The fourth post in our World Mental Health Day series is written by Lucy at What My Fridge Says.

Lucy’s posts always start with an inspirational quote or message posted on her fridge. She also has a lot of sensory activities up her sleeves for toddlers!
My own quote, although I’m sure Disney have probably said something similar?
Today I am writing from the heart and as part of a series with a group of bloggers to hopefully highlight some key issues surrounding mental health awareness, if you’d like to follow the series then the chick who came up with this wonderful idea was Admissions of a working mother, hitting this link will allow you see the entire collaboration. I personally jumped at the chance and am proud to be collaborating on such a ‘fog’ aspect of society. I do not claim to be an expert – I am merely sharing my experiences of the girls that I have had the delight to work with (I’m a Nurture Teacher in an all girls secondary school) on their journey through the ‘fog’ of mental health and in particular self harm.

I used the term ‘fog’ as there are no rights or wrongs, no person self harms for the same reason another might nor do they harm in the same manner, some make cuts that vary in size and depth, usually in hidden locations, hence that the statistics that surround self harm are just as vague – it’s thought that 13% of 11-16 year old’s will self harm at some point, more worryingly is how many teenagers never tell a soul, seek help or confide, they are the missing statistics. Self harm can also be an eating disorder, self bruising, cutting / marking, abuse of alcohol / drugs.
When girls at school disclose information and I call home parents frequently asked questions surrounding ‘why?’ Again the fog does not lift, some are due to recent tragedies – as a form of coping, of releasing, others due to past traumas in the child’s early life…and some just because. At the point of harming most girls that I have spoken to don’t even know the reasons themselves. Teenage boys statistics are also increasing , I don’t personally feel that this is a bad thing. The figures come from teenagers seeking help, the girls and guys who are able to walk into their GP surgery or the doors of A and E, this means society is listening and let me tell you – listening is good.
I always feel privileged when a girl confides in me, and one thing that we often discuss is the dark room. For many (not all) suffering from anxiety or depression, the world sometimes feels like a dark enclosed  room and it’s safe but also scary in the dark, but mostly it’s lonely. However, to reach for the light switch feels like a million miles away and utterly unachieveable. To switch the light on is a loss of the known (the dark) and a loss of control (seeking help may lead to others making decisions for you), for those in a state of self loathing the thought of disappointing loved ones is heart breaking and so they stay in the safety of the dark. It is this reason that teenagers often disclose in schools – pupils know that we have to tell there parents / carers due to child protection guidelines, this takes some of the initial weight off of themselves.
So, what can little old me and wise old you do?
Listen. Once you’ve finished listening, listen some more. I don’t mean the nod and sad face kind, I mean the active listening, taking it in and showing the person that the light switch can be reached with time, at their pace and with your support. Ironically, it has always been my experience that the ‘harming’ is irrelevant compared to the emotion behind it, opening the door to discussion allows for emotions to be re-balanced and at the point of turning on the light switch, the dark (self harming) stops.

Today’s quote -‘you’re still a princess’comes from my love of Disney (regular readers of my blog will know that I’m slightly pumped by the positivity, magical nature and frankly the sparkle that Disney can give). So the other thing apart from listening is to remind them that you still care, they are still loved…if the Little Mermaid self harmed – she would still be a princess, if Arna from Frozen let it go’… She would still be a princess.

My advice and experience (for whats its worth) is simple…Listen and love.
 

If you would like more information, fact, figures and advice I have 2 ‘go to’ amazing websites, these are Self harm a UK project dedicated to supporting young people impacted by self harm and Mind which is the UKs leading charity for mental health.

She’s Still A Princess

12 thoughts on “She’s Still A Princess

  • October 7, 2015 at 8:51 pm
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    This is such an important post. I am dreading my children's teenage years – it must be so hard to stay close as they grow up and grow away, but I hope your advice will keep the communication flowing. Well done for doing such important valuable work. #thetruthabout

    Reply
  • October 7, 2015 at 8:51 pm
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    This is such an important post. I am dreading my children's teenage years – it must be so hard to stay close as they grow up and grow away, but I hope your advice will keep the communication flowing. Well done for doing such important valuable work. #thetruthabout

    Reply
  • October 8, 2015 at 6:41 pm
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    I don't have a teenager or anyone self harming in my life but I know people who suffer from depression and I understand the need to talk and be listened to in an active way. I really think that it's such a good thing that the government recognise the need for 'talking therapy' and are providing it freely on the NHS now. I hope I will be a mum that my boys can come and talk to when they are teenagers. Thanks so much for linking up to #thetruthabout

    Reply
  • October 8, 2015 at 6:41 pm
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    I don't have a teenager or anyone self harming in my life but I know people who suffer from depression and I understand the need to talk and be listened to in an active way. I really think that it's such a good thing that the government recognise the need for 'talking therapy' and are providing it freely on the NHS now. I hope I will be a mum that my boys can come and talk to when they are teenagers. Thanks so much for linking up to #thetruthabout

    Reply
  • October 9, 2015 at 7:10 pm
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    It sounds like you do some great work and this is a brilliant piece. The prospect of any child going through this is is heartbreaking. I think NHS resources in this area are seriously under resourced too. #picknmix

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  • October 9, 2015 at 7:10 pm
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    It sounds like you do some great work and this is a brilliant piece. The prospect of any child going through this is is heartbreaking. I think NHS resources in this area are seriously under resourced too. #picknmix

    Reply
  • October 9, 2015 at 10:22 pm
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    I'm so glad for the parents at the school that they gave someone like this looking over their children. The teen years can be so hard and you feel feel everything so extremely which is good and bad.
    Another great entry to this series, thanks for linking up to #Picknmix Stevie x

    Reply
  • October 9, 2015 at 10:22 pm
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    I'm so glad for the parents at the school that they gave someone like this looking over their children. The teen years can be so hard and you feel feel everything so extremely which is good and bad.
    Another great entry to this series, thanks for linking up to #Picknmix Stevie x

    Reply
  • October 13, 2015 at 1:19 pm
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    What a great series to get involved in and sounds like amazing supportive work is being done which is so important. Great post. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me. I hope to see you again tomorrow for another great round. Why not invite your friends to come share too? I would love to get to know more bloggers and widen my blogger share with me circle. All posts, old and new are welcome. #sharewithme

    Reply
  • October 13, 2015 at 1:19 pm
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    What a great series to get involved in and sounds like amazing supportive work is being done which is so important. Great post. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me. I hope to see you again tomorrow for another great round. Why not invite your friends to come share too? I would love to get to know more bloggers and widen my blogger share with me circle. All posts, old and new are welcome. #sharewithme

    Reply
  • October 13, 2015 at 9:40 pm
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    What a great post. The teenage years are quite the wild ride! I have two on those tracks myself and a daughter who is 10 going on 18!! Thanks so much for linking up with #MMWBH

    Reply
  • October 13, 2015 at 9:40 pm
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    What a great post. The teenage years are quite the wild ride! I have two on those tracks myself and a daughter who is 10 going on 18!! Thanks so much for linking up with #MMWBH

    Reply

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