One of the things that has been annoying me a LOT recently - and I have spoken about this in the past because I feel really strongly about it - is the assumption that many people have surrounding self-harming.
I hate the fact that people generally stereotype it as an “emo/goth” trend, and say that bands such as My Chemical Romance promote the image of self-harm and glamorise it, or even that they are the cause of it. There is so much wrong with this “statement” that it makes me want to scream, basically.
First things first - it is NOT just teenagers who self harm. People of all ages self harm, and people from all kinds of backgrounds and with all kinds of musical influences. Also, self harm can be a number of things - burning yourself, punching things, hitting yourself, swallowing dangerous substances and more - many people think that it is simply cutting yourself, but that is far from the truth, although it is the most common kind that gets reported.
Secondly - I used to listen to bands that a lot of people class as “emo” when I was younger, and I actually still do to this day - if you take the time to actually listen to lyrics, a lot of bands do not actually promote or glamorise self harming, they actually encourage you to seek help or stay strong. A good example is Hold On by Good Charlotte, for example. In some instances, certain bands have been blamed for driving teens to suicide - one girl’s parents blamed My Chemical Romance, and said that since their daughter started listening to them, she had become depressed and started self harming. As someone who used to adore bands such as My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy (bands who are classed as “emo”), I can safely say that they do not cause you to develop depression and suddenly get the urge to start hurting yourself - in fact, if anything, they were one of many bands who helped me feel less alone when I was growing up, and when I felt isolated from people thanks to bullying and other circumstances. Bands like My Chemical Romance actually save lives, not make people want to end their life.
Another point I have - some people are under the assumption that self-harmers do it purely for the attention. This is fair enough, as there are loads of photos of self harm scattered around the internet, and in some cases it’s a cry for help, but in reality the majority of people who self harm try their best to keep it hidden, as they may view it as a dirty little secret or just find it hard to open up and try to get help. A lot of the time, it is the only way someone has to let out any emotional trauma and pain, and it’s a way for them to believe they’re in control of something that’s happening in their lives. Some people have even go so far as to make videos bashing people who hurt themselves, which I personally think is extremely uncalled for, and could potentially be triggering for people who self-harm - I watched one the other day, as it popped up when I was browsing YouTube, and it angered me so much because it was all based on assumption. The creator of the video also kept comparing people who self-harm to starving children who have “real problems” - I‘m sorry, but if you don’t know anything about a person and what causes them to feel that way, who are you to judge them and assume?
Something else that people don’t seem to realise is that self-harm is actually an addiction - much like people who get addicted to substances and alcohol, people who self harm may become addicted to it, and will turn to it when they feel something is happening in their life that they can’t control. Some methods you can try if you’re feeling the urge to hurt yourself include keeping your mind busy by writing, pinging an elastic band against your wrist, and rubbing an ice cube over the area you were going to harm.
So, I hope this post has helped to understand a bit more about the realities of self harming, and got rid of a few of the stereotypes that people believe about it. I’m not saying that I do it, but it frustrates me no end when I see so many people making assumptions about it, as I know people who do/have done it. There are a number of helplines where you can remain completely anonymous, where you can talk to someone who understands.