self harm for attention

When it comes to the topic of self harm, there are usually two groups of people at war. The first group believes that self harm is something that people do for attention. The second group strongly believes otherwise.

While my experience with self harm consists of desperately hiding my cuts under sleeves and blaming stray cats, I cannot help but wonder –

Is it such a bad thing for someone to self harm for attention? Is it such a bad thing for them to want somebody to notice their suffering, and tell them that they’re not alone? Why should they be shunned for wanting somebody to just be there for them?

When I see people on buses or trains with self harm scars, I usually write them a short note on any piece of paper I have with them. The note usually goes “I saw the cuts on your arm. You’re not alone. Stay strong.”. Sometimes, I slip them the paper just as they’re leaving the train or bus, and I don’t get to see their reactions. Other times, I pass it to them midway through our journey, between stops. They read it, and then they smile. They always smile.

So is it that bad a thing to self harm for attention?

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