The many faces of Self-Harm

I feel like each time I start a post I want to start off by saying “this is really hard for me to write about.” Although I’m comfortable with sharing information about myself, I am mostly private. I’m naturally introverted, I can get stuck in my own head and after an upbringing of only ever being able to trust myself, I guess I’m still in the habit of just keep things to myself. Makes you wonder why I turned to Blogging, huh?

I guess once I share this – it’s out there. It’s written down, it’s readable, people will know, I will 100% know – the denial that I’m using to manage crumbles away.  The possibility of judgement is always there, wondering what people may think about it all. Will it even make sense to others?  the many faces of self harmThis is truly a small fragment of where my mind is wondering about sharing this but I really feel it’s time to share. It’s a new finding of mine but since the penny dropped, it’s becoming more and more obvious to me.

I think that when people hear about self-harm their mind would tend to go to someone cutting themselves. I know it used to be that way for me. Self-harm = cutting or physically hurting yourself in a way that left physical scars. Then throughout my training, it dawned on me that any purposeful behaviour that was intended to cause harm to ourselves could probably also be classed as self-harm, right? I think that idea isn’t a black and white one – for me, it has some grey but the bottom line message was that other actions, besides cutting, could potentially be classed as self-harm.

So… with that in mind, I have come to realise that I use food as a form of self-harm. Not always, but I 100% do it. I know this because when I was recently reflecting upon my behaviour, at the moment, I worked out that the reason I was doing what I was doing was that I deserved it. I deserved to feel pain, I didn’t deserve good nutritious food, I wasn’t worth cooking a balanced meal for etc. I was punishing myself.

I don’t know about you but what I eat really does affect my mental health. I know this message kind of gets rammed down our throats a little, but for me, it really is the case. I feel much calmer, more in control, more confident and prepared if I am eating well and if I’ve planned my meals for the week, that way I know what’s happening. That helps me. Plus, have you ever eaten so much shit you just crave a carrot? I know I feel better when I get some veg in and I limit the processed stuff. My point is, I know this. I know this makes me feel good, so if I want to make myself feel bad I know exactly what to do in order to do that. Eat shit and chuck my routine out the window.

I found out a year ago that I’m intolerant to dairy and bread. It was a transition (I still miss you cheese) but I’m okay with it now. However, if I have an argument with my husband, someone has a pop at me, work has been stressful or anything that makes me feel low, then guess what I eat? A cheese toasty. The best/worst thing about that? No one thinks I’m self-harming, there’s no one to judge, no one to call me out on it. Sometimes my husband will say “are you sure you want to eat that?” to which I’ll say absolutely, I’m a grown woman. It makes sense that I’d get so defensive over doing something I know I shouldn’t be.

I have learned a way to punish myself that is mostly socially acceptable – which to be honest makes me feel like some kind of psychopath but I know I’ve only done it this way because the pain of judgement from any other method would’ve been too much for me to manage.

So here it is. I don’t have any real message of hope for you at the moment because this is all very new to me. I haven’t come out the other end, I don’t even know if this is a “thing” but I know it’s something for me.the many faces of self harm 2 I want to ask you, is my self-harm any less real, damaging, impactful and detrimental than something you can see? If you are a mental-health sufferer, haven’t we all learned and expressed our frustration at being treated like our mental health isn’t important because it can’t be seen. We use examples of if we have a broken leg, we wouldn’t have to wait months on end for treatment – our mental health is still important even if it’s not seen. So, I guess, my self-harm is still self-harm even though it can’t be seen.

For now, I’m going to keep an eye on it. Checking in with myself, checking in with my intentions, checking where my head is at, what am I thinking about – general loving self-exploration in order to understand me a bit more. Turns out I’m really complex… joys.

Let me know what you think? I’d honestly love some input on this one – it’s a bit of a scary process. I kind of feel like my mind has been hiding this from me and I kind of stumbled upon it by accident.

21 thoughts on “The many faces of Self-Harm

  1. Mackenzie Littledale says:

    You’re very brave for being so open and honest. I too self medicate with food and find outwitting myself is quite challenging, especially when my first reaction is to go straight into denial.

    I made just one conscious choice to eat a salad a day and realized that all the toppings I want are too expensive to buy all at once, so I bought a handful of favorites that are already chopped and store them neatly in glass containers. Now, eating a salad at home is similar to eating at a salad bar and my stomach seems content.

    Nobody would ever suspect I have anxiety, probably bc I numb it almost instantaneously with chocolate. I wouldn’t have suspected either, except I checked in with my body when I had a craving and noticed I was feeling anxious. Becoming mindful takes ongoing practice and observation. Kudos to you!

    Liked by 3 people

    • thegoodthehuman says:

      Aww wow, thank you so much for this!! That is such a great system you have in place and having them all stored neatly would make it seem more enticing to me!

