Stop Romanticizing Self-Abuse and Self-Harm or Making Jokes About Them

By: Jana Shorbagy

Trigger Warning: mentions of self-harm (cutting), emotional self harm, negative self-talk, eating disorders, suicidal thoughts, and other mental illnesses.

The idea of self abuse and self harm has spread around so much over the past few years that it has almost become impossible not to talk without mentioning one harmful thing initiated by yourself.

Why is this normal? Why do I have to listen to people saying things that they don’t mean, things that have been romanticized by every fucking industry out there? Personally my friends talk about suicide, cutting, substance abuse, bulimia, and every other thing like it’s okay, they don’t know that it’s not okay when you feel so deeply you hope a cut would distract you, it’s not okay when you want to forget all the pain so you turn to substance abuse,  It’s not okay to want so badly to be thin that you don’t receive the right nutrition, or do and force yourself to vomit it right back up, and it most definitely is not okay to feel so depressed and alone that you want to end your life – and joke about it.

(Of course I’m not saying that people shouldn’t be having these thoughts, but it definitely shouldn’t come from a place of glory and romanticizing)

Self abuse doesn’t necessarily mean taking a knife and stabbing yourself repeatedly, it means inflicting any kind of harm on yourself whether it’s mental, emotional, or physical – anything from negative self-talk and isolation to holding a razor and turning it towards yourself; it all ends with the same outcome, self destruction.

What makes people think this is glory?

The idea has been so glorified in people’s eyes that now they just think of it as “cool” and “nice” but it’s not. Take a minute out of your day and really focus on the details:

Memes about suicide lurking everywhere, songs about substance abuse and how “fun” or “cool” it is, even songs about mental illnesses are around somehow! How about movies and TV shows? 13 reasons why? YOU? Insatiable? Let’s not forget Gossip Girl hosts Blair Waldorf with bulimia because she was obsessed with being the it girl with the perfect body. Hell, even things like Harry Potter and Twilight boast obvious  forms of self harm as if they are normal and signs of power. It’s nauseating, especially because it affects all of us on some level. Now, you have been force-fed ideas of what it must take to fit in, suddenly, you’re drowning in a spiral of things you’re not even sure you want because they mean you get to fit in and find your prince charming or your damsel, before you know it, this dark obsession with reaching the top could very much kill you, at the very least damage you emotionally and mentally.

An indepth look at 13 Reasons Why shows how much this is actually a  sorry excuse of a show that glorifies self abuse in all ways possible; from Hannah Baker’s suicide to Skylar’s cutting, even Justin’s heroin addiction. This show basically combined all ideas of self destruction into thirteen shitty episodes (I know a lot of people would disagree on this) think about it though, don’t they make suicide seem okay, because Hannah did get what she wanted, right? Everyone got sent to court and everyone felt bad and she “ended her suffering”, right? So basically, this painted and glorified the idea of suicide as a good thing to get closure, relief, and karma. Which is the farthest thing from okay, it’s so wrong it cannot even be described.

How about Split? If you haven’t watched it (which I highly doubt) Casey Cooke suffers in her life after her father’s death, she’s sent to live with her uncle who abuses her in every way possible, later on she attempts running away from her uncle but suffers from emotional outbursts and turns to cutting herself. What does that slowly infuse your brain with? The idea of substance abuse.

In more recent Netflix shows, you’ll notice how all this self abuse is made out to be a relief, like the haunting of hill houses, Luke Crain who also turns to heroin as a relief from all the horrors he’s seen as a kid. Even with the supernatural: The Umbrella Academy’s Klaus is portrayed to be the “goofy” “funny” character because he’s always high, this is exactly what I’m talking about they show you how supposedly “great” all this shit is, not what it really is: A way of inflicting harm onto yourself and your loved ones.

These were merely a few examples of the recent ideas introduced to us by the film

Industry.

But then there’s music, the GREATEST of them all. I assume you’ve heard at least one rap song? One common thing constantly repeated through them all is: substance abuse, and well you guessed it, suicide, because what else would be associated with music other than abusing and harming your mental and physical health? Here are  a few songs that feature these great ideas introduced to our generation (smh, and people wonder why this generation is allegedly so messed up)

  • Rockstar –  Post Malone
  • Call Me – Nav & Metro Boomin
  • Sad! – xxxtentacion
  • Antidote – Travis Scott

Ofcourse, this doesn’t even cover a 1/10000th of the very long  playlist of songs listened to by literally everyone in this generation.

I’ll stop here, but keep in mind that self harm doesn’t necessarily mean the action of inflicting pain into your body but it’s the action of inflicting pain (whether it’s mental or physical or especially emotional – actually, or any mixture of those) onto yourself. Just because it’s portrayed to be a form of relief or entertainment for someone, doesn’t mean that is real. It means the world is fucked up, and we’ve got enough on our plates, and we’re stronger than the bullshit the media industry keeps trying to feed us.

So please refrain from romanticizing serious issues such as self abuse, not just for your sake, but for the sake of whoever is around you, listening to you, with a smile on their face and plans to run to the nearest place where they can lock themselves in and “give themselves relief”. We all have our own battles to fight, plans to make, futures to look forward to, if anything, we’re one tenacious generation, so we get the hell up, stick by each other, get these thoughts out of our heads, and try our best to seek legitimate help when we need it.

P.S if you ever feel like you need someone to listen to you, no judgements, no name, no shit – you can always email us at teenntimes@gmail.com – if you want to go to therapy, you can also email us and we can point you to different centers, we’re always available if you need help, no matter what.

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