March 31, 2014
Sometimes self-harm can seem like an easy coping mechanism for everything from day-to-day troubles to deep trauma and pain. While people's reasons for self-harming can range - some do it to feel alive, some to quell stress, and some to assuage self-destructive urges - the process is always unhealthy.
Recovery from self-harm takes great strength and dedication. First, a person has to admit that they have needs that aren't being met. Subsequently, they have to find a way to meet those needs without the use of self injury. A great list of alternatives to self-harm can be found at http://www.siriusproject.org/alternatives.htm.
Self-harm is also usually an indicator of a deeper mental illness. Whether a person struggles with depression, anxiety, or other conditions, treatment is key. If you have trouble with self-harm, the best thing for your recovery would be to see a professional mental health expert. This way, you'll be able to let yourself live a happy and healthy life without the urges.
Not all people have the funds or the time to see a professional, though, and that's okay. While professional help is the best road to recovery, there are also support groups on the internet. If possible, you can create a support network in your life as well, so that you'll have people to turn to who can keep you safe and happy.
All self-harm is serious, regardless of how the behavior manifests or the severity of the injuries. And sometimes certain self-destructive behaviors fly under the radar. Because self-harm as spoken of in media and by mental health professionals usually entails methods that evoke immediate physical damage, others aren't even recognized. But substance abuse, reckless driving, and other situations that pose danger to a person count as well.
No matter how long you've been self-harming or how deep your pain is, there is always hope for recovery. If you're struggling not to self-harm right now, you can open a chat on 7 Cups and talk through the urges. And our recently-opened member forum offers a place to receive support from listeners and members who have struggled with the same issues.
Though recovery is a difficult and often messy process, you deserve to be safe. And you deserve to life a happy life without being plagued by self-harm. Your strength knows no bounds, and I'm wishing you all the best.
By, Katie MacEachern
7 Cups of Tea Listener: KittyKat