I came across this meme today and I realized that I had a lot to say about it.
I must confess that I have been guilty of this mindset myself – particularly when I was at my lowest points. In my hurt, I would resent the “fakers”. At the time, I thought that I resented them for pretending to be what I really was… but now, I think it may have had more to do with my own jealousy of them over how much better I thought they had it than I did. (Not that you could have convinced me of that at the time. I would have gouged your eyes out for even suggesting it.)
The sentiment is true… to a degree. The people who self-harm just for attention AREN’T in the same level of emotional pain as the people who do it because they are so upset they just can’t stop themselves. The people who NEED physical pain to balance out. Not even the same ballpark. And they may never understand that sort of pain. But that doesn’t mean THEIR pain isn’t REAL.
The people who do it for attention are still doing it out of genuine pain, it’s just that their release ISN’T the physical pain they cause themselves. Theirs is the ATTENTION they get afterwards. The level of concern other people show towards them directly effects their state-of-mind. Their pain is eased by people noticing, caring, and trying to “help” them. Giving them the attention they are seeking might be all they need to feel better. (And if it’s that easy to ease the suffering of someone you love, why wouldn’t you do it?)
But when people don’t care or ignore their self-injurious behavior, their emotional pain gets worse. The less others care about their self-harm, the less they feel like they matter as a person. And the less others care, the more pain they will suffer and the more severely they will harm themselves trying to get that attention. Potentially, the cycle can get so far out of control that they even end their own life. It doesn’t get realer than that.
So while half of me completely agrees with this meme, the other half of me wonders how many people reading it are now crying in their bathrooms and cutting themselves just a little bit deeper tonight…