“I am on the mend, at least now I can say that I am trying” – Brand New
Today* marks 4 years since I last self-harmed. A milestone I don’t think teenage me would’ve ever seen coming. But here we are, and that’s something to be proud of. I still struggle, but I am on the mend; at least now I can say that I’m trying. Brand New also just dropped their new album, so now’s probably the best time to actually get round to writing a blog about this lyric that inspires me, and that we have on one of our swing tags for our shirts.
*In a move that’s fairly classic me, I put off posting this for ages, which means it’s actually been over a week since the anniversary, and Brand New’s
I read this line as saying “I’m not there yet, but I’m making the effort to do something about it”, but I guess that’s not quite as poetic as the way that Brand New put it.
“I am on the mend”
If you’re not there yet, that’s ok. Sometimes it can take months or even years to work through a difficult patch, or come to terms with something. That’s ok. Go at your own pace, and don’t be hard on yourself if you struggle or if you fall down and end up back at square one.
Sometimes half the battle is actually knowing what the problem is. I often have those days where I just feel rubbish and can’t really explain why. And if you don’t know what the problem is, it’s hard to sort it out. So try to identify what areas of your life might be bringing you down, or triggering you, or making you feel less than awesome. I think writing stuff down is a great way to do this. Write down the situation every time you feel like self-harming. Where you are, if you’re with anyone, what’s been said, what day it is, what time it is, if anything’s happened before that’s on your mind. Then you can start to look for patterns over time. Is it the same place every time? Is there a certain person who’s bringing you down? Once you know what the problem is, you can do something about it.
“At least now I can say that I’m trying”
It’s gotten easier over time to resist the temptation to self-harm when everything gets too much. That’s thanks in no small part to me having things in place that I actively go to when I recognise that I’m starting to get into a negative headspace. And making that conscious effort to do something else instead of self-harm is the biggest step you’ll take on your journey to recovery.
I play drums whenever I can. It’s hard living in a block of flats, but knowing that I can rag a drum set in a practise room or at a show, gives me something to hold onto, and a chance let out everything out. In the short term in the flat, I can still tap my knees or a pillow or a practise pad, even if it’s not as satisfying as making loads of noise.
I’ve got better at talking about it too. If I’m having a bad one, I’ll let someone know when they ask. Rather than just being as typically British as possible and shrugging out a “Yeah, I’m fine”. Talking it over with people helps to identify problems, and get ideas for ways to deal with it from another perspective.
And as much as I hate to admit it, exercising is actually a pretty good way of working through stuff. Going for a run, or doing some push-ups/sit-ups at home (which can be done while watching the TV, so it doesn’t feel so much like hard work). There’s all sorts of scientific reasons why it’s good too – it releases good chemicals in your brain, so you’re legit gonna feel good things.
So with a few lil tools in my arsenal, I’m on the mend. Even if I’m not fully all the way there, it’s ok, because I’m making the effort, and I’m trying.