Those caught in the cycle of self-concern suffer helplessly, while the compassionate are more free and, implicitly, more happy.
— Robert Thurman
All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.
— Havelock Ellis
10 Magical Pebble Paths That Flow Like Rivers
The garden or back-yard is one of the best places in a home for the home-owner to express their creative side. Why surround all those beautiful plants with an ugly path when you can create a creative stone garden path that looks like a work of art? We collected this list to show you what a well-done pebble garden path can look like.
River stones and pebbles worked really well for the projects in these pictures, but just about any stone can work as long as you can think of a cool design with it and turn it into a stable path.
Anonymous said: may you contact my school to raise awareness there as I feel this is a big thing. I have self harmed before and know others that have aalso so ide like to raise awareness of it in school please
We can email your school with our fact sheets, yes. We can only hope that the person who receives our email distributes our fact sheets to the right people.
The circumstances of our lives actually matter less to our happiness than the sense of control we feel over our lives.
— Rory Sutherland
I’d like to ask for your help with an article for The Independent newspaper.
May I ask, what’s your experience of ‘pro-SI’ websites? Can you show me any links?
Do you think things have changed over the years? Has social media taken over from pro-SI websites?
Do you know of any Tumblrs (or other social media accounts) that are strongly pro-SI, or do you think that it’s just an occasional thing on Tumblr?
Do you think sharing photographs of wounds is pro-SI, or is it something else, something more personal /complex? Even if it triggers other people?
I’ll pass your answers on to The Independent, so they might be in touch with you - please say how you would like to be credited - you can be anonymous or just use a nick name, whatever you like.
Please email me on Wedge@lifesigns.org.uk - I know you might add comments to this post, but an email would be more helpful so that I can pass your experience and contact details on to the journalist.
This is urgent, so please consider this post ‘out of date’ by Monday morning (UK time) 28th July 2014.
Minnow Films would like to talk to young people who are willing to share their thoughts and experiences of self-harm and eating disorders, for a Channel 4 documentary.
The programme will explore the experiences of young people and the role of the online world. It will look at the attractions and the risks of self-harm and so called ‘pro-ana’ websites, so Minnow Films would particularly like to speak to people who have some experience of the online communities that exist around self-harm or eating disorders.
At this early stage, the conversation would be an opportunity for you and Minnow Films to discuss the project in detail and hear your thoughts. Conversations would be confidential and non-committal - you don’t have to agree to participate in the film.
Minnow Films is an award-winning documentary company with extensive experience in making programmes about sensitive subjects.
If the above interests you, and you’re a young person living in the UK, email Wedge@lifesigns.org.uk and we will pass on your details to Minnow Films.
You don’t have to agree to do the documentary, you can ask questions, and then Harriet from Minnow Films and you can talk on the phone or meet (perhaps at your home, or somewhere you feel comfortable).
Think about what it would mean for you and your loved ones for you to appear on TV. Talk it over with someone.
You may notice that this is another request for ‘young’ people. LifeSIGNS is committed to supporting people of all ages, but programme producers seem to have to make programmes for very specific demographics.
This was posted on 21st July 2014, so should be considered ‘out of date’ by the end of August 2014.
Photo credit: Susan Adams.
Anonymous said: Big step. I told my dad (sent an unsent letter) and it didnt go bad. We are closer than in years. Part of me now is tired of feeling ashamed of myself,sad and guilty and ready to stop hiding who I am and to come out to everybody, to say this is me, Im 34 years old and this is who i am, deal with it, Im trying to! I've been invited to write as a guest blogger and want to share my writing but it tackles my mental health and my harming. What do I do. Keep it to myself or come out I just dont know
Sounds like discussing everything with your dad was a breakthrough for you. Well done, congrats.
I don’t know where your guest blogs would appear - ask the blog owner / manager if you can use only your first name, or perhaps a nickname to hide your identity. At LifeSIGNS, we pretty much never use surnames.
Many people find personal stories to be very empowering, so I’m sure your articles will be inspiring.
Anonymous said: How would you advise me to cope working as a recovering SI-er with people who SI. Finding it very triggering
I don’t know if you mean you are a support worker for people who SI, or if you just have a job and some people there happen to SI.
If you’re a support worker, then firstly I would say that emotional / mental distress (and SI) can affect anyone and everyone, and being a nurse, counsellor or youth worker doesn’t mean you can’t have your own concerns and problems. Life is hard for everyone in its own way.
Many support workers rely on their personal experience to help them empathise with others. A big concern, I think, is when a person advises a person based on their experience. It goes like this:
"I know just what you’re going through; you need to XXxxxxxx x x xxxxxxx."
Wrong. Empathising with a person means understanding their emotional state, it doesn’t mean a better ability to tell people what to do.
Your insight into SI may give you a valuable ability to listen and talk about things.
At the same time, how do you make space for you? When do you get to ‘switch off’ and take a break from thinking about SI SI SI SI SI?
