Scream – the Song

Music.  Songs.  Lyrics.  Melodies.  I’ve mentioned previously how much music can connect with me and be therapeutic for me.  More often than not, the music can soothe us, give us something to relate to.  As the image to the right says: we want someone to explain the things we can’t.  So that’s where my post about the song Scream comes in.

As I write this, it’s not a good day.  I’m feeling that Harrowing Void I talk about, rather strongly.  So what do I do?  I turn some music on.  Now, I can’t just listen to albums anymore, I have to put them on shuffle.  I like the randomness of it, not knowing what’s coming next.  I have playlists and albums and individual songs and so much that I can turn to (I have something like 6600 songs on my iPod!!).  Does this sound familiar?  Anyway, as I’m sat here feeling awful, a song comes on and it captures something that’s been going through my mind for a little while now.

It’s called Scream.

Feeling Invisible

Over on our Community Page, on 10/03/2018, we featured a post from Katie called Feeling Invisible.  It was something that grabbed my attention as I was looking for content, because it spoke so clearly to something that I’d thought over the past few weeks.  My thought was: if you had cancer or some other physical illness, people would be checking in and asking how you were; with mental illness, all you can see are tumbleweeds.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are some awesome people out there who notice when you disappear, who notice when you’re not around and, perhaps more importantly, who notice when you’re not doing so good.  Cheryl is one of those people and I have another friend called Andrew who is another.  These people are worth millions because they are there when you need them, putting themselves at the back of the line to ensure you get what you need.

Despite having those people around, however, it can feel like you’re invisible.

All too often, people don’t seem to care.  I go through my Twitter or Google+ daily and see cries for help under the various hashtags; people saying they’re stuck in that proverbial rut, unable to cope and needing a bit of help.  And the worst part?  Their posts have practically no comments or anything.

It’s like they’re invisible.

With social media being so crowded with so many people vying for space, it can be difficult to get our voices out there, to make them heard.


That’s probably why I related so well to this song.  By ZOEGirl, it is an amazing song that talks about that invisibility that we can feel.  The lyrics to Scream, I find, are so powerful.  The opening verse, for starters, says: “Does anybody know how I feel?  Sometimes I’m numb, sometimes I’m overcome.  Does anybody care what’s going on?  Do I have to wear my scars like a badge on my arm for you to see me, I need release…”

ZOEGirl album cover for Scream.Perhaps more powerful than that, the chorus says:  “Do I have to scream for you to hear me?  Do I have to bleed for you to see me?  ‘Cause I grieve, you’re not listening to me.  Do I need to scream?”

How often have you felt like that?  Can you relate?  Desperate for the help, we feel like we want to scream, like we want to bleed so people will notice.  It’s perhaps one of the reasons why self-harm so frequently gets labelled as a cry for help, because it seems to be the only way that we can be heard.

We have to scream.

You Don’t Have To Scream

Those of you reading this, feeling as though you relate…you don’t have to scream.  Knowing what it’s like going through this hell, I’m here for you.  I will listen.  You don’t have to scream for me to hear you, you don’t have to bleed for me to see you.  I will listen.

You don’t have to scream.

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Episode 27 – Depression the Comforter

What brings you comfort?  Some might find a blanket or a particular blanket comforting.  I find that there is an odd comfort in my depression.  It sounds strange, but there is a good reason for me saying that.  Why not take a listen with me and find out?

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I am a High-Functioning Depressed Person

High-Functioning Depression

High-functioning depression is something that’s not talked about a lot.  Whenever I’m on social media, looking through some of the hashtags or talking to the different people on there, I find very few mentions of it.  It’s something I feel needs talking about.  So I’d like to tell you a bit about my depression and how I am a high-functioning depressed person.

When talking about depression, for those who haven’t experienced it personally, people often picture someone like Eeyore from Winnie-the-Pooh: someone who is gloomy, pessimistic and anhedonic.  If you think of the stereotype, it’s often someone who might look a bit like this:

Does that look familiar?  Your stereotypical, socially-perceived depressed person.  Well, what people don’t always realise is that there are two types of depression.

This one is known as low-functioning depression.  It’s what society commonly perceives to be “depression” and it’s where stigma creates one of the biggest problems for people who are depressed, because it’s “the way we should be”, even though that’s not the case.

