How Self-Harm Personal Stories Support Recovery
Sharing personal stories about self-harm can be powerfully restorative for audiences and storytellers alike. Here's how they can help—and how to make sure your self-harm personal stories, should you choose to share them, are helpful too.
How Sharing Self-Harm Personal Stories Promotes Healing
Reading someone else's self-harm personal stories of coping and recovery can be incredibly motivating and empowering. Such stories remind us that we are not alone, that healing is possible, that relapse is not the end of the journey, and that you don't have to be perfect to make progress. This is especially important if you're in a position where you feel you cannot yet speak to anyone directly about what you're going through.
However, sharing your personal self-harm recovery stories can also help you heal. For me, writing publicly about self-injury has been a challenging but ultimately cathartic experience. There's something just plain magical about being able to transform something as difficult as a history of self-harm into fuel that can be used to help others heal.
Even if you don't want people to know about your self-harm, however, you can share your journey in other ways. Making art, making up stories, composing music, or volunteering—these are all ways in which you can secretly work through the healing process while helping others.
Tips for Sharing Your Personal Self-Harm Stories
I won't say that every self-harm personal story you share has to be an uplifting, motivational sermon to be worthwhile because that's blatantly untrue. Sugarcoating a difficult situation isn't helpful at all, for you or for the people with whom you choose to share your story. It makes things seem easy that aren't and can be demotivating and alienating for anyone who knows exactly how challenging recovery can be.
However, it's also unhelpful to overshare certain things. For instance, you'll notice I rarely discuss specific self-harm methods on the blog. This is for a few reasons, but it's mainly because such details can be triggering; it's best not to include such details unless they are truly necessary to the topic you're discussing.
One more thing—it's important, I think, to include an element of hope. Again, I'm not saying that you should end every story with, "and then I lived happily ever after." But if you're sharing your story with others, you should always keep your audience in mind. With personal self-harm stories, the primary thing your audience is looking for (whether they know it or not) is hope.
The person hearing or reading your story wants to know how you cope because they want to learn how to do it, too. They want to know you got better because they want to get better. Even if you're still actively self-harming or have just relapsed, that doesn't mean you don't have anything to contribute. This is the perfect time to remind others (and yourself) that even if you're not "in recovery" right now, that option isn't out of reach.
Help is available. Recovery is possible. Tell yourself that, and tell it to others too, as often as you can; it's vital to remember but all too easy to forget.
Kim Berkley (2022, March 24). How Self-Harm Personal Stories Support Recovery, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, September 23 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2022/3/how-self-harm-personal-stories-support-recovery