March is self harm awareness month. We started writing a series of posts on the same. Did you know that teenagers aged 12-16 are the most affected? Adults also self harm however, they could have started as teenagers or young adults.
Often people wonder why other people self mutilate. Which is a great way to start a vulnerable conversation. However, there’s too much stigma around such deep realities. This is why today we will be exploring some reasons but from a point of empathy and non judgement. Our guiding question is, “What happened to them?”
Self harm begins as a way of someone trying to cope with difficult emotions. It is a non suicidal tendency. That is why a lot of people who indulge could appear so put together. So here are reasons why they do it.
1. A physical solution to an emotional wound.
This is often mistaken for “attention seeking”. Yet in real sense, the person is trying to find a way to express their deep emotional pain and suffering.
2. A method of communication
Symbolically speaking, it could be a way that people keep an entry of their most painful memories and emotional distress. They use their skin as a canvas.
3. They want to end feelings of numbness
Surviving trauma rewires the brain. As a result, a survivor’s protective mechanism could be going numb and existing in a different mental space away from the present threat.
They are struggling with emotional expression. The impact of trauma rewires how a survivor’s brain works. Therefore, a person may have a difficult time identifying, processing and responding to emotional distress.
“Attempt to escape pain, is what creates pain.” -Gabor Maté
Self harm/mutilation is an attempt to escape pain. However, it is unhealthy. Therefore, we should endeavour to create safe spaces for people who are struggling. Another way to help is by facilitating their therapy sessions.