Ivybelle on Bullying

“Things will get easier, people’s minds will change, and you should be alive to see It.”
-Ellen DeGeneres

“You’re fat. You’re ugly. You’re stupid. Your mom doesn’t love you. Who would like you? You’re fat and ugly! You’re worthless. Nobody will care if you die.”
Those are a few of what I was told ever since I was a kid.

I remember being in first grade and a classmate (a boy) didn’t like me very much. I never knew why but he always picked on me. I remember one day trying to look at a book that I wasn’t supposed to touch and he punched me in the chest. I also remember crying in pain and the teacher not doing much about it but he kept yelling at me. Most of the class didn’t like me to be honest. I only had 1 friend in my class but most of the girls would steal my things and the boys were always making fun of what I was eating and throwing my things. They would throw my backpack, my notebooks, my jacket, etc. At some point my backpack fell apart. When I was young, I was very shy and reserved so I didn’t really communicate with people. ASL was my first language then English and French but because my mom is deaf, she couldn’t help me pronounce words properly. For the longest time people used to make fun of me because of my accent and not knowing the difference between some words; e.g. “Fork” and “Fort”.

When I was in grade 4 I was the new girl. I moved from Ontario to Quebec at this point and I didn’t know anyone. I was the girl with the deaf mom again and I was the one who didn’t wear clothing with brands. I remember one guy and his best friend were the school meanies. They bullied a lot of people at school and ¾ of the students were scared of them. One day I played basketball and the ball ended up rolling beside him and I tried to get the ball but he kept kicking it away. I got annoyed and told him to stop it but he got pissed off and started pushing me and at some point I fell to the ground. Him and his friends started laughing at me. He called me every name in the book. “ Ugly, fat, dumb, stupid, trash, loser” among other things that is not PG rated.

I stayed at that school for 3 years. I kept telling my mom that I was getting bullied and she would tell me to tell the teachers, but they never really did anything. I was scared of going to that school. When I was 10 years old a few girls and I were talking (I thought we were friends), they were telling me how my friends are pretending to be my friends- that they told them. I argued with them for a good 30 minutes about how they are lying but I was still really hurt and I felt really alone. That’s when one of the girls said that if I was to die no one would care. I told her that she was lying but she was so convincing. After arguing for a while, she started a petition called “Who wants Ivybelle to kill herself?” Every time someone wanted me dead she would add a mark on the sheet. She came back with 4 sheets filled. I told the girl that I would commit suicide and wont show up the next morning. The next morning I didn’t show up and my mom didn’t know. However, The teacher caught her and she got in trouble. She talked to her dad and she was grounded.

In high school I bullied too. From being thrown basketballs at, to turning people against me, to telling classes my deepest secrets, to getting abused, etc. The first 4 years were hard. I didn’t fit in anywhere, I was depressed, my mom moved to BC and I stayed behind. I was sexually abused, being bullied and I was struggling in school. I started self-harming, drinking and smoking. I was being discriminated by my dad for being hearing and not deaf and on top of that he and my half-sister were bullying me. The bullying didn’t really stop until I moved to BC and went to a good high school where there was no tolerance for bullying.

Bullying is really hard to go through and see someone go through. Over the years it seems to be getting worse every year. It’s gotten so bad that 12-year-old kids are turning to serious physical abuse and even murder. When I hear/see things like that on the news, my heart breaks and I worry so much about what the future holds. Some of these situations happen at school and some out of school.. If you know anyone that is getting bullied here are some steps to help.
10 Steps to Stop and Prevent Bullying:
Credit: http://www.nea.org/home/51629.htm
Whether you are a parent, an educator, or a concerned friend of the family, there are ten steps you can take to stop and prevent bullying:
1. Pay attention. There are many warning signs that may point to a bullying problem, such as unexplained injuries, lost or destroyed personal items, changes in eating habits, and avoidance of school or other social situations. However, every student may not exhibit warning signs, or may go to great lengths to hide it. This is where paying attention is most valuable. Engage students on a
daily basis and ask open-ended questions that encourage conversation.

2. Don’t ignore it. Never assume that a situation is harmless teasing. Different students have different levels of coping; what may be considered teasing to one may be humiliating and devastating to another. Whenever a student feels threatened in any way, take it seriously, and assure the student that you are there for them and will help.

