It’s all about coping, and the inability to cope appropriately with situations and emotions. Some people, like me, have ineffective coping mechanisms. We turn to different methods, not necessarily right ones, to cope with the situtations we are in, and the emotions that we are overwhelmed with. We may not think that it is wrong, because after all, we are just trying to cope just so that we can continue living. But they are detrimental to our health, and they affect the people around us who care for us.
It’s the intense feelings, whether it’s sadness, anger, frustration, guilt or hatred, that we’re trying to escape from. We self-harm as a means to seek reprieve from such intense feelings. We might hesitate in performing the harmful act, but we still continue with it anyway because we know we’ll find relief after that. It’s the relief and the reprieve that keeps us going back to it. Because we know no other way, we keep going back to the method that lets us cope in a way we deem effective.
Bulimics engage in compensatory behaviors like purging, overexercising and abusing laxatives. They engage in such behaviors because of the intense fear of getting fat. Because of the intense guilt and shame that eats them away. It can be very cathartic- bingeing so much and having to elicit the gag reflex for everything to come up the way it went down. The feelings of relief is indescribable, but guilt also overwhelms us after that. We know purging fucks up our esophagus and our gag reflex. We hate it, as unbelievable as it may sound. But we keep going back to it as it gives us the relief that we seek. Ineffective coping? Yesiree.
People who self-poison don’t usually do it with suicidal intention. We do it because we are in such intense emotional distress and pain, we believe that engaging in such self-harm acts gives us a form of escape from so much pain. We’d rather experience the physical pain than the emotional pain. It also serves to distract us from the inner turmoil that we are in. People around us are quick to pass judgements- how rash and impulsive we are, how stupid we are, how we don’t value our lives. But they will never be able to understand the predicament that we are in- that the emotional distress we are in is so great that we can do something so harmful just to take that away.
People who cut themselves also do so because they are hurting. They are in emotional distress. They may not know how to express themselves. Or they may just want to take it away. They may be so numbed, they can’t feel any emotions. So they cut. They cut till they bleed. They cut so that they can feel the physical pain. So that they can feel again. Or so they won’t hurt so much on the inside.
People look at us and think we are crazy. They think we just want attention. They think we are irrational. But stop and think. People do things, or engage in behaviors that make sense to them. Right? People who self-harm engage in such harmful behaviours because it makes sense to them- they know no other way to cope.
If you’d ask me why i have been harming myself, i’d tell you very simply that i was trying to get relief from the emotional pain that i was in. That i was trying to escape from the feelings of disgust. That most of all, what i wanted was control- control over my feelings, control over my life in otherwise chaotic situations. It’s ineffective coping, but at least i am coping. And although it may seem absurd, but they make sense to me too.
p.s. Self-harm, its methods and its reasons, were selectively and briefly explained here in my own warped opinion. There is a lot of information on the net. So do look it up if you’d like to find out more.