Katy’s Story, Mental Health Matters Wales

katys story

Katy had a history of self-harm, but noticed that when she started struggling with pressure in her home life and work her self-harming started to spiral out of control. One day she saw a leaflet for the self-harm group SHARE, which is hosted by Mental Health Matters Wales, and she decided she needed to take action to get her life back on track.

“I had never attended a support group before, so I didn’t know what to expect. I was a wreck when I sat down, but I was greeted and told that I don’t have to talk if I don’t want to, and that there’s no pressure to join in. I was made to feel really welcome even though everyone else in the group already knew each other.”

At first Katy felt embarrassed and self-conscious but eventually with the support from the group started to relax and fully participate in the sessions. By attending SHARE not only did she learn about coping strategies but she was able to explore new activities and gain support from her peers.

“When I started talking about my self-harm, I was really embarrassed but it was like pulling the covers off. I’d never talked about it before. It was my secret.

Thinking about stopping was scary, but they don’t make you stop in SHARE. They want you to reduce and to try to do something else instead. There is a list of distraction techniques and alternatives, but they tell you that they might not work for you and that you need to find something that works for you. What worked for me in the short term was using elastic bands to snap back against my wrist when I was feeling anxious. In the long term, I’ve really got into painting and writing down my feelings.

That’s one of the things we do in the group is to paint and write poems and letters to ourselves. I’ve discovered that I can paint and I really enjoy it!

Just that I love the group and can’t wait until we can go back to face to face after Covid!”

Mental Health Matters Wales