It's an obvious question: how could hurting yourself provide any relief? Unfortunately I am seasoned to self-harm and its effects. I honestly wish I could be writing this with no scars from the times I hurt myself but I am scarred. I wish I lived without the urges but I occasionally yearn for the pain.
Instrumental quite rightly reminds us that no matter how offenders try to excuse their appalling behaviour it is never the child's fault - the survivor has absolutely nothing to apologise for. But the road to recovery is frequently bumpy, sometimes tortuous but always worth the journey, which is why we need far more investment in therapeutic and mental health services.
I worry about my health, I know I could die, I know I could lose out on life and opportunities if I am not well enough to grasp them with both hands. It's a spiral and it's all spinning around my head and it's making me dizzy. I'm constantly out of breath. Exhausted. Exhausted by this mental illness.
What is more interesting to me as a psychologist, lies in what it is about people who identify so much with the Zayn's, the Diana's or the Gary's, that they struggle to cope at the 'death' or departure of someone/something they did not really know. I am also equally intrigued by what many of these grieving fans will do as a way to cope with their loss.
When there is such an emphasis on achieving, regular assessments, bigger class sizes at school with lessons led by overworked teachers dealing with classes of children with increased varying educational needs and staff without adequate support or training, these statistics support my experience of children that are stressed and unable to articulate their feelings.
For too long self-harm has been dismissed as something that is just an issue for teenage girls. We have too recognise that this is an issue for boys as well. Boys may often self-harm differently to girls, they may bang their heads or punch walls, and often this is seen as just aggressive behaviour rather than self-harm.
We all took the view that public sympathy is with the women who are in effect sentenced to the equivalent of a death penalty whilst their children suffer the consequences. When they ask me - where were you Mummy when all these women were dying in prison, I will be proud to say I was at the HLE Debate and we didn't just talk about change we made it happen.
You call in sick with a moderate physical ailment, because it's easier to tell your boss you have a migraine/food poisoning/the flu than go into the intricacies of something you may not understand yourself. Have you ever been told to 'be strong' or 'get over it' by someone who just can't fathom the incorporeal nature of what's affecting your life?
At the times in my life where suicide has become a real and valid option, it seemed the best thing to do for everyone. When my mind reached this completely irrational conclusion, I was convinced that while my family might grieve for a while, they would ultimately get over it, move on, and be the better for no longer having to watch over or worry about me.
In certain London bars I reckon the bare monastic cell look is considered quite cutting edge. By contrast, ADX Florence is beyond cutting edge (unless it's prisoners cutting their wrists in despair). ADX Florence's ambience is an altogether bleaker affair, one which seems designed to crush people and push them right over the edge.
For 20 years I spoke through my skin because I couldn't find the right words. Instead of a best friend to play with, I had a pair of scissors. And instead of a voice, I got stuck on a merry-go-round of bottling things in and bleeding them out. The question I often get asked is 'why'; what could make me feel so low that I would want to drag a blade across my own flesh. Having had nearly two decades to gnaw over an answer, I'm still not really sure, other than - being brutally honest - I think I liked it. It wasn't about the injury I inflicted though, cutting never deviated towards sadomasochism, it was about searching for contentment.
Dear Penny and Jim, I'm writing to thank you for having me on The Breakfast Show on BBC London last Thursday. I don't know if you remember me; you were running a news piece about the tragic death of Tallulah Wilson, a girl who suffered from an eating disorder and subsequently killed herself in late 2012...