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Is it better to self-harm for immediate relief or hold out for long term improvement the hard slow miserable way?

11 Answers
Last Updated: 01/05/2021 at 8:10am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Lindsay Scheinerman, MA, LPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

My work with clients is to help them recognize and build on their strengths to find solutions for the conflicts presented in their lives.

Top Rated Answers
May 9th, 2015 3:28pm
Although self harm does provide relief for intense emotion, it isn't a very healthy coping strategy, which means that if this is something that you find yourself turning to when you are upset, it's a good idea to seek help and find alternative coping strategies. Long term improvement doesn't have to be hard, slow or miserable, there are plenty of ways and means to seek help when things get too much to bear, such as confiding in someone. This might be a trusted friend, a family member, an active listener, a teacher, a counsellor - whoever it is, recovery from self harm is very hard to do alone. You can fight back, you can beat the urges, no matter how tough things might be now.
January 24th, 2015 2:25pm
Self-harm causes only a bit of immediate relief, but it carries its own weight of shame which ends up stacking with the worries and pains that prompted you to self-harm in the first place. Self harm is an addiction, which carries its own vicious cycle. Coping with self-harm makes things way much harder in the long run.
January 24th, 2015 4:52pm
I think that it's better not to self harm - and there are alternatives to self harming that can give you some relief without needing to hurt yourself. You could try clenching ice cubes in your fists, scribbling on yourself in red pen, or exercising for example. Other ideas include keeping a feelings journal, ripping up magazines or punching a pillow....
April 1st, 2015 2:52am
Self harm is never the answer. Like I've told many there are many other ways to leave stress! For example do something you love to distract yourself. Do you read or write? Maybe even draw? Try doing that to distract your mind off of the thought, it is a great way!
April 16th, 2015 12:36am
Self-harm is not good under any circunstancies, if you need to feel immediate relief look for a marker and draw anything on your usual self-harm spot (do it another place if you have fresh ones :/) even if you are not good at it just do it. or write some music lyrics, poems, names but dont self-harm if you need to feel something else go cut an apple the eat it, it will canalize your desire on another object and sson that needing of cutting or other ways of self-harm will go away.. :)
September 11th, 2015 4:56am
No self harm should never be the answer. maybe u should try writing in a journal or something to relief the erg to self harm.
December 8th, 2015 8:45pm
Hmmm... everyone has a way to escape. Some use drugs, alcohol, self-harm, and even unsafe sex to help them. Others use a more... helpful approach, such as investing your time into cleaning your house or dedicating yourself to your job and help it improve, finding a hobby that you are interested in, some people escape through reading or exercising. I personally love to write, I write when I'm happy or sad or mad. I'm even making a book and my friends and I are working together to make it a series of 4 books, aka, a saga. Then we will submit it to SwoonReads. ~~~ I would say to find yourself a therapist but while you wait, because it can take a long time to get one, to find something that is helpful in a positive way to get you through the rough times. Find something you love and invest in it. Knitting is really great too! You can learn a new craft while making objects for you or for others as a gift, it feels really good to make something and to see someone genuinely smile and love it. I suggest to do that, personally.
December 21st, 2015 5:56am
Ultimately self-harm doesn't help the situation. It is unclear as to what you mean by 'hold out'. Prolonging a self-injury episode is generally helpful in the long run, absolutely. By doing so, you allow yourself time to work on coping skills and think about what brought on the urges to self-harm. When you have time to think about it (mindfulness!) and work through it emotionally, often times you can develop a coping strategy to manage the feelings at the current time, and that can carry through to the next time. It is all about working through what bothers you and managing your feelings around it.
September 4th, 2017 12:09pm
You should hold out. Self-harm momentarily cause relief but in long term that gives you an extra worry, because you will have to hide the marks and many times they cause shame. Be strong and hold on.
December 12th, 2017 3:18am
You don’t have to do that self-harm for extreme feelings. It must be really hard for you to go through with it, and it’s really understandable that you have strong feeling that you’d like to harm your self when you’re feeling devastated, but if you can do other activities which won’t hurt you, that would be better.
January 5th, 2021 8:10am
I can say with personal experience that even though the long route seems tiring and hard compared to the instant relief that hurting yourself gives. I used to self harm because I felt guilty and 'not good enough'. I guess cutting myself felt like I was punishing myself for all my short comings. I also did it for attention seeking help. But no one recognised that. I had supportive friends who got me through that by reminding me of my self worth. I do not know why you harm yourself but I sympathise with you and I just want to tell you that you are unique and loved and you do not need to harm yourself for anything. I hope you get through this and hope you have a good day :)