Many people think of cutting when they hear the words self-harm. However people hurt themselves in a variety of ways. Here are just some of the destructive ways that people hurt themselves –
- Physical harm – hitting, scratching, pinching etc
- Alcohol and/or drugs
- Exercising to excess
- Eating disorders
- Destructive relationships
- Acting out sexually
- Working to excess
- Pushing themselves to the point of burn out
Do you recognise any of these behaviours in yourself? Perhaps you drink to numb your pain? Or you can’t stop exercising because if you do, you will have to face up to your feelings.
If any of the above applies then you are hurting yourself in an extreme way. Of course you deserve far more than that. But right now you just can’t see it.
To the rest of the world it doesn’t make logical sense. Why would a person hurt themselves? Why would they push their body to the limit? Or keep going back to an abusive partner? Behaviour like this isn’t logical. It isn’t straight forward. And the person doing it to themselves doesn’t want to live in this hell. That’s for sure.
Self-harm is a release. It’s a way of suppressing and numbing feelings, and at the same it gives relief. Often emotions such as anger or despair are so powerful and so over whelming, that an individual cannot deal with them. Sometimes the pain a person is living with hurts so deeply, that they don’t know what to do, or where to turn. So they end up taking things out on themselves. Temporarily it can feel better. But the after effect is even worse than the pain you started with.
Feeling isolated can trigger all sorts of negative thoughts and emotions. Feeling like a failure can send you into a spiral of negativity. Looking around and thinking everyone else is more successful, attractive, capable etc. Relationship break downs, depression, stress, loss and bereavement. These are just some of the things that can lead to insecurities, self-loathing and deep, deep pain. It is at times like this that self-harm can creep in.
Here are some suggestions as to how you can help yourself. It soon becomes habitual to soothe yourself with drink, or numb yourself by not eating. Before you realise it you are in a cycle of destruction. The big question is how to get out of it.
- Slow down. As difficult as it is, take some time out.
- Write your feelings down in a journal.
- Practice good self-care – eating, drinking, sleeping etc
- Talk to your friends and family – try not to isolate
- Remember you are not alone
- Seek counselling if you can – therapy can make a massive difference
- Speak to your doctor if you feel you need medication
- Try and find different coping strategies
- Introduce some calmer behaviours in – such as yoga, reading, meditation etc
- Make yourself a priority
- Treat yourself as you would your best friend
- Be kind to yourself
- Remember what you are worth
- Aim to practice mindfulness
- Focus on the hear and now – don’t look back or worry about the future
- Find a positive outlet for your emotions
- Don’t let things build up
- Learn to practice gratitude
- Appreciate all that you have and all that is around you