Self-Injury or self-harm is something that a large part of the population misunderstand and recoil from. There is an assumption that the self-harmer is trying to kill themselves or at least do themselves very serious harm. Yet self-harmers rarely have suicide in mind. They are trying to deal with the pain, with the shame of being themselves. Self-harm has been described accurately as anger directed inwards. Most self-harmers think of themselves as worthless, not having any self-worth and often being entirely reliant on others for judgement as to the worthiness of themselves in society.
Self-harm is common on those who have been abused. They have learned that the world wants to use them and that when they ask for help it is difficult to get and is often followed by judgement and questioning. It is very recent that children were believed when they talked about abuse. A popular misconception is that self-harm is a phase that teenage girls go through and it doesn’t really affect other sections of the population. Yet self-harm is used by all ages, races and both sexes.
Self-harm can become a way of coping, it brings release from the emotional pain. Yet it is a very lonely place suffering the pain but being unable to open up to anyone about the hurt, for they feel shame about the hurt and if they tell then society, loved ones will see that shameful person and won’t connect to them.
Helping someone with self-harm issues can take a long time, it can be hard seeing them in so much pain yet only being able to listen and be empathic to their struggle. Yet it is that very act of reaching out of being there for them of not judging but supporting them. That will help them back to a complete person who can value themselves that can stop being ashamed of who they are and who can move forward again.
Friday 1st March is Self-Injury Day, why not take 10 minutes to see what you can do to help, either through a donation to a charity or finding out how to support someone who is self-harming or even just finding out about where to go for help.