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The Lies I Believe When I'm Struggling With Thoughts of Self-Harm

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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 or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

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.

Originally published: June 22, 2017
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