Hello there beauty,
I self harm. There I said it. I have self destructive tendencies, both physically and mentally. I cut or burn myself, I sometimes purge my food, I often drink too much, and I’m not a stranger to drug abuse. Why, you may ask? That’s an answer that would take a few pages, and some parts are way too intimate for me to share them on here. But what I do want to share, is how “embracing” communities, especially on the internet made things worse for me.
– trigger warning-
In this post I’m talking openly about mental health, self-harm, suicide and eating disorders.
If you are uncomfortable with either of those subjects, I’d recommend you to click away.
THE DANGER OF TOO ACCEPTING COMMUNITIES
If you are 25 or younger you sure know the term “emo”. If not, emo is a subculture which is about music, fashion and lifestyle. If you’d ask a random teenager what an emo kid is, they’ll probably say something about “scene hair”, “black clothes” and “they cut themselves”. There is this stigma that all emo’s practice self harm, which is unfair but above all very harmful. It makes young people believe that self harm is normal, that one must practice it in order to be popular in their scene. It becomes something to brag about.
The emo subculture is very active on Tumblr, for example. You should not be shocked if you were scrolling along an emo website and you’d come across a GIF of someone literally cutting their skin open with a razorblade, in motion. My pro about Tumblr is that it might help certain troubled people, because it makes them realize they’re not alone and you can battle this together. People who accept you for who you are, and encourage you to change. But it all flips around when too many troubled people gather up together, and it starts to be about stimulating dangerous and destructive behavior. Teens might still think it’s about acceptation, they feel less alone, but in reality it just makes things worse.
This is in no way just an issue in the emo subculture, not every emo self harms, not everyone who self harms is emo. It was just an example. When you feel like you are all alone in the world, you are practicing auto-mutilation, and you come across a huge group of people who does the same, you will probably feel relieved in a way, because you are not THAT strange, you’re not the only one who does things like that. But the danger is, it might make you think the behavior is “normal”. If so many people do it, there’s not really anything wrong with it, is there? It’s MY body, I can do with it what I want. Those are thoughts I have personally experienced on a daily basis.
When I was around 14-15 years old, I have met the harmful consequences of pro-seha (pro self harm) and pro-mia (pro bulimia nervosa) websites. Young people who share their tips and tricks to become thinner, to cut deeper, to vomit out your food faster, to hide it all from your parents. When scrolling along i knew it was wrong, but it made me feel better. I wanted to become like the girls in the photo’s with the thigh gaps and protruding hip bones.
I myself have made an Instagram account I’m certainly NOT proud of when I was 15. It showed pictures of myself, holding my breath and sucking in my non-existant belly to make my stomach look extremely hollow and my ribs very apparent. There was even a picture of fresh cuts I had made on my hips. When my parents found out, they obviously didn’t understand. Why would I “brag” about something like that? I didn’t know what I was doing back then but now I do. It was a call for help, I wanted to show my pain in order for other people to tell me it was okay, it’ll all be fine, you’re not alone. Which is what happened. Other relatable accounts started following me, telling me I wasn’t alone, I will get better etc. But then I got different kind of replies and comments. People telling me I was just a phony because my cuts weren’t deep enough. How could I possibly be part of the pro-mia community if I was THAT fat (which I wasn’t, I weighted about 130 lbs/60kg, which is perfectly healthy when you’re around 5’6″/1,70 cm).
I think this is a real problem. It makes lost teenagers think they’re part of a community and they don’t realize how harmful this is. It normalizes mental problems, and promotes eating disorders, self harm, and even suicide. If you are someone battling with these kind of problems, please realize that it’s not okay. It’s not normal. You should have people trying to help you, not just accept you. And if anyone tells you you aren’t valid because you should cut deeper, eat less or commit suicide, don’t ever listen to them. They are very hurt and broken as well, but don’t let them take you down with them, because it’s so easy to get worse but so hard to get better.
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