Pyth suggested in a comment to a previous post that it may not be a terrible idea to vent/talk about my personal experience with self-injury. I’ve been reluctant do do so for many reasons. One of then is that I so rarely (never) talk about it IRL or on the internet and I just don’t know what to say or how to say it. A bigger obstacle is the fear of judgement.
I’m afraid of being seen as an “attention whore”. It’s hard to escape that insecurity when the most widespread image of a person who self-injures is the angsty teenager using mental illness cutting as a way of rebelling, getting their parent’s attention, and/or garnering sympathy from their peers. While this image is dishonest and dismissive, it’s not what really fucks me over and makes me insecure with how I’m judged when I talk about self-injury. What fucks me over is when it’s used to create a distinction between “real” and “fake” self-injury.
You see, there are fake self-injurers (whatever that actually means) who use self-injury to manipulate people for sympathy points when there is really nothing wrong with them (lets ignore that that cutting/burning/hitting yourself for attention indicates that something is probably not right). These people flaunt it (by which we mean talk about it at all) and should be ignored or laughed at (see various jokes at self-injurer’s expense). There are of course “real” self-injury. These are people with serious mental illness and serious problems because there’s got to be something really, really wrong with you if you purposely injure yourself. More importantly, these “real” self-injurers don’t ever talk about it because they are too ashamed
and they should feel bad because they’re doing a very bad thing. In conclusion, if you talk about deliberately injuring yourself you’re just trying to get attention and you’re not serious and should not be taken seriously.
I know this is all complete bullshit. I know that what other people, especially ignorant idiots, think shouldn’t matter. But having that as a the main discussion and characterization of self-injury during those formative teenage years makes it hard not to develop anxiety about this judgement even when I know better.