Observing Self-Injury Awareness Day as a Self-Harmer
Self-Injury Awareness Day is March 1. For those who do not self-harm, it is a learning opportunity and a chance to show support for others. For those who do self-harm, however, it's an observance that can give rise to some pretty complicated emotions.
You Don't Have to Observe Self-Injury Awareness Day
Maybe someone is encouraging you just a little too strongly to participate in Self-Injury Awareness Day. Maybe the press coverage makes you feel like you're expected to. Or maybe you're putting pressure on yourself, consciously or unconsciously, to take action.
However, just because you self-harm (or have in the past) doesn't mean you need to do anything at all on Self-Injury Awareness Day. The point of the day is to help, to heal—not to force you into a disclosure you may not be ready for or a level of activism with which you are not comfortable.
It's okay not to want to be a part of this day. It's okay if you have complicated feelings surrounding this day, too. It may remind you of things you would rather forget about or shine a spotlight on the part of your life and yourself that you would rather keep private. Sometimes educational efforts only serve to remind us how much stigma still exists, despite our best efforts. It's okay to feel upset, down, or otherwise less-than-positive about any of these things.
However, don't forget the purpose of the day—to remind people like you (and me) that we are not alone and that people in our lives and even people we haven't met care about us and our wellbeing. Most of all, it is a day meant to inspire hope—hope for self-harm recovery and hope for a future without stigma.
And if you do change your mind, whether this year or several years from now and want to participate after all, you have a lot of options for how to go about it.
How to Observe Self-Injury Awareness Day as a Self-Harmer
Just as there's no one right way to feel about Self-Injury Awareness Day, there's no one right way to participate. If you so choose, you can engage in public observances like:
- Writing and sharing posts on social media with the hashtag #SIAD
- Wearing t-shirts, hats, or other accessories that promote Self-Injury Awareness Day (you can even make your own)
- Publishing writing, visual art, music, or a spoken word performance around the topic
- Participating in local or online events related to Self-Injury Awareness Day
- Distributing fact sheets that will help increase public awareness and understanding of self-harm
- Reaching out to your school or workplace to organize internal resources or events
However, once again, you should not feel obligated to do any of these things. If public participation is too far out of your comfort zone this year, there are smaller, more private ways you can still help make a difference.
For example, you can try:
- Talking with someone, even just one person, you know personally about self-harm
- Sharing educational resources with your close friends or immediate family
- Commenting on other people's posts or blogs to help boost the signal
- Joining a local or online support group
- Donating to a local or national mental health nonprofit of your choice
If these options still seem like a little too much for you, there's one more person you can help without disclosing anything about yourself whatsoever: you. If you're not ready to reach out to others, why not take this day as an opportunity to put a little extra effort into your own healing journey? After all, you are one of the people this day is meant to help.
Maybe this is the day you finally call a therapist to set up your first appointment or the day you decide to try a new technique like urge-surfing or cognitive behavioral therapy. Or maybe this is simply a day for you to take extra-good care of yourself in whatever ways are open to you. Go for that walk you've been meaning to, book that spa day, take the day off, or just take a long bath at the end of it—whatever you can do, now is an excellent time to do it.
Just remember that this isn't the only day you can do any of these things. Every day is a new opportunity to learn, grow, change, and heal—for you and for everyone else. I'll say it again because it bears repeating: you are not alone.
We are not alone.
Kim Berkley (2022, February 24). Observing Self-Injury Awareness Day as a Self-Harmer, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, January 30 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2022/2/observing-self-injury-awareness-day-as-a-self-harmer