A mother's story

I had a history with anxiety, depression, and a little bit of self-harm when I was younger, but at the time I didn’t receive any help because I hid it. After having my daughter last year, it all came back as I was struggling to deal with my feelings and emotions. I would say my anxiety and depression became worse than ever before, and I used self-harm as my coping mechanism.

I was receiving counselling at the time and I told them about my self-harm. They told me about Penumbra and the new service ran by Self-Harm Network Scotland. They referred me onto the service, and I was put in touch with the lovely Peer Practitioner Kerri.

Kerri went out of her way to make the process as easy for me as possible, she was so flexible in her approach. I always find it easier to speak to someone in person. So, Kerri accommodated that, and we met for a coffee in a café for our sessions with my daughter in toe. Kerri was so understanding of my situation, even with having my baby daughter there who would cause the odd distraction. I honestly felt so listened to regardless of my situation and the setting.

Kerri was able to meet me where I was and help me feel like I wasn’t alone in what I was experiencing.

Kerri helped me to understand why I was self-harming. She suggested loads of different coping mechanisms to help me better deal with those emotions when they come up. One of the best little snippets of advice she gave me was to suck on a sour sweet, and it was brilliant! For me it just helps quickly re-set my emotions, and now I always keep a packet of sour sweets on me.

I think I had a total of 15 sessions with Kerri, and we did face some setbacks along the way due to personal things going on in my life. But Kerri was amazing at bringing me back and helping me realise just how far I had come. I think it’s easy to feel like you haven’t improved much, but when we did a final questionnaire together and compared it to my first, it was amazing to see how much I had improved. Overall, the whole process has changed me in how I deal with those feelings of self-harm when they arise, and the confidence in myself to know that I can deal with them.

One of the best parts of the whole service was having someone with lived experience like Kerri by my side. Kerri was able to meet me where I was and help me feel like I wasn’t alone in what I was experiencing. I never felt judged. I am going to miss Kerri, but knowing now that I can self-refer to the service is a massive support. I know that there is now a live chat in place where I can talk to someone if I ever need it. All of this helps to fill me with confidence!

I’m coping better and feel like I’m starting to challenge myself more. I’m even thinking of booking a flight to go on holiday with my daughter, something I could never have done before. I feel more hopeful for my future.


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