An amazingly powerful video and story were published on the Sydney Morning Herald website about self-harm. Both the video and the story are worth a look, but they do contain images of self-harm scars.
Self-harm is something that’s generally not spoken about. People’s scars are sneakily glanced at when they’re not looking. As someone who’s self-harmed for well over ten years and has visible scars I find this behaviour hurtful. Are you judging me? Are you looking at my scars and writing me off as a crazy lady?
I’m not crazy. I self-harmed when I was unwell, overwhelmed, and trying to stay alive. Self-harm, for me, is about taking the edge off the emotional pain so that I can keep going. Over the years the frequency and severity of my self-harm has decreased, but I still do it.
It’s not attention seeking in a dishonest, manipulative way. Sometimes it is a cry for help. Think about it though – if that person had the skills to cope with overwhelming emotions and seek support from appropriate people in an appropriate way they wouldn’t need to self-harm.
Have some compassion when you see someone with self-harm scarring. Sometimes it’s quite obvious that it’s self-harm – the distinct pattern of the lines from the cutting tool. Sometimes you won’t know it’s self-harm, or a horribly accident that caused the scarring. Be kind – don’t stare, don’t steal sneaky glances.