"I have been self harming for a year and a half because of bullying."

Question

I have been self harming for about a year and a half now because of bullying. The bullying has made me think less of myself so much that I just don't want to live near all these people. I don't want to kill myself but I do enjoy hurting myself. People hurt me and I feel like they are being hurt. I hurt myself because I feel bad for them (if that makes any sense. I am turning [edit: age] tomorrow and I want to be happy while celebrating it but i don't think that I can keep my fake smile on any longer. I really don't know what to do or how to stop cutting.I hate my scars. I have one really deep one from last September. I remember the whole entire day too. It was my third day back from vacation and some boys beat me up. I felt so useless so I [edit: self-harm]. I have had to wear either lots of bracelets or long sleeve shirt all summer so far and its getting annoying. Last year [edit:grade] a teacher that was helping a disabled kid saw some of my scars and glared at me. I'm not sure why but I feel like I'm letting people down. Please help. My birthday is on [edit: date] btw

Answer from counsellor

Aw, sounds like you are having a really tough timeL. I am so glad you chose to write in to us! I am sorry to hear that you are being bullied, and are self-harming. I am hearing that you want to stop self-harming, but you don’t know how to. I’d like to offer you some support and strategies for helping you cope with all of this, ok? Also, just wanted to note that I took some details out of your post, just to further protect your identity- hope that’s alright with you. Firstly, I am so sorry to hear you are being bullied. A year and a half is a really long time to put up with that! Bullying is never ok, and as you know, can have a serious impact on its victims. I hear you saying that the bullying had made you think less of yourself. People who are being bullied often have the experience of low-self-esteem. But I want you to know that this is not your fault and you deserve protection from it. I am wondering, have you thought about telling a trusted adult about it? Perhaps your parents or a teacher? If it is happening at your school, your teacher and/or principal should step in to help keep your safe. You can even check to see what your school’s anti-bullying policy is. The main point here is that you do not have to deal with this alone. We have some great resources on our website around bullying: http://kidshelpphone.ca/Teens/InfoBooth/Bullying/Are-You-A-Target.aspx. Furthermore, you can always call us here at Kids Help Phone, and speak with a counsellor 24/7: 1-800-668-6868. As for the self-harming, it sounds to me like this is a way you have found to manage the pain of bullying. We hear from lots of youth who turn to self-harm as a way to cope. However, this is only a temporary fix to managing the emotions, and they will typically return. You mentioned that you hurt yourself because you feel bad about the people who are hurting you. Sounds like you are also in a lot of pain, as well. And you mentioned a particular incident where you felt useless, and that led to self-harming. I am sorry you went through that, sounds like it was really difficult. But I want you to know that you are not useless or bad because of this bullying! Quite the opposite, I think you are really brave for reaching out and sharing your story! There are ways to manage your strong emotions, so you don’t turn to self-harm. We have some cool games and tools on our website to help you learn to cope with strong emotions. Check them out: http://www.kidshelpphone.ca/Teens/YourSpace.aspx I really want to emphasize the fact that you are important and deserve to be happy. And you deserve to celebrate your birthday! I am wondering, are there people in your life you can share this with? Sometimes having someone to listen and care can be very comforting. And again, we are always here to listen if you would like to give us a call. Thanks again for reaching out, and I wish you all the best.