an embarrassing or tactless act or remark in a social situation.
Someone asked me about the title of one of my recent blog posts (WHY “LOOK HOW FAR YOU’VE COME” & “DON’T LET HIM WIN” ARE BECOMING MY NEW PET PEEVES) because they’re two phrases that this person uses with me and I think that they were worried that I’ve been finding them unhelpful and just not telling them. I explained that I understand people – because it isn’t just this person who frequently uses these phrases – always mean well when they say these things and that they’re trying to help but mental health can be a minefield and sometimes, when you hear the same thing over and over again it will, of course, become a pet peeve, change it’s meaning and change its impact.
So, for the record, here’s – what I think are – the top mental health faux pas:
“Self-harm isn’t the answer”
I’m sorry but I don’t recall ever claiming that it was! I had a discussion recently about the other inpatients when I was in the long-term, specialist Hospital and how they had each encouraged one another to self-harm. To the point where one person had snuck in a blade and they had passed it around one another knowing full well what each person would be doing with it. I explained that even though I sometimes find self-harm ‘helpful’ in some way, I would NEVER promote it or encourage others to try to use it as a coping mechanism. One thing I’ve known since I first cut myself - but it’s something I’m only just really learning - is that self-harm can be an addiction. A cycle. When my anti-psychotic medication was reduced and the auditory hallucinations came back, I began self-harming again in response to them and because of that, self-harm has – once again – become my first port of call when I’m struggling. When things happen that are upsetting, rather than attempting to use my Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) coping skills, I’m resorting to self-harm and of course I don’t want to be constantly in and out of hospital, covered in scars and bandages, so I’ve wracked my brain trying to think of what really got me out of the cycle last time. And it was being admitted to a psychiatric hospital. But I was determined that it isn’t going to take something like that to help me; I can do it myself! I hate the feeling of being out of control so I lassoed all of the energy I have left and I’m very proud – and relieved – to say, that it’s been seven days since I last self-harmed; which is the longest period for the last five months!