Transitioning to CMHT

So a few days ago, I had that day I had been dreading as soon as I got the letter about a month back. That letter being about my first CMHT appointment. For those that are unaware, CMHT stands for community mental health team – in other words, adult services. 

I’ve been with CAMHS for what must be around 3-4 years now, and the thought of leaving what I’ve built there is terrifying. The attachments I’ve formed, the relationships I’ve worked so hard to create, all gone. The very thought makes me want to cut my heart out because it causes me so much pain. It’s fair to say I’ve been dreading this day because of what it signifies – the ending of something old and the start of something new. 

My CAMHS nurse and my psychiatrist came to the appointment, so there wasn’t too much pressure on me to talk which was helpful, since it took me a good 20 minutes to calm down after bursting into tears before even entering the room (pathetic, I know). The psychiatrist seemed intelligent and kindhearted, everything I look for in a psych – I think we’ll get on. He’s appointing me a CPN and is seeing me in two weeks, a step down from my weekly CAMHS appointments but I guess I’ll have to get used to that. CAMHS are still seeing me for a handful of appointments before discharge – the D-word that I can hardly bear to say aloud right now – a prospect I haven’t even began to process. But I will, and it will be painful, yet I will have to get through. 

I have my exams in less than two weeks, so I have to hold it together. Come on girl, you can do this, you have to. You don’t have a choice. Do it. 

Visits and Plans

So it’s been a while since I last updated on here.

I met with my MHO (mental health officer) a while back and managed to speak to her about my attachment issues. Long story short, in two weeks’ time I’ll be going back to school with her to see my old guidance teacher!

I’m excited, nervous and downright terrified to do this. I’m not sure how I’ll react to seeing her, I’m not sure how I’ll be after saying goodbye for the last time. The idea of this visit is to give me closure, but I’m worried that things will escalate after seeing her as this is one of the only things I’m holding out for. 

I have plans for that week, bad plans, and preparations are in progress but I’ve faced the fact that it’s unlikely to do much damage. Still, my head convinces me that it’s worth a try. I wonder what a day of freedom would feel like, a day without making plans, a day with clean arms and being able to eat without obsessing over calories. I mean I weighed a muffin today, for Pete’s sake!

Whatever happens, I know I’ll most likely survive it. I have things to look forward to, university to attend, a birthday to be had. Things are tough but I’ll plod on in my unhappy existence, living for the moments that are marginally less dark. Is this all there is to life? If it is, I’m not sure I want to live it. 

Missing you

So a part of my life that I don’t talk about a lot is attachment. I think I’ve struggled with it for as long as I remember, way back in primary school I would get really upset every year when we changed teacher, even though I knew it was inevitable. 

In the past few years though it’s definitely reared its ugly head more and more often. A year out of school and I’m still painfully attached to teachers and members of staff I used to see, especially my old guidance teacher. Missing her is the basis for the above poem, written on a day when I felt particularly floored by my attachment. 

I guess it’s natural to miss her, she was the first person I opened up to and showed me so much care and compassion that I’m not surprised I became so easily attached. I could probably say she saved my life, and that’s not something you get over easily. 

But oh lord does it cause so much pain. So much pain. Every time I’m out I’m looking for her face, her silhouette, every double take I take rips out another part of my heart – I don’t even know what I’d say to her were I to see her again, I’d probably just cry. I have her email address and it takes everything within me not to contact her, as I know that that would just open up the old wound and aggravate it, but lord do I miss her so much. I miss her so much it physically hurts, I feel sick to my stomach and my heart aches when I think of it. I wish I could get over her, I honestly do and I tried to bring it up with my team yesterday in a note but they ended up focusing on other more concerning parts. 

I just wish I had somebody to talk to about this, it hurts so much to deal with it on my own and so I turn to places like here and Instagram to vent, but it’s never quite the same as speaking to her. It feels like grief, like I’ve lost her forever and a part of me has died. I know these thoughts are irrational, that she’s only supposed to be a fleeting part of my life but it still won’t stop hurting no matter how much I try to rationalise.

I’m not sure what the purpose of this blog post was, I guess I just wanted to share this portion of my life with all of you. 


in response to this prompt

I am missing. Missing you, missing me, missing a mind that was stable and happy and didn’t make me stick my fingers down my throat or push objects into my arms.

I don’t know how I’m doing. God, I don’t even know who I am right now, I know my name, my address, the fact that I’ve just finished my first exam at university. But where is me? Where is the part of me that cares about things, where is the part of me that feels present in the moment, where is the part of me that seems to have dissipated into thin air? I wish I knew. 

