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How do I Stop Self Harming?

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 22 Oct 2015 | comments*Discuss
 
Self Harm Self Harmer Self Harming

Q.

I am a selfharmer. Cutting myself is addictive and I can't stop. Can you please give me some help and advice on how to stop. What should I do?

(Miss C M, 20 November 2008)

A.

Congratulations! By writing in you have both acknowledged that you have a problem with self harming and reached out for information and advice. These are the first steps towards ending this destructive behaviour and reclaiming both your physical and emotional health.

As a self harmer you should know that you are not alone. Approximately a half a million people across the UK self harm, and it is often estimated that more women than men engage in this behaviour. This means that there are many options for getting help.

To begin with, you must see a GP or other medical professional immediately. Self harming can easily result in infections and scarring, so taking care of your physical health is of the utmost importance. A GP will be able to check over any wounds, scars or burns that you may have to make sure that they are not infected or otherwise threaten your health. If you have any sort of fever, see red lines extending upwards from a wound, see a discharge from a wound or smell a foul odour then you especially should not delay in seeking medical treatment as these are common signs of infection.

When you are certain that your physical health is not in danger you must seek out assistance to discover why you self harm. This is usually best explored with the help of an experienced counsellor or therapist. During counselling or therapy you will be able to explore not only why you turn to self harm to cope with your emotions, but some of the hot topics, issues or situations which often cause you to self harm. You should also be able to plan how to avoid these topics, issues or situations as well as how to cope with them - other than self harming - if you must confront them.

If you are not ready to seek help face to face or can not find a counsellor or therapist with whom you are comfortable in your local area then you could also consider calling a helpline to discuss your specific situation. The Samaritans run a helpline on 08457 90 90 90 while the National Self Harm Network offers a list of resources related to self harm at their website (nshn.co.uk).

Good luck!

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[Add a Comment]
Saffie - Your Question:
I am 14 and have been self harming for quite a while and don't know how to tell my family as I think they will judge me. I self-harm a a way out from the mental pain it gives me a release. Ik they will try to get me to see a doctor but I spoke to the school nurse and she just mad things worse. How do I tell my family without them judging me and telling me to stop?

