What Can We Do?!

This is the top headline I see when I open the news this morning.

Fifth of 14 Year Old Girls Self-Harm

Out of the 5,624 girls who responded to the survey, 1,237 said they had self-harmed.

109,000 children aged 14 may have self-harmed across the UK during the 12-month period in 2015 – 76,000 girls and 33,000 boys.

Those who felt boys should be tough and girls should have nice clothes were least happy with life.

These are all sentences that jump out at me. It makes me think – this is it. This is my world, this is the society I’m growing up in. This is it. I am a fourteen year old girl. It’s my generation they’re talking about here. What can I do?!

I can try my best to be ‘a light in the darkness’ in the only ways I know how, but what am I really doing? How am I reaching the people who really need help? Even if I could, what difference would I make? I don’t understand what that 20% of fourteen year old girls have been through. I don’t understand what it’s like to be that desperate. And I can’t claim to, but I do have to do something.

It’s not because I’m a nice, selfless, caring person. No, I just have to. I can’t sit back and let this happen. We’ve allowed these issues to settle in our society and now we’re paying the price. No, the more vulnerable of us are paying the price and they deserve everyone’s help and support to get out of the place they’re in.

I feel extremely sad and angry. And I feel helpless, I feel like I can’t do anything. The only thing I can do is be a friend. That’s something I can do.

This post isn’t a pretty poem. It’s not well-written. It’s a rant fueled by emotion and desperation. I can see my world being dragged down in front of my eyes and all around me people are getting on with their lives and telling me that everything’s fine and will sort itself out. It’s not and it won’t. Not unless we do something about it.

Thing is, what can we do?

52 thoughts on “What Can We Do?!

  1. It’s so sad when people do things like commit suicide and abuse themselves. I wish our culture wasn’t so stereotyped, like boys can’t show any emotions, they have to be tough. And girls are supposed to rebel. It’s sort of ridiculous if you think about it. XD

    Liked by 3 people

  2. This saddens me so much, it makes me think of all the friends that have told me stories about themselves or others.

    I had a friend cry on my shoulder as she told me how she was the one who walked in on her older sister cutting herself.

    Later on, I became friends with the above girl’s older sister and we talked about how she was trying to get better.

    I met this girl at a party once and we were talking when she reached for something and her sleeve moved up her arm revealing old and new cuts. I should have said something, but I didn’t. I pretended I didn’t see it. I was thirteen then and now I’m fifteen and I’ve never seen that girl since, but I still regret it. I should have given her my number, told her she wasn’t alone, something.

    Honestly, I think what we can do is just be there. Be there for people who are struggling even when it’s hard.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Me too. It’s so hard to know what we can do to help our friends – or even strangers we cross paths with – when things get tough. You’re right, all we can really do is be there for them. Sometimes that’s enough – to know you’re not alone and that someone cares.

      I’ve been in the same situation where I’ve seen someone’s scars and been like ‘what do I do/say?’ One time it was a girl who I’ve known since I was young, but never been particularly close to. Our parents are friends. I’d known she was struggling, but never to what extent. I wanted to reach out to her, but it was just knowing how. She had so many issues I could never even begin to understand and I didn’t want to get involved and make things worse.

      Thank you for your comment, Gray ❤️

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I don’t like reading the news; my family hardly looks at it. Everything on there is so sad.

    I think that you’re taking a good step forward by posting about it on your blog. Great job with that! I think there are popular blogs out there that have a guest posting by people on this subject; maybe if you find one, you could try to get a post on there or something. Just an idea. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. As someone who’s gone through this just before I reached my teens, I can’t begin to explain how awful it is. Society and it’s stereotypes, bullying just because we are different, feeling like we don’t fit in and are hopeless. These are just some of the feelings young people experience and struggle with. I didn’t know how to handle these issues and so I took them out on myself. I felt vulnerable opening up to the people around me so I hid it. Only two years after was when I reached out for help. We need more open talks about this issue to end the stigma around it, we need to establish more resources not only around our communities but within our school systems. How many more teens have to self harm and take their own lives for the world to realize what is going on? It hurts me so much because I know what it feels like to be stuck in a cloud of depression and anxiety and take it out on myself – I don’t want any other young teens or preteens to go through what I went through. It’s still happening, and it is an epidemic within our generation that we need to fix somehow. Raise awareness. Have those tough conversations. If someone is struggling with their mental health, tell them that you are there for them and that they are not alone; reach out through a suicide prevention line if you need to talk to someone or are concerned about the safety of someone around you. Thank you for this post Gracie, we really need more people who can bring awareness to what is going on with our young people today.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, yes, yes, my friend. It’s so hard and so complex and so deeply rooted in society, but we’ve got to try and do something to help our generation. I’m so sorry that you had to go through all this, buy you’ve come out the other side as one of the most positive, kind, wise people I know. Love you and we can do this. Xxx❤️

