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What Do Dreams About Self-Harm Mean?

July 9, 2020 Kim Berkley

Dreams mean many things to many people. Some remind us of memories, whether recent or long-buried; others reflect our hopes and fears about the present or the future. But what do dreams about self-harm mean?

Do Dreams About Self-Harm Mean You Want to Hurt Yourself?

Dreaming about self-injury does not necessarily indicate a real desire to inflict pain on yourself. What they do mean depends very heavily on a variety of factors, including: your own personal experiences and views on self-harm, things you may have read or heard recently about self-harm, how you see yourself, and your current worldview. Whether the dream is pleasant or a nightmare also makes a difference in how it can be interpreted.

If you self-harm, or used to injure yourself in the past, your dreams about self-harm could be a reflection of any of the following:

  • Memories, repressed or otherwise, of real past experiences with self-harm, surfacing due to some trigger you encountered during the day
  • Fear of relapse. Even if it has been a long time since you last hurt yourself, it is not uncommon to worry now and then that you will fall back into old habits.
  • Stress, related to the pressure you or others may be putting on you to refrain from self-harm. In this case, you may be craving the relief that self-harm used to bring you, even if you have no inclination to actually hurt yourself.

If you have never self-harmed, there are many other possibilities to consider. Your dreams may instead reflect:

  • A negative self-view or low self-esteem. You may be angry, or disappointed, with yourself, or you may simply feel that you are "not enough." Such dreams may indicate a feeling that you deserve to be punished, but not necessarily with physical injury.
  • Feeling overwhelmed and like you need an escape from your current situation. In this case, your self-harm dreams may indicate a desire for relief from something that has been weighing heavily on your mind.
  • Feeling neglected or isolated, in which case, the self-harm in your dreams may indicate a wish for others to recognize that you are hurting and, perhaps, help you heal.

This is not an exhaustive list, and it is possible that your dreams may reflect more than one of these possibilities. Your dreams, after all, belong to you; the purpose of this list is merely to help you consider what might be true for you.

If you want a more in-depth analysis, you may want to speak with a counselor or therapist who has experience with dream analysis and can provide expert guidance to help you better understand your dreams. If your dreams are causing you distress or negatively impacting your health in any way, please speak with a medical professional who can help you find healthy ways to cope with your dreams. Sleep is an incredibly important component of mental and physical wellness.

When Are Dreams About Self-Harm Actually About Self-Harm?

Dreams about self-harm aren't always about actually wanting to hurt yourself, but sometimes, they can be. Context is key when determining whether or not this is true of your dreams. Ask yourself the following:

  • Have I deliberately hurt myself recently?
  • Have I been thinking about hurting myself while I'm awake?
  • Has anything happened lately that might trigger self-harm cravings?

A "yes" answer (or even a strong "maybe") to any of the above may indicate a true inclination to hurt yourself, especially if you have a past history of self-harm or are experiencing extreme stress or distress. If you are worried that you will hurt yourself, please reach out as soon as possible to get help, ideally from a medical professional.

If you feel you are in immediate danger of harming yourself, please call a hotline or, if it is an emergency, 9-1-1.

No matter how you interpret your dream, remember: dream analysis isn't a crystal ball into which you can look for definite answers about the past or the future. Rather, it is one of many possible windows through which you may peek to try and gain a deeper understanding of yourself, as you are right now.

Have you had any dreams about self-harm recently? Let us know in the comments if you have any tips for better sleep or if you have alternative suggestions for understanding these dreams.

APA Reference
Kim Berkley (2020, July 9). What Do Dreams About Self-Harm Mean?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, September 20 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2020/7/what-do-dreams-about-self-harm-mean



Author: Kim Berkley

Find Kim on Instagram, Facebook and her blog.

Anonymous
September, 1 2021 at 11:50 am

I had a self harm dream last night and it was great....
I have not self harmed in 10 plus years.
In my dream I was in some sort of mental health facility. We were all playing games, but eventually I decided to sneak off to self harm. I rushed to my room to find anything to cut myself with and started as quickly as possible all over my thighs with some shark stick from outside. Meanwhile someone is trying to get in my room to see if I’m okay but I’m just trying to hide and finish what I started. Then I wake up! I wanted so badly to go back into that Dream so I just stayed in bed for a bit longer fantasizing other parts of the dream and continuing to cut myself up. It was like a sex dream I didn’t want to leave.

Saar
August, 3 2021 at 5:04 am

In the past I used to self harm (cut my own thighs) and recently the subject of self harm came up with a new friend which made my mind go back to it quite a bit even though I have no intention to go back to it. Now this last night I had a very strange dream in which my boyfriend (who I live with and have a very healthy relationship with) started to cut my thighs deeply with razors while yelling that he was gonna kill me. Then when(in my dream)I tried to call 911 it said the phonenumber was out of use and I ran around town unsuccessfully trying to find a cop while he ran after me with the razor. I personally haven’t got a single clue of where this dream could come from and was wondering and hoping you might have some idea of it’s meaning. Thank you!

