After reading an article on the rise of Self Harm in the UK, one Mum tries to make sense of it all using her own experience….
Having had both my daughters self harm and had excellent support from Oxfordshire Camhs I think there are some things we need to learn as a society and for many we have to take our heads out of the sand : it certainly has been a wake up call for me !
Firstly self harm is generally a cry for help ( as a country we are not strong with our emotional literacy ) and secondly I think self harming has been going on longer than we care to acknowledge but it has been covered up … In history it was often those areas that weren’t discussed or family who were sent away …stemming from an inherent lack of something in ones life.
From a 21st century mothers point of view self harming comes from not feeling in control ( which starts to become more apparent in teenagers when they have to start taking responsibility , they want the responsibility but not the consequences of having it or in many cases when parents leave and/ or step parents are introduced , they don’t have a choice they just have to put up with it ) so they take control by cutting .However there are other forms of self harm which I had not perceived as self harming …. not eating / anorexia , eating too much : obesity , smoking , drinking alcohol to excess, even down to not wearing a seat belt … It is when you do not like your body , what is going on around you and you feel out of control then you abuse your body and appears to be more acceptable than lashing out at the world or people around you , it produces adrenalin and a short high from taking a risk which can then become addictive.
I’m not a psychologist but when a person has self confidence, self worth and meaning to their life I feel that they are less likely to self harm . When they learn the triggers and can manage the feelings they are less likely to self harm but not everyone has the support or guidance of people who will tolerate the nasty outbursts or violence, verbal and physical . I know of plenty of parents who have ducked out of the responsibility to be then phoned by police and have to pick up the pieces with little professional support . Camhs were and still are my saving grace and I am thankful we have services like this , for sure I would only have one daughter by now and I’m thankful I have two even on the darkest of days .