Understanding self harm and cutting

While self-harm is not an emotional or psychiatric illness in itself, it usually suggests that one is present. Finding Help for self harm and cutting requires working a programme that addresses both the disease of addiction and the problem of self-injurious behaviour. Self-harm can also include less obvious ways of hurting yourself or putting yourself in danger, such as driving recklessly, binge drinking, taking too many drugs, and having unsafe sex.

Your sober self

Because cutting and other means of self-harm tend to be taboo subjects, the people around you—and possibly even you—may harbour serious misunderstandings about your motivations and state of mind. Don’t let these myths get in the way of finding Help for self harm and cutting, or helping someone you care about. People sometimes physically hurt themselves in ways that may be familiar to you.  Have you ever binged on alcohol or other drugs and sobered up only to find cuts on your arms and legs?  Have you felt so filled with anger and shame that you couldn’t tell anybody and wound up hitting your head or fist against a wall because you didn’t know what else to do?

Here are some of the ways people hurt themselves:

  • Scraping or cutting their skin with a razorblade or broken glass
  • Burning their skin with matches and cigarettes
  • Pinching, slapping, punching their bodies
  • Banging their arms or legs against solid objects
  • Pulling out their hair
  • Swallowing toxic substances
  • Inserting objects into body cavities
  • Inserting objects under the skin
  • Binge eating and purging; excessive, non-stop dieting; compulsive overeating
  • Having frequent, medically unnecessary surgery

Many people find it easier to discuss and seek help for addiction rather than for finding help for self harm and cutting.  People who practice self-harm are usually very secretive about the behaviour because they consider it private and because it doesn’t hurt anybody else. You probably don’t know why you harm yourself, only that it feels overwhelming to even consider giving it up.  The reason is that although self-harm and addiction are damaging your life right now, these behaviours helped you survive.  They provided a way to cope with emotional pain when you didn’t know what your feelings were, didn’t feel safe to express them, or didn’t know how to express them.  It makes sense that you would have these feelings … giving up these behaviours.  Recovery involves learning healthy ways to cope with feelings. 

Steps to finding help for self harm and cutting

If you’re ready to finding help for self harm and cutting, the first step is to confide in another person. It can be scary to talk about the very thing you have worked so hard to hide, but it can also be a huge relief to finally let go of your secret and share what you’re going through. Deciding whom you can trust with such personal information can be difficult. Choose someone who isn’t going to gossip or try to take control of your recovery. Ask yourself who in your life makes you feel accepted and supported. It could be a friend, teacher, religious leader, counselor, or relative. But you don’t necessarily have to choose someone you are close to.

finding help for self harm and cutting

While people harm themselves for a variety of reasons, many do it to cope with painful feelings that they don’t understand.  When people are abused, neglected or abandoned in childhood, they often keep strong feelings of anger, sadness and shame bottled up inside – usually for many years.  Any person, event, situation or feeling that reminds them of past abuse can stir up feelings of being out of control and overwhelmed.  Self-harm becomes a way to cope with overwhelming feelings that they never learned to identify or express in healthier ways. 

For example, it you had to hold in feelings of fear when you were growing up, that fear may have been transformed into feeling depressed, powerless or hopeless.  Or you may have learned to cope with your fear by converting it into anger.  Anger may now be your automatic response to feelings of fear, grief, shame, sadness, guilt – as well as other emotions.  You can use anger to punish yourself or others for not taking care of you the way you want, need or deserve.  Self-harm is an indirect way of expressing feelings such as anger.  It’s a way to be angry at yourself rather than to risk being angry with others.

Some people learn to act out their feelings indirectly by hurting or abusing others.  Others learn to ‘act in’ their feelings and turn anger on themselves in the form of depression or self-injurious behaviour. So in the end self harming might be seen as a logical end point for the very common emotional defence mechanism of denying or trying to ‘get rid of’ feelings – a strategy which goes hand in hand with cultural attitudes which define emotion as undesirable. However, all of our emotions – including painful emotions – are a natural and essential factor of human life and cannot themselves be eliminated. Finding Help for self harm and cutting and overcoming a self  harming habit therefore means learning how to tolerate and manage the experience of having painful, life on life’s terms feelings rather than trying to get rid of them with a quick fix. Recovery takes time and needs to be handled by a qualified and skilled counsellor only, someone who is registered with the psychological counsel of South Africa called the HSPCSA.

finding help for self harm and cutting

For more help with finding help for self harm and cutting contact Pathways Plett Rehab Centre, CALL 0824424779 or info@pathwaysplettrehab.co.za. Our team specialize in treating all drug and alcohol addictions. Furthermore, we also treat depression, dual diagnosis, self-harm, eating disorders and gambling. The intensive drug addiction rehab programmes we present are also designed for recovery through sex and love addiction, smoking cessation, prescription drugs, cocaine, heroin, marijuana and meth. If it is a life changing wellness and addiction recovery programme you seek, look no further! #drugrehabcentres #bestrehabs We are here to help you. There is also a self harm work sheet to get you started here if you like. Blessings.