      Like

  5. Hey there, lovely. ❤ I haven't commented in a while, but I've been keeping up with your stuff. I love watching you grow.

    I think part of our hearts /should/ break over this stuff. But, my dear friend, you can /oversympathize/. And I have been down that road, I have been on the tile floor in my bathroom struggling to breathe because someone is in pain and I can not be there to help. That's not how we're supposed to feel. Do not lose yourself in walking a mile in someone else's shoes. Don't run marathons in other people's lives. Weep, yes. Grieve, yes. But do not lose yourself in another man's sorrows.

    And remember, lovely, there are so many stories who don't get told in the news.

    My dad has scars along his arms, and I have touched every one, and I can not see the man he is today cutting himself. The man he is now who has been through so many deaths and pain looks at me /every single day/ and tells me I am beautiful and that he loves me. He has beaten the pain in his chest. Two of my best friends have fought with depression and grabbed it in a chokehold and said "No.". Another of my best friends works with foster kids and wants to become a counselor for autistic children. Tragedy begets beauty. You laugh and you cry within moments of each other.

    So weep, Gracie, I weep with you. There is a time for weeping and anger at this broken world. But do not remain on the floor with your head in your clenched fists, because you will only destroy yourself.

    The sun will come up again tomorrow and we will laugh again. Don't forget to laugh.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Hi Ruby,
      It’s really, really great to hear from you 😊 How can I even begin to thank you for your comment? ❤️ I really needed it. Your honesty nearly made me cry.

      For me it’s so easy to get caught up in all the negativity. All this bad stuff gets too much after a while and I understand how you feel when you say you’ve been a place of distress because you can’t help someone’s who’s struggling – I’ve felt the same way.

      You have such strong, inspiring individuals around you who’ve been through tough times and come out the other side, and you’re lucky to have those people in your life. I’m sure you know that.

      I feel like my thoughts are a rollercoaster at the moment – ups and downs of positives and negatives. Laughing and crying.

      I will cry, but I will pick myself up and be strong and I will painstakingly try to put the broken pieces back together.

      Thank you again, for everything. So much love to you. Stay strong. Do you have email? ’cause I’d really love to talk some more if you’re okay with that? ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      • I really should comment more, haha. I’ve really enjoyed watching your journey and seeing you grow. ❤

        It really is, isn't it? It's such a broken world and my heart breaks, but there is such beauty in it as well.

        I thank God for them every day. ❤ I am so blessed to have these warriors in my life.

        Love you too, my friend. And yes I do, I actually think I might have your email, I'll go ahead and send you one. ❤ Praying for your heart and for peace for your soul, Gracie.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I accidentally sent the last unfinished.
    Feel so much pressure, people take their own lives because they feel rejected.
    I have known too many people that have self-harmed or attempted suicide.
    I knew a girl once that used to think she was ugly, she would look into a mirror at her self and cry with desperation, she would then smash her head in to it, again and again till it shattered, then sit amongst the broken glass and cut her face with the fragments, just because she thought her self, less than everyone else, people mocked her because of her looks, this led her to such an anguished state that she harmed her self to dilute the feeling of appearance pain.

    It shouldn’t happen but it does and all we can do is be there for those who need it.

    There is such a complication of emotions, especially for teenagers, I used to fall into depressed states, now if I feel depressed I’ll cycle my anxiety away, when we were by the sea I would often sail or cycle it away, I try to find the logical cause for any depression, and it is often something simple.

