By Jo Rainbow
Key Themes: family difficulties, self-harm, art therapy, bravery, recovery
This book explains the complex nature of self-injury from a survivor's perspective. This is written from the heart not from a medical background. Professional views on the benefits of group work and art therapy are included.
About the Author
Having survived for twenty years by using self-injury I want to share my hope for a brighter future. Today, thanks to a lot of support I have chosen to live. My aim is to share the things that have helped me break free from self-injury.
The legacy of secrets. I remember that summer's day, the first time I self-injured. Words flashed hotter than the midday sun. Doors slammed, pots, pans crashed across the kitchen. I wish my parents would stop shouting at each other. From my room window I watch Gran's house, see Gran drawing the bedroom curtains for her afternoon nap. Voices rage downstairs, I pick up my sewing, the lace runner I'm making for Gran. I trim loose threads; trace the scissors over my hand, Gran's scissors; my hands. As if watching a film I see myself draw blood. The tiny beads of blood match the lace pattern, I am in control. This is my body.
Basic first aid. It is important to check wounds, especially if you have been dissociated, that is unaware of events during the act of injury. Ensure the wound is cleaned, kept clean and dry. If the wound is gaping or blistered, seek medical attention. If this is difficult, take a friend for support. Following an act of injury you may feel shocked, distressed, numb, high, any number of different feelings. Take time to consider your emotional needs. For example have a cup of tea, play music, write how you feel, take a nap.
My cutting expresses my deepest hurt. No words, no tears yet my wound cries. From deep within a silent scream emerges, I find release, peace. I have taken control of my body. Tending my wound gives me comfort. Hours later Paul flings open the door. 'Jo. Jo what happened?' I stagger to my feet. Blood drips, silent, silent as the screaming in my head. 'Bad day at work.' I can't explain. I feel trapped…. If Paul found out, he wouldn't love me. I'd be alone. Abandoned.
I feel safe with Paul. Love at any cost? When Paul holds me…when he tells me, 'I'll take care of you.' I know he loves me. Inside, I still doubt him, does he really love me?
How can you love me? I don't even know who I am! My doubts about Paul's love for me echo in my head long after my arm has healed. How can he possibly love me? I've always been bad… I was so bad mummy got ill. I was never good enough to make mummy better. She was still sad when I left home, now I've hurt her again… Caring for a loved one is rewarding, also exhausting. Imagine you are five years old…holding mummy's hand, wiping her tears away. Listening to words that have no meaning. Mummy keeps crying. Big tears splash on my pink dungarees. I cry too. I want to make mummy happy. Years of caring, sharing, bonding so close. I'm no longer a person.
The first time I self-injured I found a way to survive. This time I'd found a way of drawing boundaries. Marking my body claimed it back for me. I still didn't know who I was, but the mass evil inside at least had a defining wall, my skin.
This product was added to our catalog on Wednesday 01 November, 2006.