All that I am, all that I ever was…

I am more than my mental health. I am more than my homelessness. I am more than any one aspect of me. I am Addy. And this is…


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It is never too late to be what you might have been…

The final prompt in the 30 Day Self Harm Awareness Challenge asks
Post your favorite picture of yourself and write a positive message to look back on.

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30 Day Self Harm Awareness Challenge: Day 29

Today’s prompt in the 30 Day Self Harm Awareness Challenge asks
Do you follow any self-harm blogs?

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I have to be honest, I don’t follow any blogs that are specifically about self harm. The reason for this is simple: I find discussion of self harm triggering, and were I to read blogs about self harm, my personal safety may be put in jeopardy. In the past I have visited numerous blogs and websites about self harm, but continuously found myself up against highly triggering images of other peoples self harm. I have never liked looking at pictures of self harm, because it makes me want to replicate the damage on my own flesh, so such content put me off visiting these sites on a repeated basis.

Indeed, I have reached a point in my ‘recovery’ where things are unlikely to improve unless I make steps towards positive change.  I need to make adjustments.  I need to have the courage to try new things.  I need to let things happen.  That is why I have decided there is no point hanging around until February, when I will most likely just remain embroiled in this current cycle of SH and over-medication.
~ from Is There Ever A Right Time, by Imillnotcrazy

However, I do read blogs that deal with the subject of self harm. I can handle these blogs far better than I can those that are specifically about self harm. Blogs such as Marci, Mental Health and More, Imillnotcrazy and My Battle With Mental Illness all deal with self harm in a respectful way. They issue trigger warnings in case the content could prove upsetting, they discuss their battles with self harm openly and honestly, and care deeply about how the subject affects not only them, but their audience. In fact, I couldn’t recommend these blogs enough. They are all exquisitely beautiful.


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30 Day Self Harm Awareness Challenge: Day 27

Today’s prompt in the 30 Day Self Harm Awareness Challenge asks
Discuss any and all progress you have made.

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I began this challenge on the 4 August 2014. Back then, I was self harming on a daily basis. Every afternoon, I would halt whatever I was doing, take out my cutting implements, and carve love (and hate) on my arms. It was a coping mechanism. the only thing that kept the depression at bay and gave me half a chance of making it through the day unscathed.

It is now the 15 August 2015, and although I have struggled to complete this challenge in a timely fashion, I have succeeded in being self harm free for over eight months now. I no longer feel the urge to cut. I no longer feel the compulsion to injure myself in any way. This is huge progress. For someone who has been self harming on and off since I was thirteen years old, to go so long without feeling the urge to self harm is massive.

It is certainly something worthy of celebration! :)


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Borderline personality disorder is a hurtful label for real suffering – time we changed it

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by Jayashri Kulkarni, Monash University

Standing in the cold, dark bathroom, she hacked into her wrist with a razor blade and quietly stared at the blood that flowed from the cut. She told herself she was a bad person and deserved the pain.

A part of her felt reassured by the sight of the blood – it showed she was alive – since she felt so dead and empty inside. As she stared at her image in the bathroom mirror, she thought, “I have no idea who that person is staring back at me.”

Such deliberate self-harm is very common in people diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. It takes many forms, including intentional overdoses of tablets with excessive alcohol, risky sexual behaviour, as well as physical self-punishment.

Other symptoms of the disorder include identity disturbances, feeling “dead” inside, rage responses or difficulty regulating emotional reactions to situations, mood swings, constant anxiety and panic, poor self-esteem, memory blanks, dissociation (“out of body” or feeling “unreal”) experiences, problems with concentration, feeling invalid, and fear of being abandoned.

A bad cycle

Between 2% to 10% of the population have some degree of borderline personality disorder, which puts them at high risk of suicide. While it’s poorly understood, we know that it predominantly impacts women.

There’s no medication that specifically treats borderline personality disorder, and it’s associated with a great deal of stigma among both health-care professionals and the general community. Research shows people seeking treatment for self-inflicted harm, including taking medication overdoses, are often seen as “difficult”, a “nuisance” or just indulging in “bad behaviour”.

Rage or diffuse anger is another symptom of borderline personality disorder that’s poorly tolerated by family and health professionals. If the person with the condition repeats self-harming behaviour, frustration among family, friends and health professionals increases and may lead to decreased care.

Since people with the disorder crave reassurance that they are worthy, valid and deserving of care, this rejection sets up a dangerous spiral of increasingly harmful behaviour that’s intended to attract care.

Origins in trauma

About 80% of people with borderline personality disorder have a history of trauma. They may block out recollections of early life trauma, but the impact of their emotional, physical or sexual abuse as a young person is profound and present for many years afterwards.

More specifically, people who were sexually abused as children often feel – wrongly – that they did something wrong, that they are to blame for being abused and that they’re bad people. At a deep level, they believe they deserve punishment; their self-harm acts out this belief.

