What Do Dreams About Self-Harm Mean?
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.
Kim Berkley (2020, July 9). What Do Dreams About Self-Harm Mean?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, May 30 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2020/7/what-do-dreams-about-self-harm-mean
Author: Kim Berkley
I have a past history of self harm, and ive had several self harm dreams, only 2 I can remember. The first one was a few months ago, I was in a house, and my parents were degrading me, mocking me, and laughing at my attempt to fight back at their words while taking/breaking all of my things because I woke up 1 hour late. I pushed the both of them to the floor, went to the kitchen, and breathlessly starting cutting myself with a steak knife without thinking. I ran up a hill to get help, which was never supplied. I saw my parents apologizing, but a family member (wouldnt specify which one) just pushed them out of existence. The dream ended after that. The second one was just last night, and most of it was nonsense, including a part where I just walked around a bustling town nochalantly with my "brother" (we werent actually related) watching a bunch of cartoon characters (specifically those I was hyperfixating on) mourning a bunch of broken bracelets. In the middle of the dream, I was in my aunt's house, and I lashed out on my sister for calling me useless. My uncle was the one who scolded me, And i was just quietly saying under my breath "I messed up", until I got to the kitchen, grabbed a big steak knife, and started cutting myself, skipping around the kitchen, smiling and silently laughing as I was, to numb/ignore the pain that came with cutting myself. I never wrapped it up, yet no one ever noticed. I don't remember what happened after that. I find it especially concering bc im a young minor and idk if I should be having dreams like this
I don’t have any history of SH however last night I woke up to three dreams throughout my night.
The first one, my girlfriend had made me feel betrayed because of whatever was happening with two guys who she had been with and I had been friends with a long time ago. After, feeling betrayed, I stabbed one of the guys and beat my girlfriend up. After, my dad appeared, looked at me, and said “I don’t know who you are anymore.” Then, I ended up stabbing the same guy in the back again, but this time I stabbed him in the back multiple times. After stabbing him he didn't fall or die, instead he came walking back at me with his own knife. I woke up after this. The second time I woke up I was still feeling a bit panicked but didn't remember my dream. The third dream is where I committed self harm. In the third dream I still felt used and betrayed, so I grabbed the throat of one of the guys and ripped it out. Then, I grabbed my girlfriend’s throat and ripped it out. Then, I grabbed my own throat and ripped it out. We all bleed out and the dream ended. After waking up from these dreams I was extremely sweaty.
This sounds like a pretty intense set of dreams; no wonder you woke up in such a state. Thanks for sharing; I hope writing them out helped in some way. If you're looking for an official dream analysis, I'm afraid I'm unqualified to provide one (you'd want to talk to a therapist specifically trained in that sort of thing). But I will say if they're bothering you--and if they continue to bother you--then it's worth thinking about the relationships represented in your dream (your gf, your dad, and probably most importantly, your relationship with yourself) as well as major symbols (e.g. violence, especially specific examples of it) and the feelings you experienced in the dreams themselves (you mentioned betrayal more than once, for example).
The next step would be to think about what's been going on in real life. Are any of these relationships currently strained or bothering you in some way? Are you experiencing any of these feelings, like hurt or betrayal, in everyday life? I've often found that my dream weren't literal so much as symbolic (and exaggerated) representations of things I'd been experiencing but not fully dealing with... like things I was putting off or relationship issues I'd been trying to ignore.
I'm sorry I can't be more specific, but I hope this helps you find your own answers regarding these dreams. Take care!
So I had a dream last night that my grandma told me to the hospital and the nurse told me to stop cutting myself and she took scissors and cut my wrist in front of my grandma then wrapped it then I woke up panicked
That sounds like a pretty upsetting dream; I would have had a strong reaction too! I hope sharing it helped lessen its impact, even a little. If you're looking for an analysis, I'm afraid I'm unqualified to give an official one, but I would suggest working through some of the questions I mention in the post and thinking about your relationships with your mother and grandmother. Dreams like this are rarely literal, in my experience; usually they're a representation (often an exaggerated one) of things we've been experiencing and thinking about on a subconscious level. If you have a history of SH, it may relate to that; if not, and if you've had no desire to SH during your waking life, it may be more about some things you may need to vent or confront that actually have nothing at all to do with SH -- but *do* impact your mental health.
I'm sorry I have to be so vague! I hope this helps anyway. Take care!
