Self-harm is when you hurt yourself as a way of dealing with very difficult feelings, old memories, or overwhelming situations and experiences. The ways you hurt yourself can be physical, such as cutting yourself. They can also be less obvious, such as putting yourself in risky situations, or not looking after your own physical or emotional needs.
Ways of self-harming can include:
- cutting yourself
- poisoning yourself
- over-eating or under-eating
- burning your skin
- inserting objects into your body
- hitting yourself or walls
- exercising excessively
- scratching and hair pulling
After self-harming, you might feel better and more able to cope for a while. However, self-harm can bring up very difficult feelings and could make you feel worse. If you self-harm, you may feel embarrassed or ashamed about it. You might be worried that other people will judge you or pressure you to stop if you tell them about it. This may mean that you keep your self-harming a secret.
Any difficult experience can cause someone to self-harm. Common causes include:
• pressures at school or work
• money worries
• sexual, physical or emotional abuse
• confusion about your sexuality
• breakdown of relationships
• an illness or health problem
• difficult feelings, such as depression, anxiety, anger or numbness, experienced as part of a mental health problem.
Sometimes people talk about self-harm as attention-seeking. If people make comments like this, it can leave you feeling judged and alienated. In reality, most people keep their self-harm private, and it can feel very painful to have your behaviour misunderstood in this way.
If you do self-harm as a way of bringing attention to yourself, remember that you deserve a respectful response from those around you, including from medical professionals. If you would like to talk about this, please get in contact via the reporting form.
Loads of helpful documents can be found here: The National Self Harm Network.
What is Suicide?
Suicide is the name given to the act of ending your own life. There are many different reasons that people may feel ‘suicidal’ or have ‘suicidal feelings’. Some people are more vulnerable to these feelings than others for lots of reasons, such as -
• Life History – experiences earlier on life or currently
• Mental Health- serious mental health conditions
• Lifestyle – e.g. drug or alcohol misuse
• Relationships – with partners, socially or family
• Genetics and family history – pre-disposition to mental health issues
• Bullying – verbally, physically or on-line
• Money Worries
• Issues around sexuality and gender
It may only take a minor event, such as having an argument with a partner. Or it may take one or more stressful or upsetting events before a person feels suicidal, such as the break-up of a significant relationship, a partner dying or being diagnosed with a terminal illness. Suicide has a massive negative impact on a huge number of people who care about the individual.
There are lots of ways that you can get help if you or someone you know is feeling very low, and may be having suicidal thoughts.
This link leads you to the NHS website which can help lead you to several organisations that can help.
Whatever happens, it’s worth talking it through.