For some people, when depression and anxiety lead to a flood of emotions, they turn to self-harm to release or transform their emotional pain into physical pain.
Hello, I am Dr. Jayna Bonfini, in this video I will be talking about self-harm or self-injurious behavior. For some people, when depression and anxiety lead to a flood of emotions, they turn to self-harm to release or transform their emotional pain into physical pain. Self-harm and self-injury are any forms of hurting oneself on purpose. Usually, when people self-harm, they do not do so as a suicide attempt. Instead, they self-harm as a way to release painful emotions.
The most common types of self-injury include cutting, scratching, carving words or symbols into the skin, hitting one’s self on hard surfaces, or piercing the skin with sharp objects like pencils or pins.
Self-harm is serious. While the intention behind self-harm usually is not death, it can still be dangerous—both physically and emotionally. The reasons for self-harm may vary. People might self-harm to process or distract themselves from their feelings. Others may self-harm to feel something physical, particularly if they are feeling numb. Still others may self-harm to develop a sense of control over their lives or punish themselves for things they think they’ve done wrong.
Breaking away from the cycle of self-harm may feel like an enormous task. It involves breaking a habit that has once brought comfort from pain. However, there are ways that you can set up yourself for success. One way is by identifying other methods to achieving the same result. For example, if you self-harm for the physical sensation, try to find other ways of releasing endorphins, like exercise. If you self-harm to express your emotions, practice expressing them in words by writing them down. Grab a pen and a notebook or start typing away in your notes app.
It is also a good idea to address the underlying emotions. Explore the feelings that lead you to want to hurt yourself. If it’s guilt or shame or sadness, where are those feelings coming from? Talking to someone who can help you find alternatives is incredibly important. Consider telling someone you know who can help you connect with a professional that can help you find ways to cope with the hard stuff. Thank you for watching!