the user-led self-injury organisation.

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Hidden depths – Sarah’s real-life account of living with SI

1638558954_baefe3a348_nSarah got in touch with LifeSIGNS a few months ago with a link to a video she had created about her experiences with self-injury. She was kind enough to allow us to edit it into a very personal written expression of what self-injury feels like for one individual, and to share this version with you via our website and blog.

Please make sure you are in a safe space, mentally and physically, before reading.


I don’t think it’s possible to explain in words how it begins. Quite often there isn’t a single trigger or event that starts off this chain of feelings…

I first did it when I was thirteen. I had just started secondary school, and, I guess I felt overwhelmed and, a bit like a fish out of water; although what was going through my head that day, is hard to remember. In so many ways, I remember that day perfectly, and yet it is also a misty haze of thoughts and emotions.

It’s almost eleven years, since that day, and I’ve put my body through a great deal of damage and medical care…

On the outside I can appear normal…but on the inside I’m a complete mess of emotions, all bubbling away under the surface, like the blood in my veins is boiling and my organs are vibrating.


Sarah goes on to describe feelings of detachment and how the thoughts and emotions underlying her self-injury make her feel like she no longer remembers who she truly is, along with feelings of struggling to stay in control and rational. She also offers her personal insight into one of the most commonly misunderstood aspects about SI:


It all becomes about wanting to ease pain, but also to feel it, to feel like someone else, but to find yourself, to feel normal, but to feel different from who you really are.

My heart gets lodged in my throat and my lungs feel like they’re brimming at my rib cage. I have to let it out, get release. I hurt myself. Sometimes I feel it, sometimes I don’t. I want to feel – I want to feel.


If you wish to read the full article, please visit the Hidden Depths page on our website. If you rely on SI as a coping technique, as Sarah openly admits she does, you can check out various guidance here for advice and support on moving from self-harm to self-care.


Photo credit: D Sharon Pruitt


We are recruiting for a new Director to join our team! We would love to hear from you if you have personal experience of self-injury, are passionate about the work LifeSIGNS does, and would enjoy volunteering your time and experience to help direct our charitable organisation into the future. If you’re interested, please visit our recruitment page for full details including role specification, requirements, and how to apply. We hope to hear from you.

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