What is self-injury?Self-injury (SI), self-harm (SH) or deliberate self-harm (DSH) is deliberate infliction of tissue damage or alteration to oneself without suicidal intent. Although the terms self-injury or self-harm have been used to refer to infliction of harm to the body's surface, the term self-harm may be used to include the harm inflicted on the body by those with eating disorders. Some scholars use more technical definitions related to specific aspects of this behaviour. These acts may be aimed at relieving otherwise unbearable emotions, and/or sensations of unreality and numbness. Self-harm is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) as a symptom of borderline personality disorder and depressive disorders. It is sometimes associated with mental illness, a history of trauma and abuse including emotional abuse, sexual abuse, eating disorders, or mental traits such as low self-esteem or perfectionism, but a statistical analysis is difficult, as many self-injurers conceal their injuries.
Understanding Self Injury/HarmWhen first taking a glance at the definition of the words it may seem unbelievable and something that might not happen that often to anyone. Unfortunately, that is simply not the case. When a thousand people who self harmed were questioned about their habits, the numbers were shocking! Ten percent were male. About 80 percent tried to hide it from family and friends. Very few said it was a cry out for attention, rather they said it was "a way of expressing very deep distress", and thus described it as an inner scream.
After self harm, some people feel better able to cope with life again. Yet this feeling is short-lived. I personally feel that it is a way to take the pain that is on the inside somewhere out to the outside so that I can watch and feel it heal. We at CB will not allow for tricks and tips on how to self harm. Yet, we will show compassion to those who are going through it. Trigger warnings are vital to our forum and site when talking about self harm. You may be asking yourself: Why? Why would anyone do this to themselves? Or: Why can't I just stop? Well, some people do it to express emotions like rage, sadness, emptiness, grief, self-hatred, fear, loneliness and guilt. Experiences like these erode self-esteem and cause some to take this harmful road. Some feel that they have no outlet but their bodies. Some may harm themselves only once or twice in a particularly difficult time in their lives. However, for others it becomes an ongoing way of coping with daily anxieties. This can equate very much to a habit, or something they become addicted too.
How can I stop it?The first thing to do when helping yourself to stop self harming is to educate yourself. What happened when you self harmed? What were you feeling, thinking? Write it down if you have to. Find the triggers associated with this behavior. What were your surroundings? Okay, so now you know that you need to write it down, but what is next? The next step (if possible) is to get a buddy or a trusted family member that you can call and talk to when you have the urge to harm. Make friends online if you have to. This is what Cerulean Butterfly is here to help with. There are plenty of websites dealing with this issue and you will find someone that will listen and be there for you. Distract yourself with a project or job. These simple little steps can help you overcome a life threatening problem.
The next thing that needs to be done is the hardest thing to do of all: start loving yourself and building your self esteem. Think of things that you like about yourself and things that other people compliment you on. Think about your anger and what you do with it. If you were not so busy being angry with yourself, who would you really be angry with? Write a list of people who have caused you to feel like this. The important thing is to find ways to start talking to someone you trust. Remember YOU ARE NEVER ALONE.