3. When you see something — do something. Intervene as soon as you even think there may be a problem between students. Don’t brush it off, as “kids are just being kids They’ll get over it.” Some never do, and it affects them for a lifetime. All questionable behaviour should be addressed immediately to keep a situation from escalating. Summon other adults if you deem the situation may get out of hand. Be sure to always refer to your school’s anti-bullying policy.

4. Remain calm. When you intervene, refuse to argue with either student. Model the respectful behaviour you expect from the students. First make sure everyone is safe and that no one needs immediate medical attention. Reassure the students involved, as well as the bystanders. Explain to them what needs to happen next — bystanders go on to their expected destination while the students involved should be taken separately to a safe place.

5. Deal with students individually. Don’t attempt to sort out the facts while everyone is present, don’t allow the students involved to talk with one another, and don’t ask bystanders to tell what they saw in front of others. Instead, talk with the individuals involved — including bystanders — on a one-on-one basis. This way, everyone will be able to tell their side of the story without worrying about what others may think or say.

6. Don’t make the students involved apologize and/or shake hands on the spot. Label the behaviour as bullying. Explain that you take this type of behaviour very seriously and that you plan to get to the bottom of it before you determine what should be done next and any resulting consequences based on your school’s anti-bullying policy. This empowers the bullied child — and the bystanders — to feel that someone will finally listen to their concerns and be fair about outcomes.

7. Hold bystanders accountable. Bystanders provide bullies an audience, and often actually encourage bullying. Explain that this type of behaviour is wrong, will not be tolerated, and that they also have a right and a responsibility to stop bullying. Identify yourself as a caring adult that they can always approach if they are being bullied and/or see or suspect bullying.

8. Listen and don’t pre-judge. It is very possible that the person you suspect to be the bully may actually be a bullied student retaliating or a “bully’s” cry for help. It may also be the result of an undiagnosed medical, emotional or psychological issue. Rather than make any assumptions, listen to each child with an open mind.

9. Get appropriate professional help. Be careful not to give any advice beyond your level of expertise. Rather than make any assumptions, if you deem there are any underlying and/or unsolved issues, refer the student to a nurse, counsellor, school psychologist, social worker, or other appropriate professional.

10. Become trained to handle bullying situations. If you work with students in any capacity, it is important to learn the proper ways to address bullying. Visit http://www.nea.org/bullyfree for information and resources. You can also take the pledge to stop bullying, as well as learn how to create a Bully Free program in your school and/or community.

If you are a victim of bullying, please talk to someone. I know it might be scary right now, but please hold on and don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s not your fault.

Stay Strong. Stay Beautiful. Stay You.
Keep Fighting.
-Ivybelle-Xx

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Ivybelle Talks about The Difference Between Tattoo’s And Self-Harm

 

“In case you didn’t know, dead people don’t bleed. If you can bleed-see it, feel it-then you know you’re alive. It’s irrefutable, undeniable proof. Sometimes I just need a little reminder.”  Amy Efaw, After

 

When I was younger I used to self-harm and I was addicted to it. I did it for many reason; to feel something when I was numb, to focus my pain on physical instead of emotional/mental, etc. I didn’t care if I lived or died and it became an addiction. It’s still something I struggle with- it’s a daily battle with myself. No, I don’t self-harm anymore and I’m proud of myself. I just keep trying to stay positive.
“I am a canvas of my experiences, my story is etched in lines and shading, and you can read it on my arms, my legs, my shoulders, and my stomach.” – Kat Von D
Ever since I was 11 years old I’ve wanted to get a tattoo. At 17 years old my dad paid for my very first tattoo, I was sooo happy. The first tattoo I got was a Treble Clef to symbolize my passion for music. Music has always been a huge part of my life and I’ve always wanted to be a musician. At 17 years old self-harming got worse and I was struggling. I wanted to be a musician but my dad wouldn’t allow me. I would listen to music all the time until my dad snapped at me because I was too obsessed with music, that’s all I ever did. Even though my dad didn’t want to help me with music, I was happy to get my tattoo because it was a reminder of who I am, who I was, who I will be and what I love.

The second tattoo I got was the words “Stay Strong” on my wrists to remind me to stay strong in hard moments. It’s also been a strong reminder to not self-harm.
I started to self-harm when I was 15,I would find different ways to harm myself… I had a lot of things going on and I didn’t know how to cope. After 3 years of therapy, I told myself I would get a tattoo and that was the tattoo I got. Originally I wanted something with “ stay strong” but I didn’t know what until I saw Demi Lovato with the tattoo on her wrists and I thought, “ wow! I want that!” and I did. A lot of people have asked me why I got that tattoo, to some people I tell the story but some are not aware.

