Why I Hurt Myself When I Was Anxious

December 15, 2022 Kim Berkley

If you've ever wondered, "Why do I hurt myself when I'm anxious?" know that you are not alone. Public perception tends to associate self-harm with depression, but anxiety can be a major factor, too.

I Hurt Myself When I Was Anxious

I know what it's like to self-harm out of fear because I've done it. It wasn't my only modus operandi, but I did sometimes hurt myself when I was anxious—and I was anxious pretty often.

Depression and anxiety go hand-in-hand for many people; they certainly do for me. For me, those twin feelings were so tangled up that sometimes it was hard to know which was really driving my self-harm. In retrospect, the answer was probably both.

But even if it's clearly anxiety and not depression that's got you in its clutches, know that it's still not all that surprising that anxiety can trigger self-harm. Fear is uncomfortable; after all, it's meant to warn us of danger. It should be uncomfortable. But when anxiety lingers—and worse, when it interferes with your ability to live your life fully—it feels like a trap, one you may feel desperate to escape. Self-harm can feel like an escape. It hurts, but then you feel better. It's a release of pressure, a way to vent when other options seem inaccessible.

In truth, it's just another trap. Hurting yourself to feel better creates a vicious spiral that can become increasingly difficult—though never impossible—to break free from. The sooner you find some healthy alternatives, the better.

What to Do Instead of Hurting Yourself When You're Anxious

So what should you do if you hurt yourself when you're anxious? How do you find a better way to feel better? Watch this video to find out.

The most important takeaway here is simply that there are alternatives to using self-harm to cope—and many of them. If one doesn't work, another will. It takes time and patience, but hopefully, you will have some help along the way. If you haven't already, I strongly encourage you to reach out for some extra support from a medical professional or at least a trusted friend or family member if you can. If not, just know you're not alone—and you can still get better.

I know because I did. I've been clean from self-harm for more than 10 years, and while it wasn't easy, it was absolutely worth it.

APA Reference
Kim Berkley (2022, December 15). Why I Hurt Myself When I Was Anxious, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 15 from

Author: Kim Berkley

Find Kim on Instagram, Facebook and her blog.

Leave a reply