Last week I talked about suicide and it turned out to a pretty relevant topic that made for a pretty well-received blog post. Today I want to talk about another topic that is sensitive but desperately needs to be discussed:
I think the reason that fewer people take this as serious is because of the stigma of an angsty, “emo” teen slitting their wrist blasting “alternative” music when they don’t get their way. But the issue is so much deeper than that. Self-harm can look like a lot of things. It could range from moderate things like scratching, cutting, burning, and pulling out one hair to as severe as causing broken bones. It varies from person to person but doesn’t lessen the severity.
I remember when I first started cutting. I was around 12 and when my grandmother found out she took me to my pediatrician and told her that I was cutting. I’m not quite sure what my grandmother was expecting but I don’t think either of us was expecting what my doctor said next. She equated cutting to smoking, in the way that they were both addicting stress relievers. Once you get stressed out, you have to do the action again to relieve that stress. She then said that we have to find better-coping skills.
Things went back and forth over the next few years, I had really good months when I’d be fine. Then there were other times where my arm barely had time to heal before I was adding more scar tissue. Things hit a head during one summer but I think the lowest point was having my grandma clean my wounds after I had cut and then fell asleep because I had drained myself of all my energy.
We never talked about that night after that. If we had I wonder how that conversation would have gone. The only thing she ever said really in regards to the subject was that I was going to get an infection. I feel like at that point sometimes I would cut just to prove her wrong. I always used clean razors but cheap never the good one because was a waste of money. Looking back now I can see how easy it would have been. Funny how hindsight is 20/20 when you can look back and realize how misguided you were.
Now at almost 26, I can say that I’ve have self-harmed in a while. Most of the superficial cuts have faded away. I am however left with a very unsightly burn mark a year ago when I couldn’t find any razors. As much as I really don’t recommend self-harm, self-harming out of desperation is even less of a good idea. I’m lucky that this is the only real damage that I’ve sustained after all these years. If I had the chance I’d go back and talk to that confused and traumatized little girl.
A lot of times things like this aren’t talked about. How would one even approach the subject? Typically the times when you have to have these talks an incident has already occurred. How can we take a sort of preemptive strike? Let me know what you think in the comments below.
Until next we meet,