The third tattoo that I have is a quote saying, “We accept the love we think we deserve”. I didn’t come up with that quote, I found it on Pintrest but I thought that it’s so true. I think everyone can relate to the idea of thinking that we either don’t deserve someone that treats us like a Queen/King. I got this because I, myself struggle with the idea of accepting the love I truly deserve. I always thought that I could only get a guy that thinks so little of me and takes me for granted. I never thought that I could get someone that treats me with respect, that doesn’t cheat, that loves me for me, that takes me out, etc.. Every morning I look in the mirror and say out loud the quote that I now have tattooed on me and it reminds me that I deserve someone loving and caring.

“My body is my journal, and my tattoos are my story.”

                                                                  — Johnny Depp

 

Some people that know about my past have all asked me the same question. “Isn’t self-harming and getting tattoos the same thing?” “ You used to self-harm so really you’re just finding an excuse to harm yourself again”.
No, I am not doing it to self-harm. When I get a tattoo it has to have a meaning or a story to tell. However, when the urges do come back getting a tattoo seems like a good idea to me. Yes in a way I’m replacing one pain by another but at least instead of having scars I’m getting a tattoo that portraits a beautiful memory/reminder, every tattoo has a story. I can understand why people ask me those questions it can be confusing especially when they know my past.

I will admit, when I get my tattoos I love the feeling of getting them. There’s a part of me that feels relief and feels good when I feel the pain. However, there’s another part of me that is scared that I will fall back into that habit- that’s scared of facing my past again. I guess in a way I’m replacing one pain with another.
No, I do not get a tattoo to self-harm, I get a tattoo because I want one and/or I have a story to add. Yes I’m turning a battle scar into a beautiful picture.

If you do plan on getting tattoos please make sure you get one for the right reasons…

-Ivybelle-
Stay Strong. Stay beautiful. Stay you.
Keep fighting.
xx

Madison and The Stereotypes of Suicide

Definition from dictonary.com:
“The intentional taking of one’s own life.”

Suicide like self harm is hard to talk about because of how touchy of a subject it is and there is always a fear of accidently triggering someone , or offending someone. So I always try to keep that in mind and try to keep as many details as possible so this blog may not be as personal as my other blogs. So my blog today like most other times is going to be on stereotypes.
Stereotype:

People who talk about suicide do it to get attention.
That can be true in some ways, but I believe Its on the same kind of attention people think it is. When at any point someone come to you talking about the difficulty they are facing/ having it more of a cry for help, rather the attention seeking. Suicide is a very serious issue that people go through and it’s not something people want to do. If I could it out of my head I would, but it takes a lot of love and support to help get through it.
I struggle with suicide and depression as some people know if you guys got a chances to read any of my other blogs. I go through suicidal episodes and it’s hard to take about it. I can openly talk about I when I’m not going through an episode but when I’m in one it’s hard enough to even smile let alone let some one else in, and that is typically the time I need the most help.
Suicide is not very common.
Oh I wish that was true, but sadly it’s more common then people think. It’s something that is not typically talked about much, unless it impacts you. I have a few family members and friend that struggle so I’ve always known a lot about the topics, but due the negative stigma around suicide it’s not very heard about. My parent for one have a very different look on suicide because they think if no body talks about it, it will go away on it own. With some thing yes that may work but other not so much.
Once someone has made up their minds to die, they can’t be helped.
No there is always hope, someone may just need to see you fight for them to help change there minds. If a person really wanted to go they already be gone, there would be no talking about it. There is always a reason to stay, they just might not be able to see it.
There had been days that I felt like I’ve had nothing left to live for, and sometime all it took was a simple hello from a old friend, or a sweet smile from a random stranger. The little thing in life make life worth living but even the best of us seem to miss it sometimes. Nobody perfect, where would the fun be if we all were.
To be able to enjoy a good day we have to experience a bad day. To be sad you have to know what happy feels like. To ask for help is not weakness it’s a sign of strength and trust in one’s self. Never forget you are cared for, you are loved, and you mean something, you just may not see it yet.

-Madison Taylor.