The Reality of High-Functioning Depression

As you may have guessed, high-functioning depression is the complete opposite of low-functioning depression.  We don’t get stuck in the funk where we cannot do anything, we don’t spend hours upon hours trapped in our beds, we function more than that.  If anything, we appear to be normal members of society.  That does not, however, mean that we aren’t struggling.  Check out this article by amysboarderlineworld, which sums up what I’m trying to say quite nicely.

You see, we might appear to be normal, functioning members of society but that is an illusion, a myth we have created for others to see.  We struggle, perhaps just as much as someone with low-functioning depression.  We just continue along our lives as though nothing is wrong which, in turn, makes us seem like nothing is wrong.

That is the reality.  The struggle.  People see that we are “normal, functioning members of society” and assume that we are not depressed or anxious (as that’s the thing, it isn’t limited to depression).  Unfortunately, it’s the way it works, for people seem to think we are, for want of a better word, “normal”.

But we’re not.

I’m a High-Functioning Depressed Person

In reality, you won’t see me struggling.  I’m good at hiding it.  Very good at hiding it.  Look for it and you might miss it, because we get on with what we need to do.  I certainly do.  Even on the bad days, I’m frequently plodding along with whatever I need to do.  At work, back when I worked at the bank, I was often on a bad day yet no one knew.  Out of 100 employees who worked in the same office as me, only one person ever frequently picked up on my bad days.  In some cases, I’ve been on self-destructive bad days with blood leaking from self-harm wounds.  It’s not been pretty.

So high-functioning depression and anxiety is something we need more awareness of.  We need to get those discussions going!  In that vein, check out the post from The Mighty below, which will round off my point nicely.

We Cannot Continue to Overlook ‘High-Functioning’ Depression

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Episode 26 – Depression the Liar

Depression can be such a convincing liar, don’t you think?  It’s easy for people to tell us that it’s lying to us, but so much harder for us to convince ourselves otherwise.  In this first part of my depression journey, check out on of its many facets.

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A Tweet, A Trigger and A Minefield

*This post contains images of self-harm, which may trigger people.*

A Trigger

Triggers are something that I hear a lot about, both on and off the internet.  Therapists will ask if we know what triggers our depression or anxiety, we will then be told to look at identifying our triggers so we can look at coping with them.  Is this sounding familiar?  Theoretically, if you can identify a trigger, you can start employing your coping mechanisms to ensure that you get through whatever situation it is that might set you off.

Recently on Twitter, I advertised our Understanding Self-Harm page to promote awareness for self-harm.  It contained the image below:

Understanding Self-Harm scars.

What do you think?  Do you think the image is particularly triggering?  Or is it more that the image is a bit shocking and uncomfortable to look at?  Here are some of the responses I’ve had to it:

Do you agree with these?  What do you think?

Talking Triggers

First off, I feel I need to say that I do believe in mental health triggers.  Honestly, I do.  There are things I know that can set me off on a depressive spiral or a panic attack, no matter what I try to do.  Admittedly, I’m not very good at identifying those triggers, nor am I particularly good at avoiding them or dealing with them, but I know they are there.

My question, however, is this: at what point do triggers hamper mental health progress?

One thing that society teaches us on a regular basis is to keep our mental health struggles hidden.  Have depression?  Smile.  Have anxiety?  Breathe.  We are taught, very much like Elsa in Frozen (yes, I have a 3-year-old who loves Frozen) to keep it in: don’t let them in, don’t let them see, be the good girl you always have to be.  If we avoid talking about subjects containing potential triggers or avoid using images like the one above because they “may trigger someone”, how are we doing ourselves any good?  I’ve been told the image above has shocked people into reading the content because they find it disturbing enough that they want to know more.  Would you not say that’s a good thing?

It’s raised awareness for self-harm.  It’s raised mental health awareness.  Someone else has walked away with an understanding of a struggle that plagues a lot of us.

I’d say that’s a good thing.

