Loved Ones Who Self--Harm...
Helping The Helpless
There is one verse in the Bible that says "Nobody ever hated his own body. He feeds it and looks after it." (Living Bible. Ephesians chpt 5 verse 29)
It is written in the context of why a man should take care of his wife as much as he takes care of himself. To me, this has always seemed logical. Surely none of us really would hate and then hurt our own bodies.........How annoying is it when you stub your toe? Or slip with a knife when peeling vegetables? Unpleasant..
Despite these facts of life, it seems according to stastistics that self--harm is on the increase.?
One of my dearest friends called by at my house one day, feeling seriously depressed. After I had tried to encourage her for a while she raised her trouser legs up to her knees and I had the shock of my life. !!!
"This is how bad I felt yesterday, " she sobbed.
I had only once before seen some cuts on the arms of a young girl who self-harmed, but I had never in my life seen so many slashes and cuts from knee to ankle all around both legs. One of the gashes in particular, surely needed stitches .., but Helen, my friend would not seek medical help at that time. She just wanted to talk to me about it. This is SO important if you ever find someone hurting themselves. Often they do not want to talk about it, so when they do feel like talking, please try to be a good listenerand never be judgemental even if you thinkyou have a right to be.
The self-harmer is someone quite different from the person who attempts suicide and almost always it is not merely attention seeking.
I was a novice in this area of depression when I first listened to how Helen was feeling. All I could think to do was gently ask her "Why?". It shocked me to hear her reply that she had enjoyed it!!She tried to explain to me that an anger inside her was like a pot of hot water , reaching boiling point, then bubbling, burning, higher and hotter until she felt she would explode. Getting hold of a razor blade and attacking her legs felt like a release, a relief and she calmed down.
It's hard to describe how devastated and helpless I felt as I began to realise just how low her self-esteem had sunk and how bad her depression had become..
Thankfully, since that day she has allowed me to take her to a doctor who is sympatheticand gave her medication that helps, but not before she had spent 4 weeks in a phsychiatric ward of our local hospital..It tears me up inside to think that I had no idea she was so damaged,. I thought I knew her well and understood her depression, but I was a million miles away from how bad she was feeling. .
I still occasionally get a phone call that frightens me into driving straight to her house and inevitably walk into pools of blood and my dear Helen sobbing on her bed, ,,,,,,,,but the desperate calls have become far , far , fewer over the past 6 months. This is not an area of behaviour that many doctors completely understand and so we cannot say that she will never do it again.
We only know that now there is hope because she talked about it, she sought proffessional help, and recognises that she is ill.
There are also some helpful websites. Not only help for the person who takes a knife or a razor blade to themself but helpul to people like me, who feel uselesswhile wanting so badly to do something for her.
If you love someone who does this sort of thing , it can sometimes seem harder on you than on the cutter who gets relief in such a strange way. You have my deepest sympathy. I hope, like my friend that the person in your life will seek help.
Everyone is worth something. Everyone's life is precious. The self-harmer needs to believe this and believe that he or she is worthy, precious and loved....