Self harm title image
Mental Health

Self harm and other negative coping mechanisms

Please note; This post goes in depth about self harm. Please be warned if you are sensitive to this subject and are feeling vulnerable. I am not advocating self harm in any way. This post is mainly for informational and awareness purposes.

So I’ve promised a post about self harm for a while… here it is! I think it’s important that we are open and honest about these topics. If we choose to keep quiet, then the stigma is still there. Awareness needs to be made of such things. If you are experiencing any of this, please seek help. If you know someone who is then please reach out and support them in getting the help they need.

What is self harm

woman scream stressful situationsSo, self harm is basically when someone hurts or injures themselves. This is often used as a coping mechanism (like I talk about here) or as a way for someone to express really intense and distressing thoughts and feelings.

It’s not the most helpful of coping mechanisms however, it is a common one that is turned to in desperate times. A common misconception however is that it’s done by people who want to kill themslves. Whilst, yes, it may be used in that manner it is also used in minor ways in order to help someone feel better.

People do resort to this as it provides a quick relief from how they are feeling… However, the relief from the action of self harming is only temproary and can result in a cycle of resorting to it, the guilt and repeating the action because of the guilt. It’s very easy for someone to slip into a cycle of this behaviour for it’s quick and easy effect.

Methods of self harm

low days 2So people who self harm do it in a variety of ways, from very minor to quite major. The severity of the action varies depending on the method used.

  • cutting yourself
  • poisoning yourself
  • overdosing
  • biting yourself
  • burning your skin
  • picking or scratching at your skin
  • pulling your hair
  • hitting yourself or walls
  • getting into fights where you know you will get hurt.
  • over-eating or under-eating
  • exercising excessively
  • inserting objects into your body

A lot of these behaviours are easily hidden though and it is hard to pick up on some of the signs of these behaviours in people.

Why do people self harm?

As previously mentioned, people self harm as a coping mechanism and to express intense and distressing thoughts and feelings.

Self harming may come about after people have bottled up these thoughts and feelings for so long. Also if people are feeling angry, depressed, stressed or worried.

The triggers for each person can vary. However below are some that may be applicable:

  • difficulties at home.
  • bullying
  • arguments or problems with friends.
  • depression.
  • anxiety.
  • trauma.
  • low self-esteem.
  • transitions and changes, such as changing schools.
  • alcohol and drug use.

How to get help if you are

If you are struggling and are using self harm as a coping mechanism then I do implore you to seek help. Go to your doctor and talk to them about how you’re feeling and how you’re dealing with those emotions.

You may be referred to counselling or the community mental health teams but it’s very worth it and you can move on from these behaviours. You’ll find more helpful ways  Talk therapy is a good help and can help you overcome some of the triggering thoughts and feelings.

You might be given medication however, it will also be pretty beneficial to you.

Whatever you do, please be proactive in your recovery as it takes a little work on your end but it will help.

How to help someone else

First things first. Don’t judge them. Don’t tell them that they are ‘stupid’ that doesn’t help and if you do that you need to quit that.

You can try and sit and talk with them or be a listening ear to let them vent. Help them go to the doctor to get the help that they need and support them in their recovery.

You can even educate yourself on mental health and be able to offer them advice or point them where to go.

Resources/Support links

If you want some resources on helping yourself then check out my resource page.

If you need support then please do check out my support link page.

Final thoughts

Like I said, I’m not advocating self harm. I feel it’s important to talk about.

Like I said before, if you get seek help, you will get the help that you need and you can overcome this. Even though I haven’t fully recovered yet. I’m trying and I’m doing really well at the moment.

calm stressful situations

How do you guys get help for this or how do you support others?

If you like what you have read here today, or maybe it’s resonated with you then please hit the subscribe button on the sidebar or the follow button below so you can get notified of all new posts.

– Gem

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Hi! I'm Gemma, a mental health and recovery journey blogger! My blog focuses on the effects of mental illness and the entire recovery process.

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