Before reading this story, there are a few things that need to be cleared up so you are able to understand what I will be talking about. If you are uneducated when it comes to self harm, this story will seem almost meaningless to you, if not stupid. Also, there is a trigger warning for self harmers reading this story and the content below. I am not glorifying self harm, but I am giving a better understanding of it through this story. That is my intent at least.
Self harm is not just cutting ones self, though that is what I will be dealing with (perhaps other forms, I have not gotten that far yet), but it is also bruising, burning, scratching, being anorexic, and bulimic. I may have left a few out, but those are the major ones. When a self harmer undergoes stress, it feels like a physical weight on their body, whether it feels like a literal weight on the shoulders or a twisting of their stomach, the pain from their emotions has to be removed. When they self harm, this emotional pain is released. And I know what you're thinking: Doesn't harming yourself hurt just as bad, if not worse? It doesn't feel like it hurts the self harmer in most circumstances; even if it does, it is usually a different pain they are feeling, and anything, to them, is better than the hurt the emotions they are feeling at the moment are causing them.
Self harm is not a suicide attempt. People self harm because they don't want to die-it is a coping mechanism for those who were not taught how to deal with their emotions and feelings properly. There are people who self harm that do commit suicide, but the two do not go hand in hand. And there are people who kill themselves through their wrists, but I highly doubt most people would want to die that way-not even self harmers. It is much to painful for most.
People who self harm aren't "Emo". What the hell is Emo anyway? Anyone can self harm. Girls, guys, children, the elderly, people of all races, nationalities, and backgrounds. It is found in them all. Also, I did not pick Raven as the self harmer because she is Goth. I could have easily chosen any other Teen Titan. Robin due to the pressure of being the leader. Starfire because she is torn between wanting to be on earth, but desperately missing her home where she fits in. Cyborg because he is half machine and would like to feel something that associates himself with being human. Beast Boy because of the pain from the trauma he endured as a child, such as seeing his parents die right in front of him, as well as trying to contain The Beast which is inside him. Raven, however, is my favorite. I am also going to be able to play greatly with the way her emotions and Nevermore are set up. It just clicks for me.
Self harmers don't usually self harm for attention. There are those who do, but in most cases, it is more a cry for help. These people do not how to put their hurt and the seriousness of the pain they are feeling into words, so they show it on their body. Most of those who cut (burn, bruise, etc.-I will replace the words "self harm" with "cut" or "cutting" frequently, but keep in mind that self harm is not limited to this) hide their cuts. It is a shameful act and one that most all fear to give up.
Those who cut cannot "just stop." There is science behind self harm. When you self harm, endorphins are released, making it a physical addiction. It is like a different kind of drug, and the more you do it, the more you need. Some get to the point that they don't even need to be triggered to cut. They just get an urge out of nowhere and have to act on it.
Trigger: Something that causes a self harmer to partake in self harm. It could be a picture of cuts they have seen online, a situation that made them sad/angry, anxiety/stress, fear, etc.
Self harm is largely about control. Many of those who cut do so because they need something they can control while the rest of their life is in chaos. They can control the pain, what their tools (what they self harm with) are, etc. When a cutter cuts too deep or nicks themselves by accident, it is something devastating to them. It was not their intention and is something feared-this also goes against the control they so desperately desired in the first place.
You cannot guilt trip or yell at someone until they stop cutting, just like you cannot do so which an alcoholic someone who is addicted to drugs. Along with drug addiction and alcoholism, the self harmer has to want to stop their cutting to get help. Also, never take away a self harmer's tools. This will not get them to cease cutting. They may find something worse to harm with, esp. if they are a dissociative self harmer.
Dissociative Self Harm: When a self harmer is unaware that they are in the act of self harming. They blackout and awaken with the marks of what they did. My personal opinion as to why this happens is the person feels so much guilt for their harming, yet still feel like they need to cut, burn, etc. so their mind lets them do both.
People can harm themselves with anything. For cutters, they can break apart soda tabs and use them, scissors, knifes, broken glass, etc. The more desperate they feel in a situation they are in without their tools, the more desperate the harming tool they find becomes. For example, it is easy for a cutter in school to stick a pen in his or her pocket, break it apart, and cut with the plastic.
If you would like more information on self harm, I would encourage you to look up idranktheseawater, 9343abs, and Laura Lejeune on YouTube. Their channels are wonderful. Google is also a great tool, but if you would like to narrow your search further, I recommend the following link: mental/self_injury
If you are a self harmer, I encourage you to tell at least one person that you trust about your cutting, bruising, burning, scratching, purging, etc. I know that you may not want to quit right now. Hell, you may not ever want to quit, I know that. But I can tell you that telling someone makes the journey easier. Much, much easier. It is as if a weight is lifted off your shoulders. It was off of mine. Also, know that you are not alone. I recommend the same YouTube channels for you that I do to those who are not as informed about self harm; there is a whole community. You are worthy for recovery. You are worthy of happiness. You have the strength within you. It's just a matter of digging deep enough to find it.
I am sorry this took so long, but it was needed. I hope I did not bore you with such information. If you still think that self harm is stupid or are still unable to grasp the concept, please, again, go to YouTube. There are many people out there that will be able to make things clear where I may have been unable to.