August, 9 2021 at 4:22 pm

Hi Saar,
Thanks for your comment. I hope you've had better dreams since this one; I know how disconcerting it can be when a vivid nightmare like that seems to come out of nowhere. While I am not a licensed therapist and cannot offer an "official" analysis of your dream, I'll do my best to offer some (hopefully) helpful insights!
In my unprofessional but honest opinion, it seems likely to me that your dream has to do with your memories around self-harm and, I would guess, your feelings about that. I won't pretend to know why your dream included the specific imagery it did--if you're worried about that, and especially if you're having recurring, distressing dreams, I would suggest talking to a therapist or counselor with experience in analyzing dreams. But given that this dream seemed to occur not long after your friend reminded you of your past, I think it's pretty safe to say that the two are connected, and that your nightmare may simply be your brain's way of working through the distress that those memories may have caused you.
I hope that helps! If you have more questions, concerns, etc., feel free to reply here or comment on future posts. Take care!
Sincerely,
Kim

Sal
July, 30 2021 at 2:37 pm

I've recently had a nightmare that was quite similar to one I had before: my whole family was against me and no one believed me, I felt like they hated me and wanted me dead, and that made me feel like I was better of dead. (To be a little more specific they would tell me I was lying or that try couldn't stand me and they we're going to send me away.) So in both dreams I self harmed, I cut my thighs and I cut my wrists. I had self harmed in the past before and was very suicidal, and recently I've started to feel like I'm useless and have no future, it also might've not helped that a friend told me she relapsed. In the past I went to therapy and counseling to try and help with my "anger issues", instead I talked about how people around me self harmed and how I thought about doing it too, I also talked about possibly having anxiety but my therapist never really helped me or told me if I did. (I also didn't have anger issues, I guess I just needed to vent to someone) My life is better then it was back then but I just want to know if I should work on something or do something to stop me from having these nightmares. I'd appreciate the help..thanks..

August, 9 2021 at 4:02 pm

Hi Sal,
Thanks for sharing your story, and for reaching out rather than staying silent. I'm sorry you've been having such distressing dreams, and for the difficulties you've faced in the past that seem to be resurfacing. I think it's definitely important to take some proactive action now to improve your mental state, rather than waiting to see if things get worse (because often, if something is disturbing or distressing, trying to ignore it generally won't do much to make it go away, in my experience).
First of all, I know you mentioned that you saw a therapist in the past but that you didn't find it very helpful. However, I'd like to suggest that you try again, if you feel able to--I know from personal experience that not every therapist is right for every client, and I've had a few mismatches myself. But the value of finding someone whose approach DOES work for you is so worth the effort of continuing the search--at least, that's been true for me. Especially since you've had suicidal thoughts (and/or behaviors?) in the past, I highly recommend working with a professional.
There are some things you can try on your own as well. The fact that you read this blog (and I'm guessing have read other articles about self-harm or nightmares) is a good first step: it's good to do some research to understand what you're going through and to see what others have done that helped them get through it. In your case, addressing your nightmares can certainly help you get better sleep, which is critical for good mental health.
However, in this case I think the best way to deal with the nightmares is to deal with the root cause, which sounds to me like it might be your feelings and memories around self-harm and suicide. Again, this is why I would recommend a therapist, but if that's not an option right now (or if you want to do more on your own while you look for a good fit), you might consider joining a support group and seeking out other social support as well. If you have any friends or family you trust and feel comfortable talking to about this, please do. And if you ever feel like you are at a "breaking point" or overwhelmed, please don't hesitate to call a hotline to get some immediate support. You can also try a few therapeutic techniques on your own to see if they help even a little, such as self-directed CBT, mindfulness exercises (like yoga or meditation), or even simply keeping a journal where you can vent as needed or even try to reframe your thoughts and emotions in a more balanced way. (Keep in mind these won't all work for everyone, but they've helped me in the past, and they might help you, too.)
Here are some more resources you can check out:
https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/resources/mental-health-hotline-numbers-and-refer…
https://www.healthyplace.com/abuse/self-injury/self-injury-homepage
I hope this helps. If you have any more questions, concerns, etc., feel free to reply here or comment on future blogs. Take care.
Sincerely,
Kim

heidi jungles
July, 15 2021 at 12:05 am

hello im heidi i've been having dreams of hurting myself like slitting my wrist and im only 11 i've had a traumatizing childhood and i feel like no believes that im hurting i've lost motivation to do things i haven't cleaned my room in forever and sometimes out of nowhere i cry but it only happens at night like i feel rlly sad and sometimes i feel like hurting myself but i end up not doing it because i feel like my siblings and mom will think they did something wrong to make me do it and when i try to talk to my mom about it i immediately chicken out because i feel my mom wont believe me and think im lying and she will probably end up telling my whole family about it and then they will also think im lying and i hate how when i talk about anxiety and depression to my sisters they are always like shut up u dont have it ur 11 u dont know anything about it nor depression and then i dont talk about it beause i dont wanna sound like im self diagnosing

July, 23 2021 at 5:24 pm

Hello Heidi,
Thank you for commenting. I am so sorry to hear that you've been struggling; it certainly sounds like you have a lot on your plate, emotionally speaking. While I won't say I know exactly how you are feeling, I can certainly empathize with a lot of what you shared, and I understand how hard it can all be to cope with—especially when you feel like you don't have anyone close to you that you can speak with about it.
Self-diagnosing can definitely be an easy trap to fall into. But if you are hurting (whether emotionally or physically or both), then that is something to take seriously and to try and address, regardless of the "official" diagnosis you might end up with.
It sounds like you don't feel comfortable talking with your family about your feelings or your urge to self-harm, but would it be possible to reach out to someone else? I realize you might not be able to schedule a therapy session on your own, but does your school maybe have a free counselor you could talk to without necessarily needing to ask your parents about it first? If that's not an option, you might also consider calling a free hotline—these can be SO helpful, especially in particularly difficult moments—or even joining an online support group of some kind. There are also free online chat services like 7 cups that are manned by volunteers—while these people may not be able to offer advice, per se, they can listen to you when you need someone to talk to that you can trust to keep your conversation private.
Here are some resources you can check out to get started:
https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/resources/mental-health-hotline-numbers-and-refer…
As for your dreams, they definitely seem tied to the urge you mentioned to self-harm—they are likely your brain's attempt to sort out your worries and feelings, and your (completely understandable) desire for relief from those feelings. (However, keep in mind I am not a professional dream analyst.)
In any case, the most important thing I want you to remember is this: your feelings are valid. Your experiences are valid. And you deserve to feel better, and to be treated (and to treat *yourself*) with kindness and empathy. I am glad that you have not self-harmed yet; it is more difficult to stop once you've started than to never start at all. However, even if you do wind up hurting yourself (as much as I hope you don't), remember that recovery IS still very much possible.
I hope this helps. Please feel free to reply here or comment on my other posts if you have further questions or concerns. I'll be reading.
Sincerely,
Kim

