I cut, burn, and hit myself regularly as a way of coping with my problems. If:
- I never harm myself to the point of endangering myself,
- I keep the wounds clean and allow them to heal, and
- I only allow permanent scars to form on private parts of my body (thighs, chest, etc.) that would only be seen by close friends/family (who are/would be accepting of my self-harming tendencies),
what’s the problem?
Thank you for your open and genuine question. The problem is that the relief from self-injury (like cutting or hitting) doesn’t last—it may stop the emotional pain temporarily, but it doesn’t fix it. Have you noticed this? While self-injury may seem harmless, it can actually cause more problems than it can solve. The biggest problem is that it can keep you from learning more effective ways of coping with the stress and angst. When things get really tough, having healthy means of coping become really important. Healthy coping means no one (including you!) is harmed.
Next time you are experiencing emotional pain, try another quick coping strategy and see how you feel. Others who self-injure have found these outlets to be helpful:
- Listen to music that expresses what you are feeling
- Wrap yourself in a warm blanket
- Take a hot shower
- Call a friend
- Look at a cherished photo
- Enjoy a crunchy snack
- Go for a run
Have you tried talking with one of NAU’s counselors? It is important to find someone who you trust and can connect with. Self-injury can become addictive, and our counselors would be willing to help you work towards stopping self-harm at your own pace. I would encourage you to make an appointment by calling (928) 523-2131. Tell them that The Health Nuts sent you!