I think things are slowly spiralling again. I inserted for the first time in a couple of months the other night and hid it from CAMHS. I managed to tell them about the purging but I need to hide this for just a little longer. Just a little more, I tell myself. 

When will it ever be enough?

Let them go 

In response to this prompt

Mar•tyr: 2. One who makes great sacrifices or suffers much in order to further a belief, cause, or principle.

If I were to romanticise myself, which I probably do more often than I like to admit, I’d most likely say I was somewhat of a martyr. I feel pretentious and ridiculous just admitting I think this way, but I really do have something in common with that burdened donkey carrying others’ weight. 

You see, throughout my whole life I’ve had a “bad” habit of taking on others’ problems. I guess I’m the caring type, and somewhat easy to talk to (speaking positively about myself is killing me right now), so people have had the tendency to unburden themselves on me. 

Don’t get me wrong, I love that I can be of use like that, but I’ve only now realised how damaging that has been for me. From the very beginning, from my first relationship at the (far too) young age of 12 with a boy who’s identity I shall not share, his family issues and insomnia became my issues, catapulting me from a content world of comfort into one of constant worry and heartbreak.

Not to be over dramatic, but when you’re told that someone would take their life were it not for you, it does place a certain responsibility on your small shoulders. 

At the same time, I had friends who were self-harming and bulimic, and soon I began to pick up the same habits in secrecy, to relieve some of the stress and worry – only this once, I’d tell myself. Oh child, how you were wrong. 

The problem was, I had nowhere to turn. When I cut myself, when I stopped eating, that same boyfriend who professed his love for me turned on his heels and abandoned ship, after all that I had sacrificed for him, after all that I had done that I now regret, he left. And after all that? I still worry about him, three years later. 

What did that teach me? Well, I learned I was unlovable, that friends who say they’ll be there for you lie, not to trust anyone or let anyone in as at the end of the day, their self-interest trumps any care they have for you. I don’t blame him for being selfish, I certainly don’t blame him for the issues I have today, because I’ve learned how dangerous it is to place your entire happiness (or unhappiness) on one person. 

And so, for the same reasons, I ended my next relationship before she could get hurt, before my issues could become hers, as I simply won’t let another person make the same mistakes I made. I always make sure my friends have somewhere to turn, that if they’re taking on someone else’s issues they have somewhere to unburden – and yes, I realise I’m still doing it, with strangers on Instagram and my own friends, but I can’t help it anymore. It’s become my nature, all that I am. Without it, I am as useless as a 1p coin, I have nothing to live for, because I no longer know how to live for myself, and on my own terms. 

So please, if you find yourself in the same position, as a laboured donkey with a broken back, please, let them go. 


There’s so much inside me that I’m bottling up right now, I feel numb and empty and I’m dying to feel something. I’m utterly exhausted by the smallest thing and only managed a measly hour of study today which is eating me up. Another wasted day.

I just keep thinking and thinking and can’t seem to shut my brain off. It’s killing me, I’m making plans for overdoses, thinking about self harm, analysing every tiny aspect of my life and my thoughts and I wish I had someone to discuss it with. I know logically I have my nurse and psychologist but I just don’t know how to bring the subjects up, and it feels like it doesn’t matter enough to be talked about. 

Maybe I’ll make another post about some of the issues I’m thinking about, but right now, it all just feels too embarrassing and personal. It’s nearly 1am and I’m simply sitting staring at the tv, barely watching it, just staring and existing. I feel weak and pathetic and I’ve started purging again, but I can’t bring myself to care enough to stop. I want to cause damage, I want to be bad enough. I want to feel worthy, to feel validated and needed and important. How despicable. 

Anyway, that’s enough rambling from me, and time for sleep I think – if I can find the energy to move. 

Self-harm awareness day (TW)

I was intending to share something for national self-harm awareness day this year (March 1st) but completely forgot about the date until around 11pm that night. But just because it isn’t self-harm awareness day doesn’t mean we can’t still talk about it.

Self-harm. Where to even begin. It would be far too conceited for me to start with my experience with self-harm, so I’ll start with some statistics. It is thought that up to 1 in 5 adolescents in the UK self-harm, but that’s barely the tip of the iceberg – only an estimated 15% ever present to clinical services such as A&E and CAMHS. So what about the other 85%? The ones afraid to seek help due to stigma, fear of judgement, or even because they don’t realise their behaviours are self-harm – these young people are the reason why it is so important to continue the conversation.

