The first time I self harmed I was 19. After a traumatic event in my life I started to feel low, anxious and overwhelmed on a daily basis. I was desperate for a release from the distress I was experiencing and from what was going on inside my mind. At the time, physical pain felt easier to deal with than the emotional pain- I could visibly see it and that gave me the feeling of control I needed to take back. It wasn’t attention seeking but instead my only way to communicate the distress that I was feeling. However it soon became my “go to” coping mechanism and a battle that I am still fighting.
People’s reaction to it can vary, some feel shocked, angry, helpless and the worst one is when the other person starts to feel responsible, like they have somehow made you do it. It is why so many don’t speak up, don’t seek help, it is the fear of judgement and that is hard. A few months ago, I didn’t think I could talk about it but I did. Although the people I talked to didn’t understand, they showed a willing to understand and that has been life changing in so many ways. We talk about misconceptions surrounding self harm and mental health and there are, but there are also misconceptions about how we feel people might react. They won’t understand, they won’t care- sometimes you just have to give people a chance too.
“Just because no one else can heal or do your inner work for you, doesn’t mean you can, should, or need to do it alone” (Lisa Olivera)