You’re not a valuable worker only because of your SI experience, you are valuable for everything you bring to the job. Don’t let every conversation revolve around SI - recovery is so much more than ‘stopping SIing’.
If you’re not a support worker, but instead work with colleagues who SI, then I wonder how much of the day is dominated by SI conversations? Maybe someone mentions it once, and then they emotionally move on, but you’re trapped with cycling thoughts for the rest of the day?
What can you do to develop working relationships (and friendships!) based on other matters? Your recovery is important, but your SI story is only part of you, it’s not the whole you. Same goes for your colleagues.
How do you cope with triggers? What do you do during films, TV, and in the street when a triggering image or thought arises?
Can you develop more ways of coping with triggers? You’ll need a range of tactics when stuck at work. I appreciate you can’t just break plates or go for a run in the middle of a shift!
Sometimes, the way we deal with triggers has to be mental, rather than physical. Can you flip your mind and literally switch mental channels? It’s not easy, so use bathroom breaks to sit for 3 minutes and breathe. I know, not the best location, so can you go outside for short breaks to count the clouds and breathe?
I can imagine how hard things might be for you, but I can’t advise you; I can only hope that I’ve given you some ideas that might inspire you or direct your focus. You can create ‘good days’ for yourself, so long as you can move away from any ‘bad minutes’. It’s all about how you approach difficulties, it’s not the difficulties themselves.
Anonymous said: Is relapsing normal??
I think I completely understand, but first, for the sake of other readers, I want to be careful with words.
Normal. What’s normal for the spider is chaos for the fly. Everybody is different, but yes, everybody uses the word ‘normal’ to indicate ‘common’.
Relapse. I won’t deconstruct this word, as it’s often 99% or 100% appropriate, especially for people managing their mental and physical health. But I will interject a few other words that can be just as descriptive yet more useful for people who self-injure. Glitch. Stumble. Struggle.
Very few people wake up and say “I’m done, no more SI for me” and then go on to lead an SI free life. The majority of people that I’ve spoken with over 14.5 years have told me about the ongoing journey, the ongoing struggle. My own journey surprised me - the urges came and sometimes I chose not to battle them, and sometimes I felt overwhelmed. Then, one day, I was sincerely surprised at how long it had been since I hurt myself. Amazeballs! Then I started hurting myself in a completely new fashion. WTF?
To answer your question directly, yes, it is common to stumble when moving away from self-injury.
It’s a learning process, it’s a journey. A journey of self-discovery, that must include learning new ways of coping (not just ‘how to avoid SI’).
Don’t ever beat yourself up for stumbling, it’s just such a very difficult path.
If you’ve gone a long time without resorting to SI, and then you stumble, don’t even count it. Keep walking along your path.
Anonymous said: I recently found out (by accident when I noticed cuts on my daughter's arms) that she has been self harming for the last 2 months. I'm afraid I handled it very poorly and got angry when she refused to talk about it. I think I need someone else to help me, like school consellor but my daughter is adamant against it. She doesn't want anyone in school to know. But I am very worried. Should I still speak to the counsellor anyway and hope she will be able to help? can it make things worse?
It must have been a shock, and you’re aware of how you reacted. We hope that the two of you have had some useful and careful chats since then.
I don’t know how old your daughter is; it’s natural to want privacy at any age, and if kids and friends discover your daughter hurts herself, things could get very difficult for her. Then again, it’s possible that your daughter would benefit from talking with a friend. It’s not always important to talk about the self-harm - it can be vital to talk about life.
If your daughter is very young, like 13 or younger, it may be that you want to convince her to have extra support from a counsellor for a short time. Again, it doesn’t have to be all about the self-harm, but rather, emotional support and a safe space to express herself.
If your daughter is an older teen, you can encourage her to talk to more people, but it may be wise to listen to her preferences. Teens, and people who self-harm, often feel powerless in their own lives, so it might be good to validate and empower your daughter.
Ask your daughter how the counsellor seems; your daughter may have an important opinion about the school’s approach to emotional health and self-harm.
I hope you can take some inspiration from our fact sheets for parents and for people who self-injure, and our self-injury section.
Remember, keep talking, don’t nag, but be available and really listen. You know all this - you’re a great parent. Just don’t make it all about the self-harm, but instead talk about stress, distress, unhappiness, and happiness.
Don’t be afraid of taking your daughter to your family doctor to have a chat about anxiety, depression, bullying, or anything that’s on your daughter’s mind. Self-harm is serious, it may indicate something is happening around your daughter, or it may indicate your daughter is feeling things intensely.
Please help your daughter be safer too - again, the doctor can talk to you both about the physical dangers.
We have gone quiet. We mean to be less quiet late in September.
For now, we will answer the questions we have queued and then we will fall silent for a time.
We’re really sorry to leave you for a short while. We wish there was more we could do, but it’s beyond our control. We need time away.