Marie Olsson Talks about Depression

“I think one thing is that anybody who’s had to contend with mental illness – whether it’s depression, bipolar illness or severe anxiety, whatever – actually has a fair amount of resilience in the sense that they’ve had to deal with suffering already, personal suffering.” –Kay Redfield Jamison

I am Bipolar type II. It is a form of depression and it is something I am learning how to live with. My experience with depression will differ from others; but no one’s experience is the same.

When I think of depression I don’t think of writing on symptoms and how I know I have depression or how to spot it. I think of the endless questions I encounter when someone finds out I am depressed. I think it’s best suited for my blog to be on some of the most common questions I get asked. I could go on for hours but I’ll sum it up in just a few.

“You’re just lazy.”

Sure ok I may seem like I’m just being lazy, but to me it feels like I’ve just ran 12 kilometers and you are asking me to run another 10 kilometers. For me this is a constant feeling that does not pass, it’s with me when I wake until I go to bed and is there again as soon as I wake up the next day. I may have the day or couple hours where I feel like I want to do something and want to get up, get dressed look pretty and go out, but that never lasts long. I cannot remember a time when I woke up and wanted to do something even two times in the same week, let alone two days in a row. So yeah it may take me longer to start my day or gain the will to go do a task but I feel like I have no motivation or any energy to start the task.

“It’s not that hard to get up in the morning.”

When I go to get up in the morning my whole body feels like it’s made of molasses, my blankets feel like an indescribable amount of weight on top of me, and it feels like I haven’t actually slept at all. Yes I should fight harder, yes I could try something different, yes I know it impacts things, yes I know it messes up my schedule, and yes I know it’s an unnecessary evil. However I do not need to hear you tell me things I already know, I already struggle with. I hear these words and it doesn’t help; if anything it makes things worse.

A lot of people I know who struggle with depression say that sleeping is their safe place, their escape from their never ending nightmare. But for me it feels as though my nightmares never end, with my bipolar when I am awake and night terrors while I am asleep it wears me out. I wake up feeling just as tired, if not more so, then when I went to sleep. It took me years to come to terms with the fact that I am dependent on my mother even to this day when I have a really bad night terror. Some nights I wake up having a panic attack and cannot breathe, the only thing that can soothe me is curling up with someone I love and trust. I hate knowing that at night I can never be truly independent, I will probably always have to rely on knowing there is someone I trust nearby that I can go to if I need them. The only time sleeping is my escape is when I am sleeping beside someone and it’s sad; but over time I have grown fond of knowing that I have an escape and that only those I love and care for can help me achieve it. So yes it’s hard for me to wake up in the morning, yes I’m grumpy and lethargic; but at least I am trying to get up.

“So you self-harm?”

No I do not; yes they can be linked but just because I am depressed does not mean I self-harm, that is not an outlet I am using. Not everyone who is depressed self-harms, so please do not put those two together.

“It just takes time”

How much time? Is there a magical number of hours, days, weeks, months, or years that I have to deal with this and then it just goes away?

“You’ll find happiness when you find someone.”

My happiness is not dependent on another human being, thanks. I need to be happy being me, and be accepting of who I am before I can find happiness with another. No that does not mean I need to be cured, it just means I need to accept that some days I may struggle more with my moods then others.

“Others have it worse than you.”

Is life a competition? By that idea plenty of people have it better too. This point it irrelevant for many reasons. One reason is everyone is different, we all handle situations differently. Things that really affect me could not affect you nearly as much; but on the other hand it could also be completely reversed.

“Just smile.”

If I do not want to smile I won’t. You are not helping anyone by telling someone to smile. Maybe I don’t feel like smiling but I am happy. Even if I am not happy I shouldn’t have to plaster on a fake smile to please others, unless I am at work that’s another story. As long as I am not growling at you or bawling my eyes out the fact that I am not smiling should be the least of your concern. I cannot think of a reason you should tell me to smile unless I am having my photo taken, so please keep that input to yourself. Yes, jokingly it is fine but I do not need to hear it in a serious manner or from someone I hardly know.

“Stop feeling sorry for yourself.”

“Depression isn’t about, ‘Woe is me, my life is this, that and the other’, it’s like having the worst flu all day that you just can’t kick.” –Robbie Williams

Robbie Williams sums it up perfectly in my opinion. Depression is not about feeling sorry for yourself, that’s not depression. I often find when people think of depression they think of a temporary period of time of suffering; however I find it is more of a constant weight on my shoulders, just some days are worse than others. Depression is not about anything and it is not stuck to a certain amount of time, it has no concept of boundaries. Depression is a state of feeling lost, a feeling of floating through dark clouds.