This is a topic that is intensely personal to me – I myself have been self-harming for what must be around 4 years now, but more on that later. What I found most striking over the past few years was just how common self-harm actually is. Discounting patients that I met in the unit, nearly all of my friends have deliberately hurt themselves at some point during the time I’ve known them. These are people from all walks of life, all situations – popular, talented, clever, beautiful people, who have been in so much anguish that they felt the need to inflict pain onto themselves. Self-harmers aren’t obvious, we are chameleons of the social world who live a double life, harming and hiding, keeping people at bay. 

For those that have never had experience with self-harm (and I hope you never do), the most likely response is “Why? Why does my friend/child/sibling etc. do this to themselves?”. Stigma answers these questions with accusations and dismissals: ‘wanting attention’, ‘a cry for help’, ‘a phase’ – I cannot emphasise this enough – there is not, nor will there ever be a one-size-fits-all answer to these questions. Everyone has different reasons for self-harming and these are all equally valid and important, whether it be family issues or a fall-out between friends. It isn’t about the severity of the self-harm, but the pain that causes it.

As I cannot possibly speak for anyone else who has self-harmed, I will talk about myself. I’ll put a TRIGGER WARNING right here as I’ll be discussing potentially upsetting/graphic subjects.

If someone told 13-year-old me that, in a few years, her self-harm would get so out of control that stitches and infections become a part of everyday life, she would just laugh and deny that there was even an issue. But here I am, almost discharged after 9 months as an inpatient, still wrapped up in the vicious cycle that has only worsened over time. It’s startling to see how self-harm has taken over my life, so much so that I cannot imagine a life without it, nor am I even willing to try and ‘recover’ from it. I’m constantly surprised by others’ reactions to my arms and wounds – I’m so used to it that I forget that it isn’t a normal thing to do, for it has become so to me. I’ve had stitches so many times that I’ve learned by heart how to do it from watching the doctors, I’ve had surgery to remove foreign objects, x-Rays to check for broken bones, courses of antibiotics, nerve damage – I’ve been told that even plastic surgery would do little to reduce my scarring.

The world of self-harm is an extremely lonely and cold place to be in. Even though the statistics show a worryingly large number of young people self-harming, I cannot count the number of times when I’ve heard somebody mention how alone they felt. The stigma attached only serves to put another four padlocks and an iron rod between the self-harmer and the rest of the world where labels such as ‘attention seeking’ are thrown around so often. It’s no wonder that so many people slip through the net – for years, only a couple of my closest friends knew about my self-harm and to this day it’s still a subject that I avoid as much as possible. But these things need to be talked about, not buried further under shame and fear.

It’s taken me a long time to start to understand the reasons why I hurt myself, some of which are easier to talk about, others not so much. One of the hardest parts for me was learning to be honest with myself, being able to come to terms with the fact that being ‘attention-seeking’, if that really was the case, wasn’t so despicable. Up until then, I was too afraid to even think these thoughts, afraid of what I (or somehow, others) would find out.

So why do I personally self-harm? To most people these reasons may seem bizarre or ridiculous, but I encourage you to try and see past your personal biases and consider them as sensitively as you can – self-harm is self-harm, no matter how ‘important’ the reason seems to you.

1. It gives me a sense of control. I’m conscious of my word choice here, as I’m aware that this will probably come across as pretty disturbing. Being able to cause a significant amount of damage makes me feel powerful, that no matter how many things are crumbling around me, that I’ll always be able to harm myself.

2. As a punishment. This is pretty self-explanatory, and I’ve heard similar stories from other self-harmers I know. Often stemming from feelings of self-loathing and guilt, we punish ourselves to try and make up for mistakes, even if from an outside point of view we have done nothing wrong. Sometimes, for me, simply being alive is reason to punish myself – showing that there is no real logical explanation. Everybody experiences things differently.

3. Because I can. This may sound the most odd, but illustrates how self-harm can become such an endless cycle. When I first started self-harming it was in moments of distress, perhaps only once or twice a month. Now, it has become a regular occurrence, sometimes multiple times a day and often without a reason. All because it becomes a habit, an addiction, as routine as brushing your teeth in the morning.

Hopefully these help to dispel some of the myths and misconceptions around self-harm, and allow you to better understand your friend/child/sibling. Most importantly, if someone you know is suffering with self-harm, don’t try and counsel them in reasons why they “need to stop”, berate them with lines such as “think about your family/future/wearing t-shirts” because from experience it only makes things worse. Just be there for them, give them an ear and a shoulder to cry on, but don’t be surprised if they would rather not talk about it.