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Speaking Out About Self Injury

Recovering from self-injury isn't the kind of goal that you can check off a checklist and be done with it. Getting well is only the first step—staying well requires a self-harm prevention strategy that is both actionable and sustainable.
This post is not necessarily about wrist scars, as self-harm can come in many forms. This is just a reflection on my personal experiences with self-injury in the wrist and forearm area, as that's where I used to hurt myself. I feel most people react to scars similarly, especially if their reaction comes from ignorance or fear rather than love. Therefore, this post might be helpful if you know someone who self-harms and you wonder how to behave around them.
Hurting yourself to get out of work or school can seem like a tempting option—maybe even your only option—when you're overwhelmed and feeling trapped. But self-harm is, ultimately, a solution that causes more problems than it solves.
Self-injury often travels with certain psychiatric conditions. One such example is bipolar self-harm. This is not necessarily a symptom of bipolar disorder, but I think many bipolar patients ended up hurting themselves at some point in their lives. Why do we do it? As always, self-harm is a complex phenomenon, so I may not have all the answers, but I can share my own experience in this post.
Your self-harm scars belong to you; it is your choice when, if ever, to show them or hide them from the world. For those days when you would rather keep things under wraps, it's helpful to know what sort of self-harm scar cover-up options are at your disposal.
When you experience a panic attack, the physical sensations are so intense they often cloud your judgment. For example, you may hyperventilate while the room seems to spin and your heart is about to race out of your chest. Some people may also feel like they're cornered in a flight-or-fight situation and may even self-harm during a panic attack. Why does that happen? I'm not sure I have the answers, but I can offer my personal insight.
A self-harm mantra may not be the magical cure we wish it could be, but it can be a powerful tool to help you focus and stay motivated on the road to self-harm recovery. Here are a few ideas to help you choose or craft your own healing mantra.
Whether you've slowed down due to the pandemic or thrown yourself into the sea of new responsibilities, you might feel emotionally exhausted as a result. This is completely normal, though it might become an obstacle on your road to self-harm recovery. Burnout could easily become a trigger and exacerbate self-harm urges, so it's important to recognize the signs and take action before it's too late.
Self-harm relapse can happen to anyone, whether you've been self-harm-free for one day or 100 days. Being zero days clean from self-harm doesn't mark the end of your healing journey. If you keep calm and take things one step at a time, you can—and will—be able to move on from this detour and continue with your self-harm recovery.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and we've almost reached the end of it. Each year, I see more and more people opening up about their struggles, encouraged by themed conversations on social media and beyond. However, I feel self-injury is particularly difficult to talk about publicly, so self-harm stigma is still going strong. Why are people so afraid of self-harm?