Also known as self-harm, self-mutilation, cutting, burning, pulling out hair and a lot of other names. Self-injury is the intentional injuring of the body without intentions of suicide. Although suicide may not be the intention for the self-harmer, the relationship between suicide and self-harm is very strong and complex.
Some popular reasons behind self-harm are:
- It helps to deal with strong emotions
- It is a way to feel. Some people feel emotionally numb and this is the way they know they are alive and that they can feel something.
- It can numb emotional pain.
- It let's you control something in your life.
- It's a form of self-punishment or an expression of self-hatred
- It's self-soothing. Someone may not know any other way to cope with intense emotions.
Understanding what's behind the self-injury is very important to try and help reduce and stop it all together.
If you suspect that a loved-one is self-harming, here are some signs and symptoms:
- Unexplained wounds. If there are cuts, bruises, burns, or other injuries that cannot be explained.
- If the person seems depressed. Lack of motivation, unusual or persistent sadness, statements such as "I'm worthless" or "I hate myself"
- Many “accidents.” Some people explain their wounds as accidents, but too many of these "accidents" can be suspicious.
- Covering up with long sleeves. If you notice long sleeves all the time, even in hot weather, try and talk to the person about your suspicions.
Getting Help And Helping Yourself
While self-harm is very addicting and it may seem impossible to stop, it is possible. Recovery is possible.
1. Acknowledge that there is a problem.
2. Reach out and ask a close friend, a trusted adult, or a counselor for help with coping with your strong emotions.
3. Decide to stop for yourself, not just because someone else wants you to. Sit down and ask yourself why you want to stop and when you want to stop.
4. Become aware of the triggers for your self-harm so you know what to avoid.
5. Learn better coping strategies. Seeing as self-injury is a way to self-soothe, find other things you can do to distract you from the pain so you can deal with the painful emotions when you are more stable.
Tips To Help Stop
1. Hold ice on your skin for as long as you need and when you take it away, there will be a burning tingly sensation.
2. Draw on yourself with a red felt-tipped marker. Seeing this "blood" may help soothe your actual crave to see real blood.
3. Do other self-soothing activities like taking a bubble bath or lighting a lot of scented candles.
4. Doing activities to let out your anger. Try running, punching pillows or screaming into pillows, or try taking construction paper and ripping apart as many sheets at a time that you can.