      That’s what it’s all about isn’t it? Being mindful, checking in and seeing what the underlying issues are. Thanks so much for commenting and reading, I really appreciate it!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. thisdreamsalive says:

    It’s so worrying how no one understands self-harn, I’ve had people say it’s not self harm if you don’t cut over a vein or not believe someone self-harn email because they don’t have scars! Anything intentionally done to harm oneself is self-harn so your struggle is 100% valid, and I hope you’re able to get help and heal from it. ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Jacq says:

    I feel you about that there are different ways of self-harm, because the BMI and DSM don’t match with me, my therapist can only put down underlying eating disorder. I’m a bit of an introvert too. I tend to undereat, which isn’t that noticeable by a lot of people. I was on a lot of meds that made me gain weight and since I have some physical injuries and 2 heart conditions I can’t do the gym according to my cardiologist. I’m eating healthy, making sure that I eat 3 times a day. I’m doing the best I can, of course I slip up every now and then, don’t we all?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. fox says:

    Thank you for sharing this, it was incredibly brave of you. I think we have a tendency to place self-harming behaviours on a sort of scale of harmfulness, when really they are all harmful in their own ways. We also tend to forget about the less visible forms, like you said, even though they can be incredibly damaging to a person. Sending love and good vibes x

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Fiona, Sunshine, Raindrops and Tea in the Garden says:

    Oh my goodness this completely rings true with me, if I feel bad about myself and don’t care about myself then I eat crap, kind of as a don’t care about myself thing but then I feel worse about myself. I know how good I feel when I eat good nutritious food so eating bad food almost is like a punishment thing and when I’ve lost control.
    Thank you so much for sharing lovely, this is such a relatable thought provoking post xx

    Liked by 2 people

    • thegoodthehuman says:

      Yeah what I do is 100% a form of punishment and I almost feel I don’t deserve nutritious food! I know this doesn’t sound great, but it’s so nice to know there are others who feel the same. Makes me feel a bit more sane xx

      Liked by 1 person

  6. pilgrimnow says:

    This makes so much sense to me, it really does.
    Recently I realised I am doing the exact same thing and I thought I was being dramatic. I had a go at myself for thinking my ways of hurting myself were as important as self harm.
    Thank you so much for writing this. I feel as though someone has finally understood how I feel in this aspect.
    Sending hugs !

    Liked by 2 people

  7. OneCaringMom says:

    Wow!!! This was relatable and inspiring.Thank you for sharing it with us. It’s always hard opening yourself up for judgement, but I sincerely hope you get none from this post. Your blog is always so open, honest, and real and this post is no different. I’ve found that I treat food the same way and have a very difficult relationship with it. I know what makes me feel good and I know what makes me feel bad. But when I am mentally off, I always go for what’s bad. I’ve never looked at it as self-harm, but after reading this, isn’t that exactly what it is? You’ve made me look at eating in a whole new way and I really appreciate that.

    You are so good at connecting with others and bringing a reality to a topic that always seems so off-limits to so many. Thank you and keep being inspirational!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • thegoodthehuman says:

      Thank you so so much for such a wonderful message! This has honestly made my soul smile.

      I used to think I was a comfort eater but now I know it’s for punishment. Almost like I don’t think I deserve good nutrition, I don’t deserve to feel energised, satisfied etc I deserve all the negative feelings/symptoms that come from eating the wrong foods.

      I’m so blown away by your support, thank you. Your words mean the world to me! I’m beyond pleased that I was able to assist in some way with how you view your relationship with food. Thank you again lovely xx

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Fiona Jackson says:

    Your self-harm is absolutely not any less real, damaging, impactful or detrimental than self-harm that leaves a mark. You’re brave to share this with us, Khadra. Thank you. Self-harm is much more complex than I think is generally understood. I hope now that you recognize this pattern, it will become easier for you to overcome. Sending lots of love your way. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • thegoodthehuman says:

      Thank you so much, Fiona <3. Yeah I agree with you, it's so much more than what we think it is. Yeah, I'm feeling hopeful that I'll take a minute to consider before I eat something I know will make me feel a bit crappy – is this because I fancy it or is this for punishment? Coming to this acknolwedgement has really changed my relationship with my body. I feel remoresful that I treated it so badly and I almost want to care for it now? It's a bizarre change but good I guess.

      Thanks again beaut, I really appreciate your support! xx

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Sunrise says:

    This post is amazing. So honest, real and transparent. I notice myself doing the same with food and with other things when I’m in a tough spot, little things like not getting the sleep I need and making myself a priority, as a way to punish myself. I too have started checking in with myself in all ways to make sure that I am valuing and honoring myself, even when I’m upset or in a bad space. Thank you for sharing!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • thegoodthehuman says:

      I think it can appear so subtle, not sleeping enough, not eating the right foods etc but if we know within ourselves we are doing it to punish ourselves then we have to pay attention. I’m so glad you’re in a place where you’re able to be mindful and self-aware. In my opinion, that’s usually half the battle! Thanks for stopping by, I really appreciate it! x


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s