It’s an addiction.
After confessing my self harm to my head of year at the age of 13, I was informed of my “incredible stupidity”, followed by the remark “I don’t understand how someone of your intelligence could think that self harm was the answer.”
Retrospectively, I suppose a part of her, however consciously the notion had been formed, was aiming to wound my ego-to cause me to bounce back happily and snap out of the habit. She was pulling, recklessly, at my own self-torturing, egotistical view of myself as someone who lusted after bravery and was far too bold to lose in the face of life.
I cut myself that night, and every night thereafter.
Needless to say, manipulation; comparisons, will never cure mental illness-all they do is silence the ill, who lock the door to their dark-side and throw away the key. Festering, waiting: suppressed until a later date.
Nobody chooses to self harm. Much like nobody chooses to suffer from depression, bipolar or schizophrenia. It is not a decision made out of boredom or stand-alone curiosity, as much as those looking for culprits behind the NHS crisis might like to think so. For some, given the circumstances or pressures they face, it appears to be a necessity; nothing more, nothing less. Often, it is a last resort.
I understand, how, for those who have never felt the urge to cut or burn themselves, the concept may seem shocking-unimaginable and, above all, pointless. In this case, I would ask those people to envisage themselves shipwrecked far from shore, a mile and a half from land-cold, alone and near to the end. There are two options; neither of which are ideal or particularly desirable. The first is to grab hold of the life ring ten strokes to your right. The second: to swim ashore, with no promise of making it back safe at all.
Most people, despite the knowledge that clutching an inflatable until the end of eternity is absurdity personified, would still opt to do so. Why? Because, in the short-term, immediate future, the comfort, the feeling of safety, is guaranteed. There are no doubts about that. After all, who wouldn’t delay a traumatic and deeply agonising journey back to land?
In the case of those who opt for the prior, self harm is the life-ring; the one certainty, the stand-alone quick-fix that currently surrounds them. It is not-has never been-about the belief that cutting oneself with a razor is the answer to all inner-devils. It is far more complex than that.
For starters, injuring oneself can lead to a neurological addiction. It is scientifically proven that, when wounded or hurt, the brain releases a surge of serotonin, a feel good chemical, to counteract the pain. It is one of our multiple evolutionary adaptation to cope with physical discomfort-another being the automatic impulse to rub the affected area when we fall over in an attempt to interrupt the pain signals sent to the brain. Fundamentally, opinion and personal thoughts about self harm aside, the fact is that it does, in the short term, for many people, help.
We are not “stupid”.
We are depending on the empathy and understanding of those around us to help guide us back to shore.
Thank you so much for reading! I’ve been very caught up in revision and schoolwork at the moment-so if I’ve missed one of your posts, please link it below and I’d be delighted to take a look! 🙂