My thoughts were so loud I couldn’t hear my mouth

I first self harmed when I was twelve years old. It was after a violent argument with my mother and I couldn’t stop crying. I remember finding a little wooden bird, some sort of ornament that a friend had given me, with a sharp uneven beak. I scratched it over my hand until the skin broke, and then I stopped.

It was only when I was fourteen that I tried it again. Scratching myself that one time hadn’t really done much to make me feel better, but I was overwhelmed by everything going on around me and was desperate for something to dampen my emotions, even if it was just for a few minutes. And, unfortunately, it did make me feel better. I was calmer and felt as if I had released something; as if somehow everything that was hurting me inside had bled into the outside through the cuts.

I began cutting myself more and more frequently, yet although it provided immediate relief, it didn’t help with anything long term. I didn’t like my new school and there was a suffocating amount of pressure to achieve the highest grades possible in every subject. I was arguing with my friends and I couldn’t seem to get on with anyone; I wanted my friends to be mine and no one else’s, and I would become furious at the smallest sign of rejection. I had been possessive and extremely sensitive from a very young age, and teachers had mentioned it many times at primary school, but my parents had always thought it was something I would grow out of in time.

My mother and father were still fighting daily and when I was thirteen or fourteen, just hitting puberty, my mother put me on a diet. I remember how she used to weigh me once a month on the bathroom scales; she would go first and then I would step on, bare feet flinching against cold glass, watching the dial spin and click. She would then compare the two numbers: mine always had to be lower.

During my first couple of years at secondary school I ignored my mother’s constant threats about grounding me if I didn’t exercise, her criticisms surrounding what I ate and the quantity of it. Instead of succumbing to what she wanted I started saving my pocket money for sweets, skipping sports lessons and sucking my stomach in tight when she was around. When she noticed that I wasn’t visibly losing any weight the threats worsened, so I eventually began to use the treadmill. I hated it at first; the monotonous pounding of trainers against rubber; women sizing themselves up against each other; men panting like rabid dogs, their hair slick with sweat. I continued going once a week to placate my mother and over time my opinions began to change. I came to the conclusion that losing weight would bring with it acceptance and love that I felt completely deprived of, that it would help me to feel confident and happy. From then on I started increasing the amount of time I spent in the gym and the frequency, as well as cutting out “bad foods” such as chocolate, crisps and sweets.

It was because of all of this that I began to see my school counsellor. Looking back she was honestly completely useless, however she did do one good thing, which was referring me to CAMHS (the child and adolescent mental health service, which is part of the NHS).

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The Beginning

Recently in family therapy, our therapist asked my parents when they started having arguments and difficulties in their marriage. My mother said that it started just after I was born, which I was surprised by, because I hadn’t realised how long it had been going on for. I also seem to have very few memories before the age of six or seven that aren’t of fighting, and even later ones mostly involve conflict either between my mother and I or her and my father. 

The problems between my parents worsened and eventually became extreme by the time I was around ten or eleven years old. My mother became extremely physically violent as well as more and more emotionally and verbally abusive towards my father and I. My younger brother, who was about eight at the time, never got involved in their arguments and stayed in his room, whereas I would put myself between my parents and scream and scream at them to stop. I think this is part of the reason why I always experienced the worst of my mother’s anger after she had argued with my father, as well as the fact that I was a difficult child anyway. I think that I learnt from a very young age that my parents weren’t perfect at all and they weren’t going to save me and protect me from everything; I needed to learn to fend for myself.

Hello

I’ve started this new blog in order to write about my experiences with various mental disorders and to hopefully help others suffering to feel less alone. It will also probably include more random ramblings about my daily life, exams, friendships, family, my boyfriend, etc!