A common comment is that you hurt yourself to get attention. It's wrong. Self-harm becomes the only solution one looks at to deal with overwhelming emotions. 

Photo: by Jurica Koletić on Unsplash


This is something that appears in a very informative guest post on helpseeker.net. The writer has chosen to remain anonymous.

Here you read the whole post:

I want to say to you who are struggling, that I know you are in pain. I know what it's like to have difficult feelings and unbearable inner pain that will not go away.

The train of thought starts and you pick up something sharp, and press it hard against your skin, first a little calmly you pull it over your arm, a feeling that pain and emotions seep out fills you with a feeling reminiscent of euphoria.

The body fills with a "rush" and in an instant you cut yourself harder and faster.

You put it down and sit there in your own bubble, almost like a drug addict has been given his daily dose.

You look at the cuts to see the blood flowing, a mixed feeling of inner relief and shame begins to reach you, you find something to whirl around to stop the bleeding.

You pick up the phone and call for help, help comes and you are taken to the emergency room, you get there and can almost hear the doctors' sigh that there you came again.

Standard examination and treatment, then the doctor will come and talk to you.

The standard question you get is whether there is a danger of you taking your own life.

No, you answer remorsefully apologizing that you are bothered and get there.

The doctor writes to take notes and the note states that the risk of suicide is small, because the patient does not want to take his own life.

It has made me think many times how a doctor can think that we are right there and then are emotionally able to take responsibility for what we really want?

Of course we answer no. We know the routine if we answer yes, and right now the feeling of relief has been replaced with guilt, remorse and shame. We are tired and now we want to go home.

I believe that there and then, right there in the emergency psychiatric emergency room, at this time we are not emotionally available to make sensible choices.

Many are sent home and the shame becomes overwhelming. And the same method we used a while ago is used to alleviate these feelings as well. Why? Yes, because we do not know of any other way to get rid of this enduring inner pain we have in us, we may not have learned well enough how to deal with emotions.

A common comment is you do it for attention.

But that's where people have misunderstood. For us, getting hurt in one way or another becomes our intoxication.

Putting a razor or knife against the arm is as satisfying to us as if drug addicts on the street get the first shot of the day. We become addicted to the rush and the emotional improvement it gives us.

Why do I know that? Yes, what I wanted to say to you who are in so much pain that I know you can get better, precisely because I've been there.

I have been there and be picked up by ambulance 4-5 times a week, sewn and patched to send home, many rounds of various treatments to no avail.

Now I have been free from self-harm for almost 6 years, but the 6 years have not always been easy.

Treatment works differently so it is not certain that what helped me helps you, but you must continue to find the right one for you.

For me, it was a help in learning about emotions and why we react the way we do.

I had to get tools, concrete tools to use instead of self-harm. I had to have my own plan with point by point what to do if the feelings became too overwhelming.

It has taken many years of work and new trials, but I can now say that none of my scars are new. My scars represent a pain I have had.

You need to find your tools that help you, and there are people out there who will help you and cheer you on to your goal.

My wish for those who meet us in the health care system is, when you sit there with us 2 hours after the self-harm, is that you understand that we there and then are not emotionally ready to know what is best for us.

I want you to learn to look behind the self-harm.

In drug addicts, it is often said in treatment that one must treat the cause and what lies behind it.

The same applies to self-harm. The cut itself is a symptom of something deeper. To be able to stop the way we regulate ourselves emotionally, we must get help and tools to get rid of what triggers it.

I want to say to you who are sitting there and feel you have no choice, that: yes, you have it, but you just have not learned it yet. And there are many who can help you, so whether you are 14 or 50 years old: all hope is not lost.

Because I know you can handle it, you have an inner warrior. Let that fighter come forward.

- Written by anonymous

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