Safe from Harm

March 25, 2014
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Pain is something that most humans shy away from. It is an instinct to protect yourself from any physical pain. Then why do people intentionally harm themselves? Why would they put scars on their body? Most say that it is for attention and that it is just a “phase”. Self-harm and self-injury are not phases. They are a huge problem in schools, homes, and towns across America and the world that need to be recognized.

Self-harm and self-injury are where an individual intentionally hurts themselves in some sort of way. There is a difference between the two, which most people do not know. Self-harm is things like alcohol abuse, drug abuse, or starving yourself. Self-injury is things like cutting, burning, or branding yourself. However, when talking about this topic, most just use the word self-harm. Self-harm is a huge problem because of the number of people that have experience with self-harm and self-injury. In a survey done in the US, Canada, and Europe, there were rates of 20-23% of self-harming adolescents. This figure may actually be higher because most cases of self-harm go unreported or they do not tell anyone about it, even in an anonymous survey. Some common ages for people that self-harm are teen years, in which most people start at age 13-14. Another common age of self-harming is 18-19 or young college students. Some other common traits you can find in people that self-harm are that they experience depression, anxiety, or PTSD. PTSD stands for post traumatic stress disorder, meaning people can get it when something traumatic happens to them. Some similar things that people who self-harm experience are intense emotions on a daily basis towards small things. Another thing is extreme levels of self-directed anger and dislike.

When people self-harm and self-injury, they do it as a way to release all of their emotions. It gives them a sense of peace and happiness when they feel everything else in the world is wrong or out of their control. Of course there are many other reasons that people self-harm. This is a problem, and there are websites online that allow people to share their stories. This helps slightly, but most don’t know that these things exist. When reading these stories, you get the real emotion and thinking behind why. These are some quotes from stories that have an affect on how people think and understand this dilemma. “I feel no physical pain, only emotional pain. At times I feel as if I deserve what I am doing to myself. Maybe because I’ve let family or friends down or my grades aren’t good enough. Maybe I’m just not good enough to be alive.” This shows why people hurt themselves intentionally. It doesn’t have to be some big problem, this girl just feels pressure because of everything in her life. “Because I hate myself, the way I look. Whenever something in my life goes terribly wrong. It usually happens when I am rejected in anyway.” This girl was explaining when she hurts herself and why. This girl as well as many other individuals across the world just need someone to accept them and be a friend. Some people that self-harm realize that this is a problem while others don’t know that it is. The fact that people are still hurting themselves and aren’t getting help is terrible and the world needs to help find and put solutions into action.

One thing that is guaranteed to help this predicament is education. Telling people and informing them on this issue will help them prevent it from happening to their friends, kids, co-workers, etc. If they understand what it is and how to help someone get out of the spiral of hurting themselves, it can help solve this problem. Another solution to this problem is spreading the word about help. Spreading the word about counseling and websites that give advice well help people who do self-harm as well as people who don’t but are thinking of doing so. One last thing that is extremely helpful in self-harm and self-injury cases is finding a new outlet. When people harm themselves it is seen as a way to express emotions. There are plenty of ways to let out emotion. One common way is through writing. Just grabbing a pencil and paper and writing whatever comes to your mind can be very therapeutic. Drawing is another great way to express yourself. When you draw, you can draw anything in your imagination. There are tons of ways to let out your emotions and these are just a few. If you search up ways to relieve stress, you will find dozens of options and you can pick one based on your personality.

Self-harm and self-injury are a huge problem worldwide. By recognizing these problems and helping people find solutions, we can slowly but surely solve this predicament and if we eventually solve the problem, the world will be a much happier place.





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