The act of deliberately cutting your own skin is known as the most well-known method of self-harm; which is why I never cut myself. I saw it like this, if my scratches and scars were to slip into view, people would automatically associate the stigma affiliated with self-harm and mental illness. Which is why I use other less recognised self-administering practices to release a build-up of emotions.
Check out last weeks post where I discuss some The Basics of Self-Harm and list some of the other types of self-harm.
I am repeatedly picking, scratching, tearing, and pulling my skin. I use a combination of tweezers and sewing needles to attack my skin, often leaving bleeding wounds. Even though they are intended and made on purpose, they can be found to look like a rash that has been scratched at; a practical and normal notion. Therefore, giving those concern, no theory of self-harm and mental illness, and the stigma surrounding them, don’t imply to me or exist.
The stigma of one cutting into their skin is often exaggerated and false. A significant hypothesis is that it is done for attention seeking purposes, however, the majority that self-harm ashamed of doing so and go to great extents to hide their wounds and scars. Therefore, defeating that assumption of committing self-harm to gain wanted attention.
Another thought is that those who self-harm are suicidal. Yes, there is research that is out that says that those who self-harm are more likely to commit suicide. But specifically in August of 2016 – 2017 “Of those who had attempted suicide, almost two-thirds (63 per cent) had self-harmed”. Leaving 37% of people being automatically assumed of being suicidal; a false accusation. People find that the act of self-harm is a coping mechanism for dealing with their lives and emotions, and to continue their way of life.
One more kind of stigma linked towards self-harm is that the person doing so is ‘goth or emo.’ There isn’t a particular look or style for those who self-harm. They can wear an all-black outfit or wear every colour of the rainbow outfit, listen to metal rock or pop music, or got to a public or private school. Self-harm can be done by any individual and isn’t swayed by looks or interests.
In one point of view, these kinds of self-harm stigma are what prevents me from cutting myself, however, lead myself to find other methods to inflict self-harm. To others, these forms of stigma are what cause people to stay quiet about self-harm and what prevents them from seeking out help. The stigma isn’t important here; it’s that the effects of the stigma are causing victims to be intimidated. Once people realise that self-harm can happen to anyone and not the stereotypes, maybe those who are too shy to get help and recover might finally be able to do so.
There is so much to cover and understand about self-harm, that is why this post is apart of the 5-part series “Self-Harm & Self-Reflection” to provide insight, create awareness, and to interpret self-inflicted harm. Make sure you are subscribed to the blog, to ensure that you don’t miss a post!
Check the rest of the series here!