rose
July, 4 2021 at 11:20 am

hello, i’m not really sure if this counts as self harm in my dream because it was technically suicide? but in my dream i was in this place where some people go after they die and it was kind of like a school. and so there was this room that had specific lighting to be able to see how your body looked when you died so like for me in the light my wrists had a big gash threw both of them (in my dream, my death was intentional) and so that means that’s how i died. i’m not sure if i explained my dream well. also i wanted to add i have self harmed in the past and have had dreams of suicide as well so it’s not my first one. thank you for your time!

July, 7 2021 at 8:51 pm

Hi Rose,
Thank you for your comment. You are right that self-harm and suicide are not the same thing, but I understand why you would be drawn to this post (and to asking about your dream here), and I will do my best to offer a helpful response.
So it sounds like, in your dream, you had an out-of-body experience where you saw your own body. I can imagine that must have been jarring, especially given the apparent nature of your death in the dream. I'm not a licensed therapist or dream analyst, so this is just my opinion, but I do think that it's pretty significant that you have a history of self-harm and have dreamed about suicide before.
However, keep in mind that having this dream doesn't mean this is what will happen. It doesn't even necessarily mean that it's what you want to happen. Rather, it seems like it might reflect some latent (or maybe not so latent) worries you may be carrying with you about your past--as well as your future. As a self-harmer, it's natural to be worried about relapse, and/or about the situation getting worse (if you are still actively hurting yourself).
If you want to understand your dream better--and especially if you are worried that you may start self-harming again or that the situation may escalate--please try and talk to a therapist or counselor about it, ideally one with expertise in dream analysis. If that's not an option you can or want to pursue at this time, however, I would suggest journaling or other writing exercises. Sometimes just writing a thing down can help you get a better grasp of it, and take away some of its power over you.
If you'd be willing to seek out a support group or call a hotline as well, here are some resources to check out:
https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/resources/mental-health-hotline-numbers-and-refer…
I hope that helps. Please feel free to reply or comment again if you have further questions or concerns. In any case, I hope you can rest easier--and sleep better--soon.
Sincerely,
Kim

Kioko
May, 22 2021 at 11:21 pm

Hi so I dreamt about harming myself three times already. And the time I've dreamt those was the time I feel like I wont last long and I feel so lazy I'm procrastinating and barely start or finish my school works. Btw, I want to share my what I've dreamed of, is it fine? The first dream I had was when I cutted my wrist and then I straight out sleep. It felt comfortable. The second one was when I hang myself up, but I can see how ppl around me reacts, and I also felt comfortable. The third one was I cut my wrist again with a cutter but slightly, and I don't feel anything about it. Why is that? Am i just overreacting, finding ways to justify my laziness or something?

July, 7 2021 at 8:41 pm

Hi Kioko,
First of all, I want to apologize for your comment going unanswered for so long. I hope my answering you now will still be helpful to you.
I'm not sure I fully understand your situation, but I will do the best I can to help however I can. It's perfectly fine to share your dreams, although as I've mentioned in replies to other comments, I am not a licensed dream analyst or mental health professional. If you are really worried about your dreams, and especially if they are still occurring, I strongly recommend talking to a therapist or counselor who can work directly with you to suss out the meaning of your dreams and address the underlying issues that may be driving them.
Personally, I do think it's important that you noted the connection between having these dreams and feeling like you "won't last long" and like you're "lazy." Now, I don't know if this is true for you, but in my experience laziness usually isn't just laziness. For me, it's usually a symptom of depression or anxiety; do you think this might be true for you, too? If this is the case, I imagine that your dreams might have some connection to that feeling--especially if you have any negative feelings, such as guilt or shame, about your procrastination. These types of feelings, in my experience, are prime nightmare fuel.
I don't think you are overreacting. It's natural to have nightmares if you're worried about something, and likewise, it's natural to worry if you have nightmares. It sounds to me like maybe you have a lot on your plate. At the risk of being repetitive, I want to recommend again that you find someone you can speak with directly about your concerns. Therapy would be ideal, but if that's not an option right now, maybe there is a support group you can join or a trusted friend or family member you could talk to?
Here are some resources if you'd like to take a look:
https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/resources/mental-health-hotline-numbers-and-refer…
Whether or not you feel comfortable speaking to someone about this just yet, you may also want to look into some self-care strategies that may help alleviate your stress, help you sleep better, and maybe help you stop procrastinating, if that's a goal you have in mind. Mindfulness exercises, like yoga and meditation, can help you feel calmer, while journaling, making art, and/or exercising can give you an outlet for working through more difficult emotions.
I hope this helps. Feel free to reply or comment again if you have further questions or concerns. I will do my best to answer more promptly in the future.
Sincerely,
Kim

Taylor
April, 23 2021 at 3:03 pm

Hi, I have been struggling with not self harming for the past few years. It has been an on and off battle which lately has been getting worse. Especially because I am having dreams of self harming the past week or so. In my dream, im doing something like slamming my head into the wall repeatedly (I used to do it often when I was a kid) but it doesn't hurt, and I continue to do it. When I wake, I end up with this feeling of disappointment towards myself. I'm not going through anymore than I usually am, so im just really starting to get worried.. thoughts?
Thank you!