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My Experiences

Two comments – one of which has since been removed because the user decided to block me – went along these lines:

I feel, at this point, I need to direct people to reading my journey, particularly posts like Pills and Blades, that discuss my own personal struggle with self-harm.  I have loads of scars covering my legs, even now after I’ve been “clean” for a few months.  It’s something that I’ve battled with relentlessly.  Below are just a couple of instances of when that happened.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not sharing these lightly.  I’ve made sure that my scars are hidden so that people won’t see them and start judging me or commenting, etc.  Sharing them with you all is something I’m doing to continue raising that awareness and take the first step in my stand.

I believe that this subject needs to be talked about.  I believe people need to see these images so that they might understand just how serious mental health is.  Outside, in public, we put on smiles, we fake feeling as though we’re part of the community and we try and appear normal.  Behind closed doors, however, we end up turning to coping mechanisms like the one in the pictures above.  It’s something that’s not talked about, something that we avoid showing others, but we do it.

And people need to realise this.

People need to see the damage we do.

Shying away from it is not going to work anymore.

We need to be more vocal about this!

A Minefield

Realistically, what can I do regarding the images that will potentially trigger others?  It’s like being caught between a rock and a hard place.  On one hand you have the people who need to see the image, who need to be shocked into reading and become aware.  On the other hand, you have all those who would claim to be triggered by the image (whether that’s genuinely triggered or, as so many people will do, jumping on the bandwagon to have a moan).  In the middle, you have me and the people like me who are all trying to raise the awareness.

As far as triggers go, though, it’s a minefield.  Everyone is different, everyone has different triggers.  Asking anyone to find something that won’t trigger anybody is virtually impossible.  So why should we hide what we feel, why should we avoid any potentially triggering images when there is no image that exists that might not trigger someone?

We need to stand up.  We need to take ownership.  This is real, this is happening.  People struggle with this on a daily basis.  To make a change, we need to shock people and we need to make them uncomfortable, because people will never change if they are comfortable.

Ultimately, I’m not going to apologise for these images.  People need to see this.  Realistically, the minefield is such that I won’t be able to find images that won’t offend someone, somewhere, so I will use the images I feel best fit what I’m trying to accomplish.  What I will say is that understanding of self-harm needs to be raised.  We need to do this.  We need to take that stand.  So stand with me.  Help me fight this stigma.

I hope you understand.

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No One Cares About the Individual

An Individual Illness

One thing that I’ve always said is that depression is a highly individual illness.  No two cases are the same, no two treatments are the same, which makes it individual.  When people try and compare themselves to the progress others are making, or when people tell others that “this treatment will work for you as it worked for me”, I feel it is important to remind them that it doesn’t work this way.

I say that mental health is unique and individual becasuse we, as human beings, are all very different.  None of us would react in the same way to the situations life puts us in, which is just one mark of our individuality.  Different stressors affect us in different ways and, as such, our mental health becomes very personal, very unique.  My partner and I, for example, process things in different ways because of how unique the illnesses are, despite us both having the same label of “depression”.

Why am I talking about individuality though?  Simply put, as the title says: no one cares about the individual.

No One Cares

It may sound harsh to say that no one cares but hear me out on this one.  Think back over the past couple of years and think about how mental health is in our society.  How is it treated by others?  Is it viewed as important?  Is it belittled?  What do you think about the way it is treated?  Now ask yourself whether or not it has changed vastly in the past couple of years.  What did you come up with?

See, the truth as I see it is that there have been some changes made to mental health services, but not enough.  The world is still rife with stigma and concepts such as self-harm or suicide are still greatly misunderstood.  There are thousands of people struggling with mental illness and yet not enough people are willing to raise their voices to campaign for better services.

Until it’s a celebrity.

Please don’t get me wrong, celebrities struggling with mental illness is just as bad as people like you or me struggling, yet I can’t help but notice that they manage to garner more attention.  When Chester Bennington died, for example, social media exploded with tweets and posts about the singer, from tributes to mental health awareness campaigns.  Yet when Joe Public from down the street died?  Nothing.

Granted, the celebrities have the added bonus of the limelight and that spotlight that means people notice them.  My question, however, is why should it take a celebrity coming out with a mental health struggle before anyone raises their voice?  Why shouldn’t we be campaigning for better mental health care for the individuals struggling?

Why do we sit back apathetically?