    We went to Seaford and I would have had a nice time if it weren’t for my face and tried disposition.

    This sounds like an adventure for you, racing around the Isle Of Wight, is it part of the annual yacht race around the island?

    Take care, Gracie.
    Tom.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is a huge problem and one that affects so many people. There is no end to all the tragic stories that our society produces, but you’re right – we’ve got to be there for people – to keep caring. Thanks for your comment, Tom.

      This is partly why I want to be involved in sail training. Just because it does make so much of a difference.

      Glad you had fun in Seaford. Did your sister enjoy herself?

      It is the youth version of the race. It’s for 12-25 year olds and I believe is the same course, but for a younger crew?

      Like

      • Yes, it is an imposing problem, and so many people are affected by it, sharing a story here and there still does not portray the magnitude of this situation, we have to actively be there for them, and that is what you are doing, you have an influential blogging platform and you are giving people the confidence to follow their aspirations and yearnings.
        Well done, Gracie girl!

        I would do anything to be on a sailing boat right now and I am working on it.
        I just read your recent sailing post, that was an incredible boat you sailed, can I see a hydraulic kicking strap in one of the photos?
        I have only seen one boat with a hydraulic kicking strap, and that was in Dover, waiting to make the crossing.

        Yes, my sister had a wonderful time, she enjoyed being maimed by seagulls and was ecstatic about maiming them back!

        Sounds exhilarating, are there many boats competing?

        P.S. I have just been selling bike parts, I have made a few hundred pounds in the last week or so and its easy money,

        Take care Gracie.
        Tom

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks, Tom.
        Yes, me too. It was an incredible boat and I loved every minute of sailing it. I don’t know if it’s a hydraulic kicking strap. It’s winch-operated???

        Haha, I’m glad she had fun!

        I think there will be around 30 boats competing. Very excited!

        Wow, nice!

        Like

      • Okay, I thought it might be mechanical but I was not sure, I reckon the hydraulic ones are a bit of a gimmick, and since I have only seen one before out of all the other yachts I have come across, with the one I saw, there was a little switch in the cockpit to controls it with, to think of it, almost all the controls were electric, really lazy, I can see him in the middle of the Atlantic with an electrical failure.

        A little crowd then, and what’s the crew size to navigate each boat?

        Yes, it’s a nice little earner, as long as there’s a good market.

        I would like to arrange a time to cycle over to your southern location at sum point, if you can handle seeing me for a day or so, what do you think and what days are you all free?

        Take care: Gracie.
        Tom.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, it defeats the object of sailing, don’t you think? The boats I sail in Cornwall are completely manual – not a winch in sight!

        I believe there will be twelve or so if us on our boat?

        It’d be nice to see you. We’re pretty busy this month – going down to Cornwall and everything. Not sure of our plans over the winter. I will probably be working and I’m still waiting to hear about this spoken word programme. What were you thinking?

        Like

      • Yes, it ironic, the freedom of sailing for those who don’t want to sail!

        Okay, it is a good-sized crew, what the boat length, forty feet or so?

        Yes, it would be nice to arrange something, since you are working and you’re sailing this month, it would be hard to arrange anything. If this spoken-word is taking place in London then we could meet there, but perhaps I could cycle down to Uckfield and spend a night or two with you’s there, what works for you, I too, have some business this month, but nothing planned for next month.
        I am not the best at arranging events, I probably couldn’t arrange money business in a menagerie! An analogy I just thought of and in my perception, far better than others, what do you think?

        Take care, Gracie.
        Tom.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Gracie, that’s a big boat.
        I love cutters, like the Cutty Sark, or from the Tam O Shanter.

        Okay, Gracie, when you know your plans, and let me know if this spoken word goes ahead.

        Take care, Gracie.
        Tom.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. This is so sad Gracie. I think you and your friends can help highlight the issue, talk about the problem so it is better recognised as well as being there is someone needs help.