July, 7 2021 at 8:28 pm

Hi Taylor,
First of all, I am so sorry it took this long for you to get a reply. I hope my answering you now will still be of some benefit to you.
I'm also sorry to hear you've been struggling. If you are at all worried, especially that you might relapse, I would really urge you to talk to a therapist, counselor, or even a support group about your concerns. While you may not feel like there is more going on in your life than usual, sometimes stress and triggers can creep up on us without us noticing. I know I've had it happen to me several times where I felt stress and negative thoughts/emotions building up even though, externally, there didn't seem to be any reason for it... It's rough, but it's better to address it rather than tell yourself it shouldn't be happening, or worse, pretend that it isn't. If you're not up to seeking out therapy or a support group at this time, I would suggest ramping up your self-care, and trying to be more mindful of *when* specifically these feelings seem to bother you the most. This may help you identify a trigger you may be missing, or an underlying concern you may not have been attending to.
As for your dream itself, it definitely sounds to me like it's directly tied to your worries about self-harming again and the disappointment you might expect you will feel if you do relapse. Again, practicing good self-care and maybe talking to someone professionally about your concerns may help put these nightmares to rest by lessening the fears behind them. But keep in mind this is just my opinion; I'm not a licensed therapist or dream analyst.
While it's certainly not a good feeling to worry about relapse, the fact that you ARE worried and reaching out to ask for ideas is a great sign. It means that you are already trying to take steps in the right direction, and that's a good thing. If you need more ideas or have follow-up questions, feel free to ask. I will do my best to answer more promptly this time.
In the meantime, please do your best to take care of yourself.
Sincerely,
Kim

Someone
April, 17 2021 at 8:00 am

What does it mean if you dream about someone you know self-harming? My aunt had a dream about my grandmother (who has been dead for about four years) in which she was standing in the kitchen repeatedly hitting herself with a hammer. She didn't bleed, nor did she die. My family relies on dreams to determine how deceased family members are doing and needless to say, this was disturbing to hear about. She didn't visit anyone else after her death, not even my mother, whom she was very close to.

April, 23 2021 at 2:00 pm

Hello!
This is an excellent question. It's difficult to answer for a few reasons. One: I am not a licensed dream analyst (or any kind of mental health professional), so I'm afraid I can't give you an "official" answer. Two: so much of a dream's meaning is unique to the dreamer's experiences and worldview; since this is your aunt's dream, your aunt will ultimately need to be the one to determine what the dream means to her.
However, I can understand how disturbing a dream like this might be--particularly since, as you mentioned, dreams are such an important part of your family life and beliefs. If possible, I would recommend talking to a licensed therapist about this--one who understands and respects your family's beliefs and can work within that context to help your family better understand your aunt's dream. However, if that is not possible or if your aunt is not willing to try that at this time, I would encourage her to sit down and really think about the different elements that were present in her dream. She might even want to write it all down, to help organize it all (as there may be many pieces to this puzzle).
Some questions she can ask herself that might help her to work out what was going on in this dream include:
1. What emotions did I experience during the dream?
2. Is there anything I know about this family member that might be connected to what happened in this dream? (This might not be literal--for instance, maybe your grandmother often "beat herself up" about certain things, which your aunt may then have visualized literally in her dream.)
3. Could any recent events, thoughts, or experiences have triggered parts of this dream? (For instance, maybe she saw something violent on TV shortly before this dream--or, maybe she's been worried about not hearing from your grandmother. Worry can often manifest violently in bad dreams.)
4. Could any memories have something to do with this dream? (For example, let's say your aunt remembers your grandmother once hit her hand accidentally with a hammer. This dream might be an exaggeration of that memory, again possibly triggered by any worry--conscious or subconscious--she might have now around how your grandmother has been doing.)
I wish I could give you a clearer answer; I know it would be more comforting. But I hope you, and your family, find this info helpful. And again, when in doubt, it never hurts to seek the counsel of a licensed therapist or counselor who specializes in dream analysis--especially if your aunt has any more dreams like this one.
Take care,
Kim

Ashley
April, 6 2021 at 8:56 am

i have self harmed in the past but technically in my dream i didn’t actually self harm. but in my dream i found these old broken mirror shards (in waking life i originally started self harming with broken mirror shards until my mom threw them all away) that i used to self harm with and i hid them in my room so i would be able to self harm with them in the future and so my mom wouldn’t take them away. i have been stressed lately and have been thinking about self harming but haven’t. i’m 141 days clean so far.

