Written by a current 1st year Childhood Psychology NTU student
Content warning: This blog mentions personal experience around self-harm which some readers might find triggering.
Today is Self-Harm Awareness Day. It is 2021 and there are still so many myths and misconceptions around self-harm, those who haven’t experienced self-harm or been in that situation may not always understand it.
If you have ever, like me, self-harmed, you may see it as a release. You may see it as a way to escape the scariness and the bitterness of the real world. You’ve had a bad day and you see it as an escape. You’re not alone in that feeling. I have been there too. I remember the first time I self-harmed. I was 15, and I was recovering from a major operation. That was my first life changing moment, everything had been okay until then. For me, self-harm was an escape, to block out everything that was going wrong in the world.
Before I sat down to write this blog, I thought about my own experience. Leading up to my first time harming myself, I never imagined I’d do that to myself. I was a content and happy person, school was going fine, I had a loving family and loving friends, until my operation, life was ok. I suppose, the point is, no matter how big or small a problem may seem to one person, it may seem like the end of the world to someone else, and that’s okay. We all deal with things a little differently. We have our ways of coping and this is our way.
Remember. You are brave. You are loved. The world may seem scary, and it may seem unfair, but it will work out in your favour soon. I know it is tough right now; you don’t see it getting better. Take a breath. Maybe try a coping mechanism, such as texting a friend or going on a walk and appreciating nature. I’ve been there, and I’m healing. You can heal too.
There may be a number of reasons why people self-harm. These include:
- They do it to deal with strong emotions or trauma / life experiences
- To punish themselves
- To make themselves feel in control
- To feel more normal
- To distract themselves
- To get relief.
If you are reading this blog, and you self-harm, or know someone who does, remember that it’s a coping mechanism for most of us. To want to hurt yourself usually means that you’re going through a lot, but you don’t know how to express those feelings in a certain way. Maybe you’re afraid to reach out and are afraid of being judged, which is normal. Most people worry about what others think about them. But, if you are reading this, and you harm yourself, maybe try some other ways of coping, some healthier ways – however, don’t be ashamed of the way you’re dealing with things right now.
Here are some recommendations:
- Draw on yourself where you would usually harm, for example draw a butterfly – refer to the Butterfly Project (https://www.adolescentselfinjuryfoundation.com/the-butterfly-project)
- Find something else to distract yourself. Maybe pick up a new hobby or watch a film.
- Call someone when you’re feeling rubbish, it might make their day as well as yours.
- The NHS website has loads of ways to distract yourself to help avoid self-harm. (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/self-harm/ways-help-avoid-self-harm/)
For further support with self-harm, Harmless are an organisation that provides support, information and raising awareness around self-harm. They also have an online referral form to access support regarding self-harm.
For help and advice whilst studying at NTU, take a look at the following for sources of support.
- Support from NTU
- Silvercloud: SilverCloud is our online system designed to help with a range of mental health issues.
- Health and Wellbeing resources
- NTSU Information and Advice service
- Wellness in Mind: Advice and support for anyone in Nottingham experiencing issues with their mental wellbeing
- Student Minds or Student Space
- 10 Keys to happiness