Why Do We Hurt Ourselves?
If you’re watching someone you love live with a pattern of self-injury, it is easy to feel powerless. No one wants to be stuck in this pattern of behavior. It’s not only upsetting to the person harming themselves, but it can also be frightening and traumatic for the people who love them. Understanding their actions may feel challenging, but there is hope.
It’s important to understand that self-injury is not a mental health diagnosis in itself. Rather, people may use it as a coping mechanism for living with a mental health disorder.
The ways self-harm becomes a part of a person’s life are complex. So are the emotions behind those reasons. Much the way a person might use drugs to change the way they feel, someone who self-injures is usually seeking an escape.
Self-injury may allow them to distract themselves from disturbing thoughts or feelings temporarily. They may use it to suppress an emotion, numb themselves or even force themselves to feel something.
We Do Recover From Self-Injury
Recovery from self-injury behaviors is possible. But, just like any form of recovery, there’s a road to travel. Progress may be hard-won, and it isn’t always linear. That is the nature of recovery, though. The most important thing is that we pick ourselves back up again and move forward.
Entering recovery is a bold and brave act. It is something to be proud of—a sign of all the strength and potential within you. Embracing recovery means daring to invite hope into your heart, regardless of what you may be up against. That has more power than you might imagine!
The best treatment for self-harm is that addresses the behavior and diagnoses the underlying causes. If we want to know why we hurt ourselves, we need to get to know ourselves. Understanding your mental health diagnosis and learning what your triggers are is a great start.
Mental health treatment provides both diagnosis and guidance. Treating the underlying psychological conditions will aid in self-injury recovery, but it takes more than this. You will learn what your triggers are and how to cope with emotions in a healthier way.
It is crucial to understand why you engage in self-harm, but it is just as important to know why you want to stop. Remembering the reasons why you decided to embrace change can help you persevere. It can be the wind in your sails at a difficult time.
You Are Not Your Diagnosis
Feelings of shame are almost always part of the experience for someone engaging in self-harm. Shame itself may be a trigger, and the person may experience shame as a result of the behavior and the scars it can leave behind. Learning to forgive yourself and advocate for your needs is an essential part of self-injury recovery. It is also one of the skills you will learn in treatment.
While it is helpful to understand your underlying mental health diagnosis, remember that it is not your identity. It helps to think of a mental health disorder like any other health issue. The main difference is the brain is the organ that’s involved. If you had arthritis, you likely wouldn’t be ashamed of it, nor would it define you as a person.
The Path Forward From Self-Injury
You can overcome self-harm behaviors and live a healthy and happy life. No matter how difficult your situation is, there are people who care and can help you blaze a path forward.
At Promises Five Palms, we provide personalized mental health treatment plans to ensure your needs are met. To find out more about our addiction and mental health treatment programs, call us today at 1.844.675.1022.
By Ryan Egan