Author Topic: Looking for consultation on self-harm and Social Identity  (Read 5610 times)

0 Members and 4 Guests are viewing this topic.

Offline selfharm_and_identity

  • Researcher
  • First posts
  • *
  • Posts: 6
Looking for consultation on self-harm and Social Identity
« on: April 30, 2024, 02:25:42 PM »
Hi all!

Thanks to the admin team for letting me post on this forum.

About me: I'm a psychology researcher studying at the University of Oxford. I’m in the process of developing a study on self-harm and I would love to have some input on it from the people on this forum.

A little about the study: it aims to investigate the effect on wellbeing of seeing yourself as part of a community or group of people who self-harm. There are an increasing number of supportive communities and social groups centred around self-harm. Many of these communities are on social media sites, such as Instagram, Twitter or Tumblr. It's possible that some individuals involved in these communities may come to understand their identity partly through their membership of these social groups. My aim is to investigate whether having a social identity related to these kinds of groups could have positive effects, negative effects, or a combination of positive and negative effects.

Before going ahead with this study, however, I would really like to consult with some people or organisations with particular knowledge of this topic. In particular, I really want to ascertain whether the idea of a "self-harm community" or "self-harm identity" as described above is something which actually resonates with people who self-harm, or whether it is not really something which most people who self-harm would recognise. If it is something which is recognisable, then I am interested in seeing what the accurate term or term(s) for such a community would be.

If you have any kind of view on this topic, please feel free to reply to this post or DM me. Alternatively, if you'd like to have a more involved 1-to-1 conversation, please drop me a line and we can set up a chat. I'm able to pay a consultation fee of £15/hour for the latter option. Thanks for taking the time to read this!

Best wishes,
Guan

Offline Vermilion

  • 18+
  • Usually here
  • ***
  • Posts: 5231
Re: Looking for consultation on self-harm and Social Identity
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2024, 05:12:44 PM »
I'd describe self harm as a symptom rather than an identity. For an identity to revolve around self harm would be akin to an identity surrounding diabetes; I have diabetes but that's not who I am. I use this forum to communicate with others who understand the struggles rather than forming an identity.

I think that forming an identity linked to self harm would detrimental. People may continue to self harm and not get the treatment that they need out of fear of losing their identity. A pro recovery forum is very different in that regard, some users here haven't self harmed in years and others may not be harming at all but seek understanding of it.
Rabbits are better than people

Offline selfharm_and_identity

  • Researcher
  • First posts
  • *
  • Posts: 6
Re: Looking for consultation on self-harm and Social Identity
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2024, 02:13:57 PM »
Hi Vermilion,

Thanks for your response, that makes sense to me and I can see how having that kind of identity could have potentially tricky consequences.

Would you say on your time on this forum that you've met people whose identity was linked to self-harm? Is this a recognisable phenomenon do you think, or not really?

Best wishes,
Guan

Offline kat45

  • 18+
  • Bronze Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 70
Re: Looking for consultation on self-harm and Social Identity
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2024, 07:29:02 PM »
Using this forum has help me since i started to self harm last yr and if wasnt for my support worker recommending this forum i wouldnt been able to connect with other poeple in a safe way and i never knew that other people self harmed and i thouht i was alone.

Offline Vermilion

  • 18+
  • Usually here
  • ***
  • Posts: 5231
Re: Looking for consultation on self-harm and Social Identity
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2024, 04:31:27 PM »
Would you say on your time on this forum that you've met people whose identity was linked to self-harm? Is this a recognisable phenomenon do you think, or not really?

Best wishes,
Guan

I've personally never come across any users here that would feel like self harm is linked in any way to their identity. Users here, it seems to me, are generally trying to stop self harm, or at least minimise it, and are seeking support from others who are struggling with it. That's really all it is, it's simply peer support. In fact, I've talked to a few people who dislike terms such as 'self harmer' because it implies that its a part of who we are rather than just something we do to cope with whatever the underlying issues are. Many prefer phrasing along the lines of 'person who self harms' rather than a term like 'self harmer'.

