She looked at me and then gazed away quietly, as if she was trying to organise her thoughts. And after a few seconds, she looked at me and said, “You know, I have been having self harm tendency.”
It was a shock to me. For a moment, I don’t know what to say to express my concern and surprise and empathy and curiosity all at once. We spent a good amount of time that afternoon to talk about this issue. And her sharing has helped me to understand self harm more.
I am always a typical conflict avoidance individual, so under normal circumstances, I will tend to avoid such sensitive and heavy subject. And because of my ignorance, I have come to realised that I don’t know how to help or manage such situation when I encounter friends or family members that have self harm issue.
Here, the myth and truth about self harm.
Truth: Self harm is a coping mechanism. It might be true that they might suffer from depression, anxiety and trauma; but that doesn’t make them crazy or psychotic. Self harm is simply how they cope with their emotions. Therefore, don’t label them as “crazy” or “threatening”.
Truth: They are not trying to kill themselves when they self injure or self harm. It is merely a way to cope with their struggles and emotional pain. It could be a mean for them to carry on with life and overwhelming stress. However, after a prolong period of constantly hurting themselves, they might have a higher tendency of committing suicide. Therefore, it is important to seek help and get medical attention.
THE RED MARKER