I had recently had a dream about fighting with my mom, witch is weird my mother and I have an ok relationship, I know I should open up and talk to her but find it hard so I keep to myself. I do ask her personal questions and have normal conversation I just cannot talk to her about EVERYTHING. Another weird thing is I never dream about her like ever, anyways in the dream we were having a screaming match I don't know what about but i did have some blood on me like on my shoulders, then all of a sudden I start balling and i slit my wrists infront of her,my dad was just right behind my mom not doing anything, I have never S\H or even though about it so it was weird, I then woke up and just went back to sleep have a normal dream disregarding trying to kill myself infront of my mom I have no idea why this happened, any ideas?
I'm not a dream analyst or any kind of mental health professional--just a writer with personal experience in living with SH--so I can't officially untangle the threads of your dream for you. But I do understand about having confusing dreams that don't seem to align with reality (it happens to me all the time!) and in these cases, I suspect they have much more to do with our subconscious thoughts than our conscious, waking lives.
If I were you, I'd start by considering the following (privately, not necessarily here in the comments):
- Do you have anything you're upset or frustrated about that has to do with your mom? It may not seem as intense as your screaming match in the dream, but sometimes our dreams magnify these sorts of things to get our attention (or so I think, anyway). You mentioned not being able to talk with her about *everything* -- is it possible there's something you wish you could talk to her about, but don't fee able to?
- Your dad standing there not doing anything might also be worth looking into--think about your relationship with him and whether you feel like maybe there's some unwanted distance there or something.
- The self-harm in your dream probably isn't indicative of any real ties to SH, since you mentioned having no history of it and no real desire to do it. It's probably more of an emotional allegory -- maybe you're hurting yourself by keeping certain thoughts or feelings pent up?
These are all unofficial shots in the dark in my part--the main thing is for you to ask yourself questions until you feel like you find the answers you need. (Personally, I find journaling about them most helpful.) I hope these questions help you get started, and that your dream makes more sense soon!
I have never self harmed, but I had a dream a few nights ago that I did self harm and it was all over my whole body. But in my dream I liked it? And was very calm about doing it? I do struggle with felling sad but I am not diagnosed with depression but I was (emotionally/mentally) neglected my whole childhood, but ever since I became a teen my parents got interested and have been putting a lot of pressure on me to become “rich” and “successful” and I feel trapped because that is not what I want to do with my life. I really don’t know half the crap I say but I don’t know wtf my dream means. Most of dreams all of my life are about getting k¡dnapped and/or SA and/or k¡lled, this is the first time I’ve had a dream about self harm.
To begin with, I have to emphasize that I am not a doctor of any kind, and am not licensed to do any official dream analysis. However, personally, from what you've said, I would guess your dreams are connected to that "trapped" feeling you've been coping with and a (very natural) desire to be relieved of that feeling. Since you felt better after hurting yourself in your dream, it seems like you associate self-harm with relief, even though you've never hurt yourself.
It's good to recognize this early—it gives you a chance to change that narrative without falling into hurting yourself for real. I would definitely suggest trying some things now, rather than later, to find some healthy ways to cope with your negative feelings that will help you feel better. One thing I've done in the past when I felt trapped in a situation was to sit down and write out every single possible solution, even the ones that seemed farfetched, as long as they were even a little possible. Just seeing that list helped a lot more than I expected. And sometimes the creativity involved helped me see options I didn't recognize before, and sometimes these were the options I chose in the end.
Journaling in general can be helpful too, as well as any kind of creative outlet you might enjoy. Self-care, too—taking good care of your body can improve your mental state more than you might expect. It can also help alleviate sleep disturbances, including nightmares.
If you're struggling with your dreams, or if you start to feel like you're struggling with self-harm urges—or honestly, if you're just struggling in general—consider asking for help. Commenting here is a great first step, but is there someone you can reach out to and talk with? A therapist or counselor might be a good idea, but if not, see if you can think of a close friend or family member who could help you through this. It's not selfish or weak to ask for help; if anything, it's brave. And it can help so much, both now and in the long run.
I hope that helps. If you have further questions, comments, concerns, etc. feel free to reply here or elsewhere on the blog. I'll reply as soon as I'm able.
PS: I appreciate the Stranger Things reference in your name. :)
I was there in the dream watching myself as a child. Little me wanted to die and purposely exposed herself to carby monoxide. She was laying in the floor feeling dizzy. I walked over to her and started punching her in the face over and over. I woke extremely disturbed. I really like myself as a child and feel protective and maternal towards little me so why did I attack her?
