When I initially looked at writing this blog, it was because I had self harmed during my PND/PTSD.  Having listened to Sally from @Mumsback, I realised I wasn’t alone.   However it was something very rarely talked about and I wonder how many more of us there are.  This was only brought home by the struggle to find out any actual facts and figures on self harm in PND.

Self Harm

Types of Self Harm

Before I self harmed I must admit my ignorance felt that it was pretty much people who cut themselves.  However the below list gives an example of just some of the ways that people can self harm:

  • cutting yourself
  • poisoning yourself
  • over-eating or under-eating
  • biting yourself
  • picking or scratching at your skin
  • burning your skin
  • inserting objects into your body
  • hitting yourself or walls
  • overdosing
  • exercising excessively
  • pulling your hair
  • getting into fights where you know you will get hurt.

NB: If you self-harm, it is important that you know how to look after your injuries and that you have access to the first aid equipment you need. Please check out Lifesigns for information that will help.  However I’d also urge you to go seek help if you are self harming and/or feeling the need to self harm.

I was a scratcher…

It started off quite gradually, I guess it does for most.  If I was really down or had got myself particularly stressed or upset then I would scratch at my forehead.  A lot of the time there wouldn’t be any marks or just a bit of a scratch.  However as time went on, as I got worse, so did the scratching…

At it’s worst I had huge scabs on my forehead from where I’d spent hours clawing at my forehead.  Luckily I had a fringe so was able to cover up the evidence.  I’m still not sure if family or friends knew how bad it was.

Self Harm in PND

As I say apart from hearing other mum’s stories, it’s hard to find any specific figures for the exact amount of PND sufferers who self harm.  However studies show that mothers reporting thoughts of self-harm in the postpartum period are at a greater risk of ‘somatic and psychiatric morbidity during a follow-up of 7 years after delivery, and this increased risk may not be fully attributed to depressive symptoms. Results underline the importance of screening for self-harm symptoms postpartum and point to a need for individualized follow-up.’

To read the full report please click here

Let’s be open

So we need to keep pushing the boundaries, we need to keep breaking taboos, we need to keep talking.  For some inspirational and candidly honest stories please visit Mind.org or share your story just like we have.

None of us are perfect, life is tough, parenthood is really frigging tough.  The sooner we are honest, the sooner we go a little easier on ourselves, the better!

Fay x