WHY PEOPLE SELF-HARM
Self-harming is often a way of coping with painful feelings, memories or feeling overwhelmed. People self-harm may do so for a whole host of reasons, including:
- Seeking to escape traumatic memories or current situations.
- Gaining a sense of control or something that they can rely on when they feel powerless or surrounded by chaos.
- Feeling they deserve to be punished for feelings or experiences.
- Stopping a feeling of numbness, or to ground them in the here-and-now.
- Expressing something painful that they can’t verbalise.
- Relieving tension.
- Expressing suicidal thoughts without ending their life.
Self-harm can start as a coping mechanism, often as a reaction to change or to things we can’t control. The release that this gives can be really addictive and can begin to take over your life, becoming difficult to control.
Although those who self-harm are more at risk of suicide, self-harm is often not about trying to kill yourself – in fact it can be used as a way of dealing with things to avoid feeling suicidal. People may even be expressing a desire for help because they feel they have nowhere else to go.
You can find more about getting help for self-harm on the NHS website. If you are thinking about self-harming or are worried about something you have done, your GP can help.