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Why does the urge to self-harm continue to come back, even though I've been clean for over a year?

14 Answers
Last Updated: 12/01/2020 at 6:03pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
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Alison Humphreys, LCPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

During the therapeutic process, individuals will learn to manage transitions, overcome obstacles and work towards their full potential .

Top Rated Answers
July 11th, 2017 9:05am
Because the stress that's causing us to do it is still there. We try our best to move on, but traumatic experiences, people who had done us wrong, people who doesn't care, people who keeps pushing us to the edge are still there. If a lot of people care and have the patient to listen and understand that we didn't choose to do it. We just need to end the emotional pain. We know nothing else that can easily help but that thing. It's hard everyday living as if nothing happened. Living like there's tomorrow but only tomorrow means a continuation of our depression. We need people who care, who won't judge us, who will understand that we are not crazy, we don;'t want to be like this. We want to be alright. We want to feel normal like others. We want to be strong in facing all these problems. But if we found no hope and no listening ear, then we tend to end up going back to the thing we tried to avoid to do. Sometimes we can find true people who care in places we are not familiar with at all.
February 20th, 2018 10:12pm
It's an old habit that is hard to let go of but you have to keep reminding yourself that self-harming is wrong and it doesn't solve the problem
June 18th, 2015 6:25am
I have noticed the same thing about self harm. One thing I noticed about it is, it's like a drug addiction. I dabbled in the pain on pain process and it "helped" me cope with a lot of turmoil in my life. I built a reliance on it, like one would a cigarette, and craved it often. Even after I had been clean for a while. You never stop craving the coping skill, just like you never stop craving cigarettes. The best medicine that I've noticed is staying strong. The longer you are strong, the longer the breaks between the cravings are. Stay strong my friend.
September 22nd, 2015 10:04am
Talking about it, seeing it like pictures or videos can make you want to. Or the old reason you used to cut could still trigger it.
May 11th, 2015 3:00pm
The urge can come from a past event coming back to haunt. For some it can be an addiction. Just like alcohol, one will always have the urge to relapse.
May 20th, 2015 2:42pm
Self Harm is a way of coping and your brain got used to it, which is why your experiencing the urge again. But if you adopt other coping techniques I'm sure the urge will go sooner or later.
August 10th, 2015 5:19pm
For me it was an addiction, in a similar way that ex-smokers will tell you that they never stop wanting to smoke, I think it's unlikely I will ever stop feeling the urge to harm, but it's much fainter now as I'm sure you can appreciate! Take care :)
December 1st, 2015 7:52am
Our mind frequently plays tricks on us. Even though we know how better off we are in the present, sometimes things get difficult and we start thinking about old and unhealthy coping methods. I am bipolar and have been treating myself for years, yet I still come across urges to hurt myself when I get upset. So I take a deep breath and accept those thoughts as what they really are: just thoughts. And then I remind myself of how things are better now.
October 10th, 2016 10:19pm
Sometimes life situations can trigger us to fall back and relapse on things we used to do before you have to be strong enough to not let your self go down that path again. Seek help and support: you are not alone
July 7th, 2015 8:47pm
Maybe you were triggered in some way. This link may be helpful:
October 1st, 2015 3:39pm
Because you know the relief that it brings
November 17th, 2015 6:10am
because self harming was a way to feel better and to get away from the problem. It was also s habit and as they say old habits die hard. Stay strong
April 11th, 2016 2:23am
Because I've done the same, and the same thing has happened to me, I quit but sometimes I want to continue, but don't let it over come you.
December 1st, 2020 6:03pm
For me, it was because I didn’t get to the core of why I started in the first place. Sometimes it was just fleeting thoughts without and urge. Which is common, I think most people have these thoughts. With urges and intent is when it can become a problem. Reach out for help. Find a support group of peers, I think coming to 7 cups is already a great step for you! It’s not easy to seek support so you’re brave for reaching out. You might want to take it a step further and seek help by a therapist who specializes in self-harm and suicide prevention.