If you know a self harmer, know that even if they have not harmed themselves in days, weeks, months or years, they think about it every single day especially on days filled with emotion.
I don’t remember why I started self-harming but for some reason, I saw it as an option. I was too young to drink and to take drugs and for some reason, talking about and facing up to emotions was not an option in my mind.
I was 11 years old when I first self-harmed. Absolutely terrifying. I am now 25 years old and the thought of a cousin, niece, nephew or even a child of my own doing that at 11 years old is heart breaking. I’m sorry mum.
The last time I self-harmed for a long period of time was about 5 years ago. It was one of the darkest times of my life and I really didn’t care if I lived or died.
People think self-harm is a really bad thing but I don’t. It is a coping mechanism. A really short term fix with negative long term results but it helped me cope. I enjoyed it. I looked forward to doing it. I would be able to breathe after. I would be myself again after. It was nice.
Reading this, I bet you are thinking I’m crazy. I used to think I was.
I had a slip up when my drinking got out of hand and it was like I was drinking excessively to self-harm because being drunk was my excuse and I was more confident about doing it. I would never talk myself out of it if I was drunk.
The last time I self-harmed was the last time I drank. I think thats pretty significant.
However, there is something so dark and comforting about the thought of it. I don’t know if it’s the physical pain or seeing blood or something else…
But the worst thing about being a self-harmer is not actually self-harming, it’s the feeling of missing it.
Some days, the thought will come and it will pass.
Some days, I will be fighting the thought off for hours.
Some days, I want to do it.
And I hate that I want to do it but I also like it.
And I hate that I like it.
The reality of having a negative coping mechanism for so long and becoming attached to it in a way that you miss it is shit.
Trying to explain this to someone who has no idea around self-harm is excruciatingly painful and frustrating. I don’t expect everyone to understand but don’t judge a self-harmer.
They don’t judge you every time you pick up a cigarette or a drink because you’re stressed.
Don’t ever look at someone’s scars or listen to their story and think they’re weak.
A self-harmer in recovery is an incredibly strong person. Far from weak.
They are still here and still fighting daily battles.
They’ve developed healthier ways to deal and cope with emotions.
They’ve seen the darkness and they’re familiar with it but they’re still looking towards the light.
Also, know that like with everything, you will always have attention seekers.
I feel self-harmers are given this label too often and it’s completely false. Someone who self-harms to release emotions or to feel something or for whatever reason, will hide their harm. They will not flaunt it.
It’s not a trophy. It’s personal and most of the time, after the harming, it feels shameful so self-harmers tend to cover up.
People who walk round showing their cuts and talking about it like they’ve just made a cup of tea are attention seeking. For whatever reason, they want attention. You can take this as annoying or a cry for help or something they’re seeking as they’re missing it from other parts of their life.
But for those individuals who harm themselves because they can’t cope with their emotions, just hug them. Ask them how they are. And then ask them how they really are. These people are good at hiding how they really feel.