Self Harm Questions And Answers
Self Harm Questions And Answers
There are a ton of questions I cross each day regarding self harm and I decided it is a time to answer some of these questions. As someone who has dealt with self harm for the majority of his life I feel I am pretty qualified to answer the self harm questions. If I do not post a question about self harm that you are curious about make sure to post it in the comment section and I will answer it.
What Is Self Harm
Self harm is defined as deliberately causing harm to oneself. Whether this is by cutting. burning, hitting, punching, breaking bones and a variety of other methods all can be classified as self harm. Personally I started by rubbing erasers repeatedly against my arms causing burns when I was a young child to the razors I graduated as a teen to the reopening of cuts while isolated on a psych ward it was all done to cause harm to myself
Why Do People Self Harm
This is not an easy question to answer as it differs a bit from person to person but for the most part it comes down to control and release.
Control – The person may feel completely out of control in their daily life and through the process of self harming they retain a bit of control. They choose how bad the injury is, how long it is going to hurt for and how many times they cause injury to themselves
Release – This has to deal with not being able to release emotions in the typical manner whether they do not know how or unable to due to their situation. Self harm gives the person a bit of release however the longer that they self harm the intensity has to increase to obtain the same release
Is Self Harm An Addiction
Yes without a doubt. Like any other addiction such as drugs as alcohol it starts as a coping mechanism used once in a while and before the person realizes what is going on it becomes a daily thing. Most people who do not self harm do not understand the addiction part of it but it needs to be understood that is a coping mechanism that the person believes is effective and when it suddenly stop it leaves a gaping hole in their life that needs to be filled by something that is effective or they are going to return to self harm.
Self Harm And The Suicide Belief
There is a good portion of the population who believes that self harm is just a failed suicide attempt which is completely wrong. Most people who self harm are doing so in order to avoid taking their own life. For whatever the reason this is the only coping mechanism that a person may have and what makes it addictive is that it works or it seems to work. I know people who cut to stop the suicidal thoughts that they are plagued with day in and day out, also people who self harm in order to feel something other than the pain of depression. Of course the other side of the coin is that a self harm accident is normally chalked up as a suicide.
Self Harm For Attention
This is a question regarding self harm that has always bothered me and the rest of the people who have self injured for lengthy periods of time and that is the only reason people self harm is for attention which is nonsense. The majority of people who self harm go to great lengths to hide this behavior. From harming parts of the body that are rarely seen to reopening the same wound over and over again (which is a favorite on psych wards) to ensuring the wounds are always covered
As someone who has been on both sides of the mental health wall I was more concerned with the teens who would show up with a single deep cut across their wrist then the teen who was covered with smaller cuts up and down their arms. Now do not get me wrong as both needed intervention but the first case tends to scream a suicide attempt and not self harm
Stopping Self Harm
I am not going to lie and saying that stopping self harm is easy and the longer that the person has been using this coping mechanism the harder it is going to be. One of the main aspects in stopping self harm for good is finding an activity that replaces it. For some people it is holding ice cubes tightly in their hands or snapping elastic bands on their wrists however some professionals believe this is just replacing pain with pain. Here are a few tips that I have found helpful:
- Going for a long walk – hopefully by getting out in the fresh air for a while the urge to self harm will pass
- Surround yourself with people – Again hopefully the distraction of other people will help you get past the urge
- Try writing – I use to blog every time that I had an urge to self harm, the majority of them I would spend half an hour writing then would proceeded to delete them
- Talk to your doctor – Most people believe if they tell their doctor that they self harm the next stop they make will be is on a psych ward. This is actually pretty rare unless the doctor(and possibly you) believe you are at a risk to yourself or others. The majority of people who self harm do not pose a risk to themselves or others. There are medication that the doctor can prescribe that will help with the urges and their may be resources he or she is aware of that can help
- Therapy – One of the main issues of self harm and in stopping it is figuring out why you are doing it to begin with and developing new coping mechanisms.
Self Harm And Scars
I quit trying rexplain my scars a long time ago as most people stop listening when they hear the words self harm. Trying to explain the scars to my son when he was small was not easy and I tended to try and divert the conversation to another topic. Now if someone asks I just say they are from a long time ago. With time the scars do tend to fade a bit but they never completely disappear. I am sure there are stuff that one could purchase that would speed up the process and expensive surgery to have the scars completely erased. My scars tell a story and I am no longer embarrassed to tell it