"Before I start writing this blog post, I want to make it clear that this is my personal experience with self-harm, and it is not based on medical fact nor am I encouraging self-harm but more a better understanding of self-harm and mental health."
There is such a grey understanding with regards to self-harm and understanding why someone would choose to harm themselves. There are many types of self-harm some more shocking than others.
Someone that is cutting their body is seen as being really unwell, but what about the person that drinks a bottle of whiskey a night? Are they self-harming or are they just addicted?
Why does one form of self-harm get dramatized more than the other?
All forms of self-harm can stem from mental health.
My journey through self-harm as it is for a lot of people was a coping mechanism. I was about 15 during my first real mental health breakdown, after years of family abuse, that I self-harmed, and it made me feel better.
Why did I self-harm? I can't give an answer to that but how I felt.
When you are in a low mental health space, it can feel incredibly lonely, I am sure you have heard this before.
But what I was not prepared for is the actual, physical pain, that your body can manifest your emotional pain into. It feels like this cloud that lowers around you and you can't see a way out.
It felt like my body was going to burst, that the only way I could to stop the pain, was to let some of it out?
A bit like a blister, it is incredibly painful until you release the pressure, and then you feel relief. That for me is what self-harm felt like, it was a release of the pressure inside.
Self-harm does not always escalate to a suicide attempt, but it does very much show you the level of mental health that person is at.
It is not about forcing or shaming someone who does self-harm, but instead, get them the support they need to slowly start to work through them.
So next time you come across someone who has self-harmed, who has scars on their arms, is recovering from an eating disorder or drugs and alcohol addiction instead of looking at them in judgement, try instead a bit of compassion and understanding