Quote by Tori Amos
Does this sentiment sound familiar? Then you have something in common with those who engage in self-injurious behaviors (SIB) such as cutting or burning themselves. Those who engage in these behaviors are not so different from the rest of us.
Some common misperceptions about self-harming is that people are just being dramatic, or that they just want attention, or that it is some sort of half-hearted attempt at suicide. In my experience these are not what is going on with SIB. Self-harming is a coping strategy that people develop when they can’t find other ways and their emotions and experiences are just too overwhelming. It is something that people do to help relieve their mounting stress and anxiety. Or it is a strategy for distracting from emotional pain with physical pain which is often easier to understand and deal with (and I think this is something most of us have felt at one point or another).
The other common reason that people self-harm is because they feel disconnected from their bodies or the world (depersonalization and derealization) and harming themselves helps them reconnect and know that they are real. As with any coping strategy that is unhealthy, SIB can get out of control and take on a life of it’s own. That doesn’t mean that new coping strategies can’t be learned, they can, but it often takes professional help. If you are engaging in self-harming or know someone who is, please ask for help.