It's great to hear you view your past self positively; I can see why that might make a dream like this rather confusing and disturbing. I'm afraid I'm not a licensed dream analyst, so I can't give you any definite answers here (if there are such things, when dealing with dreams). I would strongly urge you to find a therapist or other mental health professional with experience in dream analysis, if you want a proper deep dive into this and any other dreams you may be having. But in the meantime, I can offer you some questions to ask yourself that might help you discover the answer on your own.
- Why might your child self have wanted to die? Did you experience any dark thoughts like this when you were that age? If you've been stressed at all, it might be bringing up memories of such times even if you no longer feel that low. Otherwise, this might be more symbolic—maybe you feel as if something you are doing now is disappointing your inner child, suffocating her. If you've recently given up on a dream, or even if you're just generally unhappy with the direction your life is taking, that could be a factor here.
- On a related note, do you feel like you've betrayed yourself in anyway? This may be especially relevant if you attacked her in the dream because you were upset at her choices—not to mention the "betrayal" of you attacking her. Or if betrayal seems too strong a word, consider whether you've disappointed yourself in some way lately—maybe you made yourself a promise you didn't keep, or set a goal you failed to achieve?
- Have you seen or watched anything lately that might have triggered the imagery in this dream? Often our dreams pull imagery from recent external stimuli—so, for example, maybe you watched a TV show where someone died of monoxide poisoning or punched someone else in the face.
In general, if you're wondering about your dreams, it's always a good idea to journal about it—try listing out all of the different elements of your dream, and then consider what relevance they have to your waking life. Don't just think about what physically happened, think about how you felt and how that might relate to feelings you've been dealing with during the day.
I hope I've been helpful here, and I hope you have better dreams tonight. Feel free to reply here or comment elsewhere on the blog if you have any further questions, comments, concerns, etc., and I'll reply as soon as I can.
i litterly cant sleep at this point because i keep getting nightmares about family and/or friends finding out i hurt myself and the worst one was when my nana found out i cut myself with a really sharp thingy and by the way she died when i was 3 so when i woke up i instantly started crying and i felt so bad i upset her , im not really a religious person at all but i kinda felt like she was real tho , felt like she was mad at my dad (her son) who married my mom cuz she hits me and pulls my hair and calls me curse words but i felt like it was my fault i cut myself but tbh i cant tell people about it cuz whenever i do they cry ; my boyfriend , mybest friend and my close friens always cry and i feel horrible but i can never stop , one of my friends threatened to tell people that i did it and now i cant talk to her abt it cuz i dont wanna get told on :/ my best friend doesnt rlly care that i do it so... idk but all my friends and my bf do self harm so i have to be like a therapist to them constantly putting their needs first , right now im in my bed and its like 5 in da morning n ive been awake the whole time drinking energy drinks cuz im afraid 2 sleep cuz ive been having nightmares days on end but im also adraid to stay awake cuz i cant control wat i do and theres a blade besideme right now :( i cant liveup to wat people want from md, im a failure , i got bad grades , im fat , ugly , ive ruined my body , my voice is horrible ... i could go on and on , i just wanna end it becase i keep letting ppl down i just cant , i wanna run away from all my problems , infact they dont even feel like nightmares cuz i enjoy them and its idk nice i guess ... idk anymore , ive lost everything , friends and stufvv like all out of control cuz my mom made me move city house n school away from my bf and friends , i cant stop thinking abt my bf tho cuz now hes got an eating disorder and so do i but i dont wanna tellhim cuz i dont wanna p1$$ him off so i just dream abt him n stufv and i think abt him evry day so i firgotwhyim alive haha im just ramblibg cuz ive nothing to doooo AAA
It sounds like you are going through a lot, to say the least. It sucks to be in a bad situation that feels like it just keeps getting worse. I think the first thing you need to do (and I hope you already have) is to get some sleep. I know that might sound absurd, given the scope of everything you've shared here, but your body and your mind need rest. As someone who's dealt with nightmares most of my life, I know it's easier said than done, but sleep can make such a HUGE difference in how you feel and how clearly you can think. It's not going to fix everything, but it's a first step.