Depression is not a word to throw around lightly.
Depression cannot be summed up in an article or a blog.
Depression is not the same for everyone.
Depression is not something someone likes to answer endless questions on.
Depression is not fun.
Depression is depression.

Stay Loud, Stay Proud and Keep on Being You Lovies,
Marie Olsson xx

For More Information:

On Depression: http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/detecting-depression

On Bipolar type II: http://www.webmd.com/bipolar-disorder/guide/bipolar-2-disorder

Self-Harm -Lynn Rascal

Self-Harm Resources:

www.sioutreach.com

www.recoveryourlife.com

To learn more:

www.cmha.bc.ca/get-informed/mental-health-information/self-harm

To find a therapist/counsellor near you:

http://therapists.psycologytoday.com

Online Chat:

www.Imalive.org

www.buschat.info

https://www.7cupsoftea.com/self-harm/

http://youthinbc.com/youth-issues-2/self-harm/ (open noon-1am in BC and Yukon)

Call:

Fraser Health Crisis Line (BC):  1-604-951-8855

www.121Help.me : 1-855-201-2121

www.kidshelpphone.ca :1-800-668-6868

-Lynn Rascal

Brian O’Connor opinion piece on Self Harm

There are so many views on how you look at the issue youths face now a days with the subject of “self harm”. I have faced self harm before once by cutting and to be honest I didn’t enjoy it, the pain I felt from it wasn’t satisfying at all. The way I face my self harm was punching walls and breaking my hand on multiple occasions and over the years it taught me a lot. I did it for the high I got off it after the first two times of breaking my hand and for quite some time it felt so good but the end result was not worth it. Now when I think of self harm I try to go for a walk and clear my thoughts or playing soccer instead of cutting or punching solid things or I try and talk to people.

I know it’s hard because you think people don’t care enough about you and the only way to feel happy is to self harm, for yourself to die but it’s not worth it because you have so much life ahead of you. Life can be tough and you want to give up but put your head up high and fight the giant ahead of you because when you can conquer that you can conquer anything else life throws at you.

Remember that you have a purpose of life because your scars and your past will help someone else in life and that your not alone as you think you are, because there is a lot of people going through the same thing as you and together by talking to someone you can overcome life and whatever it throws at you.

-Brian O’Connor

via Self harm -Brian O’Connor | TIME.

Madison Opinion Piece On Self-Harm

When it comes to self-harm there are so many different out looks and negative impressions on self-harm.  With this blog I’m hoping to break some stereotype and bring more awareness. First thing is what is self-harm? The proper definition for self-harm is “a deliberate act that cause harm to one’s body, mind and/or spirt.” I liked this definition because it shows that there is more than one way to injure your self beside physically. So what are the different types of self-harm? Well there a bunch of different way, the most common that people see more often is cutting. But there also:

  • Scratching and pinching
  • Forcefully impacting object towards one self.
  • Ripping skin tissue
  • Carving into skin tissue
  • Burning one self
  • Hair pulling
  • Poisoning
  • Misusing drug or alcohol/ purposely overdosing
  • Anorexia
  • Binge eating (either Bulimia or forcefully trying to gain weight.)
  • Exersing excessively
  • Preventing wounds from healing
  • Sleep depravation

And there is still so much more. When it comes down to it, this is not about strength or weakness. It’s about someone needing help and no one listening. We are all human and we all need help once in a while and sometime it’s easier said than done.

The next thing I wanted to talk about is stereotypes. Stereotype drive me mad, I highly dislike them because majority or all of them are not true and to me I feel like its labelling. But that the last thing people need is to be labeled in a category that they may or may not be in. So the next section I’m going to write about is my point of views on the more popular stereotypes. And I know some people may not agree with some of my statement, but that’s alright feel free to comment your point of views. I love to hear different side, because it help me learn different ways to look at things. I will be bolding the stereotype statement and then have my opinion piece underneath

“People self-harm for attention seeking”

  • This statement can be true in a way, because when I self-harmed I was calling for help. And statistics show that majority of people that self-harm are subconsciously are calling for some sort of help and just can’t quiet figure out how else to express it. But when people turn around and say “oh she just looking for some attention” to me that really hurt because I they say that and walk away and I’ll be stuck going to that same cycle because no one listening.