Supporting the Individual

The heading says it all, really.  We need to be supporting the individual more because for every Chester Bennington or Robin Williams, there are plenty of people dying from suicide every day.  What are we doing to support them?  No, scratch that…what are you doing to support them?

That’s right, I asked what you are doing to support them.

Because it’s personal.

It’s individual.

It always was.

It always will be.

We need to be caring for the individuals, making our mental health campaigns long-term missions, not something that spikes every time a celebrity dies by suicide.  How many more deaths will it take before we realise this?  Realistically enough is enough, we need to make the change!

But we won’t, will we?

Because no one cares about the individual.

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Leave Me Alone, I’m Lonely

I’m lonely.

How often do you hear those words?  Whether spoken out loud or written on a social media update, I find those words frequently.  People have asked me how I cope living on my own as surely I get lonely.  Back when I worked at my previous job, I’d leave work, get on the bus or, later, in the car and go back to my flat, all alone, no one there to greet me.  Some believe that was the cause of my depression.  I’m not so convinced but that’s another story.

But sometimes that’s how I like it.

People often say, when I talk about being on my own, that I have to get out more if I don’t want to be lonely.  However, I’d like to challenge that today, as I think there is a profound difference between being alone and being lonely.  Let’s see if you agree with me.

I’m Alone but Not Lonely

Sometimes a little bit of personal space is nice. Whenever I’ve been out and the depression or anxiety kicks in, there is nothing better than getting into the confines of my flat or my car, switching on my music or a video game and just blasting the thoughts and feelings away.  Listening to music, playing that video game, both can work but it seems they only work if I can actually be on my own.

I’m alone.

But I’m not lonely.

I’m making the most of my own personal space, with no one around.  I can drop my mask and leave it behind, allowing myself to be exactly as I am, without the front.  I don’t need it.  Even when I’m around friends and family, there is that guard up because I don’t want to drag them down as well.  Sometimes being alone can be the best thing ever.  It allows me to just be me.

The inspiration for this post actually came from a P!nk song that someone’s Twitter tweet made me think of.  Called Leave Me Alone, I’m Lonely, it speaks of how sometimes that personal space is good, because it allows us to have that break.  Too much of a good thing – or sometimes anything at all – can be too much, so it’s good to have a break.  Take a listen if you haven’t already heard it.

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I’m Not Alone, but I’m Lonely

Sightly harder to grasp, but it’s possible to feel lonely when you’re not alone.  When people have absolutely no idea what you’re going through, it can be quite isolating.  I distinctly remember walking into work on a really bad day, putting that front on and finding that only one person noticed.  I was surrounded by people and yet so alone that it was unbelievable. Granted, it wasn’t entirely their fault because I’d put that front up, but it was a contributing factor that no one looked.

Similarly, it is a growing problem that those of us who struggle with mental health issues find that we are put into a box in society, simply because people don’t understand mental health.  We might have plenty of friends – in person, on social media or on our phone – but we can be so alone.  As I write this, the thought of “I’m in a room full of people yet I’m so alone” is going through my head.

Even when there are all these people around, it’s easy for me to feel like a bother and not want to open up to people for fear of disturbing them or burdening them.  A difficult mindset to get out of, it isolates me.  Thus, I am with people and not alone, but I’m lonely, because I feel like I have no one to talk to.  Unfortunately, this is the category that a lot of people I talk to fall into.  They want to talk to someone yet they feel they can’t.

Learn About Lonely

My challenge for you is to learn the signs for when someone wants to be lonely.  It’s not that they don’t want your help – they probably value you a lot more than they feel able to let on – but they need a little bit of time away from everything else.  It isn’t against you, far from it, but it’s something they need at the time.  As P!nk says, “tonight, leave me alone, I’m lonely.  I’m tired, leave me alone I’m lonely”.  We will want you to come back, we just need a bit of space.  It isn’t personal.

It never is.

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Why I’m a Christian but Have a Problem With Religion

Being a Depressed Christian

As someone who has been a Christian for more or less my whole life, has pastors for parents and a brother who holds a degree in theology (though this post is not about them), this post is incredibly hard for me to write.  For some, it might be equally hard to read but it’s one of those things that I feel needs to be said.  Let’s walk.

