I cut myself. I have done since I was about 14. I don’t need to go into the reasons why; it’s just a fact to me now. It’s a part of my life, and the life of my family and my partners and my friends. A lot of my friends do it too; they’ve got different problems to me but they deal with it in the same way. It’s actually a kind of perpetual mundanity now; of course it’s deeply distressing, but it’s a distress that I’ve had to get used to.
I’ve tried to stop quite a few times. The longest I went without harming myself was two years, but I soon spiralled again after a stressful few months and haven’t stopped since. It’s put a huge strain on my relationship with my parents, who obviously find it difficult to understand. My boyfriend deals with it pretty perfectly but it, clearly, upsets him. Past relationships have completely deteriorated due to their lack of understanding. Sometimes I get approached by strangers; once, a woman followed me around Tesco after spotting my scars to inform me how the love of Jesus would save me. People on the tube stare without embarrassment. It’s something I’m always uncomfortably aware of.
I’d say it’s not an understatement to claim that mental health and self harm affect my life in a significant way. It dictates pretty much everything, from my relationship with my mother to my fashion choices (long sleeves every day forever, anyone?). At points, I’ve been suicidal.
So, how did I feel when I saw your front cover, which told in excruciating detail how Robin Williams died? I felt triggered. I felt like I wanted to burst into tears on a packed train. In short? I wanted to cut myself.
Your cover was irresponsible and exploitative and probably the cause of a great deal of distress. I’d refer you to the media guidelines on reporting suicide - but I’m sure you’ve already read, and ignored, them.
Because hey, who cares about suicidal or mentally ill people or people who have lost loved ones to suicide.
Great headline, right?