April, 6 2021 at 1:44 pm

Hi Ashley,
First of all, congratulations on 141 days of being self-harm free! That is a huge milestone, and I am so happy that you have been able to stick to the path of recovery for so long already.
It sounds like you have been going through some difficult times lately. I expect your dream is strongly tied to this stress as well as your past with self-harm. While I can't interpret it for you as a licensed dream analyst could, I will say that it sounds to me like it may reflect a desire for relief from the stress you are currently under. I imagine, then, that it might be very tempting to self-harm again because in the past it may have brought some relief during times like this.
However, as you are already on your recovery journey, I think you are probably hoping to avoid turning back to self-harm. If you have a therapist already or are open to seeking out therapy (either in person or online), I think now would be a really great time to reach out for extra support. Better to ask for help now, and possibly prevent a relapse, than wait until one has already occurred.
If you are not open to that at this time, if there is anyone you feel comfortable to talking to about this and asking for support, again, now is a good time to do that. If you don't want to talk to someone you know personally, maybe consider a chat service (like 7 Cups or the Samaritans) or calling or texting a hotline. I know this can be a very hard thing to talk about, but I do think it's important to do so if you can. Having even just one person to help you cope can make a big difference. This page has a good list to start with:
https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/resources/mental-health-hotline-numbers-and-refer…
There are also a lot of things you can do on your own that can lower your stress and help you cope with your thoughts and dreams around self-harm. I don't know what you have already tried (or may be currently doing), but for me, guided yoga and meditation practices help a lot--something about being able to zone out and just let someone else guide your movement and your thoughts for a little, and steer them in a positive direction, is very soothing to me. I wrote a post not long ago on urge surfing you may want to check out:
https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2021/2/using-self-harm-urge…
Exercising and distracting yourself with hobbies or other activities you enjoy also tends to help (even if you don't feel like it at first, sometimes you get into it after a bit). Making a point to do something small but celebratory to mark each new day of progress on your healing journey can also help—if you are someone who likes to look ahead, maybe setting some rewards for yourself that you can look forward to after X more days of staying self-harm free can help.
For more ideas and info, you can also check this page if you haven't already:
https://www.healthyplace.com/abuse/self-injury/self-injury-homepage
I hope this helps--both with the dreams and your recovery. Keep in mind that I am not a licensed therapist—merely someone else who has struggled with self-harm and the recovery process. Don't hesitate to reply if you have questions or comment on other blog posts if you have more you would like to share here.
And, just in case no one else has had the opportunity to tell you this yet: you are stronger, and braver, than you think, and I believe in you and your ability to keep moving forward on the path to recovery. Just try to take it one day at a time.
Sincerely,
Kim

Lea
March, 23 2021 at 7:15 am

I do self-harm and have recurrent dreams about self-harming, usually in the context of my family nagging me or my brother being annoying. No one knows I self-harm but in the dreams I bang my head against the wall or i punch myself. It feels like i need to punch harder but I don't have the strength to do so, it's like a force is working against my arm or body and i just can't inflict enough pain (all of that inside the dream).
Btw, sorry for bad English, I'm not native

March, 24 2021 at 12:53 pm

Hi Lea,
No need to apologize, I think I understand your comment just fine. Thank you for sharing your story--those dreams sound pretty intense, and I imagine they must be difficult to cope with at times. Since you self-harm in real life as well, I think it is safe to assume your dreams are a direct result of that--though please do keep in mind, I am not a licensed clinician and cannot formally interpret your dreams for you. What I will say is this: it seems like your dreams *may* be reflecting some of the intense feelings that often accompany self-harm. As such, they may be your mind's way of trying to work through those feelings while you sleep.
I know you mentioned that no one knows you self-harm, and I would never say you "have" to come out to a friend or family member if you're not ready yet. But I can tell you from experience that it's all at least a bit easier to cope with--and eventually recover from--when you have at least one person you can talk to about it. If you don't want to discuss it with anyone in your social circle, therapy might be a good solution. It sounds like maybe you are still living at home, and maybe still in school? If this is the case, you might want to see if your school has a counselor you can speak to (for free) without drawing any unwanted attention from your family or friends.
If not, there are also many free hotlines and even anonymous online support groups you can join that might give you a good place to find some support. This resource page might be a good place to start looking: https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/resources/mental-health-hotline-numbers-and-refer…
And here is more info about self-harm, in case you might find that helpful as well: https://www.healthyplace.com/abuse/self-injury/self-injury-homepage
As someone who didn't speak up about my self-injury for a long time, I completely understand the desire to keep it to yourself. I also know that I know nothing about your family or your beliefs; as such, I can't say whether it would be good for you to speak with them about what you're going through or not. But having *someone* in your corner, even a stranger, can make so much more of a difference than you might think.
At the very least, know that I wish you all the best and hope you find some peace of mind--in your waking life and your sleeping one--soon. Please feel free to keep commenting; I'll be here, answering as often as I can.
Sincerely,
Kim

Loren
March, 21 2021 at 12:01 pm

My dream was really weird. I can’t remember most of it, except for the fact that I started to self harm; specifically my left wrist. It felt real but I‘ve never actually self harmed in real life. I do have depression and it’s crossed my mind before. I’ve never had a dream about that before though and I have been feeling really bad about myself lately, not so much then usual so I’m not sure what it could be.

March, 24 2021 at 12:43 pm

Hi Loren,
Thank you for sharing your dream. While I cannot "officially" interpret it for you (as I am not a licensed clinician), I do think that your dream sounds like one worth paying attention to. It is very possible that it is tied to the negative feelings you've been experiencing lately. Even if these feelings are not new to you, coping with prolonged periods of low mood and low self-esteem can really take a toll on your mental (and even your physical) wellbeing, and whether or not your dream is tied to any actual desire to self-harm, I think it at least might be your subconscious's way of coping with the ways in which you've been hurting.
You may want to reach out to a therapist--perhaps one with some experience in dream analysis, if you'd like to understand more about this and other dreams--to work through your feelings. There will always be bad days mixed in with the good, but it's possible to tip the scales in favor of more good than bad with the right strategies and the right support. In any case, I hope you're able to feel better--and dream more peacefully--sooner, rather than later.
Aside from therapy, you may want to check out a few of these resources for more support: https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/resources/mental-health-hotline-numbers-and-refer…
Take care,
Kim

Sierra
February, 15 2021 at 4:36 pm

I had a dream of cutting and the my old roommate said that I did that one to you. And Evenecese was there singing in the dream was helping me feel better. Don't know if it was female inside me comforting the old me. Maybe working on some repressed memories.

