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Speaking Out About Self Injury

Jennifer Aline Graham
When seasons change, so do our bodies. Our bodies become shocked when temperatures go from sunny and warm to windy and cool and it often takes a toll on our physical and mental wellbeing. Sometimes allergies tend to act up and skin goes from being soft and tan to blotchy and dry, and the flu begins it's season. Along with physical health issues, our mental health takes a toll as well when seasons change.
Jennifer Aline Graham
We’ve heard the saying before: We all have baggage. Some people have baggage regarding their home lives or personal relationships. There are people who have dealt with the death of a loved one or a painful disease. No matter the case, everyone has something that clings to them and hands them anxiety from time to time. Some people can handle those situations well, while others become angry or destructive towards themselves and others. Sometimes baggage can cause self-harm.
Jennifer Aline Graham
In the realm of reality television and social media, people on shows about plastic surgery and ways to change your body have become royalty. People have a genuine interest in following the lives of absolute strangers just to imagine how it would feel to have their skin sculpted into anything they wish. You’ve seen shows and read articles about people getting surgery to look like Barbie dolls or celebrities. Not only is it frightening to get that much surgery, it is sad that people don’t feel comfortable enough in their own skin and appreciate who they are.
Jennifer Aline Graham
We all revisit places from our pasts to remember the memories connected to them. Someone may swing on a childhood swing set to feel a sense of innocence and someone else may revisit an old tree they used to climb to get back that sense of adventure. Memories stick to everything around us and when we least expect it, the feelings connected to those memories can erupt and, at times, overwhelm and possibly lead to self-harm.
Jennifer Aline Graham
Being the season of witches, zombies, vampires and clowns, anything is possible. Strange, odd pranks are expected and people wait hours, huddled together in blankets, to spend twenty minutes on a haunted hayride. (I recently experienced this and it was more than worth it.) However, along with carefree traditions and stomach aches from candy overdose come aspects of Halloween that sometimes bring anxiety and unsafe thoughts to those overcoming self-harm: scars and the color red.
Jennifer Aline Graham
We all have moments where flashbacks occur and we want to give in to the unsafe triggers around us. However, even though flashbacks can be haunting to those who self-harm, they can also make you realize how far you have come and how much you have grown. If you look at your past with a positive mindset, even if the past you are looking back at is negative, you may be able to gather a fresh perspective.
Jennifer Aline Graham
Feeling as if you are out-of-the-loop with a group of friends or co-workers always brings insecurities to the forefront. The idea of feeling left out does not end in high school or college – it continues through adulthood. Even though many can push feeling left out aside, those with a mental illness often have more difficulty when it comes to doing just that. It all comes down to one word and emotion: insecurity. And insecurity can lead to self-harm.
Jennifer Aline Graham
I’ve stated many times how helpful books can be when overcoming self-harm. There have been numerous books I have discussed that helped me when I was struggling to understand my own addiction to cutting. In a world where self-harm is seen by many as taboo, it is good to fall into a story where the topic is relatable and real.
Jennifer Aline Graham
You never stop struggling when trying to overcome the death of a loved one. In truth, I don’t think there is a way to overcome death at all. It is something that cannot be understood and something that will always remain a mystery. You don’t know how a person felt or what they thought when death arrived and you’ll never be able to find that out. The constant un-knowingness of death keeps our anxieties growing and our minds wondering. Over the last six years, I have not stopped wondering how my brother felt when cancer conquered him. I continuously ask, “Why him?” and I know that question is the scariest thing you can ask because, sooner or later, you wonder, “Why him, not me?”
Jennifer Aline Graham
Other mental illnesses often cling to the lives of those who self-harm. This may not be the case for all, but for many, it is a struggle that stands alongside the urge to self-injure. This tends to make it even more difficult to stop the unsafe behaviors that self-harmers come face-to-face with on a daily basis. When being attacked by depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, self-harm may seem like the only coping skill that would make the negative factors around them disappear. We know, as well as anyone else, that is not the case.