I had a check-up with my medicine lady this week (can’t remember the professional term) and she asked me the usual questions, “any recent breakdowns, any suicidal thoughts, etcetera-etcetera”, and I responded “no, no, no”, but the problem is I still said “no” when she asked if I had self-harmed recently. I don’t think I had, but at the same time, I had a bruise on my thigh from where I had hit myself a few days earlier. Let me explain.
I don’t call hitting myself that way “self-harm” since it’s not for the same reasons. Though never serious, I have self-harmed in the past, and it was usually when I was frustrated or anxious; kind of like a nervous tic. Since I know how to identify what urges to self-harm look like in myself, I know that what I do nowadays isn’t anywhere close to it. I always make sure I’m calm and in private beforehand. I also don’t do anything that might do any long-lasting damage. The bruises, even if I like the way they look, will definitely fade after a few days. But I’m not really sure how to justify that to any medical professionals.
I’ve talked this other a little with my therapist, and she came to the same conclusion that I did, that what I do doesn’t constitute a real issue. All the same, when the medicine lady asked, I thought about confessing to her. In the end, I decided that we’re not very close, and I absolutely did not want to make her feel uncomfortable. I did feel a little deceitful, then. It’s not really something I want to share about myself, since it’s basically another form of masturbation for me, and the only person I’ve ever spoken to about that is my one therapist. Even so, am I still obligated to tell any other professionals who ask? If I’m remembering correctly it’s the law, and they’ll tell my parents, but by god there is nothing I want less than my mother knowing about this. She’s against me locking my door at night, since she’s paranoid about self-harm, and I just don’t know what she’d say if her worst suspicions turned out to be true, especially in the sexual context which they are. Even worse, she’d probably connect the dots and figure out that this is what I’m doing when she and my brother are at church. Yikes. I don’t want people to be weird about it, is all! It’s just a bruise or two!
TL;DR, do I have to confess my masochism to medical professionals, even if it isn’t really self-harm?