February, 17 2021 at 8:12 pm

Hi Sierra,
Thank you for sharing your dream. I feel like there may be a lot of symbolism going on in your dream, and while I can't interpret it for you, a licensed professional could certainly help you sort through it. If you're not ready to take that step, however, I would definitely suggest that if you feel up to it, it might be worthwhile to sit and write out the different elements of your dream (what your roommate said, what Evanescence song was playing, etc.) and what sort of associations you might have for each. This could give you some ideas about what underlying messages your subconscious might be trying to send you. Repressed memories are one possibility, but there might be other things going on here, too. Dream journaling is a great way to not only explore the meaning of your dreams, but also work through the feelings they might be conjuring up for you.
Hope this helps!
Sincerely,
Kim

Erica
February, 11 2021 at 9:37 am

Last night I had a dream where I was at a friend's house and I got caught self-harming,and then I gotten sent to residential facility,then I really liked the facility,and we were all getting along,I can't remember any more,and I do self-harm,and did it in the past

February, 17 2021 at 8:02 pm

Hi Erica,
Thank you for sharing your dream. I can't offer you a professional dream analysis, but I will say this: it sounds like the highlight of your dream was the part where you were in a place where you could heal, and among people who could help you do that. Maybe this is an indication that it's time for you to talk to someone, if you haven't already, about what you're going through—this may be a counselor or therapist, but it may also simply be someone that you can trust to really listen to your feelings and your needs and offer whatever support you require to move forward on the path of recovery. And if you already have someone you can talk to, maybe tell them about this dream and see what they think about it as well, as they will be more familiar with you and your experiences and might be able to offer more insight.
In any case, I hope you have good dreams and good rest tonight. Just getting solid, regular sleep can be a big step forward in the recovery process. :)
Sincerely,
Kim

Olie
December, 21 2020 at 7:49 am

I on and off have self-harmed for 11 years. I say off and on because in the last 3 years I have been in 2 different relationships that I wasn't really able to self-harm in. So I only did it sometimes. I'm currently in no relationship and back to self-harming almost every day. Now I came here today cuz in all these years I've never had a self-harm dream. But last night I did. I started out rather normal really. I was with a very attractive man and I suppose I was a roommate of his. We were hanging out happy and talking to each other. We then had a pretty girl come over. We then all played a video game for a while. After the man was telling me he would make dinner and I said ok, I'd have to go out for a bit. He gave me a look I don't understand and said ok to me, The girl looked at me in the same way and as I walked out with my keys, the girl goes, he really likes that burn huh. I left in my car stopped in the middle of nowhere and cut my wrist deep (probably should have been dead). I then made my way back home to the man and he opened his arms for a hug. I hugged him and he said welcome back home. He helped me clean my cuts and then we had the dinner he made. after dinner the girl left and he was talking to me about the cuts, but I can't remember what he said and I had woken up at that time. When I woke up I felt like going back to that dream.

December, 21 2020 at 1:28 pm

Hello Olie,
I'm sorry to hear about your struggle with self-harm, but I thank you for sharing your story and your dream here with me and with others who may connect with and recognize some of the things you are dealing with as similar struggles to their own. Sometimes it helps just to be reminded that we are not the only ones struggling with this or that issue, even if our specific experiences are unique to us and us alone.
I am not medically qualified to interpret your dream for you as a therapist or counselor with dream analysis training would be able to—so if you would like for a deeper analysis of this and other dreams you may have been having lately, I would strongly recommend seeing someone. Even if that is not the case, I do encourage you to find someone you can talk to about your journey (if you don't have someone like this already) because it sounds like you are carrying a lot on your shoulders.
I will say that it does seem to me like your dream is directly connected to your self-harm in real life and your relationships. You mentioned that you only self-harm when you are not in a relationship, and in your dream, your self-harm seemed to open the door to a loving, welcoming relationship. While I want to emphasize that you should not take any of this to mean that you need to be in a romantic relationship to be healthy (or, for that matter, happy), I do think it would be worth exploring whether your self-harm is tied to feelings of loneliness or your self-esteem, or both. I think the positive outcome of your self-harm in the dream may have less to do with the relationship in the dream than the real-life relief that you may feel after you self-harm. Just like in your dream, many people feel a sense of peace or relief after self-harming—which is why it becomes so tempting to so many people as a means of escaping from overwhelming negative emotions.
However, again, this is just my opinion. I know it may not be easy, but I do think that finding the right therapist or counselor to talk to would be a big help for you in working through the complex issues you are facing, both in your dreams and in your waking life.
However, if you're not ready to take that step yet or have had difficulty finding adequate help locally, keep in mind that there are lots of resources that don't require payment--or even for you to leave the house. This resource page has a long list of hotlines and websites that may help: https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/resources/mental-health-hotline-numbers-and-refer…
And here is our self-harm resource page, which has a ton of great information on your condition as well as coping tips you can use whether or not you choose to seek professional support: https://www.healthyplace.com/abuse/self-injury/self-injury-homepage
I hope this helps. Wishing you all the best on your recovery journey,
Kim

Oliver
December, 18 2020 at 9:30 am

(I am a minor writing this so I go to school) I had a disturbing dream last night were I was in my house sitting at our dining room table and my mom was speaking to me about something I cannot remember . But what I do remember is turning around to fast my mother again and she was cutting both wrist while guilt tripping me in mutter. I remember starting to cry and telling her to stop and cutting herself wouldn't make a difference but she refused and kept going. The worst part was it felt so real because it took place in my home. Aside from that, my family has been in a crisis with money because of the pandemic, and I have been having trouble in school missing assignments and stuff which has caused me to get yelled at my parents/teachers. And my mom has been struggling to blaming herself for all that has happened. I also used to self harm when overwhelmed or under a lot of pressure. Though I've been pretty good with keeping myself occupied with other things to stray away from self harm.