Next, try a breathing exercise. Again, this isn't going to fix everything. But it might help you calm down and clear your head, even if just a little. I like box breathing—breathe in to a count of four, hold for a count of four, breathe out for a count of four, and hold for a count of four. Repeat four times or so. (Stop if you get dizzy.) You can also try yoga or just going for a walk or listening to a guided meditation if you prefer.
Now, think about whether there's anyone professional you can reach out to for help. I know that might be daunting, especially when you've got so many things on your plate, but it really sounds like you're in a place where you could use some extra support—and it sounds like your friends and family might not be the best place to turn for that support at the moment. It's all too easy sometimes to always put others first, but if you don't take care of yourself, it's hard to be there for the people you love. And I'm sure you'd like your loved ones to take better care of themselves, too. So consider whether you can talk to a counselor (maybe your school or work has a free one you can talk to), or call up a doctor, or connect with a therapist—if not in person, maybe online or by telephone. If you don't know where to start, try a hotline—we have several listed here:
Even if you don't want to see a doctor yet, you might try connecting with a support group or even just finding some self-help materials to start with. Again, that page is a good place to start looking.
I hope you and your loved ones are able to start healing sooner, rather than later, and I hope this information helps you do so. If you need more clarification or have any other questions or concerns, just ask. I'll be around.
Hey! I understand you most of the situations. I also lost my grandpa it's been 3 months and i am having a very hard time. Today i also had a dream about my dad who found out i was self harming.
That was a thing that i would never want to happend in real life. I also have a lot of nightmares. What i wanna say is that you are not alone. And about putting others first is a good thing but not to do it too much. You need to take care of yourself first. If you feel like you don't wanna do that anymore i think that it's time for you to say to them :- sorry, but i think you should understand that i'm always the therapist and I can't go on anymore . Ik it may sound rude but it's the truth after all. I really don't wanna seem rude but your friend's need to understand right? And ik it may sound absurd but you may need sleep. Make sure to clear your mind and say to yourself : im ok, everything will be fine and stay positive. Ik life it's hard but we all need to fight . Everything will get better soon believe me . It sounds forever but the happiness will start to show up soon. I wish all the best for you 😊
hi, i know this is a pretty late response to an older article but i just wanted to rant about my worries lol. so my girlfriend has been struggling a lot the past few months and she’s gotten into a lot of self harm that i’ve noticed. the first time i noticed was back in september of last year. i was really worried about her but i didn’t want to force her to say anything about it so i didn’t bring it up. there was more and more that showed up all over her body and all of my friends noticed too, but we didn’t want to ask her about it. about a month after that, i finally gave into my temptations and i did it on my hips and i did it frequently up until december when i finally stopped. ive been clean since then. it was mostly due to the fact that i hated the way i felt afterwards just looking at what i had done to myself. i felt like i ruined my body and i hated that.
so about a week or two ago, i saw there were a lot of cuts on her arm and they looked pretty new and i was worried. it was the first time in a while that i’ve noticed this. but ever since i saw it, every night i cant fall asleep. self harming myself again has been the only thing on my mind. i threw away my blade months ago but recently i’ve been considering finding something else to harm myself with and i don’t want to think those thoughts anymore. it’s just so hard to stop thinking of it and i lose sleep at night worrying about it. and then a few days ago, i had a dream that my mirror had shattered into tiny little pieces on the ground. i picked up those shards and i sliced through my wrists and my thighs. i don’t think it was a nightmare because in my dream, i felt relieved and happy. i enjoyed it. but when i woke up i immediately felt nauseated and distressed and i felt around on my skin in a panic but of course, nothing was there. i really hate saying this but i’m scared that seeing what my girlfriend did triggered me in the first place and now it’s happening again. i don’t know what to do. every time i see it it reminds me of what i did and i’m overwhelmed with the feeling of wanting to do it again. i haven’t told anyone about any of this because i don’t want anyone to worry about me. i really hate talking about my feelings and i’m scared to ask my parents for help because i also don’t want them to worry.
First off, I'm so sorry to hear that you and your girlfriend have been going through such a difficult time. I know how hard it can be NOT to think about something, and to ignore what sounds to me like intrusive thoughts. (Keep in mind, however, that I am not a medical professional, just a writer with some personal experience in this area.)
