Self Injury Awareness Day Project

In response to this video, I am writing a blog to make it easier for everyone to participate in the Self Injury Awareness Day Project. Self Injury Awareness Day is March 1, so the clock is ticking! The deadline for submissions is one week from now, February 27th.

My thought, in case you didn’t see the video; is that more people can make more of an impact and spread even more awareness than me just sitting in my living room making a YouTube video – I do that all the time anyway!

I want this to be a collaboration between me and you. If you have something to say, a story to tell, something you’ve always wanted to show the world… Then I’d love to help get your message out there.

For one week, I will be taking submissions to be compiled into a video project that will debut on my YouTube channel and all over various social networking sites on March 1, Self Injury Awareness Day.

What can you submit?

That’s up to you! Anything that will work in a video montage.

  • You can record a 1-2 minute video of yourself telling your story, reading something you wrote, singing, etc (or a longer video and I will cut it down at my discretion).
  • You can send any artwork you’ve done relating to self-injury or recovery
  • You can send any poetry, songs or essays (etc) you’ve written yourself
  • You can send photos of tattoos, things you’ve drawn on your arms or body (ie: love on your arms, butterflies or inspiring words)

You can send me any submissions directly to xsullengirlx@ymail.com (NOTE: This is not my primary e-mail address and any e-mails that are not for this project will be deleted! Thank you for your understanding! I just had to have somewhere for you to send your stuff!)

Again, your DEADLINE is Monday, February 27th.

You can send your work as an attachment or as a link. If you need to upload your content to a private hosting site, a good free one to use is www.mediafire.com – just e-mail the link to me.

PLEASE INCLUDE YOUR NAME AND/OR YOUTUBE USERNAME OR NICKNAME OF YOUR CHOICE IF YOU WANT CREDIT. IF YOU DO NOT WANT CREDITED, YOU WILL BE LEFT ANONYMOUS. IF YOU WANT CREDITED, PLEASE SEND ME EXACTLY THE INFORMATION YOU WANT INCLUDED SO I CAN CREDIT YOU PROPERLY!

If you have any questions on being credited or on submissions, you can leave me comments on this blog, on youtube, or you can send them to the email I specified – the subject needs to be something along the lines of “PROJECT QUESTION”.

I need your permission to use your work, so I will e-mail you a form to complete and send back to me if I use your content. I will try to use everyone’s content, depending on how many submissions I get.

*Please note that anything you send in has the possibility to be shared with the world, and by sending it to me for this video project, you are giving me the right to reproduce, distribute and modify the work as needed for the project. You are also hereby granting me permission to distribute the work publicly and understand that this is not limited to solely YouTube, but also Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Google and any media outlets that may re-post the content in full from my YouTube channel.

Thanks so much for participating, together we can make a difference! I know it might sound complicated, but I have to post specific information and rules if I am going to use your content in a legal and fair way. But basically, what I am trying to say is… Let’s make a compilation video for Self Injury Awareness Day and tell our stories to the world! Send me your thoughts, feelings, expressions, be creative and don’t worry about whether it’s good enough… Your submissions will help so many people, so keep that in mind… and have fun!

xoxoxo

I can’t help it, I love the broken ones…

Dia Frampton – The Broken Ones

I know they’ve hurt you bad.
Wide, the scars you have.
Baby let me straighten out your broken bones,
All your faults to me make you more beautiful.

I can’t help it,
I love the broken ones,
The ones who,
Need the most patching up.
The ones who,
Never been loved,
Never been loved,
Never been loved enough.
Maybe I see a part of me in them.
The missing piece always trying to fit in.
The shattered heart,
Hungry for a home.
No you’re not alone,
I love the broken ones.

You don’t have to drive,
With your headlights off.
It’s a pocketknife,
Not a gift from God.
Don’t you learn of love from the love they kept.
I will be your anchor slowly,
Step by step.

I can’t help it,
I love the broken ones,
The ones who,
Need the most patching up.
The ones who,
Never been loved,
Never been loved,
Never been loved enough.
Maybe I see a part of me in them.
The missing piece always trying to fit in.
The shattered heart,
Hungry for a home.
No you’re not alone,
I love the broken ones.
I love the broken ones.

Maybe we can rip off the bandage.
Maybe you will see it for what it is.
Maybe we can burn this building,
Holding you in.

I can’t help it,
I love the broken ones,
The ones who,
Need the most patching up.
The ones who,
Never been loved,
Never been loved,
Never been loved enough.
Maybe I see a part of me in them.
The missing piece always trying to fit in.
The shattered heart,
Hungry for a home.
No you’re not alone,
I love the broken ones.

