Trigger Warning- this post will be discussing self-harm. Please don’t read it if you’re sensitive to content of this nature, and take care of yourself!
Hello Internet, it’s me, Queertastic (again. I’m on here a lot. If you want to hear more from me about mental health issues and other miscellaneous nonsense, find me at my personal blog here). While I’m a huge fan of cheesy humor filled posts, it’s time to get serious. I want to talk about something that I’ve personally gone through, and that’s self-harm. When I was harming myself, it was a new thing for me and for the people who were close to me. When I eventually told a few of my close friends, they had no idea how to react to it- and I can hardly blame them, because the situation is a tricky one. So, now that I’m (hopefully) fully recovered, I thought that making a list like this would be extremely helpful for anyone involved with self-harm, or it could help you better understand what’s going on inside the minds of people who do self-harm. (extremely important note: there are hotlines and resources at the end of this post. Please use them if you need to.)
➀ Yes, we’re fully aware how crazy our behavior must seem to you.
There was a point in my life where I thought that people who cut themselves were insane psychopaths that needed to be put in straight-jackets forever. I’m not even exaggerating. But a year later, there I was, self-harming, fully aware how crazy other people would think I am if they ever found out. I sometimes condemned myself for being insane because I knew my behavior was crazy, and atypical. It’s one of the huge reasons why I’m still so terrified of anybody ever finding out that I self-harmed in the first place.
② We know we should stop.
There wasn’t a point during my self-harming period where I didn’t think “I should stop cutting”. I knew what I was doing was bad, but an addiction is an addiction, and chain-smokers know they’re giving themselves lung cancer, but they can’t stop. It’s hard to stop, even when you know that you’re (literally) giving yourself permanent scars that are both physical and emotional.
➂ We hate nothing more than the question “where did you get those?”.
This one should seem pretty obvious, but I couldn’t not include it. Seriously, having my bracelets slip and my sleeves fall is already sucky. Having some loser asking you where you got those perfectly straight uniform cuts along your arm wreaks hell fire. We hate our scars. We’re apprehensive of our scars, because they’re a constant reminder of our past. Being asked about my scars can sometimes be enough to derail my whole day.
➃ We hate being so dependent on something.
Having an addiction to something destructive will really mess you up in the head after a while. I remember a few days where I would go insane if I didn’t get to self-harm, that’s how dependent I was on it. It makes you feel weak and lost, and you’re helpless to your own vices. It’s awful to be an active contributor to your own downfall.
➄ If we say we don’t want to talk about it, we really don’t want to talk about it.
Oftentimes, well meaning relatives and close friends will press us to talk about our issues, thinking that we’re just shy or reluctant. I know, you might have the best intentions at heart, but please- if a self-harmer tells you that they don’t feel up to talking about it, just leave them be. Maybe they’ll come around eventually, maybe they won’t. Either way, I think personally this is one boundary to be rigidly accepted and respected.
⑥ You don’t need to relate to us to help us.
Basically, you don’t need to fully understand what we’re going through to help us. In fact, if you’ve never self-harmed before you probably won’t ever understand fully, but the fact that you care and are willing to help is more than enough to make us feel at home! Try to avoid saying things like “I can relate”, or “I know how that feels”, because we know that you don’t know how it feels. Sometimes just an empathetic word is enough. We will never get tired of hearing the words “I love you no matter what, and I want you to heal”. Sometimes that is all the reassurance we need 🙂
➆ Nothing in the world is worse than a relapse.
I couldn’t write a post about things self-harmers want you to know and then not include relapses. They are the most difficult parts of recovery, and dealing with a relapse is an awful cocktail of disappointment mixed with the strange relief that we get from returning to our old devils. It’s feeling pleasure when you should be feeling pain. Feeling pleasure but then being drowned in shame. That’s just a tiny snippet of what a relapse feels like, and needless to say, words can’t even fully describe the complex tragedy that is relapsing. So just keep in mind that we’re both twistedly celebrating and mentally admonishing ourselves when we relapse, and try to cut us a little slack, because we’ve already felt all the shame in the world.
And now, I’ve talked about what self-harmers want you to know. But, self-harmers, here’s something I want you to know from someone who used to self harm and has made her way up to an almost complete recovery. It is possible to recover, and your scars will heal over. You will trust again, you will love yourself again, and the only thing you will be dependent on is yourself. You might feel like you’re reduced to nothing right now, but recovery is possible, and you can grow and learn from this experiment. You are just a tiny bit bent, not broken. Everything will be okay eventually, and you are strong enough to push yourself through this tumultuous section of your life. On that note, I have added some resources and hotlines below. Please take care of yourselves, lovelies! If you’re interested in reading more about self harm from my personal perspective, here’s a collection of posts from my personal blog. Thank you all for reading, and if you have any self-harm related questions to ask me, I’m more than willing to answer them to the best of my capabilities 🙂
Love Always, Queertastic ♥