March 1, 2013, is Self Injury Awareness Day. What is it, you may be asking yourself?
For those of us with mental illness, March 1, 2013, is a day to call attention to the disturbing number of people who deliberately harm their bodies in an attempt to numb emotional stress.
Self Harming is confusing to many, often I have been asked “So why do you self harm?”
The easy answer for me is to have some type of control of my body, my emotions, my life. Yet some have said its because of wanting attention. Calling attention to myself is not what self harming is about for me.
Self Harming may be more about letting the pain they feel inside themselves. It is called Emotional Regulation, meaning to feel better or calm down when their emotions are high.
It doesn’t make sense does it? To inflict pain in order to let pain out. Yet, there are reasons why we do it:
It distracts from emotional pain and calms overwhelmingly intense feelings
It gives a sense of control and distracts from painful memories or disturbing thoughts
It’s a way to express things they can’t put into words or can’t sort out in their own mind
*excerpt taken from http://www.self.com/blogs/flash/2011/03/its-self-injury-awareness-day-wh.html*
What should you do if you learn someone you care about is self harming?
- Recognize that self harming is very serious and needs to be addressed.
- You are not a therapist, but letting your loved one or friend know you care about them and want to help them get professional help.
- Reassure your loved one or friend that you can see how much pain they are in and want to see them happy again.
Now that you are aware of your loved one or friend’s self harming, help them find a therapist who understands and has the skills to deal with someone who self harms. This is very important because, as I have learned, not every doctor is qualified to address this behavior.
I am attaching the S.A.F.E.(Self Abuse Finally Ends) link. http://www.selfinjury.com/referrals/therapists/ . Please click on it if you are needing some support.
24 Hour National Crisis Lines
800-273-TALK (8255) www.nmha.org
800-SUICIDE (784-2433) National Hopeline Network
800-799-SAFE (7233) Domestic Violence Hotline
866-4-U-Trevor – for GLBTQ youth (www.thetrevorproject.org)
800-656-HOPE (4679) RAINN – Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network
800-799-4889 Deaf Hotline