Angry, tormented and losing control, desperate Peter Williams picked up a knife and held it to his arm. The teenager, who was a victim of vile sexual abuse as a young child, sat in his room and felt he could no longer cope with the stresses of life.
Hearing his mum’s calls from downstairs to finish his chores, he flipped, cutting himself across his arm with the blade.
As the blood ran, he felt instantly better.
It is an upsetting, shocking story, but an increasingly common one in Lancashire.
Today, the Evening Post lifts the lid on the growing issue of self-harming among young people, after figures revealed more than 500 youngsters across the county were admitted to A&E departments in a single year after deliberately injuring themselves.
These figures, health chiefs have warned, are merely the tip of the iceberg, with many suffering in silence.
Peter, now 18, and of Fulwood, is just one case. He was 13 when he started self-harming. Bullied at school, nagged at home and carrying a feeling of guilty about the sex abuse he suffered in a park, he felt his life was worthless.
He said: “I was never the popular kid at school. When I was about nine, I was indecently assaulted by a man in a park and even though it was not my fault, I carried the guilt around and felt I wanted to punish myself. The bullying at school really got to me and when I started high school, I thought it would be a fresh start and that things would get better.
“But things were practically the same, if not worse. I just could not cope with it all so I locked myself away.”
It was after a bad day at school being subjected to the taunts of bullies that Peter first cut himself with a knife.
“Things had got so bad that one day I was stood in the kitchen while my mum and dad were in the living room and I spotted a knife and took it upstairs with me and just sat there staring at it for about an hour,” he added. “I had heard about self harm and cutting yourself and I sat there thinking about if I should try it.
“While I was sat there, my mum shouted at me to come downstairs and told me I had chores to do.
“I just flipped because I felt I never got a break so I used the knife to slit the inside of my arm. I had so much anger and hurt inside of me and I just wanted to let it all out.
“As soon as I did it, I could feel the pain from inside of me coming out of that cut. It felt good while I was doing it and once I had done it once, I felt the urge to do it again every time I felt really down.
“I just felt that as other people kept bullying me, I may as well bully myself. At least that way, I was in control.”
Peter carried on self harming for two years. It was only when a teacher at school noticed his arms that he got the help he needed.
He went to see psychotherapist and counsellor Steve Pope, of Lancashire’s Steve Pope Associates and he is still having counselling now.
His story comes as latest figures show 205 young people aged between 0 and 17 in Lancashire were admitted to hospital in 2010/11 per 100,000 of the population.
Royal Preston Hospital has seen around 47 youngsters who have self harmed in the last year while Chorley saw 28, Lancaster 32 and Ormskirk 40.
Maggi Morris, director of public health at NHS Central Lancashire, said: “Self harm among young people is a huge problem which is increasing and the biggest worry is that it is a hidden public health problem and we do not know the full scale of the issue.”
“The majority of self harmers tend to be female, but men and boys do self harm too.
“When boys self harm, one of the most common reasons is because they have been sexually abused. Self harming is a form of communication of internal pain.”