When someone first comes out about their self harm, they’re often met with a tonne of statements that make them regret their confession. And it’s about time the way that society views and deals with the issue changes.
“Real cutters cut deep.”-Not only is this an incredibly thoughtless and distressing thing to say to someone who self harms, but the wound a person has inflicted on themself in no way mirrors the emotional turmoil that they’re in. I’ve scratched myself, I’ve hospitalised myself: and I can honestly say that the difference in my mental state in those particular moments of deep unhappiness is hard to tell apart. And if anyone thinks that telling someone that the harm they’re carrying out isn’t “good enough” or of a high enough standard, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that, on top of all their other issues, they’ll also feel the need to up the ante so as not to feel like even more of a failure. Thoughts of “I can’t even hurt myself properly” can be a common occurrence.
“Self harm is attention seeking.”-Now this one I don’t find so offensive. Because sometimes, people do self harm as a cry for help, and that’s something that should be taken seriously, not dismissed. When I first started self harming, I was most certainly looking for attention-in the hope that someone, somewhere would notice my pain. But does that mean that my problems were somehow less real, less meaningful? No. I was a scared little girl who was fed up of hurting alone, and I felt that using words alone wouldn’t even scrape the surface of my feelings.
“But you’ll have ugly scars, and people will judge you for the rest of your life.” I completely understand that this is a desperate attempt to deter a loved one from hurting themself, but from experience, being given the message that scars are something to be ashamed of can do huge damage to a person’s confidence. Not only that, but being told that they’d make me unattractive didn’t stop me, but sent me lower-I felt ugly and worthless as a person, and hid underneath long sleeves for almost three years. If the person ends up scarring themselves, being told negative things about the raised marks on their body makes recovery so much harder. And as a matter of fact, the people that are intelligent, understanding and have experience of the world don’t judge over something that is so insignificant in the grand scale of the person. They’re the people needed in life. I have learned to appreciate them and surround myself with them.
“Self harm is stupid. How does hurting yourself solve the problem?” I do not in any way condemn self harm, nor do I think it helps a person to cope with their issues long-term. However, I find it unreasonable when people suggest that a person’s action of hurting themselves makes them somehow unintelligent. When someone is in such a bad place that they can’t see another way out, another way of coping, they can go to dramatic measures in order to preserve themself. That human being is desperate, not necessarily stupid. Shaming someone and causing them feelings of worthlessness is not going to help them open up and confide in anyone.
I think as well, that, many people only see the physical side of self harm, they see a wound, an injury and panic-which is justified. But it needs to be remembered that self harm isn’t in itself the problem. The root of the unhappiness needs to be addressed. It is also not something that is prevalent only in white teenage girls.
Both genders self harm, as do all ages and races.
It can affect anyone, anywhere, at anytime: and as a society, it’s crucial that we are behind the victims every step of the way.