Self-harm is when people hurt themselves as a way of dealing with difficult feelings, painful memories or overwhelming situations and experiences.
With a recent report from The Children’s Society revealing that more than a fifth of 14-year-old girls in the UK have said they have self-harmed, Becky’s story below* is not uncommon.
Becky, 15, had been self-harming for months. She wanted to stop but couldn’t. When things got too much with her friends or she’d had yet another row with her boyfriend, cutting her legs seemed the only way to relieve the stress but then she’d hate herself for it. It all came out when she was changing for PE and her friend spotted the signs and encouraged her to talk to a counsellor which Becky did not feel would help.
To Becky’s surprise counselling did help. Becky learned how she had kept everything inside and why.
Becky realised how she’d been burying her worries about her mum’s cancer and about getting behind at school. After all, mum would normally be the first person she talked to. Becky’s counsellor offered her a safe place to explore all these feelings and over time she no longer needed to self-harm to cope.
*Name changed for client confidentiality