Those of you who follow this blog regularly may have seen my series about Inside My Head, where I delve deep into my journey, into my mind, and look at some of the things that constitute me.  If you followed that series, you would have come across part 5 where I talk about how my faith affects my mental health.  In a nutshell, how being a Christian doesn’t make everything hunky dory, how I will still struggle and how that’s OK.  My life isn’t perfect, I’m not perfect and I don’t have to be.

But that doesn’t mean life as a depressed Christian is easy.

Mental Health and the Church

Throughout history, the church has done a lot of good work through it’s charitable actions.  That said, it’s also done a lot of negative things.  You might immediately think of it’s stance on homosexuality which, up until fairly recently, has been very against it.  Female bishops has been another one it is reasonably unpopular for.  As with any organisation or religious body, there will be things it does brilliantly and things it does poorly.  Well, I want to highlight one of those things.

Mental health has always been stigmatised in churches.  It’s one thing that the Christian community, particularly, isn’t so good at talking about.  Take depression, for example: for a long time, the attitude towards depression in church has been “if you’re depressed, you don’t believe enough”.  In other words, your faith is lacking if you suffer from depression because how can you believe in the Almighty God who created the Heavens and the Earth if you are depressed?  From their approach: you can’t.  Pure and simple.

Take these for example:

What do you think?  Do you read them the same way I do?

Mental Health and My Church

Now, this is a subject that I’ve steered pretty clear of since starting Pushing Back the Shadows, because I’m the type of person who doesn’t want to offend others.  I think, however, the time has come to bring it into the light.  Yes, it will offend some people but I’m sorry, I have to make others aware.

You already know that churches can sometimes be the worst offenders for mental health stigmatisation, as I’ve already mentioned.  When we say this, however, we think of the church as a whole.  Christians in their collective.  What about the individual churches?  Mine is going to remain unnamed and I won’t mention any names of any people but I just want to tell you a little bit about that.

As you know, I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety back in August 2016, but I was struggling before then.  Part of juggling my full-time job in the bank and managing everything else meant I was exhausted and I reached a stage where I felt as though I had no energy.  Consequently, I started missing services because, when it came to the weekends, I was that tired that I couldn’t get myself out of bed.  I was absent from a lot of things and it shocked me how long people took to care.

At this stage, I should also point out that at least seven people I can think of in my church have depression.  You would think they would understand.  Apparently not.  It seems that as soon as it became apparent it was a long-term problem, a deep-rooted one that was going to take a lot of fixing, people didn’t want to know.  It makes it hard.

Putting the Onus On

When I disappeared, I was shocked by the response I had.  Originally I had almost no messages.  Then, as the weeks dragged by, I started to get a few messages from people who had noticed my absence.  “Hope you’re OK.”  “Hope to see you soon.”  Those sorts of niceties.  As the problem became more long-term, however, those messages dwindled until I only had two people consistently messaging me.  Now, as I write this, I only have one person who messages me on a regular basis to check if I’m alright.

When I mention this, the first thing they say is that they don’t hear from me.  Those of you struggling with depression and anxiety know how hard it is, sometimes, to reach out and send a message to someone else.  You feel like a burden, you feel unwanted, so why would you?  But it’s my fault for not messaging, evidently.  It links directly into what I said about putting the onus on the person who is struggling.  They always say that I know they’re there for me, that they are doing all they can…but are they?

I do get messages occasionally from other people in the church.  Most of the time, though, it’s because they want something.  Sometimes it comes with the preamble of a “how are you” or something along those lines but, more often than not, it’s straight to brass tacks.  Quite frankly, it hurts.

Mental Health and Being Christian

At the end of the day, the church does have a fair amount to improve upon regarding mental health.  Whether you have faith as small as that mustard seed or whether you believe wholeheartedly, God will not solve your depression in a heartbeat.  It might not be a part of His plan.  He may have a different purpose for it.  That may sound cruel but think of it in the same way you would an operation.  Some live-saving operations will come with pain and perhaps months of rehabilitation, yet they are done for that important reason that, in itself, is positive.  Think of it like that.