    Often overlooked in these situations is that along with problems centred around bullying, family issues, low self-esteem etc young people offer suffer with gut problems, which can increase feelings of anxiety, depression and worthlessness. Whilst a small part of the overall issue, I believe getting the right kind of nutrition plays a very important role in regulating both our immunity and mental health. And as part of the conversation we need to educate not just young people, but parents as well on how to eat in such a way as to nourish both the body and mind. You may find this article of interest as part of the discussion – https://anhinternational.org/2018/05/10/is-depression-a-mental-or-physical-condition/. Above all keep talking to each other and encouraging those who are struggling to reach out for help xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s a really interesting perspective, Melissa. I’m sure that nutrition plays a big part in mental health. I guess we’ve all got to do what we can. Thank you for the comment! Xxx

      Like

  8. Gracie, this is amazing. I read this after I wrote a scheduled post about suicide. It is an amazingly moving post and made me cry reading it, knowing that I make up part of that 20%. Knowing that I am one of those teenagers (although not entirely female) who has harmed themselves purposefully.
    I though that I would make you aware, given this post, that September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day and that on this day, at 8PM people hold candles to their windows to remember those who have passed by their own hand. It’s called the ‘Light a Candle’ campaign and your blog name reminds me of it, given it is part of the ‘Light in the Darkness’ campaign. You are doing an amazing job at spreading this word about and it moves me so much knowing that other teenagers care about this topic enough to write blog posts about it and publish them on their own blogs. It makes me so happy, yet so sad knowing that it has to be done.
    Your blog gives me hope, Gracie. This post is an amazing one, never stop being the amazing person you are. Thank you again, Emily. xo

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so so so much, Emily. I’m thinking of you and I’m always here if you EVER want to talk. We all go through tough times and struggle with things inside of us, but to have someone there that you can share it with makes a big difference, I know ❤️ Thank you for letting me know – it sounds a great thing to be a part of.
      Thank you again – you’re amazing too xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I saw an article on this. It really hurts me to see such figures, but I know it’s true. I am writing a post about what happened with me and my suicidal thoughts. No self-harm, physically. But after my daily depressing, over-think I break down crying at my age. Not that I’m young, but I feel I’ve experienced too much good.
    You always bring me brightness! Always filling the cracks where I’ve broken down.
    I value your thoughts, and thank you for supporting me!
    I am certainly out of that pit now, and have filled my hole with so many memories that I am pushing that one away.
    Excersise was the biggest cure for my mental health, I love getting out and doing stuff to result in me feeling good about myself.
    Erin | http://kittyjadeblog.com
    Have A Nice Day!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This is such good writing, it really got to me. Three or four years ago I would think that everything was great- even though I knew that there were a lot of terrible things happening in the world I’d just sort of choose to ignore it all and live in my own little pleasant bubble. I’ll admit it- nothing really came hard to me, and I’m blessed, but I just can’t help but think how ignorant I was.
    Just recently I’ve begun to realise that everyone isn’t born the same. I’m growing up in a society that has everything- the most progressing people and the ones who are suffering the most. It’s a messed up world we’re living in, my friend. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Mukta! I’m sure everyone is the same at some point in their life. I know I have been guilty of choosing to ignore the things I see in my society because they don’t affect me. However, I can’t do that anymore. You’re right – we live in a messed up world. The question is – what can we do about it? 🙂

      Like

  11. What a difficult subject to know-how to help people who suffer with all these problems.First of all its very important to.bring all the problems out into the open.You writing your blog has shown so many people that replied to you how troubled they are about these issues.I totally agree with being a friend who will always be there to talk.Many years ago I had a friend who suffered with depression.She and I used to talk for hours and I was always there to listen.Eventually she got back on top again.Very well written Gracie xxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

  12. 14 year old girls oh Godddd. I knew the numbers were bad but I honestly didn’t realise this case was so deep among the younger teens too.
    I also have one more thing to tell you. Aaahh. 🙁

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I think we can be honest. Let people know they aren’t alone. Start a me too movement for more things. I’ve had depression, OCD and and eating disorder, as well as three suicide attempts this year. These problems are closer to home than most people realise. Being a friend is good enough- I know that’s all I wanted in the end. To have someone be there for me.

    Liked by 2 people

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