What is Self-Harm?
Self-harm is when you hurt yourself as a way of dealing with exceedingly difficult feelings, painful memories or overwhelming situations & experiences. After self-harming you may feel a short-term sense of release, but the trigger or source of your distress is unlikely to have disappeared. Self-harm can also bring up exceedingly difficult emotions & could make you feel worse. Cutting is NOT a suicide attempt, but people who self-injure are more likely to attempt suicide. But even when suicide is not the objective, cutting can still cause serious injuries, have a high risk of infection & lack of function to the area that has been cut.
Why do People Self-Harm?
Some people have described self-harm as a way to:
· Express something that is hard to put into words.
· Turn hidden thoughts or feelings into something visible.
· Alter emotional pain into physical pain.
· Reduce overwhelming emotional feelings or thoughts.
· Have a feeling of being in control.
· Escape traumatic memories.
· Have something in life that they can rely on.
· Punish themselves for their feelings & experiences.
· Stop feeling numb, disconnected, or dissociated.
· Create a reason to physically care for themselves.
· Express suicidal feelings & thoughts without taking their own life.
Signs & Symptoms
· Unexplained cuts, bruises, or cigarette burns – usually on the wrists, arms, thighs & chest
· Keeping themselves fully covered at all times, even in hot weather.
· Pulling out their hair.
· Alcohol or drugs misuse.
· Self-loathing & expressing a wish to punish themselves.
· Speaking about not wanting to go on & wishing to end it all.
· Becoming very withdrawn & not speaking to others.
· Changes in eating habits or being secretive about eating.
· Unusual weight loss or weight gain.
· Low self-esteem, such as self-blame for any problems or thinking they’re not good enough for something.
Medication (for the anxiety & or depression associated with self-harm).