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Let's look at self-harm

It's not the same for everyone

By Skulls And CauldronsPublished 2 months ago 3 min read
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Let's look at self-harm
Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

When we see self-harm in the movies and on television, it always seems to reflect around cutters – those folks who use cutting tools, like knives or razor blades, to dig into their flesh. That's not the only way to injure yourself, and when I started my descent into self-injury as a teenager, it looked far different.

Why am I talking about this subject? Because I think too many of us are made to feel ashamed about our mental issues and we keep them to ourselves where they fester and make things even worse. I am open and honest with all of my clients when it comes to relating to them, so I am not afraid to share my story.

My version of self-harm

I hit myself. I wasn't afraid to do it in front of people in the beginning. I didn't do the hitting in hidden places that people wouldn't be able to see if I got bruises. I beat myself in the head. Perhaps I wasn't shy about it because I wanted attention, but most of all, I did it because that's what I was used to – being punished for perceived wrongs. You see, my mom was physically, mentally, and verbally abusive to me my entire life.

Here's something I wrote to her, though she passed in 2014:

When I did something she thought was “wrong” in her eyes, I was whipped, spanked, slapped across the face … whatever was easiest for her to do at the time. So, it came to be that when I did something I thought was wrong, I thought I needed a physical punishment. Perhaps I would sit on the floor and beat my legs until they were red. Most of the time, I would hit myself in the head – the types of hits that cause you to see those lightning flashes and shiny sprinkles of light afterward.

It's not easy coming from life-long abuse and trying to learn to love yourself. I still have moments where I nearly sink into this pattern of self-abuse and self-harm, but I try to look at the issues from a different perspective. Mistakes don't require punishment, they are learning experiences. I think there may always be some times yet when I am at my lowest and feel I've messed up I'll think about giving myself a good punch in the head – it's a process getting out of self-injury habits. While it's been at least a year now since the last incident, the length between grows wider and wider.

It took years for me to realize that this isn't what we're supposed to do when we make a mistake. It's okay to be gentle with yourself, it's okay to make mistakes, and it's alright to move on without dwelling on it.

When I am feeling at my lowest, there are a few things I like to do first, before I share my problems with others:

  • get some fresh air
  • exercise
  • write about it
  • give it a good cry
  • meditate

Fresh air and a walk are great ways to clear your head, and exercise of any kind will help release those feel-good hormones in your brain. Writing down what is bothering you gets it out of your head so you can possibly move on while crying it out lets you release pent-up emotions. Finally, meditating is a great way to clear your mind, focus on positivity, and move through anything that adds frustration to your life.

Here are some journaling tips:

Here are some benefits of getting outside:

Here's an intro to meditation:

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Remember, self-harm doesn't have to involve cutting. Recognizing when you're intentionally hurting yourself physically is the first step to dealing with the mental struggle behind it.

If you are practicing self-harm or thinking of hurting yourself in any way, there is help out there. Talk to a crisis counselor:

Text HOME to 741741 to connect with a volunteer Crisis Counselor

Free 24/7 support at your fingertips.

Find people in your life you feel safe with and talk to them. Talk to your doctor as well. There is help out there.

mental healthCONTENT WARNING
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About the Creator

Skulls And Cauldrons

Skulls & Cauldrons LLC specializes in witchy tools and oddities & curiosities (handmade and curated), spellwork, oracle/psychic readings, paranormal investigation, intuitive life coaching, spiritual counseling, and more.

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