It’s still hard to share this part of my story and I have written it several times, but I know someone needs to hear it and I know I must free myself from holding onto it…
My personal story with self-harm began at age 6. Most people wouldn’t think a 6 yr. old would think about harming themselves. I can remember standing next to the dishwasher and grabbing a knife then turning it towards my abdomen feeling both scared and confused. I didn’t know why I wanted to hurt myself or even potentially die, I just needed to feel better than I did. Now, skip ahead to age 10 and I stood atop a bridge wanting to leap off…I didn’t clearly, but it was thanks to a friend who insisted I come down and to “stop messing around.” It wasn’t messing around to me, I had this deep overwhelming emotional pain and didn’t understand why I was so sad. After several suicide attempts in my teen years I did successfully attempt suicide only to be pulled down from a hanging rope and saved at the last minute.
The pain didn’t stop there, and with a family constantly in strife, I had no one I felt I could turn to. I met this girl at age 19 that had struggled with self-harm in form of cutting, and she taught me every “trick” I would need to effectively sabotage myself, for 2 years. Even though she went to treatment and she stopped, that didn’t stop me from doing it. I was determined not to feel this wrenching pain, I wanted the pain to end and to feel like I belonged somewhere. At the time, I knew I would eventually kill myself and then I’d be okay. Little did I know I would find that place I belonged, want to live, and go on to become a teen self-esteem expert that would be helping teens just like I was…to be that Someone who Cares when I needed someone so desperately.
There are many misunderstandings regarding mental health and it causes many people to hide their feelings for fear of judgment and shame. These misconceptions exist with nearly every facet of life, but mental health continues to be an issue and the direct connection to self-harm needs more attention and understanding. My goal with The Someone Cares Campaign and through sharing my is: that I can perhaps help even one person who feels alone or is struggling with self-harm or feelings of overwhelming sadness/depression to know they are not alone as well as help others gain a new perspective on self-harm/cutting/suicide attempts.
Many believe self-harm is attention-seeking behavior but that is a misunderstanding of what is a very personal and some keep very private, act. Cutting can be attention-seeking but not in the way people think about attention seeking. See, most people think attention seeking is like wearing funky clothes, or selfies, or a drama queen. People that cut or hurt themselves actually feel alone and scared and need someone to pay attention in a very different way…Someone to listen and Care. These people are seeking attention to their pain and suffering not to the action they chose to deal with it. Also, not every one that self-harms is necessarily suicidal. In my case self-harm thoughts increased my guilt and that guilt grew into a desire to die and suicidal thoughts, but most of the time self-harm is used as a coping mechanism, unhealthy albeit, they cope.
Teenagers that self-harm are nothing new but this unhealthy coping mechanism will continue into adulthood, left untreated or replaced by healthy coping. It can become addictive because of the endorphin release and can be just as hard to stop as any other addictive behavior. In my case, I was also drinking heavily and was cutting once I was inebriated. Thus, you cannot tell someone to stop, the person needs a qualified professional to help, but not just any professional, one that Cares and will not just give them a diagnosis and a pill. Talk therapy is in fact one of the best methods for self-harmers because it opens the dialogue to express what they are feeling inside and having someone understand that begins a healing process for the inner victim.
It wasn’t until I was nearly 30 and 5 years of talk therapy that I finally felt human and happy and felt safe to open up about what I went through. Before that, I was still hiding in the shadows feeling like I was being judged by society and anyone I told about my self-harm history. I have not intentionally self-harmed since I was 22 I did have one relapse at 26 that was what we call now, a triggered event, from being around those who originally inflicted early pain. Through therapy, help from friends, mentors and the desire to be happy I no longer self-harm or think of self-harm. I received graduate level education and degrees in adolescent psychology that poise me to help and understand my past as well as helping others overcome their battle.
If you or your child is suffering with self-harm and would like to schedule one-on-one self-esteem building sessions, please feel free to jump over to http://dreamthis.org/self-esteem.html for a FREE Self-Esteem Quizlet and more!