American Christian Christy Wimber had one of the most refreshing approaches to this that I’ve come across.  She said that, in today’s modern age, mental illness was a tool used by the Devil and that this whole notion of “if you are not healed, your faith is not strong enough” was a load of rubbish.  I find myself agreeing with that, as depression and anxiety and all the other mental illnesses have absolutely nothing – that’s right ABSOLUTELY NOTHING – to do with your faith.

My Message

If you’re a Christian or a member of any other religion struggling with mental illness, let me remind you that it’s OK to struggle.  I do everyday and that doesn’t make me any less of a Christian.  But my challenge is for any members of churches reading this: step up to the mark.  Be the support that the church is meant to be.  Designate people to maintain contact with others, instead of leaving it all to the pastor or all to the person struggling.  We, as Christians, are called to serve others, to help them and to show the love of Jesus to other people.  Personally, I believe this is sorely lacking.

We need to be better.

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I Just Smile…

Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it’s breaking.
When there are clouds in the sky
you’ll get by.

If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You’ll see the sun come shining through
For you.

Light up your face with gladness,
Hide every trace of sadness.
Although a tear may be ever so near

Have you heard that song?  Smile – Charlie Chaplin?  I think it’s a great song really.  So simplistic, so calm and yet with such a powerful meaning. No matter how dark the night gets, no matter how much pressure is caving in around you, if you smile then you can get through.  You can get through.  So smile.

I Smile

I smile.I’ve had it said before that I’m someone people would not expect to be depressed.  Why?  Quite simply, because I’m almost always smiling or laughing or joking.  Really, I am!  I know some of these posts might not come across in that way but at uni I was always known as the one who told the awful jokes.  In fact, my uni friends coined the term “A Cinders Joke” to describe my humour.  (Yes, my nickname was Cinders, only because I liked the song Cinderella by Steven Curtis Chapman!)  Still, that should give you a pretty good idea of what kind of personality I am.

Except…a lot of it is forced.

It’s one thing I’m oddly proud of.  My mask is that flawless and that honed that people don’t know that they’re looking at a mask.  Well, until they know to look for it, that is.  I smile, I laugh, I joke, I poke fun at people and everyone buys it.  Why?  Because it’s practised.

You see, smiling is one of the biggest tools that we, as depressed people, have.  It disarms people, giving them the excuse they need to think we’re OK.  Sometimes they know something’s not right but the smile is reason enough not to ask us.  Sometimes they actually do buy it and believe that we are doing alright.

So I smile.

Fool You Once

Recently on our Twitter account, I came across a photo someone had posted where they were smiling, yet had still put the hashtag #depression in there.  When I commented on this, their response was that they do their best to smile so people leave them alone.  You know what?  That’s true. Sometimes we know we’re on a bad day so we smile in the hopes that people don’t ask us about it.  Although talking about it is supposed to help, not everyone is understanding, not everyone will be caring.  We smile to deflect it.

It fools people.  But there’s more to it.

Sometimes it can fool me too…

It sounds weird, I know, but if I can convince you that everything is fine, that I’m not either breaking or close to breaking inside, then I stand a chance of convincing myself.  Maybe I’m not quite as bad as I think I am.  If I was, people would say something, no?  Surely they would.

Or so you’d think…

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Fool You Twice

Sometimes it works, though.  A simple smile to deflect the questions people will ask, to convince them that I’m fine, is able to convince me. Granted, it doesn’t always work but sometimes…sometimes I can find that hope.

Smile because it confuses people. Because it's easier than explaining what is killing you inside.So I smile.  To fool you, to attempt to fool myself, to put that image of “OKness” out there.  It’s my biggest weapon for fighting depression and fighting the stigma attached to it.  It’s the best way to shut down any unwanted questions.  If anything, it’s one of the most successful ways.

So I smile.

Shame On You

“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

How many times have I fooled you with a smile?  How many times have others fooled you?  My challenge for you is to look deeper the next time someone you know smiles at you.  With life as rubbish and difficult as it can be, chances are they’re putting on a mask, the same way I do.  Look deeper, beyond what you see on the surface, to see if there is hidden pain or brokenness underneath.  If there is, help them.

Don’t let them fool you twice to shame you!

As for me, though…I’m still gonna keep that mask handy.