Our Response:
As specified in the article, if you are not ready to seek help face to face or can not find a counsellor or therapist with whom you are comfortable in your local area then you could also consider calling a helpline to discuss your specific situation. The Samaritans run a helpline on 08457 90 90 90 while the National Self Harm Network offers a list of resources related to self harm at their website (nshn.co.uk). These helplines may be able to give you the confidence to speak to your parents. Or be able to guide you to seek the advice and guidance you need.
TeenIssues - 23-Oct-15 @ 3:03 PM
I am 14 and have been self harming for quite a while and don't know how to tell my family as I think they will judge me. I self-harm a a way out from the mental pain it gives me a release. Ik they will try to get me to see a doctor but I spoke to the school nurse and she just mad things worse. How do I tell my family without them judging me and telling me to stop?
Saffie - 22-Oct-15 @ 9:34 PM
Hi, I've been self harming for over 4 and a half years now. I've attempted suicide 5 times and ended up in hospital for weeks with medication in drips. I have a lot of keloid scars on my stomach, arms, legs, hips, and feet and if I'm honest, I rather like them. It's not that I'm proud of what I've done to myself, its the fact that they're my war wounds. My childhood was very messed up, and a lot if bad stuff happened and still is as I'm only 14. I get huge urges to cut deeper than I should, and have had a lot of stitches ect...My girlfriend also has servere depressed and anxiety ect, and I really want to help her but I feel like I should really help myself first. I want to stop with all this but people who want to help because its what they get paid for, dont help at all. They make me feel 10000000x worse. I think I need advise rather than some horrid person getting up in my face. I'm getting near to braking point, and my girlfriend helps me so much. Last time I overdosed I ended up in hospital for weeks and I was very very close to death . They said there was a 1/10 chance that I would make it and I'm still here! I'm strong enough to get out of this hole I've landed in, I just don't know hoe anymore. I'm ready to give up for good. Thank you??
Jade<3 - 20-Aug-14 @ 1:21 AM
hi my name is Rebecca and I have been a self harmer for 7 years and in that time I have lost the love of my family and my friends but sometimes I just cant help it I need to do it or I will hit a wall witch is a never kind of self harming but it will effect me in the long run thank you Rebecca
becks - 27-Mar-14 @ 10:18 PM
the advice is good and I hope to use it some time when I think about self harming and I hope to win back my confidants
becky - 27-Mar-14 @ 10:14 PM
I'm 13 and I need help. I don't self harm to the extent many people do. I just scratch a little bit but i have been doing this for 3 years and told no one. I debated suicide twice but would never actually have the nerve to be able to do it. Do i really need help? What is my next step?
#sadface - 13-Feb-14 @ 5:09 PM
I'm 16, i've been self harming for the past year or so, i've cut down a lot now but I feel like something's missing, like I want to cut so bad, because it makes me feel good, I can make myself stop but I feel miserable when I don't. Everyone ignores how I feel no one asks how I am, my dad doesn't even know simple facts about me like how I have been doing voluntary work at the vets for over a year -_- and my mum ignores anything emotional. If I cut I at least have fisical proof for myself that I'm in pain, I don't know it's just all so mucked up. I think I'm so fat even though everyone tells me how thin I am, and I force myself not to eat for ages and then pig out and then want to kill myself cos I feel guilty. All these seems normal enough I think but I always feel miserable and it all feels so worng and I'm sure there must be something wrong with me but I dont know. I also think I'm bipolar, from what I got told when my mum forced me to get help that I went to once before I refused to go again. I know I'm not asking a proper question but do any of you know what's worng with me or if I'm just not normal, or any advice? thankyou x
MessedupGirl - 3-Nov-12 @ 4:31 PM
Ive been self harming for a year now and ive stopped but then started again and ive told my form tutor and my parents and my deputy head. And im on my second lot of councerlling but thing seems to work for me .I even dumped my boyfriend cause of it. Please give some advice to stop cause its my making my life heel .. cause it seems to be all i do now And my arms are starting to look horrid .
self harmer - 4-Jun-12 @ 1:01 PM
@Liv, you need to speak to someone in person about this, is there an adult you can talk to? Maybe a teacher or parent? If you don't feel there is then the call the Samaritans they are there to help with situations like yours. Here is the number 08457 90 90 90.
TeenIssues - 30-Apr-12 @ 10:05 AM
Hey I'm 13 and I've been self harming for about 2years now, I'm not doing this for simpathy but I've tried to commit suicide twice and I really want to stop, tell me how I can because I'm close to braking point. :'/<3.
Liv - 27-Apr-12 @ 5:49 PM
Im 13&i self-harm, ive had loads of help.but the truth is no 'help' actually works, I know it says im a self-harmer&i am I but I definitely cut down:) (no pun intended) I know how you feel.i bet your thinking why is a 13 year old saying this? but the truth is i've been to the suicidal point, 7 times ive tried committing it&been in home&everything, im writing this&i keep glancing at my arm where all my scars are.it stinks I know:/ but this is to anyone if you wanna talk comment here&i will reply i'll give my email&everything because its good to talk to someone whos an outsider, trust me:) hope I can help!<3
Recovering Girl - 27-Mar-12 @ 6:10 PM
I've told a lot of adults. I've gotten various therapy and doctor 'try' to help me. Nothing ever works and I feel completely worthless now, I can't stop cutting myself and its escalating to the suicidal point. What can i do? Please help me.
eihpos - 18-Feb-12 @ 5:34 PM
Hello my name is victoria I am a self harmer and I can't stop it, I told 3 teachers and a family member. I want to stop, how can I stop?
tory1996 - 19-Jul-11 @ 7:45 PM
This is good advice, although I found that whenever I wanted to self harm, I could stop myself by imagining my friends and family doing it, instead of me. I imagined how I would feel if my boyfriend was self harming, and I realised how selfish I was being. So I finally stopped, and haven't for nearly 6 months!
exharmer - 9-Jul-11 @ 6:48 PM
This is a good thing to read if you want to stop self harmming it's not the right thing to do. I know this because I have been there and done that.
green giant - 5-May-11 @ 11:13 AM
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