Self-harm can include anything you do to intentionally hurt yourself, or it can also include less-obvious methods - such as binge-drinking, drug abuse and unsafe sex practices.
Self-harm might help you to express those feelings you can’t put into words, to release emotional distress or to act as a distraction. It might help you to feel in control or to feel alive.
It might seem like the only way to cope with your problems because it makes you might feel better for a while – until the feelings return. Then you might want to hurt yourself again. Like most people who self-harm, you might feel like you don't have a choice.
If you feel like you can’t stop, just know that you can get there without hurting yourself. You do deserve to feel better and you can.
Self-harm doesn't address the cause
The problem with self-harm is that it doesn't help to resolve the reason you might want to self-harm in the first place - the underlying cause.
Self-harm creates its own problems
You might want to keep it a secret because you feel ashamed; like people might not understand. This is a heavy burden to bear, and can lead to feelings of isolation, loneliness and low self-esteem. This secrecy in turn can also affect your relationships with others.
There are also long-term mental health consequences, including depression, drug abuse and suicide. Over half of the people who die by suicide have a history of self-harm.
Another problem is that even if you don't intend to, you can hurt yourself badly - it’s very easy for a wound to become infected or to misjudge the depth of a cut.
This is why it's important to speak to somebody if you or someone you know is self-harming.
How we can provide help for self-harm
Therapy for self-harm usually involves discussing your thoughts and feelings and how these affect your behaviour and wellbeing. The therapist will be able to teach you coping strategies to prevent further self-harm.
If you or someone you know is self-harming, you may wish to contact us to discuss the ways in which we can help.