Examine the patterns of your own self-harming behaviors
*Content warning: Self-harm*
Have you ever self-harmed? Do you do so now? And do you know what form your self-harming takes? Because self-harm does not need to literally entail cutting or otherwise physically harming yourself. You might have various habits and behaviors that involve no visible physical damage whatsoever but are still harmful to yourself. These count too, of course.
And if you answered ‘yes’ to the above, then the next important thing to figure out for yourself is when and why you do it.
I’m going to write about this very briefly, just skim the surface of this topic. And then you can, at your own pace and by your own means, get deeper into this as it relates to your own life. And I’m no doctor or academic, but I can always speak to my own experiences, which are all valid and real.
When I was in high school, there was a period of about a year when I would literally cut myself. I had one of those Swiss army knives with multiple tools on it — and yes, I could take it to school! It was such a different era back then. But that was what I had, and so I used the knife that was on there to cut deep gashes in my arms, on the biceps. I had to apply a lot of pressure because the knife was so dull.
Since I had the knife with me wherever I went, I could cut myself whenever and wherever I had the privacy to do it. I usually would cut at home, but I can remember doing it at school too. I can remember doing it one time while waiting for my brother to get out of some activity after school — I was just bored at that time, and simply decided to cut myself.
These wounds left scars in straight, parallel lines. They were very visible, and it was obvious to others at a glance where those scars had come from (and yet, hardly anybody besides my closest friends had anything to say about it). A few of these scars still remain today, actually, almost 20 years later. Did I want people to notice them? Perhaps, maybe. But if anyone had seriously tried to help me then, I’m not sure what would have come of it or what I would have said to them. And yes, my scars were of course visible to all the teachers at school, but I never got referred to the…