I recently made a post on my FaceBook that seems to have offended a lot of people. It inspired me to make a new blog to explain myself.
In my work, I have been told that people trying to express themselves get blown off by loved ones, saying “This is just a trend.” The three things I have heard described as “trends” are the following: self-harm, suicide, and coming out as transgender. My FaceBook post was trying to explain that none of the above are trends. Hear me out…
Transgender: I have mentioned before that people criticize things that they cannot understand, and many people have difficulty understanding the trans community. Therefore, when young people come out as trans, I have heard people say that they are doing so because it’s the latest trend. However, the stories I have heard from the trans community indicate that it is actually incredibly difficult to come out at trans; therefore, I do NOT believe that people do it to fit in or to try to be trendy. I believe that it is stressful to come out as trans, because there is so much criticism out there. In fact, it can be very scary to come out and be something different than the societal norm. People can be very cruel and even violent when they lack understanding. If a person has always lived within societal norms, they can’t really understand what it’s like to be different.
Next up, self-harm: Parents sometimes think that young people hurt themselves, because other kids are doing it. It goes against human instinct to want to hurt oneself; therefore, it’s highly unlikely that a person is hurting themselves to fit in. Most people have described self-harm to me as a release. Sometimes it’s relieving sadness, sometimes anger, sometimes anxiety, but most of the time it is a way of coping with emotional pain. It usually happens when a person does not feel like they have another outlet. Therefore, most of the time self-harm is a sign that someone feels very intensely and isn’t able to express that for various reasons.
Finally, suicide: With the show 13 Reason’s Why coming out, many people started saying that suicide is now trendy. I cannot support that idea, because again, we have survival instincts as humans. To voice a desire to die is a sign of serious distress. To try to move forward with death is even more serious, and to complete the act of killing oneself indicates a total loss of hope for anything. Suicide is definitely part of mental illness, but what people seem to lack understanding for is that most people who feel suicidal don’t believe that things can or will get better. They also tend believe that the world would not miss them, or feel their loss, and they usually feel like death is the only answer for their suffering. In other words, they don’t feel like they have options, or that there’s “plenty of help”, etc.
There are ALWAYS exceptions to the rule, and I certainly don’t want it to seem like I’m speaking for people or lumping everyone into categories. I’m simply trying to offer some perspective based on conversations I’ve had with those I’ve been able to listen to and understand.