Self Injury

Self Injury What Is It?

Self injury is also known as self-harm or self-abuse. The act of self-harm is used to cope with, block out, and release built up feelings and emotions.

Self injury is often misunderstood, which prevents people from seeking help.self injury (self-harm, self-mutilation) is defined as the deliberate, repetitive attempt to cause harm to one's own body and the injury is usually severe enough to cause tissue damage. This is not usually a conscious attempt at suicide, though others sometimes see it as such. It typically begins in the teenage years, with a higher proportion of females self-harming then males.

The most common forms of self-harm involve cutting, scratching, bruising, burning, hair-pulling, bone breaking, hitting or interference with wound healing.

Why Would Someone Self Injure?

It can be hard to understand why someone would intentionally harm himself or herself. There are a variety of factors that might cause someone to self injure. Sometimes there is a history of abuse, but not always. Many self injurers are "perfectionists," have challenges expressing emotions or letting others know their frustrations and anger. self injury may be turned to as a mechanism to express emotions, relieve feelings such as loneliness, guilt, shame or anger, bring pain literally to the surface, or to punish oneself. Self-harm is often seen as an attempt to release those painful internal emotions. By "seeing" the pain someone who self-harms may believe that dealing with the physical part of it is easier than the emotions.

No matter what the reasons for someone's self injury, they often feel some temporary relief after. Until the deeper emotional pain is addressed, they may find themselves trapped in a cycle of self-harming. Finding healthier coping strategies and addressing underlying emotional issues are crucial to healing from self-harming behaviors.

Getting Help for Self Injury

There is sometimes a fear of telling others about self injury, thinking they might believe you are "crazy". However, people who self-harm are just "normal" people in emotional pain, using it to cope because they don't know other healthy ways to deal with intense feelings. By not keeping self injury a secret, we can begin to educate each other about it, and help those suffering from this form of self-abuse unlock the secret, find support and heal.

Sometimes self injury can cause more harm than intended, which could result in medical complications or even death. If you or someone you know is self-harming, it is critical to talk to a trusted adult. Find a parent, a counselor, a clergy member or use the phone numbers below to get help.

Crisis Line

If you feel the urge to injure yourself, or if you know a friend who is self-harming, please contact a trusted adult immediately. If you are in crisis call the Nevada County Crisis Line at 530-265-5811.

If you attend a local high school, please contact your school's counselor or psychologist for help.