Like Bees To A Honey Pot

CAUTION: This post contains discussion of self harm and may contain triggers for some people.  There are purposely no disturbing images contained in the post, but if self harm is an issue for you I recommend caution in reading.

Image courtesy of [image creator: Dan] /
Image courtesy of [image creator: Dan] /
Sometimes when you have to compete with a chronic illness, there can be a delay in the process of the idea of a post to actually seeing it to the point of ‘publish’.  Thanks to fibromyalgia, this is the case, but it’s not always a bad thing.  It might mean that I am posting about an issue several days after the rest of the world, but at least it gives me time to think over what I want to say.  Meanwhile I guess I’ll never be ‘hot off the press’.

It doesn’t take much for some of us to be triggered by what we see and what we read.  A few days ago I got wind of the issue of Justin Bieber and self harm whirling frantically on social media.  First let me say that I never, in a million years, thought I’d be writing about Justin Bieber, but then it’s not really about him, is it?.

A few days ago a well-known website encouraged it’s viewers to self harm and send pictures of that self harm in ‘protest’ to news of Justin Bieber smoking marijuana.

“let’s start a cut yourself for bieber campaign. Tweet a bunch a pics of people cutting themselves and claim we did it because bieber was smoking weed.  See if we can get some little girls to cut themselves”

You can see a report of that (without images of self harm) here.  Social media went mad, and images of young people, either showing their dripping wounds or showing fake wounds, flew around with ridiculous abandon.

I saw some of the images on Twitter and Facebook and was very sad… and angry.  As well as the images, were the conversations that followed about people who self harm.  This is what I found the hardest to take.  Seemingly they are weak, attention seekers and from homes with poor parenting.

The problem with that is that it will have all been read by, not just Justin Bieber fans or people who know nothing of the harsh realities of self harm,  It will also have been read by those struggling, trying to recover from self harm.  They will all be like bees to a honey pot.

Often we know we would be better off to not look at something, but we do it anyway.  For me it’s images of self harm (it takes me back to my own past of self harming as a way to cope).  It is also images of people with anorexia (I don’t want to be that thin again but the reminder of the control I felt at the time is enticing).  Images of pumped bodies in gyms, remind me of the hours and hours I spent trying to tone my body to what I thought would be ideal, all the while damaging my body.

We know we would be better off not to go there, but we can’t help ourselves sometimes.  All the hashtags (which I’m purposely not including) which search the images freely for us.  We get there, and then we feel judged and very alone.  Just because the millions can search those images, does not mean they can, or even want to, understand the reality of self harm.

Self harm is not about sharing photos.  It is so easy to share a photo now days, all too easy, and we end up with this crazy, constant stream of triggering images of which no one has any control.  Self harm is also not some publicity stunt.

Self harm is a serious problem.  While it’s not about suicide, there are unfortunate occasions when self harm ends in death.  There are regularly serious consequences.

It’s really hard to beat self harm, for anyone.  It’s an addiction for many people, and was for me.  It takes years of battling urges and triggers, and finding effective ways that can distract you from the desire to harm.

It is a daily battle, even an hourly battle.  It’s not about attention usually, and certainly not about some celebrity.  If anything, sufferers try very hard to hide the scars of their harming.  Actually the trying to hide is what gives the secret away often.

If anyone thinks self harm is a joke, let them try to give up a serious addiction, probably with little help.  The people who are fighting to recover from self harm deserve our support, and our admiration for beating something so hard.  It takes guts to beat this thing, something of which most people have no understanding.

They don’t need ridicule.  Let’s give them our love, support and our acceptance.

“Other times, I look at my scars and see something else: a girl who was trying to cope with something horrible that she should never have had to live through at all. My scars show pain and suffering, but they also show my will to survive. They’re part of my history that’ll always be there.” 

―    Cheryl Rainfield,    Scars


7 thoughts on “Like Bees To A Honey Pot

  1. Pingback: Disturbing | Infinite Sadness… or hope?

  2. John Richardson

    I expect there is some level of self harm present in most of us. Why do so many people have so much trouble, including me, in eating just a little less each day so that over time they could get their weight under control and live happier, healthier, longer lives? Of course, what you’re talking about is of a far different magnitude. I think that part of the problem is that many people , particulary children, are exposed to harmful ideas that they would have been better off never thinking about. As a teenager, I remember watching a doctor being interviewed on TV. She said she had a number of female patients with long hair that got in the habit of turning their heads and tossing their hair on such a regular basis that they developed neck problems. Naturally, I started turning my head, I didn’t have much hair to toss, and a few weeks later I noticed a loud crack or pop in my neck. I’ve never had a serious problem with it but I still, on occasion, have to turn my neck and pop it to realign my neck. I’ve thought about that TV program many times and my conclusion has been that I not seen it my neck probably won’t pop today as it does and my neck would be a little stronger. I think there are a lot of ideas ourt there like that that effect people. Telling kids to send Justin pictures of their self harm seems like another one that is a very bad idea. The converse it also true. When people aren’t exposed to some of the good ideas in the world many of their lives must end up impacted in a very negative way. Especially in the age of social media and a news media that is competing against each other for viewers and every advertising dollar out there, I wish everyone would be a little more careful about what they say. Loved your article Cate, it’s one everyone should read and think about.

    1. Thanks John. Firstly I’m having a chuckle to myself as I imagine you flicking your head (sorry about your neck!) and I’m wondering if you grew your hair long at the time so that you could get maximum benefit from that flick. 🙂 I think the power of suggestion is very strong, expecially for teenagers. In this case that’s exactly what they were relying on but it’s important to note that very often that isn’t the cause of people starting to harm themselves. My own experience was admittedly as an adult rather than a teen, but I had never heard of or seen self harm at the time I started doing it. Actually I had no idea what I had actually started. That aside though, websites doing this sort of thing should be shut down in my view.

  3. Pingback: Today's Dance: Self Harm

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