends in the last couple of years. I sunk deeper into depression and the only thing that kept me alive was self harm. I struggled with guilt of self harming and being a church minister.

It has been a long hard road some steps forward and some steps back. This July I had the question in my mind will I ever be healed, I couldn't believe I would I thought I would be depressed for the rest of my life. I went on a retreat with work, the first night I was hiding in my room when God said to me I want you to ask for prayer for healing, I have to be honest I dismissed the thought out of mind. The next morning I was having a bad day just staring into space, one of my leaders came to talk to me and before I knew what had happened I had asked for prayer. Later in the day the person I had asked and 2 others met with me and prayed for healing. It was nothing instantaneous but it gave me the faith that I would be healed at some point in Gods time. I have now been put on lithium and I feel better than I have felt in years life has a purpose again and I haven't self harmed in almost 4 months. Its not always easy but knowing that God will heal me is enough.

When we are in the darkness it is hard to see a way out, but I have learnt just hold on to Jesus he will bring you through.
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Postby diamondshine » Wed Sep 10, 2008 10:07 pm

I officially started self-harming when I was 19. Although, if I'm honest, there were incidents as long ago as when I was about 7.

I was diagnosed with depression when I was 18. So by the time I was on a big Christian holiday when I was 19, I'd just about had enough. That time it was really obvious what had happened. Since then, it has been more secret. It only happens in places that I know I can hide.

I think it started because I had reached the end of my rope. I had been fighting so many things for so long, and I did not know any other way. I was afraid of becoming a burden on my friends, I had lost touch with God and just didn't know who I was any more. It worked because it relieved some of the tension....and provided a physical reminder that things hurt...and were allowed to hurt.

It affects me personally because I have to hide it. Especially from my family. And all the guilt that comes with that. I know that it does affect those around me. I have friends who know without having to ask, that I am harming. Although, often, they will ask, just so that I know that they know. Which is very scary and also very comforting, all at the same time.

How has God figured in it? I'm not really too sure right now. Except that I am ashamed of what I do. Yet somehow cannot manage to move forward without it. Yet. I keep being told that there is light and hope and I have to trust in that.
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Postby jj » Fri Sep 12, 2008 12:29 pm

I started self harming when I was about 6 years old - mainly hitting myself or hitting something else like a wall. I then progressed to cutting when I was a teenager and have been pretty much doing it on and off since then.

I first discovered that a such a young age I had control of how I was hurt - Other people could hurt me - I had no control over this but with Self injury I had that control - it ws the one thing in my life that was in my control.

How it affects them personally and others around them? I feel guilty afterwards that I have cut myself so much - I know at the moment there are reasons behind this - changes in mediction, illness, etc.

I'm not sure how God figures in it all I know he has always been there but am unsure of how he helps me.

There are a lot of bad things in my past which I am trying to get by - Self injury is a kind of crutch - I cannot seem to do without it.

jj
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*SH Trigger*

Postby butterfly » Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:37 pm

I'm 22 and a music student. I have quite a long story, but this will probably be just a brief summary. I have struggled with depression since my early teens I think, although wasnt diagnosed til I was 16. I have struggled with periods of anxiety and periods of really low mood. The first time I self harmed I was 16 and had SH occasionally since then, but it didnt become more frequent until last Novemeber. I would say thats when it became a serious problem.

I think my lowest points were throwing a glass at my bedroom wall and seriously contemplating suicide at my CU houseparty. But the following morning, I believe God really worked through the pastor who was leading the weekend to help me nd show me the truth I needed to know, but seemed so far from me at that point. I was convinced I was evil and was going to hell when I died. That Id never had a relationship with God and I could never have one. But God was always there and since then Hes been showing me just how much. It takes my breath away to think of how much He has done for me, provided for me, how far I have been able to come because of him. Wow! Thankyou God!

Things are by no means sorted yet and things have got really complicated this year with my Granma dying and lots of regrets over my apalling behaviour!! But Gods grace is woven right through the mess. Every time I think theres no hope and want to give up, He shows me theres another way, theres a path through the tangled mess of my life. I love Jesus and I am eternally greatful for His rescue plan in my life!

I still SH, this year it has got worse following my Granma's death and other things. I keep it a secret from most ppl, but Im able to tell my Mum which is such a blessing. I want to give it up and this summer I was able to go for 3 months without SH. But have been triggered again since buying razor blades to shave my legs and I guess the consequence of keeping things bottled up and not yet learning how to express pain effectively. But I hope to one day be free of this and be able to help others through my experiences.

My dream is to become a music therapist and be able to use it somehow to help street children in south america. That is my passion which I hope will one day become a reality.

I would like to take this opportunity to thankyou Abbie for starting this site. I heard you speak at Spring Harvest and I think it is amazing what God is doing through you.

Love Butterfly x
Your all I want, your all I need, your everything, everything!
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Re: Your Story / Testimony of self harm and recovery!

Postby kathie » Tue Nov 10, 2009 1:25 am

I really want to put my story into some context. I am on the site rather a lot and have found it so very helpful I have always been sceptial and sights to do with SH as its easy for people to slip into condoning and simply end up providing new ideas for others to try.

