Friday, March 1st, 2013 is Self-Injury Awareness Day [SIAD]. To support those who struggle with non-suicidal self-injury, wear something orange.
Self-injury is a disorder shrouded by mythology, misunderstanding, and malice. Many sufferers already feel shame and guilt because of their need to use self-injury to manage overwhelming emotional distress, and when facing the judgement and ignorance of others feel further isolated and hopeless.
If you've ever had a bad itch and scratched it until it "hurt-so-good", you've had a small taste of the relief those who use self-injury to cope with out of control emotions feel.
Many people who self-injure become addicted to it; During injury, the body releases endorphins into the bloodstream to mitigate pain. Endorphins are the body's natural heroin.
The other thing to keep in mind is ... We just celebrated Pink Shirt Day as a means to bring a halt to bullying. 85% of those who self-injure disclose experiencing some form of trauma, including being bullied. Many have also experienced physical abuse, child sexual abuse, and rape.
If you wish to learn more about self-injury, please read the series of articles I published on the subject last year. They can be found here Self-Injury, Putting the Pieces Together. There is a link at the bottom of each section that will take you to the next in the series.
Most of all, please wear something orange each March 1st. Because most keep it secret, those who self-injure will not thank you for it, but seeing it may help some know we care.
Aaron D. McClelland, RPC - www.interiorcounselling.com/aaron