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Speaking Out About Self Injury

Starting new psychiatric medication can affect self-injurious behavior. Starting when I was in my early teens, I was given many different combinations of medications to take for my mental illness. The medication side effects ranged from hives to hallucinations. The worst part about taking a different pill every couple of months was the uncertainty of how it was going to affect my mood. Most of the medications simply failed to make me better, but a few had severe adverse effects on my mood and overall health that were impossible to ignore. As a self-harmer, handling the stress and mood changes that comes along with new medications is vital to recovery. In short, you need to know the effects that new psychiatric medication may have on your self-harming.
A desire to self-harm can be affected by social media. It is sad that most wars have been over something as simple as differing beliefs. I have never been into politics or religion (I support believing in whatever your heart holds to be true), but it does bother me when someone expresses a belief and they get attacked because of it. Whether that attack is verbal, physical or online, it still hurts those who aren’t secure or confident in the skin they wear. Sometimes the pain caused on social media can translate into self-harm.
Reminiscing without self-harm can be hard but you can make memories without scars. With the social media today, practically every step you take is recorded. Whether you are tagged in photographs from the night before or you tweet about the meal you had, life is not a secret anymore. Technology has made it so you cannot forget some of the memories from your past because, well, they may show up on an app or in an online journal or blog you forgot about. Sometimes the most difficult memories are the ones that crush you without warning and reminiscing about these memories can cause self-harm.
Alcohol and self-injury definitely don't mix and can lead to serious consequences. As you may know, self-medicating is a way many people with mental illness deal with the symptoms of their disease. I have fallen into this trap multiple times with heavy drinking. Of course, choosing to self-medicate over a doctor-prescribed treatment is never a good idea, but alcohol can intensify our feelings when we are already suffering from the addiction of self-harm. We may hurt ourselves worse than we ever thought we could, which is exactly what I did.
Did you know you can use bright colors to fight stigma of self-harm? Many people who are not educated about self-harm often picture the addiction in a cliché light. Some may think those who self-harm always wear dark clothing, seclude themselves and are suicidal. Of course, those are simply dark self-harm stigmas that the world has unfortunately thrown at people who self-injure. Since everyone has his or her own story of struggle, you must fight self-harm stigma and get to know the addiction without cliché expectations. One way to fight the darkness of self-harm stigma is with bright colors.
I am not a very religious person (Self-Harm and Karma: My Religion of Choice). I do not follow a specific religion or promote any kind of religious beliefs. I think everyone is welcome to believe what he or she wishes to believe, but as for me – I typically stay away from religion. However, if I were to believe in any kind of religion, it would be karma. It is very possible that karma can help you stop self-harm.
My name is Kalie Gipson, and I am a college graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in History and a minor in Psychology. Simply making it through middle school, high school, and college was an excruciating task for me, since I suffered from self-harm for seven of the past 10 years. It all started when I was 13, after a rather nasty argument involving my entire family. It quickly escalated into a psychological addiction to self-injury, one I had to answer to every time it called. After a few years, hiding the self-harm scars on my arms and legs became an exercise in futility.
You can survive life stressors without turning to self-harm. Life is filled with many turns and twists. One week you may feel confident and secure when the next you may be late paying back a loan or forget to study for an exam. You truly never know what to expect from day-to-day and sometimes that mystery brings forward more stress than needed. Even the most organized individual can feel overwhelmed by a simple, daily task when they don’t see it coming. When you feel as if the world around you is bringing more chaos into your environment than stability, an anxiety attack very well may occur but you can deal with this stress without self-harming.
Learn how to embrace being different -- you are making a difference. I’ve always had a guilty pleasure for watching entertainment award shows and red carpet specials. I will admit -- I like watching the lives of celebrities and seeing the highs and lows they go through that make them, well, human (as long as they’re not dramatized highs and lows). I will typically watch award shows for the fashion disasters and the awful lip-synching, but I didn’t expect to receive the inspirational quote I did from one of the most recent shows about embracing differences.
When it's time to overcome self-harm, you must prepare realistically. Life is one heck of a roller-coaster. That cliché is said time and time again simply because of how true it is. The world we live in hands us moments of happiness and moments of sorrow in the blink of an eye. It is up to us to find ways to realistically handle emotions without getting too comfortable with them because life is always expected to keep on changing. And we need to realistically adjust with those changes when it's time to overcome self-harm.