Ivybelle Opinion Piece on Self Harm

Self-Harm is a very touchy subject to a lot of people. It has been around for years and yet people don’t really understand why people do it or don’t really understand that there is more than one type of self-harm. There’s mutilation, burning, too much food or not enough, there’s drugs/alcohol, there’s lack of sleep or too much, and many more. A person doesn’t always realize what they do to themselves. People who starve themselves or have lack of sleep don’t realize that they are harming themselves because they think it’s a normal thing and that it doesn’t hurt their body.

The first thing people thing a person will think when mentioning “Self-Harm” is cutting or burning themselves. Self-Harm can not only be caused by a mental issue but also from bullying, harassment, Abuse, etc.. It can really push someone into harming themselves. Self-Harm is something that I know very well. I myself have struggled with it for years, mine was a combined of different harms including; mutilation, lack of sleep, lack of food and at some point I wanted to turn to burning myself. Not a lot of people knew because I didn’t want anyone to know. I was scared that they would tell my mom or they would make fun of me or send me into a hospital.

The first time I ever tried self-harm I was 10. When I was 10 years old, I got bullied really badly. I got called every name in the book, physically abused, people made fun of me because my mom was deaf and a girl started a petition of who wanted me dead. Eventually I started starving myself. Not only because I was being called ugly and fat, but because my mom was poor and couldn’t always afford to buy food. I stopped eating and I was afraid to tell anyone about the situations I was going through.

In gym class one day I blacked out and the gym teachers didn’t do anything. I thought to myself maybe no one actually cares about me after all. At that moment I didn’t really want to live anymore. With the years I just got the habit of starving myself without realizing that I was actually self-harming myself. I thought it was normal I didn’t think I was harming myself. When I was younger, sleep was not something that I would allow myself at times. The abuse I went through since I was 5 caused me to be paranoid and cause a serious trauma. I would stay awake for weeks and I would start having physical pain. Like cramps, headaches, my eyes would hurt, I was emotionally drained and eventually it didn’t matter anymore because I allowed my body to suffer because of my fear. With time, I didn’t have to force myself to stay up anymore and I wouldn’t get any physical pain because I got used to it. I didn’t realize the damage I was causing to my body.

In high school I was finally told by an old friend told me that cutting was a way for her to release pain and it felt good. I tried it and that’s what I turned to… I did it for many reasons. One of them was to focus my pain physically and forget the pain emotionally. I hated the feeling of pain. So instead I would focus on the physical pain because it was only temporary. Another reason as well, was because I felt ugly. I was bullied for years and people would always call me ugly, fat, useless, they said that nobody loved me even my mom. Eventually I believe it. Self-Harm was a way for me to express how I felt on the inside to match the outside. Another reason was that I became addicted to the pain. The pain felt good, It made me feel alive again.

When go through a lot of emotional pain and bottle it up, you eventually become numb. It’s like it becomes too much mentally and emotionally and you forget that you are even alive because eventually you don’t feel the pain of cutting or burning or any other type of self-harm. After cutting wasn’t enough for me, I wanted so badly to try burning myself. I came close to doing it until I got caught by a friend and gave me a speech about how self-harm wasn’t the way to deal with situations. At that point, bullying wasn’t the only problem. There was family issues as well. But then I thought to myself maybe I should just stick to cutting along with the other things I was doing to myself. See, even though people tell you to not harm yourself, it’s something that is not easy to stop.

Often you think to yourself that no one understands your pain, that they don’t really care about you, that they say it out of pity or that they would feel responsible if something happened to you. You think that you are alone, that you will never get through your problems that the easiest way to deal with it is self-harm to the point that you kill yourself or even become numb. Sometimes you would like to wear a t-shirt or shorts but you can’t because you don’t want people to judge you on the battle wounds you have or you feel too ugly because of the scars, yet you can’t seem to stop. It’s a way to relief yourself, a “home”, an addiction, your therapy.

A lot of people won’t understand why you do it. And really, it’s not something that’s easy to explain unless you go through it. Often people who self-harm are being called weak, stupid and even “useless”. I’ve heard that one many times,but it’s not. People who self-harm are a lot stronger than people think. They go through a lot and don’t know how to deal with it. It’s so easy to be judged. Not everyone has the courage to take a blade, knife, razor, etc… To their skin without thinking without crying and doing it over and over again.

Often people tells us that we are attention-whores, or we are a sad excuse. Sometimes were are just looking for people to pity us. That would wouldn’t be harming ourselves if we really wanted to end ourselves. However sometimes, people who starve/over eat, use drugs/alcohol, etc… Don’t realize they are harming themselves, so how can they be looking for attention- not everyone has money to get therapy. A lot of doctors would say that you need medication or therapy, but honestly, we don’t need therapy or medication to make us feel crazy. We need someone to give us a hug and tell us we will be okay and that we aren’t crazy. We need a true friend who won’t betray us, and no one wants to be a medication because they just think we are crazy and that medication will make people stop harming themselves.

Self-harm is a very vulnerable thing to admit and to talk about. Schools don’t really talk about it anymore. People choose to close their eyes instead of getting them some help. More and more people are turning to those releases because it’s the only thing that can make them feel free in a way. Today’s society is making us more and more depressed because of the standards or being “beautiful“ or  making us so stressed out that we feel like there is no way out. Today, I still struggling with self-harm. I’ve stopped for a couple years and every day is another day that I am struggling to not get into it again. It’s not easy. When I see a knife, the temptation is there. There’s morning and lunches that I skip eating and there are days that I force myself to stay up. It’s a battle that I keep fighting but I tell myself that I have to stay strong.

So remember people, stay strong. You are beautiful and it does get better. Don’t be afraid to get help. You are not crazy, you are just going through pain that is overwhelming and hard to deal with. You will get through it. Stay strong. Stay Beautiful. – Ivybelle – Xx

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