Brave Barrow girl shares story on how she turned her life around
Mental health problems are often unseen, but being encouraged to talk about them can be the first step to finding help.
Samantha Larkin is a local girl, she was born Barrow, and to many people Samantha appears to be a normal healthy young lady. Today she shares a secret with HuddleHub. A secret which she bravely talks about and one which will hopefully help many other young people to follow her path into a lighter, brighter future.
Samantha tells us in her own words “I was fourteen years old when I starting self-harming, and at the time I was a very lonely child, I didn't have great relationships romantic or platonic and depression seemed to get the better of me. I felt numb a lot of the time and hurting myself was the only way I could make myself feel alive. I hid my scars for about six months. I usually wore long sleeved shirts so it wasn't out of the ordinary for my arms to be covered up.
I did tell my mum what I had done and she was very shocked and upset for me, but she didn't judge me or get angry with me, instead she convinced me to get help which is what I did. My self-harming behaviour lasted from the age of fourteen to sixteen and was at varying levels. Sometimes I would do it every day then other times it was every month.
“I went to the doctors and showed them my scars and told them what had happened and they recommended SAFA and CAMHS. I rang SAFA and was seen within a week. It was very hard talking about a problem I had hidden for such a long time, and even more so to face my problems head on.
“As a young person this is more challenging than many people may think. Being a teenager can make you very unsure about everything that's happening in your life, and having to face your demons with the added social pressure is daunting to say the least. My treatment helped me to find coping mechanisms, such as using creative outlets to feel emotions rather than self-destruction. Although I have relapsed in recent years, I can honestly say that because of the treatment I'm not sad about it. I know it means I'm moving forward to my recovery. I have now been free from self-harming behaviour for two years.
“My words of advice are, “Don't suffer in silence. You’re not worthless just because of a few scars. It is possible to recover from this, you’re not alone. Having scars isn’t a sign of weakness, it shows that you’re still here, and that you have strength. I'm proud that other friends who have these thoughts are still with me today. Life is worth living, so please reach out to a friend, family or to an organisation such as the Samaritans. Take the first step.
“I do have scars on my body. I used to be ashamed of them, but now as an adult I have learned to accept them and I even call them my battle scars. I fought the war with my head and I'm winning. I still have a long way to go but I know that I will get through it.
“As a young adult I will be studying art and photography this year, a passion that I’ve had since I was very young. I want to become a graphic designer and work in advertising. I'd like to thank my friends for being there for me. Four years ago this seemed so far from my grasp, but now I'm happy and can say that my future looks bright.”
Thanks for sharing your story with us Sammy. We wish you all the very best for a wonderful future.
If you would like to help people like Sammy then please contact SAFA to find out more.