Image by Kristina Stepanidenko
WHY DO I SELF-INJURE?

When we feel alone and out of control, we might do almost anything to stop the emotional pain. Self-injury, also known as cutting or self-harm, occurs when someone intentionally harms oneself feeling overwhelmed by emotions, and not knowing how to cope. 

While self-injury may bring a momentary sense of calm and a release of tension, it's typically followed by guilt, then shame, and then the return of the original painful emotions.

Self-injury does NOT fix the problem, and if it continues, it will take over one's life and become the main problem.

"It is estimated that about two million people in the U.S. injure themselves in some way.  The majority are teenagers or young adults with young women outnumbering young men. They are of all races and backgrounds."

WARNING SIGNS OF SELF INJURY
  • Wearing long sleeves/long pants regardless of the season. 

  • Refusal to wear sleeveless or short sleeves tops, shorts, bathing suits.

  • Refusal to go swimming.

  • Avoiding exposure to certain body parts or demanding excessive privacy. 

  • Wearing wrist warmers or wrist bands to cover the wrist.

  • Wearing gloves that have fingers cut off, or wearing socks on hand with holes for fingers, thus covering the entire hand, wrist, and forearm.

  • Wearing inches of bracelets that cover wrists and refusal to remove them.

  • Putting "thumb-holes" in sweatshirts, so hands and arms remain covered.

  • Carrying around or hiding knives, scissors, razors, box cutters, shards of glass, safety pins, tacks, or needles in the bedroom, backpack, clothing, or shoes. 

  • Frequent accidents.

  • Cuts that are parallel in a shape.

  • Finding blood on towels, bedsheets, and used tissues in trash cans.

  • Wearing a razor blade around the neck like a necklace.

  • Frequent bruises, scratches, cuts, burns, broken bones, or bandages followed by flimsy excuses like: "A cat scratched me," "I was climbing a fence,"  "I was making jello," or "I fell off a mountain."

Image by Anthony Tran

"I can't promise to fix all your problems but I can promise you won't have to face them all alone..."

WHAT IS SELF-INJURY?
  • Self-injury attempts to express emotional pain, anger, or frustration that cannot be put into words.

  • Self-injury acts as a way to 'take control when feeling out of control.'

  • Self-injury is an attempt to 'get through' a painful emotional state of mind. It is not uncommon for self-injuring teenagers to flirt with the idea of suicide.

  • Never assume that the act of self-injury is not a suicide attempt, which can lead to lethal results. If you are suspicious or concerned about someone or attempting to end their life - ask them! (you will not be putting the idea into their head). It is better to ask than not ask.

  • Many teenagers who self-injure explain how physical pain is easier to deal with than emotional pain.

  • Self-injury often provides a release, bringing the teenager's mood back to a state of homeostasis--much like popping a balloon.     

  • Self-injury is often viewed as a form of punishment that is deserved. 

  • Self-injury can be an impulsive reaction to difficult emotions and a means of escaping them, causing a trance-like state; which might result in cutting their body too many times to remember. The opposite can also be true when self-injury becomes a way to "snap out of it" and bring the state of consciousness back to awareness.  

  • Self-injury externalizes emotional pain while providing concrete evidence to oneself and the world that their pain is real.

  • Self-injury can also be proof that someone is 'alive.'