by Jasprit                                                          

I was born into a family who failed to really understand me although they truly loved me. I was born to second generations south Asians who had migrated to the UK in 1990s for better opportunities. Whilst growing up I faced a lot of trauma as a child from bullying at school, to childhood abuse, to racism. This later in life had a severe impact on my mental health where I found I difficult to find happiness in life, confide in, trust with people.                          

Now at the age of 30 I am caught up in a war of cultural expectations. Coming from the south Asian community brings a range of expectations such marriage, financial stability, and obtaining a good education. I constantly be reminded that I have failed. I often get questions from community members like how many kids do you have? What job do you do? Followed by a comparison such as our son/ daughter is a doctor and you?  It has always felt like a competition to be the best. I say to myself I must be strong, and be like lion to face up to any difficulties that may be ahead. At the same time I do not want to get myself to face up to the problems.

I have said this to myself ever since a child.  

I ask myself what have I done wrong, why am I the problem?

Is there a way out?        

I draw my guilt, sorrow and tears in an instance. I face negative comments each day from my family members which makes my day feel like it’s difficult to get through. Sitting on my bed, crying for sympathy. Labelling myself as mad for the moment helps the pain disappear for a while.

I pick up a sharp object with no remorse and start to release the pain by cutting myself. After I see my own self reflection in the mirror with happiness. Saying to myself I have failed but at the same time crying out for help. I let my emotions out by rage with tears. Throwing away objects. The harm continues the next day eventually it starts to become a habit. I see the harm as a space to confide in, reflect on my thoughts, a helping hand. Although I have many scars left behind which will heal in time. For myself it’s a form of therapy for the moment. But my mental health team consider it inappropriate. I get labelled as a mad case.                                                                

I have become much stronger over time although this war based on cultural expectations has become even heavier to manage. Negativity can bring even the strongest people down, in society what we need is positivity followed with love. Self harm has taught me not to give up, given me the courage to challenge, most of all allowed me to reflect on myself.