advertisement

Stigma of Self-Harm

While self-injury can sometimes be a precursor to suicide, self-harm and suicide are not inextricably linked. Blindly assuming one always leads to the other can potentially hinder, rather than support, the healing process. (Note: This post contains a trigger warning.)
Misinformation doesn't just trick other people into believing stigmas surrounding self-harm—those of us struggling with it may fall prey to false self-injury beliefs, too.
Feeling guilty about self-harm scars isn't uncommon—but it isn't necessary, either. Accepting your scars takes time, but it's an important part of healing.
Is self-harm a sin? Whatever you believe in life, if you've asked yourself this question (or one like it) before, know that you're not alone. 
The paradox of self-harm can be difficult to understand, even for those of us living inside it. We hurt ourselves to feel better—and no, on the surface, that doesn't make sense. But in the moment, sometimes it feels like the only option we've got.
Not every case of self-injury is obvious. Whether you're talking clinically or colloquially, it can be hard sometimes to clearly define what counts as self-harm and what does not.
Individually, hating yourself and hurting yourself are difficult things to cope with. Simultaneously, though, self-harm and self-hate create a vicious cycle that can be challenging to break—but doing so is vital for healing and growth.
Whether you do so intentionally or unconsciously, using emotional blackmail to stop self-harm is one of the worst things you can do to someone struggling to recover.
When we talk about self-harm recovery, we like to think of it in terms of goals and milestones. We like to think of it as something measurable that we can track, a box we can tick off, or a line we can cross. But at what point do you get to claim the title of being self-harm free?
Telling yourself to stop feeling guilty for self-harm is like trying not to think about pink elephants. It feels like you can't help it, and the harder you push it away, the tighter it seems to grip onto your gray matter. But believe it or not, you can move past guilt and finally begin to heal.