December, 21 2020 at 1:06 pm

Hi Oliver,
Thank you for sharing your dream. While obviously I cannot say I've had the same exact dream, I can certainly relate to having nightmares that feel too real and hit uncomfortably close to home. It's no picnic, and while ultimately dreams are not reality, they feel real enough that they can evoke very real, and sometimes very difficult, emotions like the ones you describe.
As I've mentioned already, I am not a licensed therapist or medical professional and cannot interpret your dream for you. However, I will say that it seems likely to me that your dream may have some connection to the crisis your family has been facing and the stress you've been dealing with personally. Nightmares are often the brain's way of rearranging and reinterpreting stress and negative experiences to bring them to our conscious attention, so that we can face them and deal with them in our waking lives.
I am glad to hear that you have been able to avoid self-harming in order to cope with everything; staying productive can certainly be a much healthier way to cope, though it is important to take breaks when you need them as well. With everything that is going on in your life at the moment, I would strongly recommend talking to someone such as a therapist or your school counselor to work through what you're dealing with and maybe help you find some solutions you may not find, or be able to enact, on your own. Stress can be every bit as harmful to your health as a physical illness, especially if it is prolonged, so it's important if you can to find someone you can talk to and who can help you unpack some of the heavier burdens you're currently carrying.
However, if you're not ready to take that step or do not have access to that kind of help locally, know that there are also a multitude of free or low-cost resources online and on the phone that you can turn to whenever you need to. Here's our resource page, which has a nice list of hotlines and websites you can use anytime: https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/resources/mental-health-hotline-numbers-and-refer…
I hope the new year brings more restful sleep and changes for the better for you and your family. Take care.
- Kim

Benjamin
December, 9 2020 at 9:43 pm

In my dream, me and a bunch of other young kids and teens were all trapped in some twisted school place where we were tortured. Some of the kids were aliens. This dream was very disturbing because I could feel the torture, maybe not as bad as it may be in real life but I was feeling pain. It was very distressing especially including the fact that my sister was one of the torturers and she was cutting my arms deeply, and I felt it. The torturers would just walk around and do stuff to the kids like cut their skin off. We had to go to different classes and go through more torture with each class, but no matter how hurt we got we had to keep going. It was terrible and I woke up crying. Even in my dream as my sister cut me I was crying and yelling for her to stop but she giggled and refused. In the end I woke up and I felt very exhausted, sad and semi-traumatised from what I witnessed. Surely I had seen some of these torture methods in movies but this time they just felt so real.

December, 14 2020 at 1:50 pm

Hi Benjamin,
One of the worst things, in my experience, about nightmares is how vivid and real they can feel. I can only imagine how distressing this one must have been for you--especially since it evoked such a visceral reaction in you even when you woke. While I cannot interpret it for you from a professional standpoint, I will say that it sounds like this dream might be a good hint that it's time to step back and take a look at your overall wellness. As you said, the imagery in your dream was most likely drawn from things you've seen on TV and other media. However, the severity of your nightmare seems to me like your subconscious might be trying to tell you something important. It might be as simple as perhaps feeling a little overwhelmed with stress or other negative emotions, or that something recently triggered a memory of a time when that was the case.
In any case, it never hurts to check in with yourself. And if you keep having this dream or ones like it, or if you are still feeling very distressed by this nightmare, consider talking to a counselor or therapist--ideally one familiar with dream analysis--to get some help in working through it.
I hope your dreams since this one have been more pleasant, or if not, that you are able to find someone who can work together with you to solve the problems your mind is trying to solve with these nightmares. I wish you the best of luck--and thank you for your comment. Sometimes simply sharing our dreams helps dispel some of the distress; I hope sharing yours here has helped!
- Kim

Sammy
January, 26 2021 at 6:46 pm

Hi Benjamin,
I too have had vivid dreaming experiences that feel so real to the point I have woken up and even felt sore or tired. I have found that setting the mood an hour before bed can help. what I usually do is an hour before bed I only watch or engage in light soft things to read, watch, play etc. I found that there is a correlation between what I do just before bed and what I dream about. I also listen to natural sounds whilst I sleep, that has really helped me get a lovely nights sleep and dreams. I am currently listening to the lovely soothing sound of rain, works beautifully for me. I'll link the the sound I currently use https://youtu.be/HI3RM8h5qZ8 give it a try. hope it really helps.

Lesley
November, 21 2020 at 12:03 am

I've just woke from a terrible self harm dream. Which is strange as I've never cut or harmed myself in waking life. I dreamt I sliced off my clitoris and threw it away. I was lying in bed with my new boyfriend and he told me that there would be only one night of passion per week as he worked so hard at his job. So I sliced off my clitoris and vulva, there was no blood , no damage to myself just a piece of see through flesh thrown on the floor. It was a dreadful nightmare which when I awoke I was drenched with sweat. I haven't had a nightmare in over 30 yrs so this is very disturbing for me.

December, 14 2020 at 1:29 pm

Hi Lesley,
Apologies for the long-overdue reply. I can certainly imagine how disturbing this dream must have been to you, especially as you mentioned not having nightmares for so long. While I am not in a position to be able to interpret it for you, I will say that it sounds like you might want to take a moment to stop and take stock of your stress levels in your waking life. While it is my person, non-professional opinion that your dream probably does not have to do with any conscious desire to hurt yourself, experiencing such a vivid nightmare after going so long without any (at least, any that you can recall) certainly seems to warrant a bit of a check-in.
Of course, nightmares can also be caused by a wide array of non-mental health related factors, such as eating certain foods too close to bedtime. That's not to dismiss or minimize your experience, but rather, something to keep in mind--it's all too easy to read more than necessary into even the most vivid dreams.
In any case, I hope your nights since have been more restful, and I wish you all the best. Thank you for your comment!
Sincerely,
Kim

Gigi
October, 13 2020 at 5:45 pm

In this one dream that’s still haunts me and makes me question was just me waking up to the burning of a thousand cuts on my both my arms. I went through the day with them constantly looking at them and hiding them with longs sleeves. I don’t remember much, it was all a blur but those major events. Later on I woke up in the middle of the night and I can still feel the burning of the cuts on my arms but of course I don’t have cuts on my actual self, it was only in the dream. It was really weird. I continued to feel the burn on my arms through out the day. I continued to look at my arms but like I said, I don’t have any cuts nor do I have scars from the passed.

