I was horrified to hear about young girls cutting themselves because “One Direction” band member, Zayn Malik, was leaving the group. Self-harm should not be taken lightly or used as a method of manipulation and control.
Self-injurious behavior is often the result of suppressing an intense emotional overload. When these feelings become more than the individual is able to bear they can spill out as self-harm. This behavior is used as a coping skill, but certainly not a healthy one, and definitely not one that should be promoted to young, vulnerable people.
My son self-harmed for years. It became obsessive and addicting. He described it in his journals. “A single drop makes even the strongest shudder. My own suffering caused from a powerless action. A desperate plea for the sight of my own blood. Striking the match of simple pleasures, leading myself to failure.” He calls it “a powerless action” because he did not gain any power in self-harm. He, in essence, became its servant and it was leading him on a road to failure.
If you haven’t self-harmed, but are thinking about it, don’t do it! Cutting is not the answer to your problems. It will only bring more emotional pain in the long run.
There are many other activities out there instead of self-harm and they do work. These are the ones that worked for my son:
- Exercise-my son likes skateboarding and basketball, but any type of exercise works-get out of breath and get exhausted
- Music-either playing an instrument or listening to your favorite music
- Playing a video game
- Reach out for support from family, friends, or professionals
- Engage your senses-eat, smell, touch, watch, listen
- Pet an animal-animals have a keen awareness of human emotions and they can be immensely soothing
Remember there is always hope. My son has found his way out of the darkness that consumed him time and time again. He works hard to maintain a healthy life. This is what he wrote after years of fighting depression and struggling to break free of the clutches of cutting.
“A single reason to continue on this path I have made for such a long time has left me completely. Now I find myself searching for what used to be, instead of what should be. Lost and confused, I stagger back and forth for a while, trying to find my balance. The initial shock has kicked in and a life with this, this lack of what I depended on, is flashing before my eyes. At first glance I yearn for my satisfaction once again. I want to cradle my obsession and love my obsession, but leaving impulse behind requires me to think forwardly and consequentially. The potential my life now holds is not fathomable. I am slowly beginning to realize what this has held me from becoming, that I am capable of achieving all my aspirations. That the monster that has festered for, it seems like an eternity, inside of me can be tamed, and being held back from the true self will only cause me to bask in the reality that is me. Relishing every moment I succeed.”