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Speaking Out About Self Injury

Kayla Chang
Most of the time, self-harm is not inflicted with the intention of causing serious damage, but even so, there are physical risks of self-harm. Typically, the resulting physical wounds of self-harm tend to be superficial, especially in those for whom self-harm is relatively new. However, self-harm has a way of escalating quickly and can, if left untreated, pose a physical danger.
Kayla Chang
There are few things that make you feel more helpless than seeing a loved one suffer from self-harm and not knowing how to make the suffering stop. Suffering, in most cases, is out of our hands. It is not within our direct control. With self-harm, it can be doubly frustrating because not only is it something outside of our control, but it also something that we often cannot even comprehend. It is a suffering that's both foreign and cruelly over-familiar, affecting everyone from our closest friends and romantic partners to members of our family.
Kayla Chang
In an ideal world, no one would feel the need to cover self-harm scars, and no one would be made uncomfortable by their exposure. But as it is now, many people struggle in their daily lives to judge whether, when, and to what extent they should cover self-harm scars.
Kayla Chang
Are you sure it's not that bad when considering the damage self-harm is doing to you? One of the strange things about self-harm is that we all know it’s bad. Rarely are any of us truly under the delusion that it is making us happier in any way. In fact, most of us acknowledge that it actively makes our lives worse. And yet, we don’t stop.
Kayla Chang
Self-esteem and self-harm do have a relationship. While self-harm can stem from a wide variety of root causes, issues regarding self-esteem is often brought up in discussions as one possible culprit. It would be reductive to draw a straight line connecting self-esteem levels to self-harm activity, but it would be equally reductive to deny that a relationship between the two does, in fact, exist. 
Kayla Chang
When you self-harm, secrets are a priority. Self-harm thrives on secrecy. It relies on shame, embarrassment, and social taboo to survive. Contrary to the stereotype of the attention-seeking self-harmer, many self-harmers actually live in constant fear of being found out — of having their self-harm come to light.
Kayla Chang
Sometimes the scariest thing about self-harm is just knowing our brains are capable of having such dark thoughts. It is not always obvious at the time, but looking back at and reflecting on those moments, especially if your struggle with self-harm is a thing of the distant past, it can feel strange to recount all the thoughts you had before, during, and after engaging in self-harm. Because of the intense physicality of self-harm, it is easy to overemphasize the literal action of self-harm when in reality it is the thoughts surrounding the action, not the action itself, that hold real power over us. 
Kayla Chang
Some coping mechanisms for self-harm act immediately to help stop the urge. In fact, sometimes all we need to get us committed to stop engaging in self-harm is knowing that there are alternative ways of coping with distress and satisfying self-harm compulsions. An important step toward self-harm recovery involves familiarizing ourselves with these alternative coping mechanisms for self-harm, figuring out what works for us, and creating a toolbox (whether that be a mental toolbox or a literal collection of physical objects) of things that we can turn to in our more vulnerable moments. 
Kayla Chang
It's dangerous to compare yourself to others, although most of us do have this tendency. Even beyond the more obvious points of comparison such as beauty, wealth, and popularity, we tend also to compare our respective struggles. In some ways we want to be sure that we are doing better than other people — that they are "worse off" than we are. But in other ways, we almost wish that we are the ones who are worse off — the ones who struggle the most, suffer the most, hurt the most. 
Kayla Chang
Self-harm affects relationships negatively when you swear your loved ones to secrecy. As you know, one of the worst things about self-harm is all the lying, all the secrecy.  Whether you have self-harmed once or have had a habit for years, chances are that it is not something you are open about. Chances are that, somewhere along the way, you have lied — either directly or by omission — to someone about your self-harm.