Self-harm, secrets and lies


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10000 in stock


By Elaine Fogarty

ISBN: 978-1-78382-295-9
Published: 2016
Pages: 173
Key Themes: Mental Health,self harm


Self-harm, secrets and lies – A personal workbook

This workbook comes from the unique perspective of an author who has personal lived experience of self-harm and has come through into recovery. It is designed to guide a journey of self-reflection and exploration, helping the reader move towards better understanding, diminished use, and the eventual replacement of self-harm behaviour with other more positive coping mechanisms. This book also contains excerpts from the author’s own journals over the years as she reflected on her challenges and growth. It is published in discreet standard paperback format.

About the Author

At the young age of just 13, Elaine was struggling with dark thoughts, and wrote the poem ‘suicide’; her poetry and scribbled journal notes were a valued means of expression and exploration. In coming years she started to self-harm regularly and in her 20’s began to receive periodic treatment for depression. Elaine found herself in suicidal crisis three times over following years but survived each by the grace of a stranger. In 2006 she found herself back in that darkest of places and so decided to make a stand; she gathered journal notes and sat nervously with her GP. After four weeks on a psychiatric ward, the demon was finally named – bipolar II. The self-harm continued as Elaine tried to come to terms with her new diagnosis.

Elaine acknowledges her bipolar disorder, anxiety issues, self-harm and OCD. She denies them strength born of secrecy choosing instead to be totally open about her mental illness and use this voice to help others. To date Elaine has been in suicidal crisis seven times and has lived almost 40 years with her dependency on self-harm.

Elaine was born in 1967 in Portadown, Northern Ireland. She has been with her Husband Colin over 30 years and still lives in her hometown with him and her two cats Flash & Figaro: she enjoys film and theatre, computer projects, good food shared with good friends, and the sense of connection afforded her by social networking online. Elaine currently works in domiciliary care and as one of her most effective self-care tools participation in learning, she continues to explore the world of correspondence courses and college night classes.

Since writing her last book “Diary of a bipolar survivor” Elaine not only continues her efforts as an advocate for mental health discussion but has since trained and set up a small Relaxation & CBT therapy practice that specialises in stress and anxiety management and Wellness recovery action planning on a one-to-one basis. She also designs and delivers courses and workshops and is honoured to maintain a blog on the subject of mental health. Elaine recognises the substantial contribution made to her personal growth and recovery by her membership of a local Mental Health Forum, finding it rewarding to act as part of the service user voice within her Health trust. All of these activities have helped to subtly re-wire old associations and beliefs that held her back and by extension kept her dependant on self-harm as a primary coping tool; they offered perspective, encouraged and empowered. Elaine’s engagement with each of these as they fell into place around her over the past couple of years has proven that choice is ever-present in life and recovery is always possible. Self-harm is still part of her life but it no longer drives her to secrecy and lies. Being open about her self-harm experiences is now a means to healing in itself.

Book Extract

Management of your self-harm and other related issues is deeply dependant on your acceptance of personal responsibility; the things you make effort to learn and the decisions you make will all contribute to your very personal journey; this is how it should be. No one else can do this for you.

It begins with how you choose to use this book.

What you see here is based on my own lived experience and the influence of others that have walked my journey with me…

This will guide, inform, and challenge you but it should not be accepted without question – consider what you read carefully and be open to reflection and personal enquiry… actively seek out more information and build your own perspective.

This personal responsibility extends to the area of mental health treatment, medication and first aid in particular – I am not a trained medical or mental health professional and what you read here is based on my own lived experience and my own observations and learning. Everything is offered in good faith but you will need to clarify and verify such information before acting upon it – medical science, diagnosis, treatments, medications and first aid advice all change over time and you should always make sure you personally seek out the most up to date and accurate information. Personal responsibility is the essence of self-care.

You are an expert by your own lived experience but there is always more to learn and more ways to grow. It is my hope that this workbook will help you as you continue to reclaim responsibility and move with confidence into better management of both your self-harm and any underlying condition.

This workbook is designed to be as inconspicuous as possible; you may not be in a place right now that allows you to openly share your challenges or your efforts to understand and address them. This is OK.

This process is yours – the decisions around it are yours.

Personal responsibility also means keeping yourself as safe as possible as you progress so to help you there is a list of support services at the back of this book that can be contacted anonymously at any time.


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