Some reasons people self-harm includes:
FEELING UPSET, ANGRY OR SCARED and the only way to stop these feelings seems to be to hurt themselves
HAVING A HORRIBLE FEELING building up inside and cutting is the only way to let it out or stop it by feeling physical pain and distracting the mind from the inner pain
FEELING ALONE AND ISOLATED from everybody and hurting themselves is the only way they feel ‘real’ or ‘connected’
FEELING OUT OF CONTROL and cutting or hurting themselves is the only way they feel in control
FEELING RESPONSIBLE for everything and everyone
FEELING NUMB and the only way they feel is by causing pain
IT CAN MAKE THE PAIN YOU FEEL INSIDE visible and when it is visible, it’s easier to understand
FEELING LIKE others only care about them if something bad happens
FEELING LIKE everything is hopeless
ELF-HARMING can be a way of punishing themselves or others for something
FEELING BAD about themselves and
FEELING LIKE they have no one to talk to.
Some people who self-harm have experienced physical abuse or suffer from anxiety. Other people have experienced sexual or emotional abuse, lost a family member or were not treated well as a child. This can create stress and pain in people’s lives. Sometimes this leads people to stop the pain by hurting themselves. However, not all people that self-harm have been abused or experienced big losses.
People who self-harm have difficulty coping with and talking about their emotions. Because of this, these emotions can build up and feel too much. Self-harm can seem like the only thing that will make these emotions go away or to feel something different.
People who self-harm may not like themselves or their bodies. They may have difficulties with relationships, not be able to talk about what is going on or be depressed, anxious or stressed. It is important to understand that whatever the reason for your self-harm, there are other and better ways of dealing with the way you feel.
People hurt themselves because it is the only thing they can think of doing to cope.
Some people say that self-harm helps take away the emotional pain and that this seems like the only way.
If something makes us feel better, then we tend to keep doing it. In this way, self-harming is like an ADDICTIVE BEHAVIOUR. Like a drug, self-harming when you feel like you are not coping can make you feel better. Because you feel better, you keep doing it.
Something that is addictive is really hard to give up. When people find hurting themselves brings relief, it can become their main way of dealing with problems – this can start to affect their life in a negative way. What is important to understand is that SELF HARMING IS JUST ONE WAY OF DEALING WITH THINGS and that THERE ARE OTHER AND BETTER WAYS!
Some other reasons why people find it difficult to stop self-harming include:
WONDERING WHAT THEY WILL DO to cope instead of self-harming
WONDERING WHETHER PEOPLE will still show they care if they don’t see the cuts and scars
WONDERING WHETHER PEOPLE will still know that they are hurting if they don’t see any injuries
LETTING GO OF SELF HARMING is like letting go of a familiar part of yourself “Who will I be if I don’t self-harm?”
WORRYING THAT THEY MIGHT get swallowed up by their feelings if they don’t self-harm
CONCERNED that they might stay numb
The most important step is to tell someone how you are feeling, be it a friend, a family member, a crisis line or a professional. Here are some useful phone numbers:
Distress and psychiatric problems:
In Reykjavík you can look into groups and organizations such as Clubhouse Geysir, Hugarafl and Hlutverkasetur. Outside of Reykjavík, you can turn to Grófin in Akureyri, Vesturafl in Ísafjörður, Ásheimar at Egilsstaðir to name some, an internet search will provide more options. You can also look up independent psychologists at www.salfelag.is or www.sal.is.
Furthermore you can turn to doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists or other mental health professionals. If you are at school you can turn to school-psychologists (in primary-schools and several collages) or other employees, for example counselors or nurses.
If you have been sexually abused you can turn to Stígamót or Drekaslóð. Stígamót also offer interviews at Pareksfjörður and Egilsstaðir. In Ísafjörður you can contact Sólstafir and in Akureyri, Aflið.
Drugs and alcohol abuse
If you have a drug or alcohol problem, you can get a free consultation from SÁÁ. You can also enter a 12-step program such as AA or NA www.nai.is.
If you are a parent of someone that has an alcohol or a drug problem, you can turn to Foreldrahús (parentshouse) www.vimulaus.is.
Psychologists that specialize in treatment of drug and alcohol problems can be found at at www.salfelag.is or www.sal.is. You can get help 24/7 at the Red Cross crisis line, call 1717 or use the webchat www.1717.is.