Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Public speaking about self injury - the begining

So how the heck did I end up being a public figure who talks about self injury? Me, super shy, eccentric nut who doesn't even feel connected to the human race.

It can be tracked back to my late twenties.  It was post therapy. I was enrolled in abnormal psychology in college and in the text book, they had a few paragraphs about self injury.


A few WRONG paragraphs about self injury.

It rubbed me the wrong way that this miss information was being taught to  students who would go on to treat clients who self injured.

Why were "professionals" making guesses and drafting theories about SI. I remember wondering why don't they just ask the self injurers?

We had to do a project. Our choices were a paper or a 10 min presentation. I choose to do a 10 min presentation on SIV. (self inflicted violence) I boiled all my knowledge on the subject down and calmed my nerves and waited to present my speech.

I had consciously chosen to wear 3/4 sleeves that day to hide my scars. I wanted the talk to focus on the topic not my scars. I didn't want the talk to be a show and tell...and have the focus shift from the reasons why people self injure to the scars.

People tend to see self injury scars and respond with "ooh that person is crazy!"

I didn't want them to go into my talk already judging me as being crazy.

As class started I was the second presenter. When it was my turn I began by announcing my topic and asking for a show of hands of everyone who had never self injured. I then asked them to put their hands down if they had ever gotten a tattoo or a piercing, and kept listing things, scratched a bug bit till it bled, slapped their face in anger, bit there lip, punched a wall in anger, had more then one sun burn.... until all the hands were down.

"You have all self injured. Lets look at how this behavior gets escalated to the other end of the spectrum, of cutting , burning, bone breaking, self surgery."

At that point I said launched into a condensed, raw look at self injury.

At the end of my 10 minutes the teacher opened it up for questions.

and for the next FORTY minutes I answered questions and discussed in more detail self injury. The hunger for more info touched me. People spoke up and asked for help "My niece cuts...what can we do to help her?"

Near the end I pushed back my sleeves and fessed up to being a person who lives with SIV. Which, by the looks of some people caught them off guard. It started another round of questions.

We went waaaaay over the allotted time. The professor called an end to the talk just moments before class was dismissed.

I got an A+

More then that I got a boost to my self esteem. It was a huge push to my soul that would lead me to be more open and reach out to other self injurers. That lecture was my turning point. My ground zero. I was now an teacher/advocate  on the subject.


  1. Did you intend to write this:
    "doesn't even feel connected to the human face"

    Or did you intend to write "race".

    Just curious.

    1. isn't that an interesting Freudian slip!
      It was meant to be "race."
      That is the blurry vison I experiencing at play.... it's affecting my typing. I can't clearly see my keyboard or the screen.