I speak to many mothers who self-harm, some burn themselves, some punch, some bite their arms while others cut and mutilate their body in some way. The one thing I have learned is that most are desperately trying to stop and as prevention they have sought release in something as simple as an elastic band.
I received this inbox earlier today;
Emma please help, I am so worried. I was dropping my son off at school today and in the playground I guy I have known for years saw the elastic bands around my wrist. He admitted that he too uses them to stop himself harming, he knows my secret. I am so afraid that others will too.
I spent time reassuring this mother that what she was doing was normal and in fact a great thing, instead of cutting her body to shreds as she usually does, she instead pinged the elastic bands.
I explained that I was very proud of her; stopping self-harming is no easy task. This mother no longer wants to cut and if pinging elastic bands across her wrists helps her and then I agreed it’s a benefit to her.
I did some research on self-harming and the use of elastic bands and was sad to see some making comments that this only portrayed even more body mutilation.
I have bipolar and I struggle, I wear a elasticated bracelet that one of my daughters made me for me, a cheap and tacky bracelet that has ten stars attached to it. I wear that bracelet and when I feel I cannot cope, become anxious or feel fear I snap that bracelet against my wrist and it stops me and gives me time to change the way I am thinking or at least remind myself.
Those little stars remind me I am still that big bright shining star; I am just a little dusty at the moment.
If pinging an elastic band helps what is the issue here? Because “normal” people don’t do this? The thought of someone wearing a band confuses you? If so I advise you go and research self harming before passing judgement.
My only warning to those who do this or try this is the elastic band is NOT there to because you pain, it is not too tight that it digs into or burns your wrists. You ping it to remind yourself, you use it as a prevention not to cut, not to deliberately cause yourself pain.
What we do not want to happen is to become addicted to snapping these bands, these are to be used to prevent not replace.
This mother has thanked me and agreed that she will be visiting her family doctor and finally feels able to speak out about what she does.
Many believe snapping elastic bands is too a form of self-harm, I believe even if it is, it’s less dangerous and less risky to a self-harmer, therefore I agree it’s a good thing to do.
I await your own opinions ….