The Lies I Believe When I'm Struggling With Thoughts of Self-Harm
Editor’s note: If you struggle with self-harm, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here.
With self-harm, it’s easy to focus on the physical consequences, and not the emotional toll. For me, the emotional consequences are worse. I feel like when I struggle with thoughts of self-harm or give into self-harm, I’m telling myself lies. And then maybe the solution is not stopping the physical action, but fighting the lies.
When I choose to harm myself, I might be saying, “It’s acceptable for me to cause pain and injury to my body in order to deal with my emotions.” When actually, I know I’m worth more than that. I need to find a way to deal with my emotions in a way that doesn’t harm me. I deserve to be healthy and free of pain.
When I harm myself, I might be saying, “I deserve to be punished for something I did wrong.” When actually, I know I don’t need to be punished. I’m human. I make mistakes. I don’t deserve pain.
When I harm myself, I might be saying, “Self-harm is the best way for me to deal with my feelings and anxiety. When actually, I know there are many ways to deal with anxiety and feelings — other ways that don’t cause pain and damage to my body.
When I harm myself, I might be saying, “After I harm myself, I will feel better. When actually, I might feel better for a moment, but then I will feel terrible for causing myself pain, and be angry with myself for doing this again.
When I harm myself, I might be saying, “I’ll just deal with my feelings by harming myself, and not bother my friends or family with what I am feeling. It’s kinder to find my own solutions.” When actually, I know my friends and family would always rather I talk to them about how I am feeling rather than have me “deal with” my feelings by injuring myself. It hurts them to see me in pain. They love me.
When I harm myself, I might be saying, “Self-harm will help me control my emotions. It’s not that dangerous; I have control over it.” When actually, I know self-harm won’t fix my emotions, and it can be dangerous. There are other ways to feel in control of my mind and body.
After I harm myself, I feel so low. I feel completely broken. I feel like I am so messed up. I think to myself, What kind of person does this sort of thing? I cry. I feel incredible shame and am afraid people will find out. I’m afraid to tell people because I think they will judge me. I am scared I will develop scars or bruises. I feel empty inside. Everything feels dark.
For me, the emotional consequences of self-injury are worse than the physical ones. The physical consequences usually heal over time. But the self-destructive thoughts run deep.
When I am thinking of self-harm, I am experiencing overwhelming emotions of anxiety and anger. In that emotional state, somehow self-harm feels like an OK “solution.” But if I fight the lies that are behind my desire to harm myself, it helps me resist the addiction.
If you struggle with self-harm and you need support right now, call the crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here.
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Thinkstock photo via Grandfailure.