 

Road Blocks

So, it’s a new year and I just had yet another birthday; but what exactly is new? This year marks 14 years that I have been struggling with depression, anxiety and self-harm. It marks 10 years struggling with poor body image and an eating (and thinking) disorder. It marks 6 years of living on my own, but not feeling totally independent from the support of family members because I haven’t been able to make it on my own. It also marks 1 year since I had to say goodbye to my dream apartment, the one I worked so hard to get when I was still working. It was my comfort zone for 4 years and I had to leave it because I just could not afford it anymore with my lower income, due to my mental illnesses and losing every job I tried so hard to hold onto.

Last January (2011), I moved into a shared house in a not-so-wonderful neighborhood, without realizing the hell I was getting myself into. I only cared about the lower rent and the fact that I’d be able to afford it on my own. But… You get what you pay for. I fixed it up and it became my little project. I made the interior look great, but the problems I started experiencing from the get-go should have told me that it wasn’t a great idea. I’ve had to live with terrible drug-using neighbors who do all sorts of things to piss me off when all I want is peace and quiet. I’ve had the world’s worst irresponsible landlord, I’ve suffered through a year of being constantly exposed to secondhand smoke that drifts through the walls and seeps into the vents. There have been several break in attempts, the cops have been called countless times (twice by myself), and my car was hit & totaled outside the house by a random driver who did not stop, and never was caught. I am so paranoid that I am up all hours of the night, I am ready to call the cops at a moments notice, every sound sends me into a frenzied state, and results in daily anxiety attacks. My health (and sanity) seems to be deteriorating, and I can never feel totally at peace or comfortable.

I also had to leave my fiance in England last fall and we have been apart ever since. In over 2 years, we have spent a total of 10 weeks together, split up into 3 different visits. The reason being that round-trip plane tickets are over $1,000. Even those brief moments of happiness together are marred by the fact that we have to be apart most of the time, and never know when and if we will see each other again. I am constantly criticized by my family (and probably everyone reading this, in your head) for even being able to get on a plane to be with my partner. I am called a liar and a hypocrite because they think it’s impossible for someone with anxiety to get on a plane (where you sit in one spot, with headphones on, watching movies or sleeping, being waited on hand and foot, never having to interact with ANYONE) with anxiety and panic disorder. Well, it’s very hard to get on a plane yes, but it’s also very hard to live without the person you love. There are some things you just have to suck up and do. It’s nothing like having an everyday 9-5 job.

I haven’t felt this depressed, hopeless, and unmotivated in years. I feel all my creativity has been sucked from me, and I am just left this shell of despair. I have left all my projects half-done, barely ever leave my house, and wallow in my own misery most of the time. Yes, I am sickening myself by wasting my life like this and being so pathetic and depressing. That’s why I rarely ever talk about it. I don’t really know why I am writing this now, I spend most my time being judged by my family, so it’s inevitably going to be worse when it comes to anonymous readers online. But alas, writing sometimes helps bring clarity.

I do work hard. Sometimes I think there’s a misconception about what I do. I do not have a conventional job anymore, no. But I do what I can. I have my jewelry business, which contributes to my bills and to my other projects. I am starting up an apparel line to go along with my jewelry line. I do a lot of work for google and YouTube, and I help others. I try to get all my bills paid and I do what I am capable of doing right now. Not everyone who is disabled and unable to work is unable to do anything but sit on the couch and watch TV. But anyway, that’s a different topic all together!

I want something to change. I feel this depression and anxiety only getting worse, when for so long I thought I was getting better. I have nearly relapsed with self-injury, but am trying to hang on as long as I can, because I KNOW in the long run, it makes everything harder, more complicated and worse. It’s only a very temporary fix. But I cannot control the depression that creeps in like a thick fog, curling around me and making it so hard to see what’s ahead of me. The anxiety grips me like a vice, and I am never comfortable. I am constantly sick, worn out, tired and unstable. The only thing that keeps me afloat is knowing someone loves me, and that I do have a fiance that will wait for me. Things may seem hopeless for us now, but they are never really hopeless because we have each other.

I have secretly (because I don’t want anyone to get their hopes up) been applying for at-home jobs that match my qualifications, but most of them are out-of-state. I think if I had some kind of small opportunity, even if it was just proofreading or editing, or blogging, then I could ease my way into it. I know I am unable to hold a conventional job, and there aren’t many jobs you can do remotely. But, they do exist. And every one I have found that has been a good fit requires me to be in a different location in case something arises when doing a job from home. Sure, you can do it from home but only in the city the company is based in. So nothing has panned out. Its been so hard for me to even consider doing that, but I know I am barely keeping my head above water and I don’t want to drown. Something has to change.

I am considering moving, so I have more opportunities. Not JUST out of this hell hole of an apartment, but out of this state as a whole. I don’t think there’s anything for me here. I think I am stifled here, and maybe in a new situation and surroundings, I can grow.

