As a healthcare professional, I have plastered many wounds. But as a patient, I experience that the staff flee when they hear about mine.

 Image: Dreamstime (with licence)


This writes Sarah, who is a nurse and sociology student, in a post on nrk.no. 

Self-harm - a way to deal with difficult emotions

She further writes:

Self-harm can be frightening - so frightening that even health professionals do not dare to help. What makes these wounds so much scarier than, for example, an amputated leg or an open abdomen?

There are people who intentionally harm themselves. The causes vary, but often it is about mental pain that becomes so strong that you have to resort to other pain to cope.

 

A widespread problem

Self-harm is most common among young people who lack the language to describe bad feelings, as well as the ability to deal with them, Eriksen writes, and she adds:

But also adult self-harm. In the United States, about four percent of the adult population self-harms, which is equivalent to several million people. 

 

Possible to get addicted to self-harm

Eriksen writes:

Self-harm induces endorphins. One can become addicted - such as from smoking.

Therefore, the self-harmer must not only learn new, good coping strategies; one must also wean.

Since self-harm is usually associated with mental pain, help may also be needed to process trauma and the like.

 

- The treatment of self-harm scared me

In the post, she writes that self-harm is also a risk factor for suicide, and that there are many reasons to prioritize providing help to people with self-harm problems. But this is not necessarily the case, she explains. 

As a nurse, I thought I was part of a health care system that took good care of people, whether they had physical or mental needs. I do not think so anymore. The treatment of self-harm scared me.

That's why I'm writing this post. In the hope that someone will understand.

As a healthcare professional, I have plastered many wounds. But as a patient, I experienced that the staff only fled when they heard about mine. 

 

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Written by

ove heradstveit

Ove Heradstveit

Psychologist, specialist in clinical community psychology. PhD.
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