A story by Michael, Across the UK
Myself and a journey through darkness.
My story starts with self-harming from my teenage years all the way through to middle age. Having had help at times I have never really sought help till now after 20 years of suffering and I’m starting to see the other side.
What challenge does this story focus on?
My challenge focuses on my personal battle with self harm and how it was a distraction for me from not knowing how to emotionally react to situations, good or bad.
How has this challenge affected you?
Since a young age I have struggled to emotionally detach myself from some situations. When the darkness got tough, it always led down the road to self harming. I saw that as either a distraction or me showing a cry for help as I just could not talk about it.
What has or is helping you to move forward with this challenge?
I finally realised after 20 years of struggling that I couldn’t live with this anymore, I needed to get past it and become that strong person I was before. I have had several people helping me get through this and have started a specialist program through italk to help me get through. I was also seeing a specialist before who helped me diagnose that from a young age. I was always alert and looking for the next bad thing to come and get me. This meant I never learnt how to emotionally deal with all situations just through fight of flight simple response which led to self harming.
What have you learnt as a result of this challenge?
Looking back and in the present I have found that to get past this challenge, the best way is talking and sharing what has happened. Since the lockdown I have been regularly sharing my journey with work colleagues to try and help them better understand the darkness and how we all can feel it at certain points but that it does not control you. There are ways and means to pass the challenge and we can’t do it alone, we have support all around us, if we can just find the courage and spirit to share and seek the help we need.
How do you use this learning in your life now?
Nowadays I always look to try and express what I am feeling and open up. Before I used to shy and hide away as I felt and believed that many people didn’t want to take the time to talk to me or that I personally thought I wasn’t worth people’s time. Yes I am relearning how to express emotions and how to use them correctly but I also need to take myself out of my fixed mindset and grow into a new one, so that it becomes a habit and I don’t find myself falling into the darkness.
What positive message would you like the reader to go away with?
I see the world as a range of mountains; we travel up and down throughout life meeting different people and events, through good and bad weather. We may struggle, we will lose people, we will gain friends and memories that will change us. We may fall and we may rise but at the end of the day the ground will level out and we will walk into the sunshine because we achieved our goals and we stayed strong and didn’t let anything stop us.
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