There can be few things more distressing for a parent or guardian then when their child becomes so unhappy or upset that they feel compelled to self-harm. It is therefore deeply worrying that more and more children and teenagers in this country are being hospitalised after deliberately hurting themselves.
A warning isn't synonymous with creating 'Generation Snowflake', it's giving autonomy. An alcoholic can choose not to walk into a pub as they're signposted, a soldier with PTSD can choose to avoid a fireworks display if the explosions traumatise them with memories of war, someone influenced by online content deserves to choose what they see before clicking.
As I share my story, I am finding that I am so far from alone. That there are a lot of other adults out there who are using self-harm to manage their thoughts and feelings too. Some of them have done it since childhood - or like me have reverted to a coping mechanism of old. Others have discovered self-harm as a fully fledged adult.
I am not justifying it as a good thing to do whatsoever, it is an unhealthy coping strategy that needs to be talked about and treated to find alternative ways of managing difficult feelings that are not so damaging. Still, you can't find an alternative until you know what purpose self-harm serves in general or for you personally, so here goes...
Self harming can become an addiction, this is something many people don't understand. The feelings you get from releasing your sadness, anger, distress into the self harm becomes addictive. It becomes a need. I have been addicted to drugs and alcohol and self harm has been far harder to kick than either of these.
Fortunately, things have moved on somewhat from my own school days. We have a far better understanding of self-harm and eating disorders - unfortunately that's at least in part due to a huge increase in prevalence in both conditions which has forced us to learn, fast, and taught us some difficult lessons along the way.