Self Injury Awareness Day (SIAD) occurs each year on the first of March. It is an internationally recognized event that was founded to draw attention to those who inflict self harm— so that the people who partake in this act are better understood, and can find a way to cope and subsist. It is important to remember that these victims are, in fact, victims to their own emotions and should be treated like every other human being. Too often are self-injury survivors made out to be stereotypically depressed, asocial, volatile and so on. This isn’t a trend. The most stable, seemingly exuberant person you know could also be harboring a grief greater than you could understand. The glorification of self-injuring acts through certain books, television shows, and songs (etc) are damaging to not only those who truly know what it means to experience such pain, but also to others who are trying to understand what causes a person to go to such lengths in order to feel better.
For those of us who have inflicted self-harm in the past, or are currently struggling with a relapse, remind yourself that you are worth more than your scars. I cannot say that your pain is only temporary, for each person is vastly different than another, but you DO have the power to take control of your body again. It will be hard, but allow close friends and family to help you. You don’t have to seek the aid, but don’t fight it. They only want to see you not suffering. If that isn’t enough, I can speak from experience that the best motivator during a state of depression can be your own voice. Think about all that which you’ve done, and all of what you can do. We see you. And you are not alone in this battle.
Originally, I had planned to provide a lengthy list of (mostly YA) books that deal with self injury or depression. I spent a good few hours pouring over GoodReads and other blogger’s recommendations for novels of the such, but not even a few minutes into writing up my post I realized how wrong it felt. As I’ve stated before, I have a history with self injury. This was years ago, and I am proud to declare that I’ve been healthier and happier ever since. I should also state that I’m not an ardent fan of contemporary as I am fantasy/sci-fi, and most books that include self injury are contemporary. Thus, I’ve only truly read a few, and that was such a long time ago that I can barely remember what I had read— only that it made an impact. That being said, I could easily recommend the books I’ve read and declare them “novels that teach you how to cope with self injury.” But then I would be lying.
We all have different opinions on the matter, but personally I feel as though most of these books work counter productively towards those who deal with self harm. Why read about someone else’s painful story when you are going through your own? I find it very triggering, and as of present we still do not include trigger warnings in books of any kind. Perhaps this seems like a reach to you, and I can see how, but let me rephrase this. Someone who is seeking help via a book about a character going through similar situations won’t necessarily find solace in a fictional person who is bringing up all of the reader’s repressed emotions and paranoia. Now, I am certain there are books out there that are written wonderfully and truly can help a reader deal with their illness, however I would feel terribly hypocritical to recommend books that I personally have not read to someone who is putting their trust in my hands with an ailment that directly impacts their life.
Although, there is one book that I can safely say will empower you.
Rather, the book of poems by acclaimed feminist and poet, Rupi Kaur, titled Milk and Honey, has a section that deals entirely with healing. So instead of reviewing her book right here (which I have done before: the full review can be found under my review section of the blog), I’m going to paste some of my favorite quotes/ poems created by her.
“stay strong through your pain
grow flowers from it
you have helped me
grow flowers out of mine so
however you need
“what is stronger than the human heart which shatters over and over and still lives”
“if you were born with the weakness to fall you were born with the strength to rise”
“most importantly love
like it’s the only thing you know how
at the end of the day all this
where you’re sitting
nothing even matters
except love and human connection
who you loved
and how deeply you loved them
how you touched the people around you
and how much you gave them”
“do not look for healing
at the feet of those
who broke you”
“it was when I stopped searching for home within others and lifted the foundations of home within myself I found there were no roots more intimate than those between a mind and body that have decided to be whole.”
“the world gives you so much pain and here you are making gold out of it -”
is not about how many people
like your work
if your heart likes your work
if your soul likes your work
it’s about how honest
you are with yourself
“you tell me to quiet down cause
my opinions make me less beautiful
but i was not made with a fire in my belly
so i could be put out
i was not made with a lightness on my tongue
i was made heavy
half blade and half silk
difficult to forget and not easy
for the mind to follow”
“I want to apologize to all the women I have called beautiful before I’ve called them intelligent or brave.
I am sorry I made it sound as though something as simple as what you’re born with is all you have to be proud of when you have broken mountains with your wit.
From now on I will say things like you are resilient, or you are extraordinary not because I don’t think you’re beautiful, but because I need you to know you are more than that.”