*First of all please click this link if you think someone you know is harming themselves. Or yourself. This lists possible causes, signs, and what to do professionally.
I’m speaking from my own personal experience. It’s a subject no one wants to discuss openly or publicly and it’s something that really needs attention.
Being depressed is not a choice! Our coping mechanisms are not always a choice either. Cutting or self-harm is a coping mechanism. When someone cuts, it’s usually to use physical pain to curb emotional pain. Maybe my emotions will become numb if I use this piece of broken glass, knife, blade to cut into my skin.
To this day, I still have some urges to cut. But I’ve found other ways to cope. Like anything, it’s not easy. Some become addicted to hurting themselves. It becomes their drug. They get high off of feeling the blood ooze from a fresh wound.
Usually the first time someone cuts themselves they’re triggered by something big that’s happened or is going to happen, a traumatic experience.
For myself, it was the news of someone moving away from me, and I was feeling extremely abandoned. I shut the bathroom door, broke a shot glass and started cutting on my arm.
I then became obsessed with documenting my healing process.
I was basically fully healed and then something else triggered me to hurt myself again. I don’t even remember what it was that triggered me to hurt myself the next few times. I just knew that I was sad and low enough that I wanted to bleed. I used a retractable knife the next few times. I moved to my leg just above my ankle. Then I went back to my arm again.
I finally made the decision that I wanted to find some way to not harm myself. I decided to get my first tattoo. Something that had a deep meaning to me. If I wanted pain, I was going to pay money for art that was going to last a lifetime and something I wouldn’t feel ashamed to look at, something to be proud of and something I could tell people what it was if they asked me.
I went with the symbol of my favorite band, Rammstein. They help me heal. Their music is dark and poetic, and their fans a family. The title of their 6th studio album “Leibe ist Fur Alle Da” literally translates to “love is for everyone.”
My arm is fully healed. A few visible scars. Which means space for a new tattoo. Two of the members have side projects. The lead singer has a side project, Lindemann and that symbol I’m saving for this space. My other arm, which I have not touched with a blade, has the old and new symbol of the lead guitarist’s side project, Emigrate. The lyrics and title of the latest album are fitting here, “Silent So Long,” as I have been silent about my experience with self-harm.
I have become really close with my inner demons. They are a part of who I am. They are, what I believe, is my creativity, smarts, passion for all things dark. But I can see the lightness within the dark. My music taste reflects that darkness. It’s one thing that helps me cope. I listen to the demented, dark, poetic, hard riffed, growling and operatic voices of metal vocalists.
You need to find what helps you cope. You may be a huge country music fan. Start making a playlist of tunes that tap into your deepest most inner emotions.
For me, I listen to music, write, watch films and TV shows that are obscure and dark but also comical (either family friendly or dark). I enjoy drinking coffee and staying up late while listening to music while my mind projects its own show, or binge watch Netflix while I binge (working on) on junk food, another of my bad habit coping mechanisms as I’m a food addict.
Self-harm is a slippery slope of darkness. It can lead towards suicide. There are too many people who feel that killing themselves is the answer to their problems. But if they feel they can get the help they need, the love and support they need, to feel they are seen and heard, then maybe they would still be here.
Life is a balancing act. Trying to balance your darkest emotions with any outside love, support and coping mechanisms is a difficult task. But you need to keep fighting, you have so much to live for. Life has purpose, otherwise we wouldn’t exist in the first place. You just need to find your purpose, and it doesn’t have to be grand, it just has to be YOU!
Crisis Centre BC: https://crisiscentre.bc.ca/get-help/
Call 1-800-784-2433 (1-800-SUICIDE), or call your local crisis centre.
Language Service: Both of the 310-6789 and 1-800-SUICIDE phone lines are available in over 140 languages using a language service.
Anywhere in BC 1-800-SUICIDE: 1-800-784-2433
Mental Health Support Line: 310-6789
Sunshine Coast/Sea to Sky: 1-866-661-3311
Seniors Distress Line: 604-872-1234
Online Chat Service for Youth: www.YouthInBC.com (Noon to 1am)
Online Chat Service for Adults: www.CrisisCentreChat.ca (Noon to 1am)
Vancouver Island: http://www.vicrisis.ca/
Vancouver Island Crisis Line: 1-888-494-3888
Crisis Text Services 1-250-800-3806 (6:00 pm to 10:00 pm)