October, 13 2020 at 7:58 pm

Hi Gigi,
Thank you for sharing your dream with me. Dreams can be really potent experiences; I remember I had one once in which someone grabbed my arm so tightly it bruised me and when I woke up, my arm hurt (though there was no mark, of course).
I am not a professional dream interpreter, but I have a lot of experience with intense dreams (especially nightmares) and I can imagine how distressing a dream like the one you described must have been. It's likely that the burning you felt was a kind of somatic effect--your brain thought that it should hurt, so you experienced pain. It's also possible that something occurred before or during your sleep that caused you to feel the burning sensation while you slept (maybe you brushed against something your skin had a reaction to?) and this actually triggered the burning in your dream.
In either case, the important thing to remember, of course, is that it was just a dream--even if you felt physical effects from it upon waking. Rather than be haunted by it, consider what you might be able to learn from it. This might simply be that you were under stress and in need of relief--nightmares can often signal that we simply need a break from something we've been dealing with, or alternatively that we need to face something we've been avoiding.
If you want to dive deeper into the meaning of your dream, be sure to talk to someone with professional dream psychology training! Keeping a dream journal and tracking patterns and your own personal interpretations can also be helpful.
Otherwise, I hope your dreams tonight are more restful. Thank you again for your comment!
- Kim

B.Rosenberger
September, 11 2020 at 7:03 pm

Ok so in my dream 5 people were hunting me and two others, but at times i was one of the hunters. They needed to get us to remain young? And a numerous amount of times they would corner me and the two others but we would escape then the hunters as some penance/ritual/medical procedure they would self harm, i am not talking some horizontal slashes on the wrist im talking plunging a stiletto knife into their hearts. Now this is is the only times i would become the hunter, to stab myself and die at the end. I cannot remember seeing the others do it although i know they did but the only 'self harm' i saw was when i did it to myself.
At the end, they had again cornered us but we escaped and finally got far away and they could not chase us anymore and then i was one of the hunters again but this time i did not stab myself, all 5 of us started to decay. I saw them fester and rot and decay and then it started to happen to me then i woke up. The others died so i only assume i did too.
I think i remember each time i stabbed myself it 'felt' as though it was pressure on my chest, i could feel the knife. After each stab my hunter body would heal and we would start hunting again then the role would switch to one of the escapees.
To add to the weirdness, the hunters were famous people. When i first woke up i knew all their faces but now i only recall two. The leader who made me stab myself was Octavia Spencer and the man who i was, who stabbed themselves was Chris Pratt. I have this weird notion that when i was not Chris Pratt, he was trying to help us escape, purposely failing to catch us but i do not remember this happening at all.
I might know why there might have been some of these things but not all, in fact i want to say i might only know why it was in the heart and that is is.
Plus another oddity, when i went to sleep i was drunk-ish, i dont dream when i am drunk or if i do i never remember it, this is the first time. Even if i go to bed drunk and wake up a few hours later when i am sober-ish i do not dream or if i do i never remember it, this is the first time.
After reading it again i am not sure if this equates to 'self harm'. Plus i would say it was a nightmare as it was terrifying being chased and almost caught and dreadful knowing i had to stab myself afterwards.

September, 16 2020 at 1:16 pm

Hello!
Thank you for your comment, and for sharing your dream with me. I want to start by being very clear about this: I am not a psychologist, psychiatrist, or licensed dream interpreter. So I can't analyze your dream for you the way someone with more professional experience would be able to (though I highly encourage you to contact such a professional if you wish to better understand and relate with your dreams!).
What I can say is that I have had many chase nightmares over the years, and I know how stressful they can be--especially when coupled with self-harm imagery. It can be very disconcerting to feel forced to hurt yourself, even if it is "just a dream," because in that moment, those feelings can be very real, even in a fantastical context. So I can imagine that was a pretty intense dream for you!
I will also say--as a layman--that I imagine a lot of your dream imagery is probably coming from things you've seen or read. Recent memories are usually the origin, but keep in mind that dreams may pull from your long-term memory too--it may be that some of this came from something you watched or learned about a long time ago, that something in recent days may have triggered the memory of (even if only in your subconscious).
I also don't dream much when I drink before bed, but I've had the occasional vivid drunk-dream, too. The difference may have been anything from the specific drink you had (if it wasn't your usual), to food you ate within the last few hours before sleep, to some other environmental trigger you may not have consciously taken much note of. Dreams are pretty tricky that way.
The good news is that it was a dream, and that it in no way means that you *have* to hurt yourself, or even necessarily that you want to. It may mean that you have some inner turmoil that you need to work through, possibly some guilt or something you dislike about yourself--nightmares are often connected to these things. So again, you may want to look into working with a therapist or counselor who specializes in dream analysis if you want to know more. You can also try dream journaling; writing things down can sometimes help clarify their meaning.
I hope this helps! If you need more resources regarding self-harm, be sure to check out this page: https://www.healthyplace.com/abuse/self-injury/self-injury-homepage
Here's hoping for more restful dreaming (for us both!) tonight. Good luck!
Kim

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