Liam is going into eighth grade. He makes straight As and has perfect attendance, even though his parents just went through a messy divorce. Kylie is a few months into her first full-time job, and she already feels drained and stuck. Ed is in his 60s and wants to retire. However, he will most likely be working another decade if not more. Ed, Kylie, and Liam have far more in common than it seems. They each have distinct and different stressors in their lives, but they are each handling them in the same way—through cutting. Many people struggle with self-harm: men and women—young, middle-aged, and old. For those who injure their own bodies to cope with emotional pain, they might just be doing the best they know how to survive.
“It was a way of expressing my own shame of myself on my own body. I was matching the inside to the outside. And there were sometimes where my emotions were just so built up, I didn’t know what to do…” –Demi Lovato
Can you resonate with what Demi describes? Many people can. They may be feeling intense psychological pain and have no idea how to process it. Often, people who cut have experienced victimization, trauma, abuse, poverty, and more. Self-harm may be the only way they know how to express their experiences.
“When we know better, we do better” is an old cliché, but in many ways, it is true. Cutting may be the only way some people know how to communicate about their pain, but when they know better, they often do better. Many people are learning new, better ways of processing psychological pain.
If you are ready to learn a new way of coping, you are not alone. Thriveworks Peachtree City is seeing more and more clients who are doing just that—walking away from self-harm and walking toward healthy coping skills. Our professionals understand that journey and are ready to help.
The Signs and Symptoms of Self-Harm
Cutting is probably the form of self-harm that gets the most attention, but there are many ways people can participate in self-injury, including excessive tattooing, branding, carving, scratching, burning, and pinching oneself. Some people may sabotage their body’s healing process—picking scabs or stitches. Others may pull out their hair by the first-full. Some people participate in this harm when they feel particularly stressed. Others have a routine of self-harm that they perform daily, weekly, or monthly.
Because the form of self-harm can vary so much, so can the signs and symptoms that people display. When people display the following, they may be coping through self-injury:
- Recent wounds: burns, scratches, cuts, or bruises.
- Even on a hot day, wearing long pants and sleeves.
- Access to or possession of weapons that may be used in the injury.
- Expressing questions about their identity and their worth.
- Toxic or hard relationships with friends, teachers, family, bosses, and more.
- Behavior that is unpredictable or impulsive.
- Feeling of hopelessness, worthlessness, or helplessness.
What Are the Causes of Self-Injuring Behavior?
The particular circumstances that surround when, why, and how people begin cutting are usually unique, personal, and tender. One common thread that is strung through almost every case of self-injury is psychological pain. The pain is often the result of trauma. Experiencing child abuse, neglect, poverty, domestic violence, and more may put people at a greater risk of self-harm.
When people experience trauma, they often also experience intense emotions. Feelings such as guilt, anger, panic, self-hatred, worthlessness, confused sexuality, and/or rejection may plague them. Self-harm may be the only way they know how to cope with their experiences and these emotions. Although it does not offer complete healing, self-harm may offer people…
- Some way to express their experiences.
- A diversion from their suffering.
- The feeling of control over their pain.
- The experience of an emotion different than numbness.
A momentary feeling of relief may accompany self-harm, but in the long-term, the psychological pain returns. In many cases, the long-term effect of self-harm is to increase a person’s discomfort instead of relieving their symptoms.
If Your Loved One Self-Injures
Many people suspect that their loved one may be coping through self-harm and wonder how they can help. While no one can change another person or force another person to pursue recovery, loved one can play an important part in the healing process. Usually, expressing love and care are the most simple but most powerful ways to help. If you think your loved one may be cutting or suing another form of self-harm…
- Give them the opportunity to speak without questioning, interrupting, or judging them. If you loved one offers any information, offer an empathetic ear. Allow them to set the pain for what they disclose and why.
- Voice your love and support. Let your loved one know that you care for them. If they are pursuing recovery or interested in recovery, offer support in ways that you feel comfortable.
Thriveworks Peachtree City Offers Counseling for Self-Injury
There is an old saying that goes, “when we know better, we do better.” In many ways, self-harm follows this cliché—when people learn new coping skills, they are often able to process their psychological pain in a healthier way. That is why Thriveworks Peachtree City offers appointments for self-harm.
If you are ready to meet with a counselor and learn new coping skills, then know that Thriveworks Peachtree City offers evening and weekend appointments. We accept most forms of insurance, and most new clients have their first appointment within 24 hours of their call.
Contact Thriveworks Peachtree City today.