Sub-Theme: Advice to Others Who Self Harm

In document What do adolescent natal males choose to tell us about self-harm: a thematic analysis of self-harm vlogs (Page 112-115)

4.7 Theme 6

4.7.1 Sub-Theme: Advice to Others Who Self Harm

Advice against self-harming was unanimous. Not one vlogger recommended that it was ultimately a useful course of action – even though some noted the hypocrisy of this since they themselves were/had been engaged in it. The aim of advice seemed to be to stop others before they became embroiled-

‘Now this may be like controversial me saying, oh if you want to hurt yourself for the first time just don’t. It sounds easy for me to say it, but it’s more easier at that stage than once you start it - Andy

‘You do not want to cut, because I cut really deep and that’s why I’ve got these on’ (vlogger shows bandages on his arms). - Samuel

‘we are capable of amazing things and it would be a shame to spend the finite amount of time you have on this planet hating yourself and cutting yourself’ – Jeff

‘It’s not worth it so don’t start doing that okay? There’s better things out there for you to do than to do that and I’m actually going to talk about those things’ - Mike

I’ve had people say that to me before and I’m like, but you don’t even know what I’m going through so how can you tell me not to self- harm - but trust me – from what I’ve just recently gone through you do not want to cut – Samuel

Some vlogs were posted as a warning to others. As referenced in Theme 3 when talking about the less visible features of self-harm, vloggers warned that once started, the chances were that it would be difficult to stop and that would result in more pain. Self-harming viewers of the vlogs were encouraged to save themselves before it was too late-

‘because if you’re thinking about self-harming for the first time, it’s easier to save yourself from self-harming than it would be if you did

self-harm’ Andy

For those who already found themselves in a similar position to the vloggers, they were advised to stay strong and seek help. Vloggers even tried to deal with the psychological barriers that might make someone reluctant to seek help-

‘I guess what I wanted to say is don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed to do it and don’t feel as though you’ve got to justify why you have to do it to anybody. Just try to remember that it’s not weak to admit that you’re struggling and that you need to talk and you need to let it out’


Vloggers also encouraged their viewers towards self-help. Rich said that whilst it was a good idea to get a counsellor who would help, there were some things that the individual would need to do for himself -

‘So if you’re having troubles get a counsellor’s attention and be like, hey I’m having troubles and the counsellor will help you or will try to help you anyways. They can’t help you with everything – some things you’ll have to do by yourself, which they’ll tell you’

- Rich

‘The best thing you can do is look at yourself and try and better yourself’ – Andy

Vloggers suggested various strategies and approaches that self-harming viewers might use, which had worked for them-

‘having a plan for me helped massively… (here Mattie describes his personal plan)… that for me, having those plans, stuff like that

so, not only obviously finding out what is causing you to feel like that from the beginning, but giving yourself goals to make you happy and doing things that make you happy really, really helped

me and have got me through this and I haven’t been self-harming in about 3 months, and that was a big thing for me over the past 6

months before’ - Mattie

‘and I thought, you know, because I have coped with it for so long I know a lot of techniques and things like that and I want to share

them with you’ – Mike

They tried to give encouragement and engender self-harming viewers to have confidence in themselves to succeed-

It’s just you have to have faith in yourself, not in someone else, just have faith in yourself. And I’m not saying like don’t believe in any religion – that’s up to you, that’s totally up to you and yeah, just just

believe in yourself and you’ll get through it, that’s a promise. You’ll get through it. It’s like you got to put the work in and the work will

pay off in the end – Jeff

‘…in the end you will prevail – just believe in yourself. And and I believe in you – ok’ – Rich

They made encouraging statements and offered themselves as examples of how it was possible to come through self-harm or arrive in a better place for now-

‘Look at me – that I’m proof that you can do it’ - Freddie

‘Look at me …I thought it would never get better and it did’ - Rich

Freddie cross referenced the physiological feedback that seemed so addictive to ‘legitimate activities’ that could give the same or similar relief. As discussed in Theme 3, he described how the pain of getting a tattoo brought thrill and a release.

He also mentioned physical activity – going to the gym and the benefit of physical expenditure as stress release which could be a potential alternative to the perceived physiological benefits of self-harm-

‘It’s like when you go to the gym and get your anger out – you know that’s a release and that’s a safe release’

Whilst some vloggers talked about keeping their behaviour and distress secret, they advocated that viewers should share their experiences and make use of the support networks they had at their disposal-

‘At the end of the day your family love you for who you are, your friends love you for who you are, your work colleagues love you for who you are. They just want you to get better and

you know, you need to speak to them as much as possible because at the end of the day, they’re your social network and

they’re going to be around you 24/7’ - Freddie

There’s other people in the world that have been going through this stuff and they might be able to help - Rich

In document What do adolescent natal males choose to tell us about self-harm: a thematic analysis of self-harm vlogs (Page 112-115)