Recent Thoughts (Trigger Warning)

//tw// This post is focused around self-harm, including the experiences of old friends and my current thoughts.

Yea so… fuck it feels so odd trying to talk about this, even anonymously; back in maybe June of 2020 a friend mentioned his experience with self-harm (“cutting”). I don’t want to get into the specifics of the conversation for the integrity of this person and to avoid glorifying the idea. Maybe 3 days later he disappeared; in early August I found out his parents abruptly confiscated his computer/phone after finding out… he presumably goes to therapy now. After he got his computer/phone back he seemed much happier… not entirely, but it’s noticeable by what he posts/how he talks.

A couple months later someone else told me their experience with something similar; at the end of the semester he had over 200 late/missing assignments. He lost touch with a lot of friends, his parents weren’t “the best people” (both in the way they treat him/their habits), but he said self-harm was his means of forcing sympathy out of his parents. I don’t know how he’s doing now; he blocked me on social media… but I know that his parents, more or less, care a little more about him. A third friend also mentioned self-harm, but was reluctant to share more.

These incidents/conversations, step by step, kinda started persuading me to do the same. I don’t wanna tell a fucking sob story about the redundancy of day to day life cause I already did… more times than I can count. Saying this makes me feel like an asshole but… my thought process was “if I can’t directly confront my parents about getting counseling or some shit, what if I just make it painfully obvious that I need it?” It seemed to work for the people I spoke with; it’s hard for a parent or friend to understand how someone feels, but when there’s some sort of self-inflicted harm you get 100 times more sympathy.

And so for like 2 weeks, maybe more, I’ve thought about it numerous times every day; I’m still reluctant though. One time I picked up a really dull kitchen knife and just imagined how many seconds it would take to make a clean, thorough cut. I immediately became nauseous and put it away.

I’m just sick of my parents giving me generic advice, generic study tips, only for me to keep being useless and mad at myself day after day. THIS could be the gateway to them finally understanding that nothing they say really helps in the long run… but I know it’s wrong and I know I need to let go of these feelings.

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Some people mention self-harm, or suicidal ideation, as a means to get attention, while having no plans to actually follow through on their threats. Family members and others may either respond with generic “helpful” advice. That approach to gaining attention yields diminishing returns over time, which in turn, can drive a person to seek the attention more desperately, and in many cases follow through on threats of self harm.

A possible thought process may be, “I’m really okay, I’m just using these tactics because I want attention.” The thing is, if a person is using those tactics, they actually do need intervention.

For others, causing themselves physical pain serves as a distraction from emotional distress. Also, some have described it as helping them to feel more alive. Others feel that it’s appropriate to punish themselves.

The bottom line is, whatever the story a person tells himself regarding the reason for causing self-harm, intervention is definitely needed. There also must be more to the intervention than just sympathy. Truly caring for someone involves more than sympathy. In this situation, care might be expressed by helping the individual deal with the unmet need, that triggered the desire to commit self-harm. Sometimes, it’s not possible to meet the unmet need in a way that is hoped for. That’s when the situation calls for extra compassion and creativity.

Something to remember is that whatever needs might be thought of as fulfilled through self-harm, can be fulfilled more effectively without it.

Parents tend to keep trying, often long after seeing their efforts fail. They may not know what else to do. Be patient with them. Be patient with yourself. Hopefully you can come in contact with a decent counselor. Sympathy is nice, but too often, it enables exacerbation of self-defeating thoughts. Empathy is different. It’s far more effective approach to reaching understanding.

Be well, wings.


Wings worded it very well, and I echo that.


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