I hope this blog, the first after a long period of silence, doesn’t come across too awfully, but there’s something that bugs me about the community. It’s a bit of a rant, I guess you could say.
“Am I the only one who does (insert behaviour here)?”
“I must be the only one that does (behaviour).”
We need to take these words out of our vocabulary. We are not the only ones in the world who do anything, as all of us learned at one point or another with this disorder. I thought I was the only one in the world who picked my skin for the longest time. I’m sure you other BFRBers out there thought you were the only one to pull your hair or bite your nails excessively or pick your nose or bite your skin. But, like me, you found out that you’re not. Or maybe you’re just finding it out right now as you read this (welcome to the community if that’s the case!).
Looking back now, the idea of thinking I was the only one in the world to do something is absolutely ludicrous. There are somewhere around 7 billion people in the world and to think that only one single person would have a damaging behaviour or any sort of quirk is beyond unreasonable. Probably statistically impossible.
I know, I know. You’re just trying to find others who do what you do. You’re waiting for the “me!” or “me too!” to show up in your notifications. But, I think we need to change the wording.
When we ask if we’re the only ones who do something or if we state we’re the only one that does something, we’re isolating ourselves, even if we are looking for someone to relate to us. It’s like we’re bracing ourselves for the chance (that likely won’t come) that someone will tell us we’re the only one so we can say, “I knew it.”
I’ve included the pictures I have, both older and which have been used around CBSN’s website and social media before, because it shows actual people with these disorders. You don’t stand solo in this storm.
Ultimately, there are better ways we can ask the question.
“Who else does (behaviour)?”
Even something more fun (probably on the side of black humour or sheer exasperation) like “raise your hand if you do (behaviour) too.”
Considering how large in numbers the Facebook support groups and Tumblr and Twitter and any other social media platform are, there is a pretty big likelihood that someone else within those groups is going to do similar if not exactly what you do.
Let’s stop trying to find reasons why we’re freakish or alone or separate from each other. As a community, we’re in this together and we can lean on each other and know that we understand each other. We’ve perhaps never met, but we know what it is to bite the bulb off the hair or run it across our lips, to eat the scab or collect it, to use tools or just our hands, even if we don’t often talk about these more embarrassing (they don’t have to be) sides of our disorders.
When you’re making a post, don’t think about it as standing alone and waiting for others to come to you. Think of it instead of starting a conversation and welcoming others to be honest, too.