Random Drivel from your Average Tosser

...with your host, Binty McShae - whether you like it or not!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Self-harm - not so cut and dried.

On Brewski's current post he mentions people who self-harm... he brings this up in his usual 'what the fuck is going on?' kind of way (quote: "And what's with every cunt self-harming these days anyway? The world has fucking left me behind pal.") and in the midst of a typically humorous post, so rather than bring everyone down by getting all serious in his comments box I have decided to write on the subject here...

Now, I have worked with (in a mentor / student capacity) and been friends with many people who have or still do cut themselves and to my mind they fall into three distinct categories:-

1) The ones that genuinely want to kill themselves. These are the ones I have met least, partially because... well, you don't know who they are until they do it. Only those who fail in the attempt get brought to your attention, and only if you are close to the individual or work in some kind of medical or social field where you would need to know. Your average person in the street would be oblivious to this type of self-harmer as they tend to keep the scars well covered to avoid detection.

2) The ones who feel like they are letting out the pain. This is kind of like a medieval style blood-letting and as well as the psychological idea of "bleeding out the bad" there is some degree of physical truth in the concept that calmness and "lightness" comes with a loss of blood. This type of self-harmer does this purely for themselves and is usually embarrassed about it. As a result they also tend to keep their scars covered to avoid detection.

3) The attention-seekers. Okay, that is a harsh phrase to use to describe them but it sums it up. They are maybe crying out for help, maybe simply wanting someone to notice them. Some just want to look 'hard', although I have not met many like that. These tend to be most obvious, the most noticeable to other people, as they ones rarely cover up their scars - the point of them is to be seen. Whereas types 1 and 2 will often be left with permanent scars type 3 will rarely cut that deep... of course, there is always the chance that - if ignored - a type 3 will graduate to type 2 or 1.

Okay, there is certainly some generalisation there and my intention is not to offend any readers who themselves self-harm. I do, however, base this on my observations and conversations with self-harmers, some of whom have been very close to me.

The basic fact is the people who we most hear about and see, the people who Brewski describes as "slicing 'I am a cunt' into your pallid skin, you poncey emo fucks you", they tend to fall into category 3. But there are so many more people out there who do this than we realise... your best friend; your kid; your secretary; your teacher... I guarrantee that all of us have people in our lives that cut themselves, yet we don't even know.

As usual your thoughts are welcomed...

Cheers m'dears!

For those who are interested here is a link to The National Self-Harm Network of the UK. For those outside of the UK there are other sites that may be more use - you just need to do a search.

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At Thursday, June 01, 2006 11:49:00 am, Blogger Sarah said...

i get pierced instead. chance of infection is pretty much nill that way. and i get to buy jewelry.

At Friday, June 02, 2006 3:15:00 am, Blogger Kim Ayres said...

My experience with self harmers is that they are less suicidal because the self harm is an outlet for the emotional pain and pressure. It tends to be those who have no outlet who opt for the final solution.

At Friday, June 02, 2006 3:48:00 am, Blogger Monstee said...

As far as me know.... me have never met one. Me sure me have... but not to me knoweledge.

Me guess this either mean that me not pay atentions to people me know, me not get to personal with me closest people, or they shy away seeing me as more crazy than they am.

At Friday, June 02, 2006 9:19:00 am, Blogger kari said...

It's rather sad. No matter the reason it's done.

At Friday, June 02, 2006 10:29:00 pm, Blogger fatmammycat said...

My experience with self-harmers are that they are self-indulgent middle class teenage attention seekers that wouldn't know real pain if it came up and bit them in the arse and a good slap up side the head sorts out alot of their nonsense sharpish.
But that's just me. I'm sure there are others.

At Saturday, June 03, 2006 3:08:00 am, Blogger SafeTinspector said...

Fatmammy:I knew a boy like that in middle school. It was a parochial school, and we were all middle class (although some more middle than others).
He was very tall for his age and cut his long arms in long stripes.

When very very embarassed or frustrated I have slapped and pummeled myself in the head. Usually a heat-of-the-moment sort of thing. I apologize to myself and promise myself it will never happen again, but we both know I'll do it to me next time the same as this time.

At Saturday, June 03, 2006 5:02:00 am, Blogger fatmammycat said...

SafeT, a great number of girls in my boarding school were cutters, and they loved nothing more that 'accidently' exposing their wounds and then revelling in the fuss other equally stupid girls made of them, or comparing cuts... What a load of hoey. I'm sure there are real cases out there, but most teenagers? Right.
I'm an expert forehead slapper, usually when I forget something or do something very bloody stupid(like delete things I didn't mean to). I never apologise to myself though I do say 'Ow ffccuuuuk.'
Anyhoo, I'm off to watch crap tv, have a nice weekend all.

At Saturday, June 03, 2006 5:40:00 pm, Blogger Binty McShae said...

FMC - hence my distinction between three types. The girls you mention sound very type-3 to me, doing it for the attention. And those are the kinds we see most often simply because they want to be seen... there are many who don't.

Most kids I worked with were type-2 and they were definitely not middle-class. They really didn't want to draw attention to their scars either. And for most it's not an obsession with pain, it's the feeling of relief after the pain...

Monstee - everyone knows at least one self-harmer. even if they don't know who they are. And I guarrantee that at least one person who visits each of your blogs is or has been a self-harmer too.

At Monday, June 05, 2006 4:32:00 am, Blogger Gentleman-hobbs said...

Have had quite a bit of experience of this and your 3 cats are pretty much their. My empirical observations have led me to believe that most are a cry for help. It is amazing how many feel this way the morning after a night on the piss. Low sugar levels have a lot to answer for it would seem.

At Tuesday, June 06, 2006 10:22:00 pm, Blogger happykat said...


There are also those who harm themselves to feel. Not necessarily letting out pain, but making pain so that they feel something...anything. I'm not sure which category they fall into here because they are not attention seekers nor suicidal.


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