This site is totally not that. I think that mainly because of the genuine spiritual nature ofit. When we try to encourage others in the Lord we are reminded of his truths hidden in our heart. Also because it is bathed in prayer and His word it has the fragrance of Jesus about it. These things are the things that have kept me here, and of course it is the people who come here and bring in the God of their lives. So thank you for helping me to in simple ways to stay in touch with God and His poeple.

So thats my start. I will say more, just a bit at a time. . .
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Re: Your Story / Testimony of self harm and recovery!

Postby asc » Tue Nov 10, 2009 1:52 am

Thank you - that's so true.

May you know His fragrance around you day by day.
Ann www.annspoetry.weebly.com / www. annssmallpets.weebly.com
"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" 2 Corinthians 12v9
"You are God's masterpiece." Ephesians 2v10 God doesn't make junk!
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Re: Your Story / Testimony of self harm and recovery!

Postby BelieversBrain » Tue Apr 03, 2012 12:59 am

When they started self harming:
I had a one-off, isolated incident when I was 14 and then started again when I was 22. It has continued since then, though much reduced now.

why they started?
The very first time was a reaction to a (rather exploitative, I now realise) friend deciding to unceremoniously dump me for another friend. The SI started off as a suicide attempt, but I discovered it did the trick of releasing my anger. Since then I self harm when depressed, often as a sort of release of feeling that could otherwise end up as a suicide attempt. The therapist I am working with now thinks that I have squashed any feelings of anger to the point where it can only come out as self harm. I made it a mission never to lose my temper or get angry with anyone back when I was a teenager, and I seem to have succeeded a little too well! Now I can't express anger - the best I can manage is to burst into tears if I am very annoyed, which I consider embarrassing, but that's it. So that is what she thinks is behind the self harm.

how it affects them personally and others around them?
I don't like the fact that I self harm. But then again I do. I have a complicated sort of relationship with it. On the one hand I know it is not a good thing to do, because it hurts other people too, and because it is not what God would have me do. I don't think of it as a "sin" as such, a sin in that it is failing to meet God's standard but not as in a crime against God. On the other hand I can't really think of any other release and I am rubbish at resisting temptations like that (I have an unhealthy attitude to food - bingeing - and I smoke like a chimney). Odd thing is that when I am in a triggered sort of mood I welcome self harm, and it just feels so right that my rational mind has difficulty persuading me otherwise. Of course I could always try harder!
In terms of other people, my family get upset when I SI, because I wear short sleeves around the house so they can see it when I have done it. Mum in particular seems to find it hard because there isn't anything she can do. Dad is the silent sort. My friends too, get worried, and think that I might kill myself. No one remonstrates with me though, but I think that is because of the bipolar, I think they are worried they might push me over the edge. Really their feelings should be enough for me to stop but they aren't.

How has God figured in it all?
I am ashamed to say he hasn't really. When I am in the state of mind that leads to self harm I sort of lose the memory afterwards, so it is hard for me to say exactly what has gone on, but I don't think I have ever really prayed for help in resisting the temptation. I tend to think that that state, my mood and my thoughts are too far away from God, and that to invite him into me at that point would be to, I don't know, dirty him. I am aware that is a silly thing to say, but that is as near I can get to the thought processes I have when in an SI sort of state. I have been doing some reading about the Gerasene demoniac and self harm generally in a biblical context, but I don't think the bible really talks about self harm in the way that we do it.

Plus Whatever you want to ramble on about really!
This has got a bit long but I thought I would say hello as well! I haven't spotted an intro forum yet so briefly, I'm Emma, I'm 31 and I live in the North-East. Where I don't do very much as I am off sick but I am hoping at some point in the future to be in some sort of Christian work. Possibly ministerial depending on whether my local clergy think that I am called (I am Anglican).
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Re: Your Story / Testimony of self harm and recovery!

Postby Eppie » Tue Apr 03, 2012 7:14 am

Thanks for sharing your story Emma, and welcome!
I hope you find this forum useful :)
Eppie x
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Re: Your Story / Testimony of self harm and recovery!

Postby sally » Wed Apr 04, 2012 9:12 am

hello Emma,

you did well to write your story of self harm and have obviously started to learn what some triggers are and how you think about it. I'm glad you found the site and welcome!

I could easily relate to some of your comments about finding it difficult to resist the urge ' you call it temptation' and that a part in you - and me- gets to a point when we want the release that behaviour promises.

I grew up in a home where anger was not allowed. No idea where it went when we were little, but I still find it very painful/ unacceptable to recognise anything like anger and want to blame and punish myself for acting that way.

But things have changed for me over the last few years - I didn't start my reply thinking of writing this part - but with the help of therapy, urges became less and I haven't hurt myself like that for 2 years. I do still battle with bulimia which has been more prevalent just recently and gets me down and a few other unhealthy coping strategies, but I can now get through the fleeting urges I do still get and know I won't act on them and amazingly do not want to. So there is hope for change for all of us.

I do ask God to help me at the start of each day, think through His armour but I agree with you that it can be very hard to remember God and ask for His help when urges kick in. Any tips from others welcome?

I hope I haven't said too much. I'll be thinking of you lots and hope you find this site helpful,
best wishes, Sally
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