Whether or not your dream was a nightmare, it does seem to me like it's probably tied to your recent thoughts and experiences around self-harm. Again, I'm not a professional, but in my unprofessional opinion, it seems like maybe the reason your dream didn't feel like a nightmare until you woke up is that, unconsciously, your brain may be linking self-harm with relief. Even though it made you feel worse in the past, now that you keep thinking about it, there may be a part of your brain that is trying to convince you that simply going through with it will make those intrusive thoughts go away. (In my experience, however, the more you engage in self-harm, the harder it becomes not to think about.) If this is the case, it may be that your dream felt pleasant because you were dreaming about that relief you're hoping for, but you were distressed when you woke up because you don't want to keep hurting yourself.
As for being triggered, yes, it is certainly possible that your girlfriend's self-harm may have triggered your own. This may make things difficult for you if she keeps self-harming while you are trying to recover, but it's not an impossible barrier to overcome. Ideally, of course, you will both be on the path to recovery soon.
I understand not wanting people to worry over you, especially when you're worried about your girlfriend. However, please try to believe that your own well-being is every bit as important as your girlfriend's. I'd like to assume that she wouldn't want you to suffer, especially in silence, any more than she would want you to. The same, I hope, goes for your parents.
Is it possible to reach out for professional help on your own? Some schools have free counseling services—if not, you can try calling a hotline that might be able to connect you to the right service provider. I know getting help can be scary, no matter who it is from, but as someone who went through recovery on her own for a long time before asking for help, I can tell you this—it's much easier to get better WITH help than without it. Here's our resources page:
However, I do think it might be helpful for you to talk to one (or all) of the people you mentioned. It's possible that you and your girlfriend could work toward recovery together, rather than suffering separately without talking about it; just take care not to use any accusatory language or point fingers in any way. You don't want her to feel like you're trying to force her into anything; rather, try to focus on simply letting her know that you're worried, that you care, and you want to help her feel better in any way you can. Or, you can start by talking about you--maybe hearing about your struggle will help her feel comfortable with opening up to you about her own. And yes, your parents will worry if you tell them, but they may worry even if you don't. Looking back now, I realize that I acted a certain way when I was self-harming, and even though I didn't tell them what was wrong, they knew something was wrong without knowing what--and that can be worse than knowing the truth.
However, disclosure is a very personal thing--so please do weigh anything I say here against your own judgment. You know your girlfriend, your parents, and your relationships better than I do; it's up to you to make this call, though I hope I've made these decisions a little easier for you.
If you have any more questions, comments, concerns, don't hesitate to reach out. I'll be reading.
Wishing you the best of luck with your recovery,
I've never done real self-harm before aside from shallow scratches that don't really bleed, but that had been years ago... Recently however, I've had such thoughts a fair few times. I didn't really focus on them however, but recently I had a dream where I cut myself on the neck. It wasn't really a fatal cut, just about 1 cm deep and 5 cm long, but then I was able to see something, like holes through it? It freaked me out because I have trypophobia, but when I woke up, that wasn't the only thing that freaked me out; it was the fact that I was cutting myself in the dream. Even when I used to "harm" myself I've never actually done anything that causes actual bleeding, so to have a dream like that out of nowhere, especially when I've had thoughts of self-harm, freaks me out. Do you maybe have an idea of what's going on? I hope you're not too busy, but if you are, that's okay!
Thank you for your comments, and for your concern! Please don't worry; I'm glad you took the initiative to share your worries with me--though please do remember, I am not a licensed therapist; my opinions are personal, not professional.
Regarding your dream--I can't formally analyze it, but I do think it's likely to do with all the thoughts you've been having about self-harm. Our dreams are often a mixture of memories (recent or distant) and the things we've been thinking about, both consciously and subconsciously. So it's not surprising to me that, having thought about self-harm, you dreamed about it. Even though your past self-harm didn't cause any permanent damage, that doesn't make it not "real" or insignificant. And if you're thinking about it again now, it seems like it had an impact on you--maybe more so than you realized at the time.
I think it's important that the wound itself in your dream was frightening to you; to me, this sounds like it could be reflecting your worry about the situation, like you don't really want to give into self-harm even though you've been thinking about it. It's often the case that the harm itself isn't what we're after, but whatever relief we may find follows after. So this is a good sign, to me; it's good to not want to hurt yourself!
