Forget the 150 people who died in a an apparent murder-suicide on board a Germanwings flight, or the pain and turmoil being felt throughout the IS region; apparently the most devastating news is that a young man has left a pop band. In response to this users of a internet forum called 4chan began a twitter hashtag called ‘cut4Zayn’. Part of my anger is directed at this. Self-harm is a serious symptom and whilst I agree there are a lot of over-dramatic upset teenagers right now, this is not the way to make light of them. I have self harmed and for me it was a good coping mechanism. I made sure I never cut wide or deep and that I always sterilise my blade with a flame. Many people who self harm do not do it as safely as I did and many people escalate and spiral from it. It is worth pointing out that Zayn is not dead – he’s just left a boyband. Did people react like this with Ronan Keating or Robbie Williams or John Lennon?
|Tweets featuring the hashtag and total retweets at 3pm on 26th March|
The hashtag trended worldwide reaching between 8 and 8.5 million twitter users and millions more through the mainstream media who This means that people either found it funny and retweeted it or, and this angers and worries me more, that people retweeted because they felt so upset about this young man that they actually wanted to cut themselves. At the time of writing this post (24hrs after the news broke) the hashtag had been used 1,500 times by 615 users on Twitter alone but there is one redeeming feature.
Once it became clear that the majority of tweets were not actually encouraging self-harm, many people used the hashtag to debate the topic of mental health openly slamming the jokes being made and publically offering support to those who do self harm. The UK mental health charity, Mind, said in a press statement: "Self-harm is an incredibly serious problem and should never be trivialised. We urge those using Twitter or other social media sites at this time not to engage with posts that promote harmful behaviour, and to report any activity that causes them concern.”
|Self=harm isn't a joke|
SCARS STAY FOREVER
If you feel the need to self-harm then I understand and whilst we would all prefer it if you didn’t – I am not going to physically stop you. All I ask is that you do it safely (clean equipment, have a first aid kit ready etc) and that if it is becoming too much then it is time to talk. We all have people we can reach out to whether it is the ‘big brother’ figure I try to be at my local drama club or a mental health campaigner on Twitter; a charity like Samaritans or Mind and for youngsters there is Childline. All of these people are wanting to help and not to judge. There are better ways of coping - I promise you.
In my own personal mental health journey, I have not heard back from the Bi-polar interview thing that happened around a month ago – you can read about it in my blog. I have sent emails to different people and I guess I am going to have to force myself to call them. Generally speaking I feel that my mental health has been better since I have been on these meds. My normal tickover was at zero on the happy scale but now is on 2-3 out of 5. Before I would of described my manic silly moments as 5-6 out of 5 but I seem to be hitting 5 more and more often. As long as I am not irritating anyone, I quite like this. I have still had my wobbles but nothing as bad as you have seen in this blog over the past 6 months. I guess a simple musical metaphor would be that my emotional state has transposed up the scale.
Before I leave you this week, I would like to direct you to my YouTube channel where we are trialing live broadcasts *gulps* and Off The Radar will be live this Sunday night for a night of comedy and fun with Radar Live: Watching Wrestlemania 2015. It will be… erm… interesting.
Feel free to tweet me with feedback and comments – do you like our comedy podcast? Are you self-harming? What is BIDMAS? Or share your #mentalhealth journey.
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