Savannah tells her story of overcoming self harm and cutting, and how beauty is found in broken places
Hi Savannah thank you so much for doing this interview for Beauty Has No Size. How old are you, and can you tell us a little bit about your hobbies and what kind of music you like?
My name is Savannah Kathlynn and I am 17 years old! I love all kinds of music, whatever fits my mood. My hobbies include singing, late night walks, and swimming. I love going out but, I also enjoy staying home and hanging out with family.
Wow that is so amazing, can you tell us a little bit about your story?
My story begins with a bad relationship with my father and the resounding abuse that I endured for 14 years of my life. It all started with my father beating and talking down on me at the young age of 3. That's as early as I can remember anyways. Then at age 4 when my father was remarried to his second wife I got a new babysitter from the church my grandparents attended. When I was nearly 5 I was molested by my 17 year old babysitter in the church bathroom. The next incident happened when I was 7 til 14 I was continuously taken advantage of by one of my family members and their friend. I was a mess and against God for all the wrong reasons being hurt and abused by people who were supposed to be family. I spent my life not knowing of any male figure who stood up for me or protected me.
At what point in your life did you feel the urge to start self-harming?
I began self-harming at the age of 10; incidentally I began writing poetry at the same time. What made me begin self-harming was the fact I started to become more aware of my emotions and the abuse was more evident in my life.
Did you know you were hurting yourself, or did you not care at the time because you were in no much pain on the inside?
When I began self-harming it didn't really matter to me because the pain inside was more surreal.
For how long did the self-harm go on for?
My self-harm went on for 6 years. I was on and off self-harming with my depression being so bi polar making its bittersweet rounds.
What are some of the things that caused you to self-harm?
Honestly the cause of the beginning of my self-harming was just looking for an alternative to dealing with the pain that I was feeling on the inside. Feeling was just too intense.
At what point did you start getting help, and want to stop the self-harm?
I started to seek help when I was almost 15 and a lot of my abuse in the past just became too terrible to deal with on my own anymore. The cuts were spreading and getting deeper. I knew it was time to get help. I was sent to a hospital for teenage girls who self-harm. After a long 5 days of reflecting and talking to counselors the need to cut evaporated and I felt a lot better.
Did you have a good support system around you with friends and people at church?
One of my best friends Alyse who I had met in a small group. She was there for me through it all and when things were rough and pointed me towards God when I was the most vulnerable.
Do you feel like self-harm is really an outward reflection of the inner pain that is going on inside of people's hearts?
I believe that self-harm is usually an experimental thing and it either works or it doesn't. For pain that's inside, cutting only stimulates the pain for so long. Dealing with it is the only thing that gets us through any pain. I believe a lot of people will go through lengths to suppress inner pain.
What are some of the biggest lessons God has taught you about self-harm?
God has taught me to love myself and express what I'm feeling on the inside, make myself as transparent as possible.
What advice would you give to someone who is dealing with self-harm?
The advice I can give to those who struggle with self-harm is deal with it head on. Pour yourself into something creative, open your mind to something that makes you feel free! Let yourself feel what's inside.
How important is it to have positive people around you as you are recovering from self-harm?
Being around positive people makes the biggest difference people can influence you to do better things with your life and turn you to positive alternatives.
A lot of people today say that people who self-harm are just doing it for attention, what would you tell people who believe this myth?
Self-harm isn't just a ploy for attention. It's a way for people to deal with pain.
What advice would you give family or friends on how to help someone who is dealing with self-harm?
My advice to those who have family and friends with self-harm addiction is to let them open up and hear them out. Love them and let them know that no matter what you'll always be there for them through their trials and hurt.
What are some things that you have done instead of self-harming, when you feel anxiety, or when you feel pain in your heart?
I sing. I go to a place that I know no one will bother me, and just sing at the top of my lungs. Other times I cry, I let myself feel what I keep suppressing because afterwards I feel so much better. I recommend sitting down and letting yourself feel. Open yourself to the possibilities of emotion. Free yourself and expand!
What are some things that other people could do to cope with their pain in a healthy way instead of self-harming?
I say throw yourself into something creative. Let yourself be open to opportunity to step outside of the box. For some people, music helps. Others art. Pretty much anything that will keep you busy and keep your thoughts and hands distracted. Go somewhere, surround yourself in beauty, write a story, read a book, call someone up! There are many different things people do and can do when they are down and out. It's always best to throw yourself into something that's a challenge but also holds intrigue for you.
Christina is passionate about restoring value, purpose, identity and beauty to the young women of this generation. Follow- @beauty_hasnosize