Disclaimer: I am NOT a mental health or medical professional, nor am I an expert on self-injurious behavior. If you self-harm, please seek help.
I recently attended a seminar on self-injurious behavior, and I’d like to share a video and some thoughts with you here today. I know this is new territory for my blog, but self-injury is real and it grabbed my attention. If you are uncomfortable or uninterested in this topic, please browse my site for good food and sweet treats instead (click here for starters). No judgment here.
Before I begin, let me again reiterate that I am not a mental health or medical professional, nor am I an expert on self-injurious behavior. I simply learned about a very serious topic and would like to share some thoughts with you here today.
The definition of self-injury as defined by the Mayo Clinic website is as follows:
Self-injury, also called self-harm, is the act of deliberately harming your own body, such as cutting or burning yourself. The site further defines self-injury as an unhealthy way to cope with emotional pain, intense anger and frustration.
The presenter at the seminar I attended said few words before turning our attention to the projector to watch a You Tube video entitled Celebrities Who Self-Harm (click here to watch the video). It begins by showing pictures of what’s perceived to be a glamorous celebrity lifestyle. Then it flashes through a series of celebrities who self-harm, even showing pictures of their scars. Some I was aware of, but others not so much. Amy Winehouse, Fiona Apple, Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Megan Fox. The list goes on.
Isn’t it interesting how society puts celebrities on a pedestal, making us believe their lives are perfect? How misleading, how naïve of us. Contrary to popular belief, their lives are not perfect. They experience difficulties in life just as you and I do. We all deal with issues in our own way, and unfortunately for some that means they self-harm.
In the video, the words following Angelia Jolie’s pictures indicated that she cut herself in order to feel something. I learned that the statement I do/did it to feel something is very common among those who self-harm. Cutting is also a way for self-harmers to feel in control of something in their life, especially because they feel they have no control otherwise. A girl in another video we were shown said cutting made her feel brave because she knows so many others are incapable of physically harming themselves.
Learning about self-harm was very eye-opening for me. It was also heartbreaking because I can’t even begin to imagine the amount of pain one must experience in order to feel that cutting is their only release. I can’t help but think what’s wrong with people. How and why could one break someone so much that their only means of feeling is to cut until they bleed? Why are people so cruel?
My mind is getting bogged down with so many thoughts that I cannot even put them into words. I’ll stop here for now, but may update this post at a later date, or write a follow-up. I encourage you to share your thoughts. Not just with me, but with those you know.
We must all remember that our words and our actions have the power to harm others. Not just hurt them, but actually harm them.
Be kind to one another. –Ellen Degeneres
Lastly, because this topic interested me so much, I intend to search for a non-fiction book about self-harm in order to learn more. I previously read the book Madness: A Bipolar Life by Marya Hornbacher, which I highly recommend. The book touched on self-harm in a very vivid way. The author wrote the book so well that I could feel her manic state as I read, and I often found myself speed reading and feeling like I was on a roller coaster of emotion.
Knowledge is power. –Sir Francis Bacon
Click here if you’re interested in learning more about cutting and self-harm.