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Posted on Aug 2 2022 by Fiona Bailey

A person whose self-harm episodes started to spiral uncontrollably is preparing to move to a farm as part of her recovery.

Kathleen has been a patient at St Andrew’s Healthcare for four years and talked about her journey on the last episode of the third series of the podcast On the Ward.

The mum-of-one said: “When I first came to St Andrew’s I was a mess and my head was all over the place. I didn’t know how to trust people or how to trust the staff or anybody who was around me. I couldn’t talk to anyone. So the only thing I could do was harm myself because it made me feel better every time I did it.”

Despite injuring herself repeatedly, Kathleen insisted she never felt any physical pain.

She added: “When you’re doing it you don’t feel it because your emotions and adrenaline are so high. You don’t feel the pain. You zone out.”

Since arriving at St Andrew’s she has participated in regular therapy treatments and forged trusting relationships with the staff which she said has aided her recovery.

Now, she spends her days at the hospital in Northampton visiting the onsite gym and completing stick-by-number books which “calms” her.

During the podcast episode she shows presenter and Nurse John Barry Waldron around her room, which is filled with pictures of her family, and the rest of the ward.

She also talks of her excitement about going back to Northern Ireland for her community placement, which is the next step down from secure care. Kathleen will be living on a farm where she will be helping to look after sheep.

She said: “It’s not too far away from my family which I’m looking forward to because it’s been four years since I’ve seen my mum. The only time I see her is on Skype which isn’t enough as I can’t give her a cuddle and hug.”