If you're worried about your dreams, you may want to speak to a therapist that specifically has some experience with dream analysis. Even if not, however, it may be helpful to you to reach out to a therapist to talk about your thoughts around self-harm—it's better to head these things off early, if you can, than wait until they get worse. Here's our resources page; there are some links and phone numbers here that might help:
If you have any more questions/comments/concerns, don't hesitate to reach out. I'm here to help however I can. :)
Hi, I just experienced something similar and I’ve been trying to figure out what it means. I’ve now had two consecutive dreams where I’ve seen my SH scars have doubled and are now on both wrists instead of just my left. They are completely healed and I have been clean of cutting for about 4 months but have been thinking about it recently after attaining a scratch from my dog, people mistook for a new sign of recent cutting. I feel like I’ve dealt with all the reasons that used to trigger me and have no reason at all why I would want to. It’s coming back into a familiar feeling of guilt, like I’m ungrateful or a burden. I can see myself starting to spiral again into these intrusive thoughts but I was doing so well, I really am trying to avoid it. If anyone could have any idea where this is coming from and how I can deal with it healthily it would really help. And sorry this is so out of the blue, I know it’s been months since people last commented.
First of all, thank you for sharing your concerns with me. I know it can be hard just to reach out, but if your dreams (or anything else) are distressing you, it's always good to look for support to help you get through it. However, please keep in mind tht I am not a professional therapist or dream analyst, so I can't fully break down your dream for you the way a medical professional could.
That being said, it seems pretty obvious to me that your dreams are connected to (a) your past self-harm, (b) your recent thoughts about it, and (c) the incident where people assumed you were hurting yourself even though you weren't. Any one of these things could trigger self-harm dreams—all together, it's not surprising at all to me that you've had recurring dreams about it.
I want to zoom in for a minute on something you said in particular—that you feel like you have "no reason at all" to hurt yourself, and that you feel bad that you think about doing so anyway. I struggled with this a LOT in the past, and it took me a long time (partly because I worked through it alone for so long) to really untangle that kind of guilt you're talking about—like not being okay when there's no obvious reason to feel that way makes you ungrateful. I had a pretty good life, but I still struggled with depressive and anxious symptoms—and yes, self-harm too—and I kept asking myself why.
But here's the thing—there are so many possible reasons why you feel and think the way you do that have nothing (or very little) to do with your external life. Just because you don't see any "good reasons" why you feel the way you do doesn't mean there aren't reasons for it. In my case, I know hormones and chemical imbalances likely played a large part. If you're not sleeping well, that can mess with your head and your emotions too. There may be thought patterns that you haven't recognized yet as unhealthy ones (in fact, I know you have at least one negative pattern—telling yourself that you're ungrateful because you feel a certain way when you think you shouldn't).
I know it's difficult, but one thing I think might help is to try out some cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques to cope with those intrusive thoughts you mentioned—and likely also alleviate your nightmares. This is best done with the guidance of a therapist, so if you can, I would strongly recommend reaching out to a doctor for support here.
Here's a page that contains some hotlines and website you can visit if you don't know where to start looking: https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/resources/mental-health-hotline-numbers-and-refer…
If you can't for any reason, however, you're not out of luck. I tried working through a CBT workbook on my own and it helped me a LOT with my intrusive thoughts. Mine was called Mind Over Mood, but it's far from the only good option—if you can get to a bookstore, maybe look through a few and see if any of them appeal to you in particular.
I wrote more about CBT for self-harm here: https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2021/5/using-cbt-for-self-h…
If that doesn't seem like an option right now either, you could even try just journaling about how you feel, what you're worried about, etc. Once you get into the swing of it, you can start writing down those intrusive thoughts and then challenging them—try imagining your friend feeling what you feel, and what you would say to them. Chances are you wouldn't tell them they're ungrateful or a burden—often, we are kinder to others than we are to ourselves. But you deserve your own kindness and care too; please try not to forget that.
I know this is a lot; I hope it's not overwhelming! If you have any more questions, concerns, etc. feel free to comment again here or elsewhere on the blog, even if you just need more ideas for things to try if the journaling/CBT doesn't work. It doesn't matter how old the post is (or if I wrote it or not), I still get the notification that there's a comment and try to respond as soon as I can. :)
I've been having dreams about people finding out about my self harm and they always freak me out. e most recent one, I was somewhere dark and I was wearing short-sleeves. as soon as I noticed, I started to cover my arms but someone noticed, and I covered my other arm, and they demanded to see the other arm. I convinced myself it was a dream, and forced myself to wake up at that point. It was 2am when I woke up. What does it mean? What should I do?
