Writing About Self-Harm on a Public Platform
Paradoxically, writing about self-harm for HealthyPlace has been one of the hardest things I've done in my life—and one of the easiest. It's certainly not for everyone, but in my case, publicly writing on self-injury has been an incredible opportunity to both heal and be healed in return.
How Does It Feel to Write About Self-Harm Publicly?
It's strange to think that I've been writing about self-harm for HealthyPlace for two years now. When I started, I'd only spoken openly about my history of self-injury to a couple of people.
To go from total silence to shouting my truth from virtual rooftops sounded nothing short of terrifying.
But I recognized it for the opportunity it was—a chance to turn the horrible experiences I'd endured into something helpful, something that would remind others like me that they are not alone. Something that could educate people around a difficult topic to understand, maybe even challenge a few stigmas along the way.
I wrote my first few posts with shaking hands and a tremor in my pulse. I wondered if I would be able to get my point across without confusion and if I would be able to sidestep all of the potential landmines I imagined lurking on the road ahead. What would people think of me, of my story? What would people say?
I still worry, of course, from time to time. It's in the nature of a blog like this to attract comments that are difficult to respond to and questions that beg for answers I can't rightly give. Often, when I respond, I don't hear back; I'm left to wonder if my words made any impact and, if so, whether they helped or made the hurt worse.
But I don't hesitate now when sharing my story. I feel stronger for having spoken up at last and grateful for the opportunity to do so in a way that will reach more people than I could have ever hoped to reach on my own.
How Writing About Self-Harm Helps Me Heal
Writing about self-harm publicly isn't just about educating people about an oft-misunderstood mental health issue. For me, the primary objective here isn't to inform—it's to help heal.
People have told me, from time to time, that my words have helped them in some way. For that, I am inexpressibly grateful. It's incredibly cathartic to know that I have managed to turn dark to light with a handful of keystrokes and clicks of the mouse.
Know that you can do this, too. Whether here on HealthyPlace, or on another website (even a blog of your own), if you feel the urge to speak up, maybe it's time you should. It's a scary thing to do and a difficult one, but it's also a brave thing to do—and it can help not just you but so many others as well.
That being said, don't force yourself to disclose anything you're not ready to disclose. It took me 10 years to speak up; it may take you more time or less, or you may never be ready at all. You don't have to go public to heal or even to heal others. Sometimes it's important just to listen—offering support, no matter how subtle, is a brave thing, too.
Kim Berkley (2022, February 17). Writing About Self-Harm on a Public Platform, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, August 14 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2022/2/writing-about-self-harm-on-a-public-platform