Self-directed violence (SDV) appears, to most people, as an “insane” behavior, an indication of some grievous psychiatric disorder. If all you consider is the actual behavior then I suppose this makes sense. But you would be wrong. And that mistaken judgment, due to lack of understanding, could greatly hurt the person living with SDV in much deeper ways than any physical harm someone has done to themselves.
So now I might sound crazy too, right? But here is what I have learned from my own journey and, most importantly, from listening to people from around much of the world for over 30 years… SDV is a survival strategy, sometimes a very effective one, at least for the time being. It serves a purpose often much more important than caring about the repercussions of what happens to the body. And that is not “crazy.” You do what you need to do to survive. When you have other options you may or may not use them instead of SDV. When survival begins to transform to healing you might not need SDV any longer.
In these weekly posts I will present brief accounts of learnings I have had, many thoughts and opinions, and likely some rants. In the meantime I will begin to build this web site with more resources, especially the voices of people who have lived with SDV. I encourage you to deeply listen to their words to understand what might be difficult to comprehend – that picking up a razor, a lighter, a hammer, to use on one’s own body has a purpose. Actually, there are many purposes to SDV, and I will explore these. For now please understand that you might not be understanding if you simply consider self-harm as crazy. It certainly might appear that way so let’s see it as “crazy with a purpose.” And pursue a path of compassionate understanding. Whether you are the person living with SDV or not there can certainly be no overabundance of compassionate understanding on this topic. Right?
I want to write on and one, but promised to keep this short and begin loading more information as the weeks move on in this new year. So let’s ponder… what is it that people who need SDV, at least for a while, are surviving? There is a common denominator, a common human experience that we survivors share… to be discussed next week.