The end of self-harm

This is the story of one young girl and the strength she gained from confronting the complex emotions behind the urge to self-harm.

Girl using the computer
Anything that happened, no matter how minor, made me lose control and self-harm.
I am a 15 year old girl who has just made it through possibly one of the toughest phases I will endure. I had depression. It all started about the end of year seven, I was thirteen years old. At the time, at school, my friends and the people I hung around were the people I had known all my life. In this group of about twelve, there was a girl who everybody liked. We all wanted to be like her. We followed her everywhere and did only as she did. Slowly, I began to think for myself and started to move away from the group. As my old friends began to notice that I wasn't around as much anymore, they started getting petty and mean towards me. That was when the bullying began.

At this time, home wasn't much better. My step-brother and his girlfriend had just moved in with us and they were always fighting. I also have a step-sister. My parents and my step-sister don't exactly have the best history. When she was younger she caused a lot of trouble for both my mum and my dad. I was convinced that my dad thought I was turning into her.

With all this going on, I didn't know how to cope. I started self -harming. Anything that happened, no matter how minor, made me lose control and self-harm. All the emotions in me just kept building up; I didn't talk to anyone about anything. I bottled it all up which was a bad mistake. Every night I would silently cry myself to sleep. Life at that time, I felt, just wasn't worth living.

I had to tell someone

I went to see the school counsellor with my friend, but I didn't like her and she didn't really help me so I never went back. Then I told my aunty. She was really supportive of me and tried to help. It was hard for her because we live in different states, so we were just speaking over the internet. She promised me she wouldn't tell anyone.

One night the phone rang. My mum answered, it was my aunty, and she asked to speak to me. I knew what it would be about so I took it in another room. She told me she was going to tell my parents, that she couldn't handle it. She told me sometimes at night she was so worried about me that she couldn't sleep. I begged and pleaded with her not to tell them but I couldn't stop her.

When my parents found out, it was really hard to take for both of them. They had no idea that anything was going on. They were both in tears, hugging me and asking me why. I was so angry at my aunty for telling them. The next morning, first thing, my mum rang the doctor, he referred me to a psychologist. The first session was very emotional because I had to talk about everything that was going on. I found it very difficult to do this with a complete stranger. But as I got to know her I found she was really nice. She taught me different techniques to try and stop self-harming, most of them didn't work until we did visualisations. These were the most effective for me.

Now I understand why my aunty told my parents. I have forgiven her for breaking her promise. It really was for the best.

Today I'm finished with self-harm; I have to live with the scars, but I'm ok with that. They remind me of my past. It didn't kill me, so I'm stronger for it. Now I take every day as it comes, I try to live life to the fullest and I love it.
Last reviewed: 02 March, 2014
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  • hartley_    (1216 days ago)

    Hey Joy, Its great to hear this is comforting for you and yes, with help, your daughter will get through this. If you need to talk do stop by the forums, many people here in the ReachOut community have been through, or are going through similar issues and it could be helpful for you to get their insight into things. If you or your daughter need to talk to anyone, Kids Help Line (1800 55 1800) and LifeLine (13 11 14) are great resources.
    Thankyou for being a supportive Mum!

  • rt262    (1216 days ago)

    Great article, really well written. I agree with the positive outlook from recovery, for me although these things are so difficult for both the individual and the people around them, I became much stronger and wiser as a person. I have a greater understanding of myself and the person I am now and want to be. I also found that it gave me a stronger connection with my family which I'm really grateful for. Positive times do come :)

  • Joy Kirkwood    (1217 days ago)

    As a parent of a 15 year old daughter who is self-harming it is comforting to know that there is life after self harming and with help she will get through this.