Misconceptions About Those Who Self Harm

Breaking the stigmas with insight from someone who has been there...

Kayleigh Dolphin

Your teacher, your neighbor, your best friend, the cashier at the grocery store, yourself...

Self harm as a mental crisis does not discriminate. Any of these people could be self harmers. Often sometimes people are overlooked because of their position or the face they put on daily. All of those influenced by self harm are trapped in one way or another. Most commonly misconceptions about self harm lead self harmers & others to believe certain concepts are true. Time to open your eyes.

We Want to Die

This is probably the biggest stereotype associated with self harm. More often than not it is completely untrue. Those who self harm want to stay more than anything....sometimes we just don’t know how. Self harm is a signal for help. A way of saying you’re not ok without actually having to say the words.

We Look a Certain Way

Typically society associates certain styles of personal expression with those who self harm. Hence where the term “emo” came from as it is short for emotional. Our appearance & style is how we express ourselves. Some of us enjoy owning a mostly black wardrobe while others may love bright colors & patterns. The personal style of an individual DOES NOT directly correlate with their mental health.

We Don’t Want Help

Let’s be clear here it’s not that any of us don’t WANT help. The stigma around getting

professional guidance for your mental health is a huge obstacle for most of us to face. The last things we want to feel are judgement, shame, & isolation. Some of us are able to surpass the obstacles but even then there is no guarantee that we will immediately find a safe place or resource that understands our mental health. It takes courage to continue to search for the help we want.

We Should Just Stop

Oh because that’s the perfect solution right? See self harm believe it or not is an addiction just like using heroin or gambling. Quitting cold turkey has its consequences too. A concept that should be thought about is that what actually needs to stop is the factor causing the mind to cope in this manner such as the trauma, situation, etc. that led us to this point.

We Are Crazy

Ah yes the standard stereotype of someone who has mental health issues...crazy. Those who don’t have the ability to understand or grasp the concept of each individual on this planet is different so it is completely invalid to label an entire group of personal brain functions as simply “crazy.” Maybe what’s crazy is those who don’t have the capacity to understand or express empathy toward people whose minds work differently than theirs. Just saying.

We Are Selfish & Enjoy It

Selfish...you’re calling us selfish when all we are doing is constantly concerning ourselves with the wellbeing of others that sometimes as a result our mental health suffers a bit in the process. Self harm does not make one selfish, the act of projecting your stigma onto the self harmer is. It is not enjoyable to watch our loved ones react with sadness from our self harm. Causing the self physical pain is not fueled by joy or desire.

Self harm is a coping mechanism that with support & proper care can become changed behavior over time. Hang in there. Your freedom is coming.