Hey darlings! I have had some wonderful people sending me their stories and facts about themselves so I'm going to share one with you today that someone sent me! This post has a strong message which I love which is all about "romanticizing" mental illnesses which is so often done and needs to be stopped. This is quite a hard hitting post but I hope it will give you a better understanding of mental illnesses like it did to me, which is ultimately my aim in this month.
"The first time I deliberately harmed myself I was just three or four years old. I scratched myself until I bled and then scratched more. I didn’t know why I wanted to see myself hurt, but I started to do it again when I was seven, and attempted suicide for the first time the next year. I tried to hang myself with my shoelaces after reading in the newspaper about a little boy who’d done the same. As an eleven and twelve year old I would spend hours banging my head on the wall, punching myself in the face, choking myself with belts and burning myself, sometimes with inspiration from books and TV. All of this came before I knew there was a community online of people my age who felt this way. I didn’t even know kids like me existed. Sometimes I wonder how different things would have been if I had.
When I was fourteen or so, things got even worse. If I had been severely depressed before,I was dead now. I felt like I was watching everything in my life from underneath a frozen lake. Not sinking to
the bottom was a daily battle, and I didn’t know why I was fighting it. For the first time, I looked for help, anonymously on the internet. I found instant messaging helplines, support groups, forums and so many other dead girls. I felt stronger for a while. I could see the sun more clearly through the ice. But things tend to lose their power over
time, and it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t stronger than the shock of pain, the mesmerising allure of flame and my endless self-loathing.I had plans to kill myself in a few months time, and my community and my tiny bit of power over myself were just enough to get me past it. I couldn’t think about why, what I had to live for, because I knew I didn’t have many reasons. Dead girls online were having difficulty too. People took positions against them; their self-diagnosis, their self-harm, the way they supported each other, their “romanticisation” of their illnesses.
They made these political positions and insisted that they were for the girls’ own good, never giving any
evidence that these things are unhealthy. On the contrary, we know that having a support system and not
hating significant parts of yourself reduce the risks of developing many mental illnesses, and are important for recovery.
But there are problems, sure. I began to cut myself with razor blades, which I’d never done before.
Furthermore, I did it when I just needed some emotional release I could have got other ways, instead of
needing to so I didn’t kill myself immediately. Also, ridiculously, I carried on cutting after I’d got what I needed,because I wanted it to look prettier. I thought about carving words into my skin next time.
I don’t go searching for pictures of cuts or blades; they do nothing for me. I came across them by accident.
However, some teenagers are helped by seeing pictures of them, by wallowing in all the grief of the world, by celebrating each others’ smallest victories and they are allowed this. We owe them their community since
we’ve failed them so many other ways. We should encourage them to get help, and make it easier for them to do so (there are economic and social barriers, one of the many reasons self-diagnosis is valid).
We should promote positive coping methods more as alternatives to self-harm. We should teach where trigger warnings are needed and there should be spaces for positivity and spaces where you can be as dark as you feel. There should be more people looking after them.
I don’t believe the problems online come close to approaching those that exist in wider society. The media is
robably most guilty of romanticising mental illness and misunderstanding what it is,and given its power, is
capable of far greater damage. Why are teenage girls even a target? All I know is I’ve
hurt myself many times because of a film that made me feel like a monster, a relative who called me “crazy”
or the failings of my country’s mental health system but I’ve never felt anything but acceptance online"
If you want to share your story for me to post for Mental Health Awearness March send them to me at