Through his vulnerability and honesty, Dr. Lewis hopes to enhance society's understanding of self-injury and connect to others experiencing similar mental health issues to offer support and hope.
Dr. Lewis, who has since become a psychology professor at the University of Guelph, has used his personal experiences to direct his research, which particularly focuses on self-injury. More than that, Dr. Lewis has also co-founded Self-injury Outreach & Support, a collaboration between the University of Guelph and McGill University, "to provide information and resources about self-injury to those who need help, those who have recovered, and those who can help these individuals including families, schools and professionals."
"With depression came daily bouts of intense and seemingly insurmountable emotional pain. Like anyone would in that circumstance I just yearned for relief, just a temporary break from the pain that I felt inside. And so, out of desperation and in an attempt to feel anything that was going on inside, I cut myself. For me, self-injury provided needed relief from that emotional turmoil I was feeling inside. And although temporary, it was still relief and relief at the time that was so desperately needed and desperately sought. And because my depression and the pain that it bestowed persisted, and because at the time I had no other way with which to cope, I continued to self-injure. Beyond the relief that it provided, self-injury conveyed the words that I could not, it communicated the depth of my sadness, it communicated the immense hatred I was now feeling toward myself, it communicated the pain I felt as a child and a teenager. And yet, as much as that self-injury seemed to say, it seemed to also take away my voice. Indeed the more that I did it, the less I felt I could talk about my pain, let alone my self-injury. The self-injury that seemed to say so much and speak so loudly had paradoxically silenced me."