Hardly a week goes by with out a report in the local, and sometime national press, of somebody taking their life or attempting to
It goes without saying that each of these events represents a person who felt there was no alternative and leaves behind others deeply hurt by their loss.
Those that decide to end their lives wil have many and personal reasons for doing so, and each one represents a failure of the mental health provision in this country And or society as a whole. We are all guilty in failing that person.
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Imprisoned in time, a boy, a young teen
Stuck in a moment, an event, a trauma
No door to exit, no windows to gaze out of
Silently Screaming as memories swirl and constrain
Betrayal by one who should have gave love
Innocence taken by one who should defend it
Trust destroyed by one most trusted
Memory too hard, too dangerous to keep.
Shackles of the mind, self-imposed on by the boy
Memories denied, hidden and rejected
To change the past, undo what was done
Something that couldn’t, mustn’t, have happened
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This post looks at how well some of the perceived characteristics of people who self-harm, Age and Gender, fit with the reality of Self Harm in the community.
For most non experts, and undoubtedly a few experts as well, the perception of people who self=harm is one of almost exclusively young, teenage, and predominately female. This is not surprising as the language, images and targeting of both press reports, Support and information organisations web sites as well as academic papers reinforce that perception.
While it is obviously difficult to fully and accurately understand the demographic makeup of the people who shelf-harm, it is often a secret activity, we can, I suggest, get a first level approximation of the issue from those presenting to hospital emergency departments.
Statistics from the south west of England do not support the stereotype that it is teens and young people – 15-29 that are the majority group.
In fact the 30-44 age range present at hospital in almost identical numbers with the 45 – 74 age group reaching 50% of the numbers of the younger groups.
The same statistics also show only a excess of females presenting in the 15-29 age group but with the gap narrowing in the older age groups
I think form this it if fair to say that self-harm impacts both genders and all ages, and while young females do seem to have a higher prevalence of self-harm the statistics do show that the perception of self-harm as a predominantly young female issues is far from the truth.
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I can feel it, in the air and in my mind.
I can feel it in my soul and memories.
I can feel it in my lack of hope and in my fears
I can feel it building and growing
I can feel it sucking hope and faith
I can feel it destroying the future and plans
I can feel it drag me back to the darkness
I can feel it pull me down
I can feel it calling to the blade
I can feel it calling to my wrist
I can feel it calling to my blood I can feel it, it won’t kill me.
I can feel it , it will make me kill my self
I can feel it, it isn’t death
I can feel it, it wants to turn me into my own death
I can feel it, I can’t hold out much more
I can feel it, I want the peace it brings
I can feel it, touching my soul, my heart, my life, my hope
I can feel it calling
One of the things that can contribute to difficulties in dealing with mental health issues is the ability to express and explore thoughts and feelings. Often people with mental health issues such as depression or dealing with traumatic experiences such as childhood sexual abuse find it difficult to ‘drill down’ into these dark recesses of their mind or to ask themselves the sort of questions that are needed.
Sometimes talking therapies can help, other times a trained psychologist is needed. But on occasion it is simply the need of a framework where these deeply buried thoughts and feelings can be opened up and examined that prevents some progress being made.
While Tarot can never replace the professional help that other therapies can deliver, I feel that there is a place for it in the bigger picture for some people in helping them to begin to address some of the mental health issues they face.
Why do I say that? Well from personal experience of beginning the journey into looking at my depression and self-harm, beginning to understand the underlying causes, the Childhood Sexual Abuse, and behavioural issues and self-destructive beliefs, that that abuse formed the foundation of I have found using Tarot for self-exploration a big help.
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So I have been thinking how, as a Pagan, I should view the issues around self Harm.
I mean for the person who is Self Harming rather than the wider issues of support and help. While there are obviously Pagan specific factors to consider when treating, or providing help, to somebody who self harms, such as belief structures and world view which would obviously be very important in treatments such a s talking therapies, I am more interested at the moment on the more internal view. How does being a Pagan sit with Self Harming.
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