I began to self harm when I was around 7 years old, that was my earliest memory but I didn't know that was what I was doing then. When I think back I had the classic view that I perceived what I was doing was wrong and shameful and I hid this behaviour.
Over the years it escalated and by the time I was 18 it had become my only coping strategy.
6 years later I was still hiding it and started to feel very alone in my struggles. I didn't understand why I couldn't stop. My self-harm was taking over my life. After seeking help for my mental health and the struggle trying to find a GP that understood (and it wasn't an easy task) I finally disclosed my secret about my self harm. I was given information about a charity based in Leeds called Battle Scars.
6 years later... my self-harm was taking over my life
I was terrified but it happened that they had a group that day. I decided I needed to see what it was about. I remember pulling into the car park watched people go in and I left because of how scary this felt. I tried again and was successful at making it into the building. I don't think I spoke at the first group at all.
Unfortunately my work hours changed just as I had built the courage up to go so I couldn't go again. Then lockdown happened, I was furloughed and shielding, my self harm worsened but as a blessing Battle Scars set up virtual groups.
This was my chance to attend regularly and start to understand and explore my self harm in a supportive group setting with people who understood. I have attended most weeks since 2020. I understand my self harm so much more. My mental health is still poor but I feel I have a place I can be me.
I understand my self harm so much more
The biggest thing I have taken away from Battle Scars is not to try stop my self harm but instead manage it by keeping my self harm safe.
The groups have been fabulous and I have gone through times in the last 3 years even I have felt able to contribute to groups and times when I have taken part without camera and mic on. I know regardless of how I am feeling Battle Scars is a safe place where I can simply be if that's what I need at that moment.