Trigger warnings for self-harm and suicidal tendencies.
To start: self-harm is never good.
No matter who you are or what mistakes you’ve made, you do not deserve pain inflicted upon you. If you’re struggling with thoughts of self-harm, it could be good to talk to someone you trust who can help discourage these sorts of urges. Therapy helps many people every day, and there are so many different therapists and styles of therapy that can help different people.
That being said, I know that the urge to harm yourself can be too much to handle sometimes, and you end up doing something bad.
Some of the explanations I’ve heard from people that have harmed themselves include but are not limited to:
It’s important to remember that hurting yourself is a mistake, and you can’t be harsher on yourself for falling victim to it. Many experts in psychology believe that forms of self-harm can become an addiction because the neurons for emotions and pain are very close, and
When people hear the term “self-harm,” cutting is often what they first think of. Unfortunately, too many people in the world cut or have cut in their lives, and I am no exception.
I believed that I was such a bad person that I deserved to die, but because I couldn’t kill myself and make people in my life sad, I felt like I had to cut so that I still would be hurting myself and not those around me. This was a lie for me, and it is for you as well. It may have made me feel better, but cutting myself still hurt the people around me. I managed to get therapy and antidepressants and they helped me a lot in my journey of recovery, but I still fell into some bad habits. I started keeping rubber bands around my wrist so that when I had the urge to hurt myself, I would snap myself on the inner arm instead. I genuinely thought this was helping me to not cut because I was just giving myself a tiny bit of pain that would make a little red mark and then fade away instead of drawing blood.
But as time went on, I started needing to pull the rubber band back farther so it would snap more, I had to do it multiple times or use multiple ones at the same time, and looking back? I was addicted. I thought I was using a coping mechanism, but all I had done was find a new way to harm myself. I kept on having to give myself more and more pain to get the relief I was craving. The snaps the rubber bands made were so hard that my skin would turn red and rise in outdents that would take minutes to fade.
The most obvious way to avoid these behaviours is to never do them in the first place. However, that isn’t an option for a lot of people. When you’re recovering from self-harm addictions, however they present themselves, you need to be cautious of whether your coping mechanisms are healthy today. Try to imagine it not as yourself, but if a friend was struggling and they were using this coping mechanism, would you be comfortable with it? In addition to this, why are you using this as a coping mechanism? You have to understand how the method is helping you, and whether you can use it in the long run or not.
One common coping mechanism is ice cubes. The idea behind it is either sucking on an ice cube or putting it in the area where you want to hurt yourself. Both ways, it’s supposed to shock your system a bit. Feeling how cold it is can get your mind off of the urge to hurt yourself. By holding it against your arm, you could also help numb the nerves, which can further help to dull the urge.
Overall, the most important thing is to examine your intentions and why you think a certain coping method would help you. You can’t just trade out one harmful addiction for others. I promise that with commitment and time, you can overcome your urges to hurt yourself and move forward.
I believe in you!