My Favorite Bit of Information From The Week:
Self-Harm and Cutting
There is immense stigma around cutting and self-harm in our culture. Many teens and adults struggle with self-harm, and often times it is not understood by those around them. The most common stigma I hear is “they are just trying to get attention”. This is not the case. In fact, many times the person struggling does not feel comfortable burdening others with how they feel, and so they turn to self-harm instead. And it does help, not in a healthy or sustainable way of course, but it helps. People who deal with self-harm – whether it be an eating disorder, ingestion of poison, banging their head against a wall, cutting, or other self-jeopardizing behavior – are dealing with intense internal struggles and are simply seeking a balm. This is very different than society’s stigma, and I think it is important to understand the difference. Whether you are struggling yourself, or know someone who is, understanding why someone is doing something always allows for greater empathy (for yourself or others) and, in the long run, offers the greatest possibility for healing.
Why Do People Self Harm? My favorite article on this topic is from the American Psychological Association and I highly recommend the short read. A few highlights from the article: New research, although there has still been a shockingly little amount of research on this topic, strongly indicates that self-harmers are tapping into something called Pain Offset Relief. “According to this concept, virtually everyone experiences an unpleasant physical reaction to a painful stimulus. Removing the stimulus does not return the individual to their pre-stimulus state, however. Rather, it leads them into a short but intense state of euphoria.” Everyone, all humans that we know of, experience pain offset relief. So what makes a person self harm, over another person? If we all have this capacity to experience momentary relief from pain, what makes some of us addicted to the action as opposed to others? The research indicates that it is self-worth. Those with low self value seem to be the ones who turn to self inflicted harm.
How Do I help? Just telling someone (or yourself) that they should have more self-worth is NOT HELPFUL. They need to genuinely find worth for themselves and within themselves.
Options For Helping:
- Finding Professional Help: Either through a counselor (you can check out my resources below) or texting Home to the national 24/7 crisis line at 741741 is the best way to go directly.
- Education Helps Immensely:
- Mind (a mental health organization based in England and Whales- currently my favorite resource for mental health education) has an incredible page dedicated to self harm resources and education. They also have a video with folks who have dealt personally with the struggle.
- Hope For The Day, my partner organization leads free education workshops and also has free resources on their website- including free resources and a link to access free online mental health screenings in your state. This particular blurb “How to Be Supportive” is applicable for many different circumstance – it is about half way down the page in the link. You can also check out their free educational courses/ events.
- Listen to people’s stories as a means of being informed. You can check out this video from the BBC, on two young women and their stories with cutting, both have been without self harm for several years and this video is how they feel living in a world with such stigma on mental health and their past. Please note: this could be potentially triggering if you are not in a good place right now or are still struggling.
Update On My Show:
New Content: I have been working on adding more content with regards to self harm into the script this week. This was an excellent suggestion from one of my mental health mentors and I think it is very important that teens who are struggling with self-harm (and adults) feel seen when they attend the show.
Fundraising: The project is free for audiences and therefore is completely independently funded – any support is appreciated! If you have already donated, I thank you from the bottom of my heart, you have made it possible to get this far. And if you are not in a place to give a dollar right now, thank you for being here and being a part of breaking the stigma on mental health. Much love!If you would like to donate to my show, share this project with a friend, or find out more about it please check out my gofundme here.
Please check out the One Woman Hamlet Website: www.onewomanhamlet.com
AND! my update Video.
Many, Many thanks: Margo Siwak and Joe Siwak for the design of the logo, and to Jillian Best and Bill Best for the Website creation and Design! I feel very blessed to have such beautiful humans in my life.
Ways to Support: If you would like to donate to my show, share this project with a friend, or find out more about it please check out my gofundme here: https://www.gofundme.com/one-woman-hamlet
Thank You: Thank you VERY much to all who have donated thus far, making this project possible.