Life provides a lot of joyous moments, but we all know that it can also provide significant periods of pain. For many people, dealing with the pain is a matter of working it our or waiting it out. But for some, it’s not that easy, and they turn to self-harm.
The act of self-harm, as difficult as it may be to believe, is more common than you might think. Someone who harms themselves is crying out for help. Self-harm methods frequently involve cutting but can include other painful habits as well.
Self-harm is a statement about a person’s mental wellness. It could trigger periods of substance abuse or be triggered by substance abuse. It may require depression treatment or other mental health support focused on healthy coping skills. More than anything, it should not be ignored.
Recognizing the Signs of Self-Harm
You might wonder if self-harm is a precursor to suicide. The evidence suggests it is not. Self-harm for a brief period gives a person a sense of relief. But, sadly, soon afterward, the darkness returns in the form of guilt and shame. And then the cycle repeats itself.
People prone to self-harm become experts in hiding the signs. Some symptoms to be on the lookout for include:
- Unexplained scars
- Wearing long pants and shirts in warm weather
- Mood swings
- Impulsive behavior
- Feeling hopeless or unworthy of love
If you or someone you love is struggling, reach out for help today.
8 Things to Do Instead of Self-Harm
The path to mental wellness for someone involved in harming themselves depends on finding healthy coping skills. This is, of course, easier said than done. Every person is different and there’s no right way to advise someone on how to cope with their pain. Some things to do instead of self-harm:
- Keep a journal – Write down your feelings
- Get physical – Begin an exercise regimen that can consume the energy of your frustration
- Find a distraction in music, in TV, or a phone call to a friend – Often this interim period will enable the urge to self-harm to pass
- Turn up the music and sing and dance – If you play an instrument, start playing loudly
- Draw on yourself – Sometimes you can let the urge pass by being creative
- Snap a rubber band around your wrist
- Take a hot or cold shower
- Punch something soft – A punching bag, a cushion, a pillow
Find what works for you. Many online communities of people who have been down this road will offer ideas for healthy coping skills. If nothing at home seems to be working, talk to someone about depression treatment programs near you.
Seek Professional Help
It is very hard to admit you need help. But self-harm can get out of control. It’s important to establish a relationship with a trusted therapist. Discussing your problems with a counselor can also help you through the confusion of trying to find the right coping mechanisms.
These higher-level coping skills are an important part of the solution. A therapist can help guide you to new ways of keeping your emotions under control and identify ways of boosting your self-esteem. Counseling can also lead to strategies for improving relationships and faring better in social situations.
Getting mental health treatment also reduces the risks and harm of self-medicating. When depression and substance abuse occur together, dual diagnosis treatment programs offer solutions.
Help for Self-Harm at Wellness Counseling Vida Entera
Someone who turns to self-harm is issuing a cry for help. Self-harm is a significant sign of emotional problems that should not be ignored. And with emotional problems comes a substantial risk of substance abuse. At Wellness Counseling Vida Entera, we recognize the significant need to treat the whole person, not just a single problem.
Our talented team of medical and counseling professionals is versed in the latest evidence-based addiction treatment and how it relates to mental health. We provide services for substance abuse and mental health issues such as depression. For individuals with a history of self-harm, we’ll work to provide healthy coping skills.