Self-harm: this is when one hurts themselves as a way of dealing with very difficult feelings.
Some individuals self-harm as a way to:
-express their feelings when it is hard to put into words
-change emotional pain into physical pain
-reduce overwhelming feelings
-punish themselves for their feelings and experiences
-express suicidal feelings and thoughts without taking their own life
Ways individuals self-harm:
-over-eating or under-eating
-hitting yourself or walls
-pulling your hair
-picking or scratching at your skin
How to overcome self-harm:
- Learn to recognize triggers: triggers are people, places, situations, sensations, or events that cause specific thoughts or feelings.
- Become aware of the urge to self-harm: being able to recognize urges helps an individual take steps towards reducing or stopping self-harm.
Urges can include:
-strong emotions like sadness or anger
-racing heart or feelings of heaviness
-disconnection from yourself or a loss of sensation
-unhealthy decisions, like working too hard to avoid feelings
-repetitive thoughts about harming yourself
- Identify distractions: identify distractions that can help distract the urge to self-harm.
- Keep a diary: a diary can help keep track and understand self-harming behaviors. This is useful to keep track of what occurred before, during, and after self-harming. After a period of time, the diary can help spot patterns of self-harming behaviors (Melinda, 2022).
- Use coping techniques: to help overcome self-harm, an alternate coping skill needs to take its place.
- If self-harm is to express pain and intense emotion: paint, draw, journal, write a poem, listen to music
- If self-harm is to calm or soothe: take a hot bath, pet an animal, use a warm blanket, massage your neck, hands, and feet, listen to calming music
- If self-harm is to disconnect or numb pain: call a friend, take a cold shower, hold ice in hand, chew something with a strong taste
- If self-harm is to release tension or vent anger: exercise, punch a cushion, squeeze a stress ball, rip something up, make noises with instrument, bang pots and pans
- Seek professional help: trained professionals can help direct towards overcoming cutting or other self-harming habits.
Client Support Specialist: a CSS can help identify triggers and develop coping skills.
Therapy: a therapist can help explore past or current trauma that may be triggering self-harming behaviors and can assist in helping develop coping skills (Self-harm, 2020).
Melinda. (2022, February 7). Cutting and self-harm. HelpGuide.org. Retrieved February 14, 2022, from https://www.helpguide.org/articles/anxiety/cutting-and-self-harm.htm
Self-harm 2020 – mind. (n.d.). Retrieved February 14, 2022, from https://www.mind.org.uk/media-a/5783/self-harm-2020.pdf