“I felt alone and isolated, like nobody would understand me…”

I remember the first time I ever self-harmed. I was really confused as to what was wrong with me, and why I did it. I also didn’t know much about self-harm, and didn’t know that what I was doing to myself was actually self-harm. I did it a few times after that when things got tough. I used hurting myself as a coping mechanism. I was in high school studying for my GCSE’s the first time I self-harmed.

When I finished school, I started my college course, doing my level one in Childcare. By this time in my life the self-harming had got a lot worse. I confided in my friend, who told me to go and talk to the college counsellor. So I did. It didn’t help and I felt quite alone and isolated all of a sudden, like nobody would understand me, and there was something wrong with me. I never went back to the counsellor, and my college work suffered due to the self-harm and family problems. I felt like giving up. I didn’t give up, I carried on, self-harming pretty much every day for a while.  I hated the person I had become.

The self-harm got a lot worse between me finishing my level one childcare qualification and starting my level two qualifications. I felt like a failure, even though I passed my qualification. I didn’t see anything good in my life. Mine and my mum’s relationship had broken down completely. I hadn’t had a relationship with my dad either, so I felt very alone. I couldn’t speak to my family at all. They wouldn’t understand. Nobody would understand. That’s what I kept telling myself on a daily basis.

Family life wasn’t good at this point either. I tried to work on the relationships with my family, but I couldn’t fix them. I tried so hard. I wanted to get away from everything. I had often thought about jumping on a train and leaving. But I could never do that.

One day, I told my mum about the self-harming a very big mistake, she hated me, and told my sister what I had been doing to myself. My family didn’t speak to me after that for quite a while. This led me to feel very isolated and I felt like self-harm was my only way of releasing all the emotions inside. The cuts became deeper, and deeper.

The bullying at work started, and nothing was done about it, even when I would complain to my manager. I tried to focus on what I loved about my job, but it got too hard. I didn’t want to be there anymore. I would self-harm every day when I left work, and would often leave work in tears.

Eventually the people who were bullying me left. Things started to look up for me. I was happier for a while.

Things got bad very quickly again.

In October 2011 I took an overdose, I couldn’t deal with things anymore. I told my friend about the overdose. It was a blur, I remember the police knocking on my door and being taken into hospital. I had never been so scared in my whole life. I told my mum what had happened, I remember her crying and hugging me. I put a brave face on for her, but when I got into the ambulance I broke down.

When I arrived in the hospital at about 12.45am I was questioned by doctors about the overdose and also the scars on my arms. It was all a very scary experience for me. I was overwhelmed and just wanted to cry, and just wanted my mum. I had to wait till around 2am, to have bloods taken. I was left waiting; this gave me plenty of thinking time. I cried a lot as well. I was taken up to the ward at around 3am. I didn’t sleep and was put on a heart monitor.

I then had to talk to psychiatrist; of course I said everything was fine. And she left me alone. About 5.30pm I was discharged. When I got home, I had to face my mum and little sister. When I asked my mum why nobody came to see if I was okay, she told me that my oldest sister had said, ” Claire doesn’t deserve us to go there, she did this to herself, she can deal with it”  that was the hardest thing I have ever had to hear. It broke my heart.

No matter what happens you can always make it through the hard times.

Claire, 24, UK

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