It has taken me a while to find the time to sit down and write this …that sums up who I am now.

I love to be busy all the time but I really treasure the moments when I can sit quietly or get some stuff done for me. It’s another kind of achievement, one I know I need to factor in to my week, but it hasn’t always been this way.

Being busy is something I get from my family and something that I now love. However, when I was younger, I used being busy to not let myself have time to think. I didn’t like the idea of being alone with my own thoughts; it’s a strange feeling being scared of yourself.

The problem was that I didn’t leave myself time to process, things would build up and I would need to find a release.  As with finding time to write this, it would take me a while to be able to tell anyone how I was feeling or to find the words to explain it. I am very lucky to have such a wonderful, strong, caring family, but I could not bring myself to admit that I was feeling this way or doing something that I knew deep-down wasn’t really a solution.

For me, self-harm was a quick way to release the very physical feeling of stress that I felt but it was always followed, by an equally horrible feeling of guilt. Guilt because I couldn’t pinpoint why I felt this way and therefore felt I had no right to. And guilt at how it would make those who loved me feel when they found out. For a long time I hid the results but not talking about it would make the feeling worse and kept me stuck in the cycle. I had to speak to someone and for me that person was my mum.

Yes I could see that it upset her, of course it would, but when I wasn’t able to see a solution, she was able to be rational, to talk me through it and offer a solution even if I couldn’t identify the exact reasons. When I panicked about leaving the house in the morning for school, often turning it in to frustrated anger directed at her, she would sit with me to help me feel calm and ready to face the world. She didn’t force me to stop or force me to talk to anyone else. She helped me make my own decisions and find other ways to deal with life’s challenges.

I don’t say thank you to her enough. I am lucky to have this support base and while I have learnt to leave my guilt, my only regret is not to speaking about it sooner. I am not perfect now, sometimes I still struggle, but instead of being scared of myself, I talk to my family. That may be my parents or sister, or the family I have made myself in my friends and my boyfriend. Now I enjoy opportunities to be with myself; I believe we all need that time in order to appreciate the other moments in life, especially those with the people who care about us.