Mental health is never black and white. There is no cut and dry statement that applies to everyone. You could speak to a million people with mental health problems. No matter what their problems are, or what their past is like, their story will be unique.
Some recent comments on this blog have made assumptions about what self harm is. The assumptions that were made are absolutely commonplace, and something I am trying to tackle in this blog. I can’t go out and change the world, but if I can educate the odd person, make someone feel special, let someone know they are not alone or show them where to get support, it is worth talking about the difficult bits.
Now that is out of the way, I will explain the different types of self harm.
One of the most obvious reasons for self harm is to kill yourself. If you are in that much pain, it might seem like the only way to make it stop. Whist I have overdosed too many times to count, there have only been three genuine suicide attempts in the last decade. I had a friend kill herself 6 years ago. And nobody had a clue she felt so down. That is certainly not an isolated incident. Most suicides come as a complete shock to the friends and family.
- Attention Seeking
This is what I have been accused of in my previous blog post. Which is interesting seeing as they don’t know me. But never the less I will explain this the best I can. Overdosing is a terrible of getting attention. It cannot be seen from the outside. More than that, attention seekers don’t actually want pain at all, they want attention. As explained in my previous blog- overdosing really bloody hurts! Whilst generally attention seekers don’t want pain, sometimes their need for sympathy pushes them to more serious things like slitting the wrists. That is more likely to happen when their friends and family are so used to it they stop giving the attention and get cross instead.
Also, those wanting attention figure out quite quickly that it doesn’t work if you tell people every time you self harm. They get bored quickly. And that is when the short-sleeved t-shirts get pulled out of the draw, and they make sure that their ‘cuts’ (usually scratches, of course there are exceptions to the rule) are only just visible. Like they are trying hide them, but they missed a bit. Because of my problems when I was younger, my siblings got a bit lost from time to time. My sister did the above in an attempt to get some attention. Fortunately it stopped pretty quickly after some good support.
- Getting Rid of the Pain
This is the one that applies to me. In fact, this is the top reason for self harming in general. Certainly most the people I have spoken to about self harm over the years have indicated this is why they do it. There are a couple of different though processes around this point. For example, for people who cut, I have been told it is like all the pain is flowing out of their body. As for me, I specifically overdose so I am not left with scars. When I overdose it is because my head is in SO much pain I need to create a distraction from it. The extreme pain that comes from overdosing distracts me from the pain in my head, at least for a while.
Please have a look at my next post which is a poem I wrote four years ago now. That might help you understand a little more. To that particular commenter, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org That way, whenever you want to make a comment based on assumptions, you can email me so I can clear up anything that isn’t true.
I don’t pretend to know it all, because that would be impossible. I am not a medical professional, and, as I repeat a lot (sorry!) everything I post is based on my experiences and what I have seen an heard from others.
Once again, I will link to my crisis box. If you want me to make one up for you and post it to you let me know. You can email email@example.com if you are interested.
Here are some posts you may find helpful