For Self-Injury Awareness Day, I asked people to share their experience with self-harm, and what has helped them cope.

TW: This post contains information about self-harm. be mindful of reading this if it will affect you negatively.

I first self-harmed at the age of 14. I have no idea where the thought came from, but I drowning in a sea of suffocating thoughts and reached for something out of pure desperation. After this, I became addicted to the pain. I was self-harming almost every day, in a cycle of heal, harm, heal, harm, heal, harm. I hid it from everyone…

Screenshots courtesy of Calm Harm

While self-help is no substitute for professional support, digital tools can enable young people to channel overwhelming emotions into something less harmful.

The Samaritans define self-harm as ‘any deliberate act of self-poisoning or self-injury without suicidal intent’, and a worrying number of young people are doing it. Hospitalisations of nine to 12-year-olds because of self-injury has doubled in the last six years, while doctors are reportedly seeing self-harm in children as young as ten.

Estimates show that around a quarter of 14-year-olds self-harm. But these figures are just that — estimates. The true number is, unfortunately, much higher. Statistics rely…

Solomon Mwebya and Bashir Sentamu

As large parts of the world reach toward life beyond lockdown, a forgotten group of children stuck on a remote island off of Uganda are fighting to survive.

It’s a blindly sunny day in Busagazi, a parish in Uganda. Rising water levels, a frequent side effect of the climate crisis, have cut the island — and all of the people who live there — off from mainland Uganda. Children play in burnt orange plains, running in and out of windowless buildings. Among them are six-year-old Bashir Sentamu, 7-year-old Wilson Kapimpini, 10-year-old Anisha Namuleme, seven-year-old Innocent Mugabi and 8-year-old Yokosani Maiso…

Police attend an Extinction Rebellion event. Photo by Sian Bradley

On the 1st of May 2003, five women walked to Chicago’s government office wearing bathrobes. They were preparing for a demonstration; the first ‘Day of the Politically Depressed’. Onlookers began drifting toward the women, who were outnumbered by police in riot gear. An hour later, artist Vanalyne Green arrived in a taxi with a box of white T-shirts that read: “Depressed? It might be political!” Vanalyne is a founding member of Feel Tank, a collective project formed by women in response to their feelings of hopelessness about life in America. “We experience that as an individual feeling, but in fact…

I have been unemployed, hospitalised with chronic illness and housebound with depression. Here’s what I learnt about staying sane when life exists within four walls

I’m no stranger to isolation. I’ve been social distancing before the government told me to. Years of battling depression, eating disorders, anxiety, self-harm and suicidal urges have kept me strapped to my bed or hiding indoors, for days, weeks, months on end. Then I was made redundant only months into my first Proper Job, flinging me into the abyss of unemployment. Zero-hour contracts, part-time hours and the digital nature of media meant I was at home — a lot. Like, 70% of the time.

In my final year of university, I suffered from recurring Paratonsilar Abscesses (save yourself and do…

Chana Porter’s new sci-fi novel The Seep explores who is welcome in Utopia — and who gets left behind

Trina Goldberg-Oneka is fifty-years-old when The Seep arrives. She throws a dinner party with her soon-to-be wife, Deeba, as the world braces themselves for The End. The guests carried on with their evening, unaware that The Seep had already entered their water supply. It enveloped them all, filling them with the overwhelming understanding that everything was going to be OK.

This gentle alien invasion was welcomed by Trina and Deeba, alongside everyone else who was high on The Seep. They felt joy, love, peace. Those left behind lounged in panic, despair, anger.

In this opening chapter, Chana introduces the consistent…

Vocal social media users attack climate change protesters

Survival of the planet requires radical systemic change. When we place blame on the masses, we allow the climate’s biggest enemies to quietly continue business as usual.

Our planet is burning. We are teetering on the edge of irreversible climate change that could trigger the sixth mass extinction, killing millions. Scientists don’t know when the tipping point will occur, or whether it has already, but once it does, we will have caused irreparable damage to the Earth.

I’m sure you’re all too painfully aware of the devastation and destruction that is ripping through nature. Greenhouse gas emissions are at record…

You know how sometimes, movies show a dam bursting, destroying whatever lies below? That’s what it’s like, to cut your skin. A dam slowly filling with water, until it bursts.

The year is 2010. I’m sat in English class, and it must have been warm because the sleeves of my school jumper were rolled up past my elbows.

This shouldn’t have mattered, but it did to me. I’d forgotten about the prominence of the angry red cuts slicing through the smooth porcelain of my inner arm, now flashing like a warning beacon to everyone around me. I usually wouldn’t forget. Usually, I was careful. I made sure my sleeves were pulled down, hiding any evidence of the pain I inflicted upon myself.

There was no way I could completely forget…

When strolling through a forest, we can experience the relative insignificance of our lives in comparison to the timeline of the Earth. Regardless of wars, famine, trends and corporations that grow and fold, the forest continues. Trees outlive generations, rulers, presidents and prime ministers. The cycle of life is perfected through ancient processes; silently building a respite from the suffocating grey of modern life. Forests are reminders that the Earth survives in spite of our efforts to thwart it. We exist within their world, not vice versa. …

Sian Abigail Bradley

Freelance journalist and mental health advocate

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store