I’ve been without an incident of self-harm for about 18 months, and I have had about three incidents over the last three years.
When I was self-harming routinely, I hit myself with fists, and blunt objects (typically soup cans, tennis racquets or hand tools.) I favored hitting myself on the thighs, chest, and head in order to conceal my injuries from others. A few times, when I felt especially ashamed, I resorted to hitting my face.
I did these things as an attempt to cope with the difficulties of my life, and I recognize these are unhealthy coping tools.
So, why am I bringing this up?
There are two reasons. The first is that by being honest about this and disclosing it, I become more accountable to more people for using healthier coping tools. The other is to simply be ‘out’ about my self-harm, and de-stigmatize it for others who may have similar struggles.
A history of self-harm doesn’t mean someone is “crazy” or bad or broken or a person to be avoided. It also doesn’t mean we need to be protected from bad news, or sheltered from reality. It also does not mean someone is “dangerous.”
I do not have the credentials to recommend which courses of action will be most effective for any one individual to begin to change these types of behavior, but just as fat shaming is not a way to make someone skinny, stigmatizing self-harm is not an effective strategy toward helping someone dealing with self-harm.
I love all of you so very much, and I appreciate having this space to be open and honest.