I know it’s easy to say “just move to England!” where they have better healthcare and of course, my fiance lives there which would make everything better. But it’s not that easy. Getting a visa costs more money than we have, so do plane tickets and the amount of money you have to bring with you that they require. That’s why living in this place where I have no room to grow and no opportunities is not doing me any favors in regards to being with my fiance. It’d be the same for coming here. It’s something that is a goal, but not something we can achieve right now unless there was some kind of miracle involved! It’s something we have to work towards, but it just feels like I am getting nowhere the way things are right now.

I wish I knew what the right decision was, and what I could do to change things. I have several opportunities to move but what’s keeping me from doing it is the commitment and the fear, but also again, money.

Being unable to “just get a job” as so many people unsympathetically say to me, really sucks. If I could, I would. What people fail to realize is that I HAVE “just gotten a job” and then have “just been fired from those jobs” due to my anxiety on the job, which is something I tried hard to control and was unsuccessful at. So while working in public service is not something I can do, I know there are things I could do if only I had the chance. But I feel like here, where I am, I don’t have the chance.

And I want that to change.

All the movies that taught us that in order to find change, all you have to do is jump in your car, roll the windows down and crank up the radio were LYING. I have a car and a radio and yet I am still sitting right here wasting my life away.

All I know for sure is that something has to change in order for me to finally have the life I want, and I know I am determined to make it happen… I just… don’t know how right now. But I do know that I have to keep trying to work past all these road blocks so I can be on the path to happiness soon.

Awareness Is Contagious.

I was browsing around online for self-injury awareness ribbon designs, and literally stumbled across an artist on Deviant Art that blew my mind. I was very inspired by her designs, and I think that they speak for themselves. As you know, I am constantly saying that it’s so important to spread awareness, one of my main messages is to be aware, and spread awareness to others; because it’s the only way we can break the stigma around self injury and mental illness. The artist is right, awareness IS contagious, and as long as we keep spreading it (in any small way that we can, from talking about it, making videos, blogging about it, wearing awareness jewelry, or creating artwork) then eventually, it will catch on. It’s so important!

I hope you enjoy this artwork as much as I did, and I hope it inspires you too!

Awareness is Contagious, by xtwstdtncx on Deviant Art

Awareness is Contagious, by xtwstdtncx on Deviant Art

Check out more from the artist, Kristina, on Deviant Art: http://xtwstdtncx.deviantart.com

Keep Talking

Keep Talking
[Posted originally on March 5, 2011] by Christie

I’ve noticed that recently self injury has become a topic of interest for the general media. News shows, newspapers, magazines, online blogs and journals, etc. Even high school and college students are eager to do presentations on self injury these days. It’s a far cry from the past, I seemed to be the only one in my school doing papers on self injury, and up until now I have only had a handful of media requests in any shape or form. But lately I have done several email interviews, had some requests for phone interviews (which to this point I have turned down because I don’t fancy talking to independent journalists on the phone when I don’t know them, especially given my phone anxiety), and requests from bloggers and students alike to make videos to help them with presentations and projects.

I feel like this is such a huge leap from where things have been with the awareness of self injury. Even though sometimes the media has gotten it wrong, the point of the matter is that they’re thinking about it and paying attention. A lot of media outlets have a long way to go as far as their approach to telling the truth about self injury, but at least they are trying!

It makes me happy to give interviews, make special videos and write essays because I know it’s helping spread awareness, which is so important to me. Over the past 5 years on YouTube my mission has become clearer. I am so thankful that I decided to start making videos. I heard from a friend online about Christina Newman’s videos (fastinggurl31) on fasting, dieting, raw dieting and health and I started watching. YouTube was only about a year old at that time and not as HUGE as it is now. I liked the idea of making videos, so I started using my digital camera to record videos about hair, makeup and occasionally dieting. I realized that I didn’t see anyone really talking about self injury, and since it was such a huge part of my life I just started talking. I never stopped, and here I am 5 years later.

There are so many great vloggers on YouTube now talking about self injury, it has to have made a difference in the now emerging interest in self injury in the media. They’re focusing a lot on YouTube, and although they’re greatly misinformed when they think that most videos are triggering and graphic; it’s a start. I know now I just have to keep on talking and doing this work (and so do others!) so maybe the truth will get out there.

When I upload a video, when I help with a project or write something on the subject I just feel like I’ve accomplished something. I’ve gone though a lot, it’s been really hard struggling with self injury for 13 years, but it makes me feel like there was a purpose for all this and I KNOW that just because I’ve suffered, I am not a victim to self injury. I’ve used my experiences for good, and in the end it’s made it all worth it.