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? This 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. 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.