A few weeks ago, for the last episode of SBS Insight, the covered the topic of self harm and the reasons that people do it. I talked about my reasons here and if you want to check out the show you can find it here. I came away from the story feel a little disheartened. Maybe my expectations were too high, maybe it was something that is better covered in a one on one interview. I’m not sure.
One aspect of the show that I found troubling, and that I thought was not useful to the overall message was the host asking each speaker how many times they had self harmed. Most of the guests did flippantly answer the question, giving a vague number and for that I am glad. I would hate for something that has the potential to educate to cause a person to feel that they are not enough.
I’m not going to go into how many times I have self harmed, the number is irrelevant. A person is not worse off, more sick or worthy of more sympathy because of the number of times they hurt themselves. Nor for the number of years they have engaged in said behaviour. Is a person less of a victim because they were *only* raped once? No, they aren’t, so why is a person seen as worthy of more treatment if they hurt themselves more than another person.
I really felt that Insight did a disservice to the platform they had for helping to raise the stigma around self harm. I felt that the questions surrounding how many times a person had harmed trivialised the issue, turned it into a competition, something to be gasped at. I fail to understand what possible purpose that line of questioning had in the overall message.
Mental Illness is self absorbed. No ones pain is more or less because of another persons measure of that pain. If a person feels in mental anguish, then they are. It is no right of another person to tell them that they are not enough.
I am glad that Insight decided to cover the topic of Self Harm. While I was unsatisfied with it, I was glad that it was talked about in a reasonably respectful manner. I am glad that there were people who were brave enough to go on national television to speak about their struggles. We need to keep having these conversations. We need to stop sweeping it under the rug, hoping that it will go away. We need to continue to educate those who are unaware of the struggles that many people face.
I’m linking up with Robomum Blog today for our last The Lounge of 2013. It has been an absolutely awesome year of link ups and I want to thank everyone who took the time to share their stories with us. We look forward to sharing many more in 2014!