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I’m Rachel Craft, and I’m excited to join the "Coping with Depression" blog at HealthyPlace. I was diagnosed with depression over a decade ago in college. As a type-A perfectionist, I was constantly overwhelmed with stress and never got enough sleep. My habitually low self-esteem took a dive at one point, and I developed an eating disorder and started experimenting with self-harm. It was a terrifying period of my life because I realized I might not survive if I didn’t find help.
Hello, my name is "Obsessed with Metrics." I say this with snark, but I also genuinely mean it. A few months ago, when I wrote about my exercise addiction, I briefly touched on how metrics fuel this behavior. I count the number of steps I take. I count the number of miles I run. I count the number of stairs I climb. I count the number of minutes I exercise. I count the number of calories I burn. All of this counting interferes with my life, but I cannot seem to break the habit—nor do I even want to right now. I enjoy the rush too much to stop. I tally each movement with laser precision, courtesy of the mobile fitness tracker I am never without. As unhealthy as I know this sounds, it also creates an intoxicating, powerful sense of achievement. An eating disorder is a compulsive numbers game, and I will be honest: It's hard to quit playing.
After a year of blogging for HealthyPlace, I must now depart. However, a long goodbye isn't really useful for anyone, including me. So, this final post is addressed to you - the undiagnosed reader who suspects they may have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and is looking for guidance on how to proceed.
When you struggle with anxiety, it is sometimes inevitable that you will also cope with depression. The constant worry, the feelings of insecurity, the fears, feeling overwhelmed, and most noticeable for me, the feelings of exhaustion from the anxiety – all of these things can lead to suddenly feeling down.
Taking risks has a bad reputation. We advise people against decisions that seem "risky," warn children away from capers that might result in injury, and, as a general rule of thumb, seek certainty at all costs. On the surface, this ethos makes perfect sense. Why take risks when the odds are against you? After all, that's what risk is: a poor probability or an unlikely shot. 
The idea of attracting bliss brings many different images to mind. We often associate the word with heightened mental states such as those brought about by meditation and a life of simplicity. At the other end of the spectrum, we might picture a life of complete abundance rooted in physical sensations, wealth, and material possessions.
Verbal abuse can come from individuals of any age, including children. Unfortunately, the understanding that kids can be cruel is too common for many parents. So, why do children resort to verbal abuse to handle difficult situations? The answer could be due to learned behaviors or a developmental phase.
Living with self-harm scars is different for everyone. Some folks have more visible scars; some have to cope with scars that directly affect how they live their day-to-day lives. As for me, my scar's appearance—and impact—on my life have been subtle but powerful.
Limitations affect people with schizophrenia, but I believe people with schizophrenia can achieve great things. I know of three women who have schizophrenia who started and run non-profit organizations. I know of three women who are parents to young children. I know several people with schizophrenia who have jobs as writers or artists and others who work as marketing professionals and content creators. Elyn Saks, one of the most well-known people with schizophrenia, is a doctor and professor. These are examples from the two to three dozen people I follow on social media or who I have become friends with in my years of advocacy. If I knew more people with schizophrenia, I assume I would find people with the illness in every role, identity, or profession. 
There are so many things I took for granted before I had bipolar disorder. Just like many people, I was living a normal-ish life. I was 18 years old; I was at university; I was living with my boyfriend; the stats on my life were definitely in the meaty part of the bell curve. And as such, I certainly never thought about mental illness. I wouldn't have been able to correctly define bipolar disorder for you for a million dollars. Those are certainly days I miss. And looking back, so many things were different before I had bipolar disorder.

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Comments

Kim Berkley
Hi Leila,

Thank you for your comment. I'm so glad you found this article helpful. I hope things get better for you. Take care!


Sincerely,
Kim
Kim Berkley
Hi Kenna,

I'm sorry you're hurting and I'm sorry you're scared. Every scar and every body is different; it's possible your scars may still fade, but sometimes they don't, so know that it's possible some of yours might not fade all the way on their own. The best thing you can do is take really good care of your skin. For fresh wounds, practice good first aid -- keep the wound clean, use bandages, etc. For actual scars, you can use lotions and other skin care products that promote healing and general skin health (I like aloe vera gel; some people swear by products containing Vitamin E). If you can, it would be good to talk to a dermatologist about it--but I can imagine that might be difficult to do without a parent present, so if your parents don't know already, that might not be an option right now.

You may also want to check out some cover up options for the scars that may not fade:

https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2021/7/self-harm-scar-cover-up-options-that-work
https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2021/9/self-harm-scars-in-the-summer
https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2022/1/is-self-harm-scar-removal-surgery-necessary

I hope that helps. If you have more questions, I'll be able to reply for as long as I am still writing for the blog.


Take care,
Kim
Kim Berkley
Hi Eve,

I'm sorry you went through all that. "What ifs" can lead us down some pretty hard roads, but I do agree that it may have been better if your mom had talked to you as you wish she had. That being said, disclosing your SH story can be so difficult and so scary, and I can only imagine what it would be like as a parent to try and talk about that stuff with your child. So I hope you can forgive her if she felt unable to do so; the important thing is that you realize now that SH doesn't help and that you are able to move forward and heal. And perhaps you can still have that talk with her sometime, if you want to--just try not to approach it judgmentally. "I wish we'd been able to talk about this before, and I'd like to start now" or something like that.

I hop that helps. Take care!


Sincerely,
Kim
Kim Berkley
Hi Eve,

I'm not the original author of this post, but wanted to make sure you got a reply anyway. I do agree with you that in most cases, if the child is old enough to understand these concepts, it's best to impress upon them that SH is not a healthy outlet--and, as you said, it's equally important to show them some coping mechanisms that ARE good. Parents lead by example whether they mean to or not; better to explain and educate than lie if you can help it. That being said, I also agree that toddlers are a bit too young to understand, and that little white lies may do the most good until they're old enough to know the truth.

Not only can explaining scars (and why SH isn't a good coping mechanism) hopefully prevent kids from making the same mistakes, but it also lets them know that if they DO feel like they need to hurt themselves, there's someone in their life they can talk to who really will understand how they feel. The key is to present the issue without judgment--saying "I felt like I needed to hurt myself to feel better, but I was mistaken" and NOT "I must have been crazy to hurt myself like that."

Thanks so much for your comment. Take care!


Sincerely,
Kim
Kim Berkley
Hi Kai,

A week clean is fantastic; here's to keeping the streak going. :)

I understand about being worried to tell your parents. I don't know your parents or your relationship with them, so I can't say this for certain, but if you ever feel ready to talk to them about it, it can be a huge weight off your shoulders to not have to keep this secret from them. That being said, not everyone has parents who understand these things, so it will have to be up to you to decide if and when (if ever) to open up to them about this. But I do hope you have someone you can talk to--if not them, perhaps a friend, or a therapist or counselor.

In any case, it is true that sometimes it just makes more sense to cover your scars than show them. I've written a few posts about cover up options; hopefully you'll find some ideas there you can use:

https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2022/3/hiding-self-harm-scars-in-swimsuit-season
https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2021/9/self-harm-scars-in-the-summer
https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2021/7/self-harm-scar-cover-up-options-that-work


Take care and best of luck,
Kim