Many people find the concept of 'self-harm' or 'cutting' very difficult to understand and it this view which causes many of us who do self-harm, to keep it a secret for fear of being labelled as 'weird' or 'insane'.
The fact is that self-harm in the UK is dramatically on the increase and is most prevelant amongst young people and to ignore its existence is very concerning.
Of course there are varying degrees and ways in which people choose to harm themselves. Many partake in superficial cutting or burning which may leave no permanent scarring whilst others cut much deeper and across a larger surface area. Some people may go as far as to stab themselves or pound their heads against hard surfaces whilst others may pull out their hair or pick their skin.
The term 'self-harm' can be any form of abuse to oneself be it through drug, alcohol or food abuse just to name a few.
So why do people self-harm?
For so many, self-harm is a desperate and last resort. They feel unable to cope with the feelings or pain they are carrying around and seek release for this pain through self-inflicted injury. Many testify to the powerful sense of relief they feel from hurting themselves. Self-harm tends to be the option of those who feel totally
overwhelmed with what they are experiencing and can see no other way out. Other forms of self-harm such as substance abuse serves to block out feelings which may be intolerable and need to be suppressed.
The intention of those who self-harm tends not to be to kill themselves although unfortunately for some this can be the end result. Self-harm is very often a bi-product of an earlier negative experience or trauma and help can be found by dealing with the source of the painful feelings.