“Teenager are the only ones to self-harm.”

  • To me that’s one of the biggest lie you can tell. Almost as big as telling someone they will grow out of it. This is something that could happen to anyone. Not just one age group, teenager, adult and elderly all go through our own struggle and we all deal with stress differently. But as adult we are responsible for are selves and are able to hide it better than a youth going home to their parents.

“They can stop if they wanted to”

  • No, not everyone can. To some people self-harm can turn into an addiction and turning back can be as hard for them as quieting smoking. And stopping is not always easy if the cause for the self-harming is present.

“The wound isn’t that bad, so the problem can’t be that bad”

  • This statement makes me angry, because everyone has their own struggles and who has the right to say someone else’s struggle are better than theirs. When you see someone wounds you only seeing the outside wounds, and not taking into account of the inside wounds they may be struggling with.

“Only woman self-harm.”

  • I don’t know where this one came from but it’s wrong. Yes there is a higher ratio of female to male. For every 1.5 female to each male. But that does not mean that there are only females that self-harm.

“People who self-harm are violent”

  • Just because one person that self-harms was violent doesn’t mean the rest of us are. It’s like saying every teenager is a thief. No, this is just a way to put more labels on people and leave them out. Why label someone, why not get to know them instead.

“People who self-harm don’t care about them self’s or other.”

  • See again it’s all about labelling. Not one person is the same, I self-harmed in the past but I still loved my self and others. I have always been a very compassionate person, so this stereotype really bugs me, because no one can tell you how you feel, only you can do that. And yes in some cases there are some people who are like that. But why judge, is it doesn’t affect you why put that person down.

If you walked into subway and the person in front of you ordered a state and cheese and you are ordering tuna. Would you get mad at them for not ordering the same thing as you?

The next paragraph I wanted to talk to you a little bit about my experiences. When I was in my teenage years I mentally self-harmed myself, I also had anorexia. I struggled with that for years, I still do once and a while not I will say nasty thing to myself and break my self-confidence. I know I shouldn’t I’m 22 with a wonderful man by my side picking up every piece I drop, but it just happens. When I was younger I would cry when I was over 105 pounds. And realistically I wasn’t fat, but I didn’t have the self-esteem to help me believe that. So I continued not eating and I started to get sicker and sick to the point where I didn’t know that healthy was anymore. As well as morally I felt terribly because I’d be lying about my eating habits and it didn’t matter what they did, I wouldn’t eat or I would eat very little and be mad at myself. I broke the eating cycle when I got pregnant with my son and it pushed me to eat because the last thing I wanted to do was hurt my baby. After I gave birth I started back tracking or start forgetting to eat, because that was what I was used to. The only reason I did was my son reminded me of when meal time was. I’m still not happy with my weight but I’ve gotten to a point where, I’m healthy again and I finally reached out for help so that I can live a good life for my son J

I hoped you guys enjoyed my blog, feel free to ask me questions or comments. I will love to read them ❤

~Madison Taylor

Ivybelle Opinion Piece on Self Harm

Self-Harm is a very touchy subject to a lot of people. It has been around for years and yet people don’t really understand why people do it or don’t really understand that there is more than one type of self-harm. There’s mutilation, burning, too much food or not enough, there’s drugs/alcohol, there’s lack of sleep or too much, and many more. A person doesn’t always realize what they do to themselves. People who starve themselves or have lack of sleep don’t realize that they are harming themselves because they think it’s a normal thing and that it doesn’t hurt their body.

The first thing people thing a person will think when mentioning “Self-Harm” is cutting or burning themselves. Self-Harm can not only be caused by a mental issue but also from bullying, harassment, Abuse, etc.. It can really push someone into harming themselves. Self-Harm is something that I know very well. I myself have struggled with it for years, mine was a combined of different harms including; mutilation, lack of sleep, lack of food and at some point I wanted to turn to burning myself. Not a lot of people knew because I didn’t want anyone to know. I was scared that they would tell my mom or they would make fun of me or send me into a hospital.

The first time I ever tried self-harm I was 10. When I was 10 years old, I got bullied really badly. I got called every name in the book, physically abused, people made fun of me because my mom was deaf and a girl started a petition of who wanted me dead. Eventually I started starving myself. Not only because I was being called ugly and fat, but because my mom was poor and couldn’t always afford to buy food. I stopped eating and I was afraid to tell anyone about the situations I was going through.

