There are a lot of misconceptions about self injury. I think because a lot of people are afraid of it and they just don't know quite what to think of people that do this. I am going to try to attempt here to banish some myths from peoples mind and educate about this. I am definately NOT a professional. This is just from my knowledge and from doing some research about this subject. This is just for educational purposes only. I hope that I may inform people about this by having this here.
WHAT IS SELF INJURY? Self-injury, or self-mutilation, is the deliberate damaging of body tissue without conscious intent to commit suicide. Self-injury usually begins in late childhood and early adolescence, and although for some it becomes a chronic problem, most self-mutilators do not continue the behavior after 10-15 years. However, self-injury can be a chronic problem if the situation that pushes the victim to cut or hurt themselves continues to stay in their lives. For example, a person may hurt themselves due to an episode of depression. If the depression goes untreated, the self abuse may continue. The most commen ways of self injury are cutting, burning, and self hitting. There are many more, but these are the most commen. Some other ways that people do this are hair pulling, picking at wounds so they can't heal well, and then there are more extreme cases such as, bone breaking.
WHY? This is probably the most commen question. Why would anyone choose to do this to themselves? Well, there are a number of reasons. Some people do it because they feel dead inside. They feel numb, so by cutting (or any other self harm) they are at least feeling SOMETHING, as opposed to nothing at all. Others do it because they feel they deserve pain. Then there are people that do it because they hurt so badly emotionally that having some physical pain in a sense, distracts them from what they are feeling inside. In most cases, the injurer feels a sense of "release" or they even temporarily feel "good". It is due to the fact that when we have some physical pain, endorphins rush to the brain trying to compensate for the pain, thus making the person feel "good" or feel a "release." Whatever pain that is inside them, whether it be from family trouble, sexual or physical abuse, or emotional neglect, the feelings are unbearable and they feel they can only be released or "forgotten about" through the pain that comes from injuring themselves. Cutting, burning, or hurting yourself in any way gives a rapid relief from an overwhelming psychological distress, distress which cannot be expressed by the person any other way. Cutting can be looked at as a means of communicating anger and distress to other people when there are no other ways. However, many self injurers are ashamed and chose to keep this hidden for various reasons.
WHO DOES IT? Self-injury usually begins in late childhood and early adolescence, and although for some it becomes a chronic problem, most self-injurers do not continue the behavior after 10-15 years. About 750 out of 100,000 people engage in this. It could be anyone, and just because they do this does not make them "psycho" or "crazy." It just means that they don't know how else to cope at that point in time and this is all they feel they can do. Of course there are alternatives, but I will get to that later. It had also been found that more females then males do this. Self-injury soon becomes an addiction and extremely hard to stop. Cutting, burning, or performing any other number of harming acts on yourself relieves, very quickly, unbearable pain and also releases the endorphins.
HOW CAN I STOP? This can be very difficult. First, you have to want to stop. Nobody can force you into stopping this. You have to be aware of the "urges" and how to handle them. If you truly want to stop, here is a short list that I have made that make things a bit easier when you have an "urge." Keep in mind, this is just a short list that I have found helpful to me. I am NOT a professional, just someone who wants to help and knows about this.
Click here to go to that list.
I hope I have educated you about this topic. If you want more information on self injury, go to my links page.
Thank you Jane for this Survivors award...it is VERY much appreciated..