The rage of people with borderline personality disorder, which often occurs in response to apparently small issues, may actually be a totally justified – a delayed expression of anger with the perpetrator of their abuse. And their memory blanks and out-of-body responses to stress may be attempts to repress recollections of abuse and to escape from trauma.

Not all traumas stem from physical or sexual abuse. Emotional neglect or deprivation can also be difficult for people to identify and define. They can, nonetheless, leave a mark for years to come. About 10% to 20% of people who have borderline personality disorder have no known history of childhood trauma.

Difficult diagnosis

The biology of this poorly understood condition includes the hypothesis that abused or neglected children produce high levels of stress hormones (cortisol) and remain on “high alert” – watching and waiting for the next abusive episode. These stress hormones impact brain circuits and centres that determine anger or emotional control and higher learning.

Deliberate self-harm is very common in people diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. | Rachel Collins/Flickr, CC BY

Women with this condition can also have cortisol-induced cyclical reproductive changes, leading to menstrual cycle-related depression, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, increased facial hair, infertility and ovarian cysts. All these long-lasting mental and physical symptoms appear to have their origins in a history of early life trauma with biological brain changes.

There are effective psychological treatments, such as dialectical behavioural therapy, for borderline personality disorder but health professionals have to recognise and explain the condition before appropriate care can be provided.

And many health professionals find it difficult to recognise the condition because different symptoms come and go over time. An overall view of the person’s life is needed to correctly make the diagnosis.

Ill-fitting name

As a diagnostic term, borderline personality disorder not only fails to capture any of the underlying issues and mechanisms involved in producing its symptoms, it also denigrates. In contrast, major depressive disorder describes a serious condition with the key feature of depressed mood explicit in the diagnostic term.

The word “borderline” was used in the 1930s by psychoanalysts to describe patients whose symptoms were on the border between psychosis and neurosis. But today the most common interpretation of the word is that the condition “borders” on being a real illness.

In effect, there’s an invalidation of the illness in its name. This mirrors – as well as possibly enhancing – the feeling of invalidation the person with the condition already suffers.

And all this is not helped by the next word either. To suggest there’s something about someone’s personality that’s disordered – especially as personality is, collectively, the intimate and unique qualities that describe a person – is a devastating blow. And it cuts further into the already diminished self-esteem that people with this condition have.

Why it matters

Diagnostic labels carry a great deal of weight. They describe symptoms, attempt to answer the question of “what is wrong” and lead to a treatment plan. A diagnostic label such as borderline personality disorder with its stigma and propensity to invalidate the person’s suffering clearly has many negative impacts.

A name that captures the origins of the condition, such as complex trauma disorder, could shift the focus from seeing the person as “behaving badly” or not having a “real” illness, to recognising them as a survivor of trauma or abuse. Such a change could improve outcomes for them and their families.

Of course, what’s also urgently needed is clinical research that creates better understanding of the condition, and the development of tailored, effective treatments. But ultimately, prevention of early life trauma would make the biggest difference to the development and expression of this disorder.

In the meantime, changing the label borderline personality disorder to something more sympathetic, even if just informally, may start shifting negative attitudes to people with the condition.


Jayashri Kulkarni is Professor of Psychiatry at Monash University.

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This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.


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[NSFW] Butt is it Art or Porn III: The Spanking Art Edition

Today’s prompt in the 30 Day Self Harm Awareness Challenge asks
What is something that makes you the most happy?

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This post isn’t going to be for everyone. Some of you may look upon it and think oooo, I’m getting all sorts of fuzzy warm feelings inside, whilst others will look upon it and think that’s absolutely disgusting, I’m going to write a strongly worded letter to this deviant! But that’s kinda the point. It’s meant to be divisive. It’s meant to create debate.

Now I’ll be honest. I didn’t actually write this post. This post is a collaboration between two of my voices, Meadhbh and Shay, but the topic, the content of this post, makes me blissfully happy. That’s why they wrote it. Whilst lost to the flashback and nightmare earlier this week, Meadhbh and Shay took it upon themselves to create something that would make me happy, something that would fill me with the aforementioned fuzzy warm feelings. They didn’t post it straight away because they didn’t want to upset me, they didn’t want to put something out there if I wasn’t comfortable with it being in the public domain, but after careful consideration, and after seeing the prompt for today’s installment of the 30 Day Self Harm Awareness Challenge, I’ve decided to post it and see what happens.

So I will now hand you over to Meadhbh and Shay, who have put together a collection of artwork that depicts a most heartwarming bottomwarming of activities, to ask the question butt is it art or porn?

Under normal circumstances I would password protect this post. However, Meadhbh is not a fan of password protection, so we have reached a compromise. I will post it without a password under the proviso that this warning is inserted: family members of Addy, I politely request that you read no further! Thank you! :)

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Sorting fact from fiction on self-harm

Today’s prompt in the 30 Day Self Harm Awareness Challenge asks
Do you know any statistics about self harm?

The only self harm statistics that I know come from this infographic from the Australian organisation Headspace:

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