In gym class one day I blacked out and the gym teachers didn’t do anything. I thought to myself maybe no one actually cares about me after all. At that moment I didn’t really want to live anymore. With the years I just got the habit of starving myself without realizing that I was actually self-harming myself. I thought it was normal I didn’t think I was harming myself. When I was younger, sleep was not something that I would allow myself at times. The abuse I went through since I was 5 caused me to be paranoid and cause a serious trauma. I would stay awake for weeks and I would start having physical pain. Like cramps, headaches, my eyes would hurt, I was emotionally drained and eventually it didn’t matter anymore because I allowed my body to suffer because of my fear. With time, I didn’t have to force myself to stay up anymore and I wouldn’t get any physical pain because I got used to it. I didn’t realize the damage I was causing to my body.

In high school I was finally told by an old friend told me that cutting was a way for her to release pain and it felt good. I tried it and that’s what I turned to… I did it for many reasons. One of them was to focus my pain physically and forget the pain emotionally. I hated the feeling of pain. So instead I would focus on the physical pain because it was only temporary. Another reason as well, was because I felt ugly. I was bullied for years and people would always call me ugly, fat, useless, they said that nobody loved me even my mom. Eventually I believe it. Self-Harm was a way for me to express how I felt on the inside to match the outside. Another reason was that I became addicted to the pain. The pain felt good, It made me feel alive again.

When go through a lot of emotional pain and bottle it up, you eventually become numb. It’s like it becomes too much mentally and emotionally and you forget that you are even alive because eventually you don’t feel the pain of cutting or burning or any other type of self-harm. After cutting wasn’t enough for me, I wanted so badly to try burning myself. I came close to doing it until I got caught by a friend and gave me a speech about how self-harm wasn’t the way to deal with situations. At that point, bullying wasn’t the only problem. There was family issues as well. But then I thought to myself maybe I should just stick to cutting along with the other things I was doing to myself. See, even though people tell you to not harm yourself, it’s something that is not easy to stop.

Often you think to yourself that no one understands your pain, that they don’t really care about you, that they say it out of pity or that they would feel responsible if something happened to you. You think that you are alone, that you will never get through your problems that the easiest way to deal with it is self-harm to the point that you kill yourself or even become numb. Sometimes you would like to wear a t-shirt or shorts but you can’t because you don’t want people to judge you on the battle wounds you have or you feel too ugly because of the scars, yet you can’t seem to stop. It’s a way to relief yourself, a “home”, an addiction, your therapy.

A lot of people won’t understand why you do it. And really, it’s not something that’s easy to explain unless you go through it. Often people who self-harm are being called weak, stupid and even “useless”. I’ve heard that one many times,but it’s not. People who self-harm are a lot stronger than people think. They go through a lot and don’t know how to deal with it. It’s so easy to be judged. Not everyone has the courage to take a blade, knife, razor, etc… To their skin without thinking without crying and doing it over and over again.

Often people tells us that we are attention-whores, or we are a sad excuse. Sometimes were are just looking for people to pity us. That would wouldn’t be harming ourselves if we really wanted to end ourselves. However sometimes, people who starve/over eat, use drugs/alcohol, etc… Don’t realize they are harming themselves, so how can they be looking for attention- not everyone has money to get therapy. A lot of doctors would say that you need medication or therapy, but honestly, we don’t need therapy or medication to make us feel crazy. We need someone to give us a hug and tell us we will be okay and that we aren’t crazy. We need a true friend who won’t betray us, and no one wants to be a medication because they just think we are crazy and that medication will make people stop harming themselves.

Self-harm is a very vulnerable thing to admit and to talk about. Schools don’t really talk about it anymore. People choose to close their eyes instead of getting them some help. More and more people are turning to those releases because it’s the only thing that can make them feel free in a way. Today’s society is making us more and more depressed because of the standards or being “beautiful“ or  making us so stressed out that we feel like there is no way out. Today, I still struggling with self-harm. I’ve stopped for a couple years and every day is another day that I am struggling to not get into it again. It’s not easy. When I see a knife, the temptation is there. There’s morning and lunches that I skip eating and there are days that I force myself to stay up. It’s a battle that I keep fighting but I tell myself that I have to stay strong.

