Kindness in the darkness – Lily’s Story

I have a history of self harm, and one night after a horrific day of being made redundant, and then drinking too much, I ended up a mess and went too far in my self harm. I knew I needed stitches and to stop the bleeding, but I was too drunk to drive myself to hospital, it was too late for public transport, and I was too panicky to get a cab. And, to be honest, I was terrified. I had a bad injury bleeding profusely, and I didn’t know what to do. It was very early in the morning, and I ended up having to wake up my flat mate and her boyfriend to take me to hospital. They were so patient and kind with me. They had to see the horrible state that myself and my arm was in, and they didn’t judge, didn’t tell me off, didn’t complain they had work in the morning, they just took me to hospital and waited with me, making jokes to make me feel better. 

At the hospital I was a mess, in tears. I thought I was going to get shouted at, belittled, or told off for wasting everyone’s time with my selfishness.

Everyone I encountered in the hospital was brilliant. Kind, caring, understanding. This was a busy hospital in the outskirts of London, but they took the time to listen to me. From the triage nurse to the wonderful doctor that sewed me up, they told me their stories of times when they felt the same way I did, and I didn’t feel alone. They told me about the psychiatric nurse I could come and see in an emergency. They didn’t dismiss me, or my feelings. I wasn’t ‘mental’ or ‘stupid’ or ‘attention seeking’. They didn’t try to fix my feelings, they just listened, and understood.

I left hospital having felt kindness from a lot of people, and it changed my attitude to things. It wasn’t the last time I self harmed, but that night could have been a very dark and horrible time for me, and even though part of it was, the rest means I can look back at that time and feel grateful for being surrounded by caring people at a time when I needed it most.

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