Why Do People Self Harm
People who self harm have been described as being “self-destructive”. This is because it can be seen as a form of suicide. However, although some will see this as something negative and even life destroying, there are many positive things about what they do. There are also many benefits for those who engage in such behavior.
There are various factors that might lead someone to self harm but one common reason is to try to relieve their pain. It has been said that self harming provides relief from anxiety, depression and other feelings of despair. The act itself relieves tension and stress which can help them to cope better with everyday living.
Another reason why people self harm is due to feeling out of control. It’s often thought that when you self harm it shows how powerless you feel over your own life. In reality though, it is more likely that self harm allows you to take back control by asserting yourself. You’re giving yourself permission to express your true needs and wants.
Self harm provides an outlet for anger and frustration. If you are angry at others then self harm gives you a means to release these emotions. Some people turn to self harm after experiencing trauma or abuse. They may feel completely overwhelmed by their experiences and unable to deal with them in any other way. Forcing yourself to face up to these difficult issues can cause further problems.
It has been suggested that self harm helps people to assert their independence. One way of looking at this would be to say that self harm is a form of rebellion. Many people don’t want to be controlled by anyone else. By taking control of their lives through self harm, they are demonstrating their right to make decisions for themselves.
Other reasons why people self harm includes wanting to punish themselves. Some people believe that if they were to hurt themselves badly enough, they would deserve punishment. Others believe that they need to be punished in order to learn lessons. Whatever the reasoning behind it, self harm is not generally considered to be a healthy way of dealing with personal difficulties.
The person who self harms does not necessarily suffer long term consequences from doing so. But like all forms of self expression, they should only be done when necessary. Some people choose to self harm as a way to bring attention to their situation or as a reaction to events in their day to day lives. Other times it is used to try to cope with extreme emotion or to simply escape into another world.
It is important to remember that whatever the purpose for engaging in self harm, it shouldn’t happen on a regular basis. Self harm should not become a lifestyle choice that is maintained without regard for ones physical health. If you do decide to self harm, you should seek professional support as soon as possible. A trained therapist can provide you with valuable insight and assistance.
If you think that you have come across someone who self harms, your first step should be to ask whether they have sought treatment. Although it may seem obvious that self harm isn’t a good thing to do, it is still worth asking what treatment options they have tried. Sometimes talking to friends and family members may be helpful. You can offer to accompany them to therapy or counseling sessions.
Self harm doesn’t just affect the individual who engages in it. Their loved ones can find it hard to understand what is happening and the impact it is having on them. Support groups are available where you can share your thoughts and feelings with others who are going through similar situations. Being able to talk openly with others who know exactly what you are going through can really help.
Many people who self harm aren’t aware of what may be causing them to behave in this manner. Once they receive information or treatment they are usually surprised at how easy it was for them to keep their secret. They begin to realize that they didn’t actually need to self harm to get attention or change their circumstances.
They now have access to much needed resources and opportunities that weren’t open to them before. They have learned new skills and techniques to manage their feelings and reactions. As well as benefiting from increased self confidence, they are also helping others to avoid making the same mistakes that led them down the road of self harm.
When someone self harms it is essential that they seek immediate medical attention. Self harm causes significant damage to the skin and internal organs. Even minor cuts can result in serious infection. When you cut deeply enough, you could end up losing parts of your body including fingers, hands, arms or legs. In severe cases, you may require surgery and hospitalization.
Although self harm seems like a very painful experience, it can be prevented. Self harm is most common among young women between 15 and 24 years old. Most self injuries occur during periods of mental and emotional turmoil. Women who are going through pregnancy or menstruation are particularly vulnerable.
Self harm can involve cutting or burning oneself with knives, razors or matches. Cutting yourself can be carried out with blades such as kitchen knives, scissors or razor blades. Burning can involve using lighters, cigarettes or matches. Severe burns can leave scars that are disfiguring and hard to heal.
Self harm can range from superficial cuts to major amputations. Your doctor will discuss your specific condition with you and determine the best course of action. He or she may prescribe medication or suggest that you use alternative treatments such as hypnosis.
While self harm may appear to be a permanent solution to temporary problems, it is important to seek help as quickly as possible. Self harm is never acceptable under any circumstance. There is no justification for hurting yourself. No matter how bad your life may seem, there are always ways to improve it. Don’t give up hope and don’t isolate yourself. Reach out for support and let your loved ones know that you need them.
For confidential advice call Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14 or visit www.lifeline.org.au/getcopingtoday.
Coping Tips for Self Harm
1) Try to relax. Take time out for yourself and go somewhere quiet and peaceful. Give yourself time to reflect on your feelings.
2) Focus on your breathing – deep breaths can help to calm you down.
3) Spend time with supportive friends and family. Let them help you to feel better.
4) Talk to your GP, counselor or trusted friend about what you are going through.
5) Keep a diary or journal to write down your feelings and thoughts. Writing about what you are going through can help you to process it.
6) Make sure you eat a nutritious diet high in protein, complex carbohydrates and vitamins. Foods rich in iron are especially important. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables.
7) Exercise regularly. Getting enough exercise keeps your mind focused on good things and away from worry.
8) Learn relaxation techniques. Yoga, meditation and progressive muscle relaxation exercises can teach you how to relax and handle stressful situations.
9) Get involved in activities that interest you. Hobbies such as gardening, walking or swimming can help distract your mind from troubling thoughts.
10) Accept yourself and develop your strengths. Treat yourself with respect and dignity. Appreciate your talents, abilities and qualities.
11) Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparing yourself to others puts unnecessary pressure on you. You are unique and special.
12) Develop strong relationships with supportive friends and family. Share your feelings, thoughts and opinions with them.
13) Have fun! Enjoy your hobbies, interests and social interactions.
14) Remember you are not alone. You are part of a community full of caring individuals.
15) Be patient with yourself. Healing takes time and effort.
16) Stay committed to seeking help and following treatment recommendations.
17) Encourage yourself every day. Remind yourself that healing is possible.
18) Know that you are not alone. Find comfort knowing that others have gone through the same challenges as you.
19) Seek help from qualified professionals such as psychologists, counselors, psychiatrists, nurses and doctors.
20) Work closely with your physician to establish a plan for recovery.
21) Join support groups, participate in online forums and attend workshops. Network with others who are going through what you are going through.
22) Use humor to lighten mood. Laugh loudly and heartily. Laughter releases endorphins which promote a sense of wellbeing.
23) Help someone else who is struggling with self harm. You can show compassion and understanding towards those who are suffering.
24) Be grateful for the small victories along the way. Celebrate successes and achievements.
25) Believe in miracles. Miracles happen every day. Look for signs that they are occurring around you.
26) Listen to music, watch films or read books that allow you to dream. Dream big and let your imagination soar.
27) Surround yourself with beautiful objects and pictures that inspire you. Visualize yourself recovering and enjoying normal daily activities again.
28) Recognize and appreciate the progress you’ve made. Every day you grow stronger and healthier.
29) Allow yourself to relax and enjoy life.
30) Trust that everything is working together for your ultimate benefit.
31) Be gentle with yourself. Love and care for your whole self – mind, body and spirit.
32) Practice acceptance and forgiveness of yourself and others.
33) Ask questions when
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