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Trading shoes. Tuesday January 27, 2015

'But you'd have to walk a thousand miles
In my shoes, just to see
What it's like, to be me
I'll be you, let's trade shoes
Just to see what it'd be like to
Feel your pain, you feel mine
Go inside each other's minds
Just to see what we find
Look at s**t through each other's eyes'
Eminem - Beautiful

I heard this song recently after not having heard it for a long time. It really struck a chord, not just for the obvious reason that it is, in my opinion anyway, completely true in how people with mental health problems usually feel about other people. But it also resonated in a different way. The thought that sometimes I, as a person who has battled depression and self-harm for a few years now, never really seem to understand why people get so bothered and upset by the things that my illness compels me to do.

For instance, I have particular problems with understanding why people get so upset about my self-harm. It helps me cope with the horrid feelings I get and is a successful release for me. However, when I do it, everyone turns on me and asks me how I could hurt myself like that.

But listening to this song made me realise that as much as I'd like people to walk around in my shoes to see how I feel, I probably ought to 'trade shoes' with them and see how they feel. Not only could it help me understand why what I do upsets them so much, but it could also help me see how they're coping with this upset. As much as I want to be selfish when I'm feeling low, maybe trying to understand other people could, paradoxically, help me understand myself.

So, maybe we should all try and 'trade shoes' with other people before we launch ourselves into a defensive attack of our coping methods. I wear fives, what about you?

A Moodscope member.

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Anonymous Tue, Jan 27th 2015 @ 7:44am

Hi Serena, what a great way to explain things from a different perspective. I have never understood why my daughter used to self harm....well I did, but it was in such a brutal way. She doesn't do it any more, but my own self harm comes in a different way. I scratch at psoriasis, especially in my hair, where no one can see, but I feel the satisfaction and also the pain. It bleeds and is so tender until I next wash my hair, and I start all over again. I think I understand it can be a bit like an eating disorder - in so much as I control what I am doing.
The more stressed or down I feel, the worse the psoriasis is and on my wheel of fortune, the more I scratch.

Anonymous Tue, Jan 27th 2015 @ 8:20am

I do like the wheel of fortune image! :-)
I do my self harm by overeating. Next day feel bad, physically, from excess. But yes, is temporary relief at time. Who are we, after all, to judge the pain of others?! We need to start by addressing ourselves, no? X x to Serena for brave and honest words. Keep well.

Julia Tue, Jan 27th 2015 @ 8:46am

I feel for you Serena so very very much. This is a very brave blog. Does everyone "turn on you" Serena or are they mostly trying to help? I imagine it can feel to you as if they are "turning on" you. It's so good you are perhaps reaching a new phase where you are thinking about the effect of your self harming has on those close to you or what makes them turn on you. I do understand that release from your horrid feelings when you self harm. Have you met other self harmers? How would you feel or react if someone really close to you self harmed (or anyone for that matter) and came to you for advice and help? I am sure from your blog, you would react with sympathy, kindness and try to help. But what help would you give them? I

Anonymous Tue, Jan 27th 2015 @ 8:48am

You could try walking in someone else's shoes just to see how they see life. Don't worry about how they see you, just think about how they view life.

Anonymous Tue, Jan 27th 2015 @ 9:36am

Thank you :-)

Anonymous Tue, Jan 27th 2015 @ 10:59am

I found your blog to be very joyful. In allowing yourself to see through someone else's eyes, you have given yourself a huge gift. YAY! Isn't it amazing how the universe will speak to us in all manner of ways?! Thank you for this reminder. Go well, Serena.
susan xx

Elizabeth Tue, Jan 27th 2015 @ 11:10am

That is a nice one. Thank you for writing, Serena

Anonymous Tue, Jan 27th 2015 @ 12:28pm

Thank you Serena, so much. My elder daughter was learning about depression, self harm and suicide at school the other day, in her PSH (Personal, Social & Health) lessons. She cannot understand how anyone can self harm, yet she has a mother who regularly picks the skin round her cuticles until they are raw and bleeding and a sister who plucks out all her eyelashes. Sadly, neither of us know why we do it either. It's worse when we're under stress, but when are we ever not under stress?

Julia Tue, Jan 27th 2015 @ 3:00pm

Hi again Serena. Just thinking about what you wrote. When you self harm, do you deal with it and the aftermath yourself, on your own so that no-one knows? Or do you require assistance from others, maybe sometimes from those who turn on you or from the medical profession? I used to get upset when my older sister refused to eat and starved herself for years. This I guess was a form of self harm perhaps stemming from depression. I can understand depression as I suffer from it but I try to keep it silent and not let others know about it. I am sure you get help from professionals for your self harm, people who are trained in this area. It sounds from what you say though, you might have discovered completely on your own, how Eminems' song and lyrics could lead you to a way of understanding other people's reactions to your self harm. Well done. It does sound rather a novel interesting way.

Anonymous Wed, Jan 28th 2015 @ 1:03am

I'm so sorry Serena.I was suicidal. Hated myself. But through a long journey actually found to love myself. It's there. Don't give up. There is so much love there in you. You will find it. And it's your journey - the only thing that matters is you loving yourself. **ck other people. You do not have to carry their burden. You are doing the best that you can, right now. Stay on the path.

Hopeful One Wed, Jan 28th 2015 @ 7:26am

Hi Serena- it was very brave and courageous of you to write this blog and I congratulate you for that..I could feel my compassion reach out for you.I felt that somehow you need to give yourself love for you need to learn to love yourself as you are .This may not be easy if there is no love for you outside but you could try.The self harm is to me your way of expressing self loathing and hate towards yourself.

Anonymous Wed, Jan 28th 2015 @ 5:33pm

I think Jung would have approved of your standpoint.

Anonymous Wed, Jan 28th 2015 @ 10:15pm

Beautiful and brave blog. I find reading about other's stories of their battles hugely interesting and important. Thank you, love from the room above the garage.

Victoria Thu, Jan 29th 2015 @ 9:40pm

Hi Serena. I think some people who view self harm negatively wouldn't think twice about buying stuff they can't afford on a credit card or Downing 12 pints on a Friday night, but they're all coping mechanisms. Self harm isn't the healthiest coping mechanism but I've always tried to remember that is isn't the worse coping mechanism to have. Especially if you take care of yourself sensibly afterwards. I would encourage you to find someone willing to let you talk about without reacting negatively toward you, as that can help so much. From one with scars, wishing you all the best. Thank you for sharing.

Alicia Thu, Jan 29th 2015 @ 10:46pm

Hi Serena, Simply want to say I was deeply touched by your post. Thank you xxx

Julia Fri, Jan 30th 2015 @ 12:06pm

I think this is a very sensible reply. It seems to me that self harm in the sense of cutting oneself which I assume this is what Serena does, is not so much as a cry for help or a self loathing act, more a release and a physical way of manifesting her depression depression. We can hide our depression so well but if we do something physical to show how depressed we are, it validates it for the self harmer. I am not advocating it one bit, but trying to understand it. I would welcome a blog on this subject from someone like you Victoria. Do you think you might write one? If yes, email Caroline at

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