So remember people, stay strong. You are beautiful and it does get better. Don’t be afraid to get help. You are not crazy, you are just going through pain that is overwhelming and hard to deal with. You will get through it. Stay strong. Stay Beautiful. – Ivybelle – Xx

Marie Opinion Piece on Self Harm

Self-Harm is a word that means so many things, fits to many things we do to our bodies. Whether it’s cutting oneself, burning oneself, starving oneself, how much or little one sleeps, or what toxins one puts in their body. (drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, etc.) It could be countless different things we all do to our bodies. To some they find the relief in cutting that I find in lighting a cigarette; whereas others may find it in a nice bubble bath.

Some forms of self-harm are arguably worse than others. Cutting or burning ones body is more risky to ones immediate wellbeing than lighting a cigarette or not sleeping enough for a couple nights. However in the long run they all significantly impact ones wellbeing and health. No matter what one does to their body it all catches up to us eventually.

Now I personally have never cut myself; but I had friends who did.  Seeing the marks, hearing them talk about it, that scared me.  Knowing that someone I care for is hurting themselves, is hurting so bad that causing themselves physical pain helps, it’s a scary thought. The thought of them hurting themselves, cutting too deep, hitting the wrong spot, or slicing down a artery instead of across, the chance of them not being alright, or alive after that is frightening.  Something I wish no one had to go through; whether it’s the person who is harming themselves or those who care about that person and are constantly worried about them.

Many people see self harm as a sign of weakness, that the person can’t handle life.  However I don’t think it’s a weakness, it’s not healthy or good, but it doesn’t make the person weak.  It shows that the person has taken what life has to throw at them ( eg. bullying, abuse, family struggles, loved ones death, schooling, discrimination, work, harassment, etc.) and internalized it, because others words and actions do hurt. Internalizing your issues builds, it’s like this ever growing weight that you can not shake, it’s not pleasant. People need to find some way to deal with it and to physically harm your body, that’s not a easy feat it’s quite scary really.  Cutting yourself is something that takes guts, really takes that push of having being through too much to handle, it’s something I couldn’t do to myself. People seem to forget that cutting yourself is not a small feat, it’s scary, dangerous, and permanent.  So to call someone weak or belittling them for self harming does more harm then good, it’s the last thing that person wants to hear.  That person needs to see the people who care for them actually show they care, to be understanding and helpful; not to freak out, guilt them or tell them they are weak/pathetic/dumb. They need help, and they need a group of supportive, caring loved ones to help them through it.

I may not have cut myself but I did go through other forms of harming myself. I’ve starved myself eating (or drinking) the bare minimum to keep going and not have people on my back, I’ve averaged 2-4 hours of sleep a night, if I even slept.  I used to drink to excess, I started smoking in my teens, averaging one and a half to two packs a day, something although I’ve cut down I still haven’t managed to quit all together.

To me it was my way of surviving, if I didn’t sleep, I didn’t dream which meant I didn’t have nightmares.  I didn’t have a proper sleep of over 6 hours in over 4 to 5 years, my body learnt not to stay asleep that long. Although I started sleeping longer again I still sometimes can not sleep over four hours in a night and I still regularly wake up after 3 hours and have to force myself back to sleep.  It’s not a fun process and it’s caught up to me, I’m more lethargic and never feel properly rested.

Honestly I didn’t even notice how little I was eating after a while, I stopped paying attention and so did my body it seemed. I had fallen into a depression, I didn’t want food: I wasn’t hungry and I didn’t have the drive to make or buy food  never mind the drive to eat it. Eventually my body got used to the lack of food intake and adjusted to it, I didn’t feel hungry, my body didn’t want food. It wouldn’t be until I would black out that I even thought of food, by that time I couldn’t remember the last thing I ate nor could I remember when I last ate.  I went without eating regularly for over two years, until it caught up to me and I got extremely sick and weak. It was horrible and trying to force my body to get used to food again was even worse, I was constantly sick and my body would reject the food.

Despite what form of self harm one is doing to their body consciously or not it’s a scary process that needs the right type of help to get past. It takes time to truly move on and it’s always going to be a nagging little temptation in their head. The person needs love, time, support and understanding for what they are going through. All of us whether we are the ones going through the struggles and self harming or are watching a loved one go through it need to stay strong and never give up.

Please, if you are self harming, find someone you trust to confide in and get help.

If you know someone who is self harming or are worried about them please talk to them and get them the help they need and deserve.

-Marie Olsson