(We are not a substitute for a licensed counselor, however, we do work alongside therapists to complement work done in therapy as well as additional follow-up between sessions.)
My e-book is available on Amazon is a great read for anyone who feels alone or stuck in their story. Available HERE
Resources for immediate assistance or time of crisis:
“As we see more women in tech, we will see girl’s self esteem go up because you have changed what they knew about who they can be in life!”- R. Bailey, Someone Cares Campaign
Every now and then you find 2 people who share a lot of interests and just align in their mission more than ever expected upon first chance encounter. I met Ms. Danielle Ford in a women’s group that focused on personal growth. I was instantly attracted to her vision “The Young Mom’s Club” and saw the potential. Having been a young mom, both my kids by age 22, I knew the complications, and frustrations. Danielle makes weekly videos for Young Moms that are motivational and informational. I recommend you pop over to Young Mom’s Club to learn more.
In the meantime, check out her interviewing me and see how both of us share our vision for Young Mom’s and letting teens and young people know Someone Cares right now!
Yes, I am a strong person, but what does that mean exactly. Perhaps it means that we still fall as much as anyone else, but we are able to recoup faster. Maybe because we know we have been through worse and survived. It is rare that I share my vulnerable side and not because I am afraid to, but mainly because I get over things so quickly and move on. Well, this time I forced myself to stay in that moment and record a video that shared the heart of who I am, was, and the message I embody. It is a bit flighty, but I wanted to really dive in and try to share as much as I could during that moment.
I think it is important to show that even though I teach self esteem, and I am strong, that even I have moments were that voice says “You’re just fooling yourself, you are NOBODY!” Even as I type that sentence that voice goes “YEAH!! That’s right!” and I have to reground myself and remember that I am exactly where I am supposed to be on any given moment.
A small warning, there is some language and graphic details in this share. While I am a very modest person, I do feel sometimes it is better to just put it out there.
I was at an event sharing my self-esteem program for young ladies and a mom came through and said “My self-esteem sucks, and I am 42, what the hell can you do for my kid?” I looked at her smiled and said “It’s not what I can do for her, but what SHE can do for her. I am only a thesaurus so to speak. I can give her the language, a new definition even, but it is completely within her, as it is with you!”
She stood there for a moment as if to say “Dang, that was a great answer.” Then she snapped back “Well, if I haven’t figured it out by now I am gonna just call B.S. on that. Did you see what Penn and Teller said about self-esteem?”
Oh if I had a dollar for every time I have heard that one, and replied ” Yes mam, and remember Penn and Teller are in the business of magic, a made up, illusion. That said, I am a skeptic myself, I agreed with most of what they said on that episode and in fact, I do not offer what other self-esteem products offer. In fact I don’t offer a product at all, only a belief system, and a new way of thinking.”
Guess what! She signed up immediately and even wanted to volunteer at the next event to absorb the info as well. Why am I sharing this story? Because I wrote earlier about the mother-daughter connection to learned self-esteem and I feel it is a valuable message to repeat.
If you or your daughter think I could help you in facilitating a new conversation about your self-esteem. Feel free to write to me firstname.lastname@example.org and stay up to date on upcoming self-esteem event you can attend. I do offer private teen coaching and that is available 365 HERE (www.dreamthis.org/teen-life-coaching.html)
So, if you have not yet heard of this book, or this is your first time learning about it…Take a peek over here—-> CLICK ME
If you are familiar with my book and are on Facebook over here to register for event—–> CLICK ME
If you live in Las Vegas area, but not on Facebook, the details are below:
WHEN: Come for Preview Thursday 6pm to 8 pm
First Friday November
WHERE: RECLAIMED ART SUPPLIEZ- 1114 S Casino Center Blvd # 1
Come ask ANYTHING! Get a signed copy of my book, hear me talk about it and be one of the people selected for free book!