How To Write Your Story

Share Your StoryIt’s awesome that you’ve decided to share your story with others to inspire them. By speaking honestly and openly about what you went through and how you overcame your battle with self-harm, you’ll be helping others to keep their Heads Above The Waves.

We’ll be honest straight away though. You need to be aware of the potential consequences. This story will be shared around on the internet, and could be read by anyone. We’ll do our best to moderate any comments that people make about it, but there may be times something slips past us. So far, we’ve heard nothing but positive things from people sharing their stories, but there’s the chance that abusive comments may be made. Heads Above The Waves will work hard to ensure this doesn’t happen. To this extent, we want to be careful about what’s published, and try to protect you as much as possible.

  • If you’re happy for your real name to be included online, only ever use your first name, and we will too. However feel free to use a different name if you’d rather not use your own (just let us know!).
  • Avoid naming specific locations, e.g. put “at school” not “at Greendale School”.
  • Don’t use anyone else’s name e.g. put “A friend of mine.” NOT “My friend Kelly”. As well as protecting you, we want to make sure we’re protecting anyone who reads your story.

We want the focus to be primarily on your recovery, talking about how you actually overcame your struggle with self-harm. Don’t forget, the purpose of sharing this story is to inspire other people who are in your position to try what it was that you did to recover.

We don’t want to glamourise self-harm. In order to avoid potentially triggering people who are vulnerable, we want to avoid talking in too much detail about the actual act itself. Try to avoid words/phrases/sentences that use violent or graphic language. We will moderate and potentially edit all stories before they’re published. Check out our moderation guidelines and site disclaimer.

We recommend the following template:

1 paragraph about your situation

How old were you?

What was happening in your life that led you to self-harm?

1 brief paragraph about your experience with self-harm

But nothing too graphic, or anything that promotes self-harm

What were you feeling when you first self-harmed

How long did your struggle with self-harm last for?

2 paragraphs about your recovery

What made you decide to stop self-harming?

Was there a particular positive coping mechanism that worked for you?

How did you discover this coping mechanism?

Does it still influence your life?

Why did this new coping mechanism work better for you than self-harm?

What’s happening in your life now?

How do you handle tough times now?

If you want an idea of how to structure your story, you can check out what other people have done.

Some Notes:

  • We need you to sign a consent form expressing your willingness to be included on the website, along with whether you want your name to be included, or if you’d prefer to remain anonymous.
  • We won’t publish anything without you reading over and signing off on what’s written.
  • We may edit what you’ve written to make a cohesive story line, but the contents of your story won’t change.
  • Any reports of child abuse or violence towards under 16s will be reported to appropriate authorities.
  • If you’re under 16 and want to share your story, we’ll need permission from your parents to do so.

If you’ve got any questions or concerns about anything, feel free to get in touch with us on stories@hatw.co.uk.

We read everything that we’re sent, but we can’t promise we’ll be able to publish everything. We’ll always let you know via email what’s going on.