Self-harm is very serious and very real.  I know that many of you are uncomfortable talking about it, but it needs to be brought up so that we can help the ones who struggle with it.

First off, I want to make myself perfectly clear.  Self-harm is not petty and it is not weak.  There’s a scientific reason as to why people do it.  See, the brain releases endorphins when you get hurt, bringing immediate relief and a certain calmness from emotional pain.  Over time it becomes addicting because when you feel that emotional pain again, the brain craves the release of endorphins; and one of the ways you do that is by injuring yourself.  It’s not the right way to cope, but it’s the path many have chosen.

I have been one of them, and it’s brought a certain amount of relief in the past, but only for a little while.  See the problem with self-harm is that you have to do it over and over and over again.  It’s only a temporary fix, and a bad one at that because in the end it will hurt you more then it will help you.

This article is for the ones who know people who struggle with self-harm.  Here’s just some information that they want you to know but won’t tell you because let’s face it, no one wants to talk about it.

1.Don’t just tell them to stop, give them a reason why.

If you know someone who self-harms and you go up to them and just tell them to stop, it does nothing more than frustrate them.  Seriously, it’s not that easy.  If you’re addicted to something, you need a reason why you should quit.

2.They don’t do it for attention.

If you think they do it for attention, then you’re wrong.  Very wrong.  They wear long sleeved apparel all year long, avoid any situations where they could be exposed, and don’t know what to do with themselves if someone ends up seeing it.

Self-harm is not a way to get attention, it’s a way to get relief.

3.It’s not a suicide attempt.

Usually it’s not.  Most of the time it’s a way to release the pressure, the pain, the overwhelming feeling of life and the feelings it can bring.  Sometimes in order to stop feeling emotional pain, they inflict physical pain.  It’s not the healthy thing to do, but sometimes it’s all they know to do.

4.Don’t joke about self-harm.  Ever!

If you need more information than that, then I can’t help you.

5.There’s not always a reason why they do it.

There are times when it’s just been a bad day, times when there was a big reason, times when they just messed up something in life (doesn’t need to be big), and times when they just felt like it for no reason.  After awhile, the smallest things can trigger it.

6.If they don’t want help, don’t push it.

I know you want to help, but it can do more harm than good if you push it too hard.  If they tell you they don’t want help, then back off.  I’m not telling you to give up, but there are many ways you can help them without them ‘founding out.’  Don’t stop trying, but stop talking about it, stop bugging them about it, and stop pitying them.  Instead, pray, be positive around them, ask them about their day and just hang out:  Like normal people!  Pay attention, but don’t treat them differently.

7.Quitting is harder than starting.

Quitting an addiction, any addiction, is going to be hard.  Starting it however, is very easy.  It’s stopping that can take months, even years of hard work.  Because once you start, it’s with you for the rest of your life.  You can absolutely overcome self-harm, but it may always be in the back of your mind as an option to come back to, even if you’ve let it go.  Try to understand that once the addiction of self-harm starts, there will likely be a couple (sometimes many) relapses.  As a past self-harmer, it took me many months to stop.  It just kept coming back to me.  I was still vulnerable, my feelings were on edge, and as you know, life isn’t perfect, so there were times when I went back to it because doing life without that razor blade seemed too hard to do.

But in the end, quitting will be easier on you, even if it’s harder now.

8.When the scars start to fade, they feel the need to make more.

It’s true.  There have been times when I looked at my scars and felt the need to make more just because they kept fading.  Not because I was depressed, but because it was such a big part of my life and I actually missed seeing the wounds.  It sounds crazy, but bear with me.  It was my only ‘true friend’ even though it wasn’t really a friend at all.  It made me feel better, even though in the end it made me feel worse.  It can be hard to let go of something that has been such a big part of your life, even though it hurt you more than it helped you.

9.They feel like they’re disappointing you when they relapse.

They’re devastated when you see the wounds because they didn’t want to let you down.  They are way more worried about how you feel about their self-harm, then they are about their own feelings.  They are not trying to hurt you by doing it!

Hopefully this has helped you understand the why of self-harm, and hopefully you’ll be able to help your loved one.  Eventually they’ll come around, but it will take time, a lot of patience, a lot of love, a lot of prayers, and a whole lot of understanding.

If you have any questions, you can gladly contact me at cravingimprovements@gmail.com.  I will do my best to answer any questions you may have.  I am not the most experienced, but I do care about you and your loved one, and I would love to try and help!  

P.S. If you appreciated this post, let me know in the comment section below, and if you’re interested in being notified on more of my blog posts, there’s a “follow blog via email” section at the bottom of this page where you can sign up for free.

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