Monthly Archives: February 2013

Sounds Mental… Self Harm

To accompany our new teaching series, I’ll be blogging about the topics once we’ve had the meetings on a Monday once a fortnight. We kicked our “Sounds Mental” series off yesterday using  the lyrics of the song “Angel” by Sarah MacLachlan – which you can listen to here.

Recovery from self harm is difficult – because it is an addiction and a coping mechanism – and recovery comes through finding new ways to cope. More information about self harm can be found   in our article marking National Self Harm Awareness Day 2011 .

There’s always some reason, to feel not good enough…

Whilst having low self-esteem can be one of the contributing factors in a struggle with self-harm, it can also be an issue in recovery. For many, being labelled a “self-harmer” can make it even harder to move on. We all have many labels – from our position in the family, our job and sometimes our painful past. They can be unhelpful and hard to overcome, but it can help to remind yourself of other, more helpful and hopeful labels. Whether that be that you are a survivor of a hellish time, a daughter or you’ve completed a charity bungee jump! For the christian, we have a complete identity in Christ – children of God and created in His image. It’s this identity which sustains and never changes, no matter how hard it may be to accept it.

Memories seep from my veins…

One of the most painful parts of coming to terms with a battle of self-harm is that scarring can not only damage how we see ourselves, but it’s also a constant reminder of the depths reached for. Coming to terms with scarring is an important part of recovery – but it’s not an easy part. In the mean time, there are now excellent creams which can help lessen the starkest of scars or camouflage make-up which is available from the Red Cross, and can sometimes be prescribed by your GP. Scarring can take a long time to come to terms with – but it might be helpful to be reminded of the scars of another. In Isaiah 53:5 it says “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” The scars on Jesus’ palms were the sign of His saving grace – and whilst our scars may not be signs that we’ve saved the world – they are signs that by God’s grace we’ve survived.

Keep on building the lies…

Self-harm is enabled by lies. So often, it would not be possible without half-truths and white lies. When it’s over – the guilt of these lies can be crippling. The guilt of what has been done to the body – and also the effect of this on others can re-enforce old feelings of unworthiness and self-recrimination. So often, we forget that we are meant to forgive ourselves as well as forgiving others. If we have repented and our Creator has forgiven us – we have every reason to forgive ourselves. It’s not easy, but we can remember that it is our sins against ourselves – as well as others which were taken to the cross at Calvary.

I’m going to end with a poem by William Cowper – who suffered from crippling depression in his lifetime. Please be aware that some may find the imagery triggering – but there is a reminder of our beautiful hope in his words.

There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.
Lose all their guilty stains, lose all their guilty stains;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoiced to see that fountain in his day;
And there have I, though vile as he, washed all my sins away.
Washed all my sins away, washed all my sins away;
And there have I, though vile as he, washed all my sins away.

Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood shall never lose its power
Till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more.
Be saved, to sin no more, be saved, to sin no more;
Till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more.

E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.
And shall be till I die, and shall be till I die;
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.

Then in a nobler, sweeter song, I’ll sing Thy power to save,
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave.
Lies silent in the grave, lies silent in the grave;
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave.

Lord, I believe Thou hast prepared, unworthy though I be,
For me a blood bought free reward, a golden harp for me!
’Tis strung and tuned for endless years, and formed by power divine,
To sound in God the Father’s ears no other name but Thine.