the user-led self-injury organisation.

  • UK
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Life’s hardships and the terror of falling further

Life is hard. Everyone has good days, everyone has tough days. The difference between people is in how they each cope with what life throws their way, and for some people, self-injury has become their release – or in some cases, distraction – from the overwhelming pressure of it all.

lifes hardships

Jennifer shared her story with LifeSIGNS:

I recently lost my job. I’ve had four jobs in 12 months; one ended in redundancy, I resigned from one…and I’ve had two short contracts, 3 months and 2 months respectively. When I have work, I go to work each day and appear confident and positive. I am good at what I do – but when things go wrong, I panic. My work colleagues never see this because I am a master of disguise.

This is common among those who self-injure; their emotions may be held in, reserved and hidden from everyone around them until the person feels they are able to address their emotions in their own way, in their own space and in their own time.

Jennifer goes on to say:

I am terrified that if I don’t find another job I won’t be able to pay my mortgage and I’ll lose my house. At the moment the bills exceed the bank balance x3 and I haven’t been approved for welfare payments even though it’s four weeks since I last worked. The employment agency has ruled that I am competent and able to find work on my own. They will contact me in 13 weeks to see how it’s all going. I want to scream at them that I’m a mess but the scream is silent.”

Jennifer starts her day searching and applying for jobs, but the worry of being rejected is always on her mind, and on the occasions she does receive bad news, she finds it hard to cope. The fear of life getting even more difficult is hard to bear:

[That] sends me into panic again which leads to self-harm. All this happens in silence, in my room, with the door closed.

Despite struggling so deeply, she maintains her “happy, chatty and well-adjusted” guise and continues about her day.

If this story sounds familiar to you, know that you are not alone. There are people you can turn to who understand and who can help.  If you’re struggling to cope and fighting the urge to hurt yourself at this particular moment, read this first. When you feel ready to ‘come out’, have a look at our coming out guide which includes tips on how to tell someone about your self-injury, and also have a read of some of our other blog entries, all shared with LifeSIGNS by people with experience of self-injury. Whatever you’re going through or may be facing in the future, you don’t have to deal with it alone.


Photo credit:  Juliana Coutinho


  • Jennifer

    Update: 9 weeks into the job and all is going well. I love it. It’s a fun place to work and the positive encouragement has meant I have been SI free for the whole 9 weeks. My team is great and the focus is always on the positive. No-one has asked about or commented on my scars. There is an air of acceptance that we have all had journeys and that’s why we are who we are and we were employed because of who we are, if that makes sense.

  • Jennifer

    Since sending my story to Lifesigns I have found a job. Started work/training today.
    I started the day with a massive panic attack and briefly thought about crawling back into bed but I didn’t and the rest of the day went reasonably well.

    • Laura

      Great news Jennifer, well done on getting a new job and on getting through your first day. Thanks again for sharing your story with LifeSIGNS, we hope the rest of your training and work goes well and we of course wish you the best for the future.

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