If you are experiencing or have a history of self-harm and/or suicide, please skip this post. You’re not the primary target audience for this one.
Back when the tv show “13 Reasons Why” first came out and there was a backlash from psychologists, parents etc., I thought to myself, “Pfft….just chill, what’s the big deal? As if a tv show would make me want to kill myself!” I avoided watching the show because of all that hype and it’s also high-school-ish. But then there was a period a few months ago when I was dealing with suicidal thoughts and I thought maybe watching a tv show about a suicidal teen could make me feel less lonely, at least someone understands what it’s like.
Well, I was okay with all the conversation around suicide but the one thing that I had problem with the most is them showing how the suicide was carried out. As someone who cuts herself, I find every single scene on tv or online images of self-cutting as…grotesque. Are the tv producers/creators trying to send some kind of message by including that scene? Or was it merely for impact? I also remember from a tv show a while back where the characters were talking about the right way to cut your wrist if you want to kill yourself. Before watching that tv show, I wouldn’t have known that the method of cutting yourself actually matters when it comes to suicide, but thanks for giving me that information! Now I know how to do it the right way if the time ever comes!
When I think of suicide, I imagine overdose, jumping in front of the train, go to the beach late at night and drown myself in the deep blue sea, but the only two times I ever came close to suicide, was just me trying to overdose on my anti-depressants (which is not much of an attempt, really). But then I watched this other tv show, and it showed in detail how this guy hung himself from the door. And guess what? The next time I had suicidal thoughts, I thought of hanging myself, because now I know how it can be done. And newsflash, you can even do it without a rope! There’s an accessory at home that can just do the deeds! Previously I just assumed that hanging myself would require a high ceiling with sturdy stuff to hook a rope onto, so I never bothered, I was too lazy to think of the mechanics etc. Yet now, I know that hanging is an option. Seems pretty easy too. And the news that covered my favourite rock star’s suicide, Chester Bennington? They also described how it was done, right? Similar method was used by Chris Cornell. So there’s some kind of statistics out there that tell me that this method is pretty successful.
I don’t sit around searching for the best way to effectively kill myself , yet somehow, these information was just handed to me for free. When I have suicidal thoughts or almost acted on them, they’re always impulsive. The reason I’m not dead yet is because I didn’t know how to kill myself properly. I never have reached that planning stage to make it so perfect and fail-proof. Even when I reached the stage of writing a suicide note, the intention just faded away in time. But now? Impulse and already armed with information? Well, that impulse could easily lead to my death. So now I need to be a lot stronger in dealing with my impulse because if I slip up, I could just be done once and for all, even when it wasn’t my truest intention.
The real reason I’m writing this post though is because I have cut myself on impulse on last Friday night. In front of my partner when we were arguing. I have never cut in front of someone before. She cried seeing all that blood running down my thigh. The last time I cut was around April this year (wasn’t so serious). Ironically, I recently just thought to myself that I was doing well coping without self-harming. Then, that night happened.
You also know what else I had been doing the last few days? I was watching a murder-mystery tv show. The main character had been self-harming and her WHOLE BODY was full of scars and there were plenty of scenes of her cutting herself. I just found those scenes revolting but didn’t actually think it would have any impact on me. Why would I cut myself after reacting so negatively towards a character hurting herself?
And yet that’s what happened. Was it a mere coincidence that I ended up cutting myself during an argument with my partner on the same day I finished watching this tv show? Was it a coincidence that out of all the spots I’ve cut before, I chose my thigh on an impulse? When I was on Facebook the day before I hurt myself, a friend of mine who is an avid cyclist posted pictures of a cyclist with a big wound on his thigh from a cycling accident, the post wanted to point out that cyclists endure pain or whatever. Surely it’s harmless, right? Back to the tv show, there was a scene where blood was running down the character’s leg from the wound she had inflicted on her thigh. Huh, that scene from the tv became a scene from my life on that night. The night when my thigh wouldn’t stop bleeding and I had to walk from one room to another, trying to apologise to my partner for exposing her to that, while trying to prevent the blood from dripping onto the carpet and floor. Well, some of them did…and now I’ve got a blood-stained rug. After about 12 years of on-and-off self-harm episodes in my life, this was the worst cut I’ve inflicted upon myself. And I hate myself for creating that big wound. I never had to see a doctor for my cuts before but for this one, I was so worried that it still looked terrible a couple of days later that I frantically searched for a clinic that’d be open on a Sunday.
Did the tv show silently seep into my sub-conscious in a way? Did my brain capture some kind of a lesson from the show that when the character experiences pain, she cuts herself? So the next time I was in distress, my brain conjured up the most recent lesson it learnt on how to deal with emotional pain, and so I followed it blindly in my most irrational state.
Or am I just pointing the finger to the media for my plight. Just for the sake of blaming someone else and relinquishing any responsibility for my own actions? I was already down in the dump, but towards the end of last week, I somehow managed to spark a tiny bit of motivation and hope, I was on the way to going up high, picking myself up, and then BAM, i pushed that “self-sabotage” button. Perhaps the tv show has nothing to do with it, perhaps it would have happened with or without the tv show.
I went over my diary and ironically, the last time I hurt myself (punched the wall out of anger) was exactly a month ago. And there was a similar pattern, I was down for a while, then I had a few days of starting to feel good again and then the incident happened. After a big break (few months) from punching walls, it happened when I was climbing up from my deep dark depression hole. And usually the pain and bruises and the swell would subside after about a week but up until this day, I could still feel a lingering pain and there’s still a bulge that doesn’t seem to be going away, so did I finally mini-fracture my knuckle? I know that didn’t come from any tv show.
So which one is it? I wouldn’t know.