There are so many myths about self-harm

The first time I self-harmed I was sixteen. I had been struggling with my mental health for a while, and felt low, anxious and overwhelmed on a daily basis. I was desperate for a release from the distress I was experiencing and from what was going on inside. 

At the time, the physical pain felt easier to deal with than the emotional pain I was experiencing. It gave me a sense of control, when I felt I had so little control over the distressing thoughts and feelings I had. However, it became my ‘go to’ way of coping, and it felt impossible to stop. 

Talking about mental health is not a weakness — we need to break the stigma

I remember the day I decided to take my own life, that moment was the first time I’d had clarity of thought for as long as I could remember.  There was a huge sense of relief that I had finally realised how I could take back control over what was happening to me.  The irony was that things in my life had never been so good.  I had just become a father for the first time (my daughter was 6 months old), I had a wonderful supportive and caring wife, a lovely home, and a great group of family and friends around me.  However, by this stage anxiety and depression had taken over.

The stigma is everywhere in this part of the world

My late brother and I were working together in the hospitality sector, running a bar. We were making good money. So, I advised my brother, we should build a house. We worked together on it for more than two years. It was a three bedroom flat each… on one plot.

That’s around the time I started seeing things differently from reality. I thought people were controlling my lights… but no one was there. I was hearing voices. 

Talking is hard enough, being judged makes it harder

Depression can be a face of someone who is smiling, telling jokes and happy, which I am quite often. I have a family, a job and I am alive so why would I be depressed?

It's hard to talk to people when you don’t know what reaction you will get. In the past, I’ve found out that people were talking behind my back, saying I am “needy” or “always on about myself”. But maybe I seemed like that because I needed a friend to lean on.

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