The Struggles of Self Harm | Teen Ink

The Struggles of Self Harm

September 14, 2015
By megthepoet ELITE, Winnipeg, Manitoba
megthepoet ELITE, Winnipeg, Manitoba
212 articles 23 photos 31 comments

Favorite Quote:
"We know what we are, but not what we may be" - Shakespeare

Self harm can be really difficult to understand at first, especially if you are watching someone you love physically harm themselves. It's normal to feel anxious when trying to help someone and/or support someone who self harms or is trying to stop self harming. People who are self harming are struggling to deal with extreme emotions, invalidating environments, and a number of other factors. Though self harm is seen more often in young people, it is a problem that everyone and anyone can struggle with.

The problem with self harm is that it works. But it only works temporarily. So, really in the big picture: it prolongs the pain that someone feels. Self harm can be really addictive just like any other kind of addiction. It becomes an easy “fix”. There is a definite high that comes along with the act of hurting oneself. The high comes and goes. Tolerating the distress that you feel is a lot more skillful than acting on the urges to self harm, and it is a lot more difficult and harder to do.

Self Harm is more than just “cutting”:

There is more than just one way that someone can self harm. The most common include:

Scratching/ Pinching
Cutting and Burning
Hair pulling (trichotillomania)
Picking at skin or reopening wounds.
misusing alcohol and/or drugs
binge eating (in. Bulimia Nervosa)
Starving (ex. Anorexia Nervosa)
Excessive exercise

Personal Experience:
(Potential Trigger Warning)

“When I first started to cut myself I thought I could hide it. At first it was something that I could control when everything else in my life was out of control. I was in grade ten when I made the first cut with a pink disposable razor blade. I didn’t know what else to do. It seemed like the only thing i could escape to. I didn’t realize that everything would change after I made that one perfectly straight line into my skin. I had it all wrong. I started compiling a secret collection of blades and sharp objects to hurt myself with, bringing blades to school just so that I could get through the hard day of pretending to be fine. I got addicted to seeing the blood and feeling the high. Just saying that outloud made me feel like a freak. It made me feel crazy. Before i knew it my entire body started becoming a battleground of scars that would never entirely go away. I started thinking that I needed it to stay alive. I believed that I had to, I remember telling myself…. Just one more cut...But it was never Just one more. The one thing that I thought I could control had begun controlling me. Everyone started to notice. “ -Anonymous

Mental Illness does not define a person. It is the same for people struggling with self harm. Many people such as parents and Mental Health professionals allow for the negative behaviour to define the person that self harms. We are all individuals with dreams, beliefs, talents and aspirations. It’s important for those who are self harming to know that they are not what they are going through, and that they can, with help get through these difficult times. It takes courage and immense strength to reach out for help. It takes even more strength to want to change and move past pain. As they say, the only way out is through.

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