Tw: “self-harm”, suicide: self-harm & self-destruction are inaccurate & moralizing terms re mental illness

This is archiving a Twitter thread I wrote

[suicide, “self-harm”]
Possibly hot take:

I really don’t like words like self-harm & self-destruction when talking abt mental illness. Ppl are learning to say dying by suicide instead of committing suicide [as if it was a sin/crime] to highlight it as due to a medical issue. 1/

Saying “self-harm” seems to imply both choice & an intent to harm & that’s not it when it comes to mental illness. It’s a symptom of a medical issue just like many other symptoms such as depression related fatigue. That fatigue is not volitional either. 2/

I think speaking abt self-harm & broadly self-destruction is another way of moralizing symptoms of medical conditions.

Also just wildly inaccurate abt intent/goal


Ex. When I’ve personally engaged in behaviors labeled as “self harm” it’s almost always impulsive bc I feel physically agitated & the goal is to release that energy not “harm” myself.



Alternatively I’ve been background aware of gating mechanisms for pain in the brain. Add impulsivity & I’ve basically changed my mind’s focus from emotional pain to physical pain. The intent was to help tolerate emotional pain not cause “harm”


Since the impact can be physically harmful tho not necessarily the intent, I think prob something like maladaptive emotional regulation or something would be a better label. Possibly psych HCPs already call it that idk.


Either way “self-harm” is an inaccurate label for many ppl & adds to moralizing of mental illness symptoms


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s