I Self-Injure

I chose the episode about self-harm, because it’s in addiction that I would say is a psychological illness. The episode follows three girls. 2 of the girls cut themselves and the other one has trichotillomania (pulling out hair or pubic hair), and they all had depression. The episode uses restitution narratives, but it also uses a little bit of quest narrative as well. Throughout the episode, the girls were mentioning how they can’t keep self-harming, that they needed to be cured of it. It’s also a quest narrative because all the girls had motives to stop harming themselves. For example, one girl wanted to stop cutting because she was about to become a mother. Another girl wanted to stop because she was going to be in a sorority and she didn’t want them to reject her for her cuts.

The way that our culture views people who self-harm and the way they stigmatize them is similar to the way that others were categorized in other lessons for this week, such as the women with fibromyalgia. Although it doesn’t explicitly say in the episode, a lot of people in our culture think that people self-harm for attention. They don’t see it as being a medical condition, or linked to a medical attention, they simply think it’s just a cry for help. However, this episode illustrates that it’s not just a cry for help, but an illness that these women are suffering through.

The girls who went to professionals usually saw therapists. All three of them went to their therapists and would tell them how much of a struggle it was to not self-harm, and how they always get the urges. The therapists usually responded by using encouraging words, saying they needed to stop, whether it be for their friends, for their families. The girl with trichotillomania went to a 5 day therapy session, where she would look in the mirror and be faced with the urge to pull her hair out. The therapist would then ask her to rate her anxiety as she got the urge, and the longer she sat in front of the mirror, the better her anxiety got.

The sick roles of these girls were very much like the model described. They acknowledged they were abnormal, and all three of them sought out help from a professional. It didn’t directly mention any leaves or deterrence of responsibility, but their depression often resulted in them doing irresponsible things, such as heavy underage drinking, or not being able to form proper social groups because of their anxiety.

I chose the episode about self-harm, because it’s in addiction that I would say is a psychological illness. The episode follows three girls. 2 of the girls cut themselves and the other one has trichotillomania (pulling out hair or pubic hair), and they all had depression. The episode uses restitution narratives, but it also uses a little bit of quest narrative as well. Throughout the episode, the girls were mentioning how they can’t keep self-harming, that they needed to be cured of it. It’s also a quest narrative because all the girls had motives to stop harming themselves. For example, one girl wanted to stop cutting because she was about to become a mother. Another girl wanted to stop because she was going to be in a sorority and she didn’t want them to reject her for her cuts.

The way that our culture views people who self-harm and the way they stigmatize them is similar to the way that others were categorized in other lessons for this week, such as the women with fibromyalgia. Although it doesn’t explicitly say in the episode, a lot of people in our culture think that people self-harm for attention. They don’t see it as being a medical condition, or linked to a medical attention, they simply think it’s just a cry for help. However, this episode illustrates that it’s not just a cry for help, but an illness that these women are suffering through.

The girls who went to professionals usually saw therapists. All three of them went to their therapists and would tell them how much of a struggle it was to not self-harm, and how they always get the urges. The therapists usually responded by using encouraging words, saying they needed to stop, whether it be for their friends, for their families. The girl with trichotillomania went to a 5 day therapy session, where she would look in the mirror and be faced with the urge to pull her hair out. The therapist would then ask her to rate her anxiety as she got the urge, and the longer she sat in front of the mirror, the better her anxiety got.

The sick roles of these girls were very much like the model described. They acknowledged they were abnormal, and all three of them sought out help from a professional. It didn’t directly mention any leaves or deterrence of responsibility, but their depression often resulted in them doing irresponsible things, such as heavy underage drinking, or not being able to form proper social groups because of their anxiety.

The illness narrative plays an important role in our society because without it, we wouldn’t really know what a person was feeling. For example in the episode, the therapist wouldn’t have known how the girl with trichotillomania was feeling if she wasn’t expressing her anxiety using the anxiety scale. No one is able to know what the other person is feeling. Even if they had or have an illness like theirs, they never usually take the same mental or physical toll on a person. Also, attitude plays a big part in narratives and the way people cope. in the blog about the woman with fibromyalgia, it’s clear that she uses a lot of humor throughout the post. I think she does this to try and cope with it and actually make people read and understand instead of assuming her illness ins’t real and that she’s just whining about it. (Fibromyalgia + The Type “A” Personality = Chaos, Frustration and Near Insanity!, 2010). Also, when examining the placebo effect, despite it having no medical value, people usually felt better because their attitude got better. They didn’t know the placebo pill didn’t have any medicinal value, but they thought it did, thus believing that the pill was actually making them better. It also works with surgery, as shown in the video Placebo: Cracking the Code (2011), a Korean War veteran underwent a placebo surgery for his knee and felt better despite the surgery having no healing value. They also use spiritual placebos as well, such as cognitive exercises or even religious rituals. In nearly every instance, every person began to feel better, regardless of the fact that a placebo was being used. (Placebo: Cracking the Code, 2011).

 

“Fibromyalgia The Type “A” Personality= Chaos, Frustration and Near Insanity!.” Blog Her (blog), March 16, 2010. http://www.blogher.com/fibromyalgia-type-personality-chaos-frustration-and-near-insanity?page=full (accessed July 26, 2013).

Harrison, Jemima. “Placebo: Cracking the Code” Recorded 2002. Youtube. Web, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvbQnMvhQFw.

“I Self-Harm.” True Life. Viacom International March 22 2007. Web, http://www.mtv.com/videos/true-life-i-self-injure/1635622/playlist.jhtml.

 

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