Self harm. I know what you are thinking….some Emo teenager cutting themselves. Although cutting can be a part of it, it is just another stigma that needs to be stopped.

There are many ways a person can self harm. When I have my explosive episodes, I hit myself, throw things, punch things, kick stuff, but never have I hit another person. I may have thrown stuff at a man or two, but they deserved it. This type of self harm comes from anger, or a rage you cannot control.  Have you ever seen a toddler pitch a fit? Of course you have, because they cannot express in words what is wrong with them. During my episodes, there is so much going on in my head that I cannot express in words what is wrong.  Similar to a children with Autism who are non verbal.  Don’t look at them like they are brats. They have to express themselves in some way.

Cutting, yes cutting is a way of self harm.  Yet everyone that cuts themselves are not kids dressed in all black with piercings and wearing trench coats.  The head cheerleader, the most popular kid in school, or your best friend could be doing this. Normally it is done in places that are hidden so no one knows it is going on.  I had this problem as a teenager, and occasionally in my early 20’s.  It wasn’t about the blood, or attempting suicide,  it was simply a way to numb the mental pain. Hard to think about what is going on in your head when your skin is being cut open with a razor blade or knife.

Sex can be self harm. Are you surprised? Some people that suffer from Bipolar, Personality Disorders, and even Depression  look for comfort in other people.  Sometimes you think you love the person, you put them high on a pedestal and then you have sex with them.  Unprotected sex could definitely be self harm. We want to assume if someone looks healthy that they are “safe”.  Yet unprotected sex isn’t the only way sex harms us.  The relationships don’t work out, we feel like failures because we had a one night stand, multiple affairs, or simply had our hearts broken because we realized the other person didn’t deserve to have that part of our soul.  I say “we” simply because I have been there too many times.

Food, yes food. Food should be nourishment to our bodies, yet we live in a country of obese people.  The food is used for comfort with many of these people. This comfort leads to many health issues and potentially death.  Or there is the lack of food, not necessarily because we think we are fat, but in anorexia that can be the case.  Maybe we feel that we don’t deserve the food, or that if we are skinnier that we are prettier.  All the models on t.v. are very thin. Isn’t that what American’s find beautiful? Again, not getting the nourishment the body needs leads to health problems, and in severe cases….death. Again, I am using the word “we”.

So as you can see here self harm isn’t just about teenagers thinking it is cool to cut themselves so they can be part of a certain group.  Some people are self harming without even knowing it.  When you realize you are doing something that causes self harm please seek help.  Psychiatrist and counselors are trained to help people get out of these habits.  You just have to recognize what you are doing first.

Stephanie Pearson