I can imagine that some people may see it as part of their identity, but they'd probably join a pro self harm community whereas this forum is pro recovery. This is just speculation though, I have never used a pro self harm forum, but have stumbled upon them from time to time. They probably still exist somewhere but I have no interest in joining one.
Rabbits are better than people

Offline selfharm_and_identity

  • Researcher
  • First posts
  • *
  • Posts: 6
Re: Looking for consultation on self-harm and Social Identity
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2024, 01:13:21 PM »
Using this forum has help me since i started to self harm last yr and if wasnt for my support worker recommending this forum i wouldnt been able to connect with other poeple in a safe way and i never knew that other people self harmed and i thouht i was alone.

That's really great to hear. I guess that must be one of the most valuable aspects of having a community like this! I wonder if there's anyone else here that would also speak to this?

Online purplebutterfly

  • 18+
  • Usually here
  • ***
  • Posts: 678
Re: Looking for consultation on self-harm and Social Identity
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2024, 01:19:44 PM »
Only comment I have is to agree with Vermilion whole heartedly.
“Pooh began to feel a little more comfortable, because when you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and other people look at it.”

Offline selfharm_and_identity

  • Researcher
  • First posts
  • *
  • Posts: 6
Re: Looking for consultation on self-harm and Social Identity
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2024, 01:21:10 PM »

I've personally never come across any users here that would feel like self harm is linked in any way to their identity. Users here, it seems to me, are generally trying to stop self harm, or at least minimise it, and are seeking support from others who are struggling with it. That's really all it is, it's simply peer support. In fact, I've talked to a few people who dislike terms such as 'self harmer' because it implies that its a part of who we are rather than just something we do to cope with whatever the underlying issues are. Many prefer phrasing along the lines of 'person who self harms' rather than a term like 'self harmer'.

I can imagine that some people may see it as part of their identity, but they'd probably join a pro self harm community whereas this forum is pro recovery. This is just speculation though, I have never used a pro self harm forum, but have stumbled upon them from time to time. They probably still exist somewhere but I have no interest in joining one.

Really useful. I'll be sure to use something like "person who self harms" rather than "self harmer" if the study does go ahead.

Also really useful about the distinction between pro self-harm communities and pro recovery. I have read quite a bit about pro self-harm communities and that was part of what formed the basis of this study, but like you I have never personally used one. I think a lot of social media sites are trying to crack down on them due to increasing awareness of "online harms". But it seems like it could be useful to speak to some people who are part of these communities too to get their perspective.

Offline selfharm_and_identity

  • Researcher
  • First posts
  • *
  • Posts: 6
Re: Looking for consultation on self-harm and Social Identity
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2024, 01:23:28 PM »
Only comment I have is to agree with Vermilion whole heartedly.

Thanks Purplebutterfly!

Online Axia

  • 18+
  • Usually here
  • ***
  • Posts: 1152
  • May dragons take flight in your dreams tonight...
Re: Looking for consultation on self-harm and Social Identity
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2024, 04:51:42 PM »
Hi, I'm just kind of echoing so I'm sorry if this is pointless. I used to be called 'a self harmer' and I got so used to it that I felt like it was my identity but I didn't like it because I feel I am more. I did alot to get away from this 'identity' such as keeping my cuts and scars covered at all times because if I don't people tend to talk to my arms and really trying my best to keep control of myself when in public. Then once in hospital a nurse asked me how long I'd been 'self mutilating' for! I was really angry at this nurse and this 'term' but I realised that I'm probably not going to get away from this, because of my history, because of my scars, because of my hospital notes, so now I am more honest with people but I don't call myself a self harmer, I don't ever like to meet people for the first time with my scars showing due to problems I mentioned earlier, I like to meet people so I can talk to them first about other things, things that I like, things I don't like it, things I'm good at and good exciting things I've done in the past, none of which includes my self harm because that's not me, that's just a part of me because of my illnesses and experiences.

I like it here because it's supportive and I don't consider anyone here a 'self harmer'. I consider them people who like me have been through bad things and for whatever reason has found self harm a coping strategy. I know how difficult and isolating life can be especially for people who self harm and I have experience of that and I like to try and help people to get through it if I can.

Everyone here is so much more and has so much more to give. I don't know anyone here in real life but I consider them friends.
Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light; I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night. x