Because I smile.

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I Am Cut

*This post come with potential trigger warnings.*


I wanted to tell you a little bit about what self-harming is like.  To do that, I wanted to write about when it’s happened to me.  What happens when I pick up that blade, what happens when I get the urge.  So, I’ve gone onto my old blog and pulled a post that I wrote not long after it had happened. Here we go…

Blood and a Blade

There’s blood.  So much blood.  It’s fairly late on Sunday evening and I’m sitting in the bathroom looking at the crimson liquid running down my leg.  Amazing what a razor blade can do to the fragile body I’m trapped in.  Only three cuts but there is quite a bit of blood.  Strangely it doesn’t bother me though.  Is that a bad thing?

How did I get here?  Right now my mind is whirling trying to remember as I write this for you.  My day wasn’t a bad day, if anything it was a fairly decent day.  By decent, I mean nothing too bad happened.  Does that make a difference?  For reasons that I still don’t know, however, my mood dropped like a stone.  Overwhelming, it swept me up and washed me away in a torrent of despair and crushing darkness and a single thought pounded over and over in my head: you’re not worth anything.  Just get it over with.  End it.  Finish it.

In that moment, as overwhelmed as I was, I felt as if I had two choices: either end it once and for all or take it out on myself.  I’m not worth it so why should I care?  Ending it all wasn’t an option, as there are reasons for me to live, so in my state at that point I only had one option, one way out of the crushing darkness and back into some state of decent emotional level: self-harm.

Slowly I pick up the blade.  Almost absently, as though I’m not really telling myself what to do, I put the blade to my skin and slowly, ever so slowly, I drag it.  Blood wells up immediately, as though the thoughts and the darkness is being carried out of me in that crimson stream.  Quickly, without thinking, I add another.  And another.

Hand shaking slightly, I put the blade down. Three cuts was all it took to shake me out of those thoughts.  Numb, I watched the blood for a moment, feeling my chest loosen, my heart stop thumping as hard as it had been and my mind to slowly quieten.  Then, as I watch the blood trickle across my knee, the realisation of what I’ve done suddenly sinks in.

Horrified, I drop the blade, which hits the floor with a clatter.  Grabbing some toilet paper, I press it against the wounds and sit there, shaking. One thing I’d always said is that I’d never get to this stage and suddenly I’m there, swept up like a bit of driftwood in a current.  In my shamed and slightly panicked state I nearly pick the blade up again to release those thoughts but instead I push myself up and hobble to the living room. Barely able to make myself work properly, I grab my phone and punch in the first name I can think of,  It rings…and rings…and rings…and suddenly my friend is there asking if I’m alright.  For a long moment words failed me.  At least it seemed like a long moment to me.  I remember uttering the words “I’ve done something stupid” and then, like a dam bursting, the words come tumbling out.

I have no idea how long I sat there, shaking on the living room floor, talking to my friend.  All the while she tells me it’s ok, it will be ok and all the while I want to scream that it isn’t ok.  But I can’t.  All I can do is repeat that I don’t know what I’ve done.  I answer questions, I comply with instructions as she talks me through stopping the bleeding but over and over in my mind is the thought “what have I done…?”  I can’t explain it properly because I don’t understand it.  I just know it’s happened.

Wednesday evening it happened again, once more for no discernible reason.  At last count, I have sixteen cuts on my leg.  Sixteen reminders that I failed to stop myself.  Sixteen reminders that I fought myself and lost.  Sixteen symbols that I feel worthless.  Some would say it’s a cry for help, which maybe it is.  Others would say it’s an attempt to get attention…but I don’t want that.  I want to stop but deep down I know it helped.  Even if it was only temporary, it stopped everything.  I think, like stubbing one’s toe on a door would temporarily let you forget about a headache you have, this allowed me to temporarily subdue the thoughts in my head.  It shouldn’t have helped…but it did.

And I hate myself for it…because I said I never would…

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Subscribe today to receive a free chapter from my eBook “Pills and Blades”, a subscriber-exclusive podcast episode and more!

Become a PatronDisclaimer: I am not an expert, nor am I medically qualified.  This blog is based on my personal experiences only.  Always seek medical advice in the first instance.