I'm sorry your dreams are so stressful! I'm not a licensed dream analyst or mental health professional—I have no formal medical training—so I can't offer a proper analysis. But personally, this seems pretty straightforward—assuming that you do self-harm in real life, these dreams seem to be about your fear of being discovered. Maybe you are feeling more worried than usual, or maybe something has happened that brought it to the forefront of your thoughts?
If I misunderstood and you don't self-harm in real life, it's less straightforward, but I still think the symbolism points to something about yourself you're afraid of sharing with others—maybe something you do that if self-destructive, even if not as literally as self-harm.
Often, when our dreams reflect real-life worries, the best thing to do is to confront those worries. This doesn't mean that you have to go and tell everyone you know about your dreams or your self-harm this instant—but if there's anyone at all you can talk to about this, I strongly urge you to do so. Sometimes just talking helps lessen the fear and puts things into perspective. If you want to understand your dreams better, working with a licensed therapist who specializes in dream analysis would be ideal, but if that's out of the question, consider dream journaling. One exercise you can try is to describe your dream in as much detail as possible, then see if you can pick out major themes or symbols to think about. As you continue journaling, you can look back and see if you pick up patterns among similar dreams—beyond the obvious similarities—and write about what those symbols mean to you.
It's also important to address the self-harm itself. Again, assuming you DO self-harm in real life, these dreams might also be a sign that it's time to take a step toward recovery—or to get back on that path if you've strayed from it. Making an appointment with a medical professional, calling up a hotline, joining a support group, or even starting with some light self-help through education or simple self-care exercises—these are all good first steps you can try. Here's our resources page if you need some info:
Hopefully this helps! If you have more questions, concerns, etc. feel free to reply here on the blog and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.
I had a dream that my friend was cutting my wrists which has never happened before. I have self harmed before but never cut myself. I just about managed to resist the urge.
Hope you can help me with this - it wasn’t really a nightmare as such (btw I am a minor)
I'm sorry to hear you've had what sounds like a pretty unsettling dream--but I'm glad you were able to resist the urge to harm yourself in this case. Dreams about self-harm can be particularly difficult for those of us with a history of self-injury, even if it's far in the past. There are many possible interpretations of your dream, but I'm afraid I can't solve this riddle for you; as I've mentioned in other comments, I am not a licensed therapist or dream analyst. However, I will say that it's very possible that your dream may be indicative of a certain level of stress or distress that may be bringing up thoughts of self-harm, especially if in the past you tended to self-harm in order to cope with difficult feelings or situations. It may be that your friend is causing you this distress, or it may be that your subconscious associates this friend with a sense of relief (which is what many people turn to for self-harm, although I don't know if this was the case for you) that you may be seeking in your everyday life.
It is surprising that you dreamt about a method of self-harm you've never actually used, but it's possible that your mind is pulling this particular image from something you've seen or read about and using it as a metaphor. If you really want to go in-depth into understanding this dream (and any other difficulties you may currently be facing), I strongly recommend talking to a therapist or counselor, ideally one experienced in dream analysis.
However, if you are not open to that at this time, you can try and work through it on your own by considering your thoughts and feelings around different elements in your dream. For instance, ask yourself questions like: How am I feeling about the friend that was in my dream? Are there any circumstances in my life that may be triggering an urge to self-harm? How did I feel during the dream? Have I seen images or read things recently that may have contributed to certain elements of this dream? (In my experience, writing down both the questions and answers can be incredibly useful in understanding the issues your subconscious may be trying to work through or bring to light in your dreams.)
I hope this helps. If you have any more questions or comments, feel free to reply here or elsewhere on the blog. Take care!
Lately I have been getting these nightmares about self harm (cutting my wrist with lots of blood) and it is making me feel really scared that I’m going to do something bc it’s so tempting. I have been clean for a couple months and I am going to therapy for a while now. (I am also 14 and with family and school issues). My dreams are always the same. I’m at my old school (I do a online one now bc of my anxiety) and I just cut and cut, it gets deeper and my arm is numb and looks so ruined :( I don’t want to stress out any of my family and my therapist isn’t helping like I thought it would.
I'm sorry to hear you've been struggling with nightmares and self-harm urges lately. It is great that you've managed to stay clean so far, and even better that you are going to therapy. However, it sounds like therapy isn't helping as much as you hoped it would. I would strongly suggest talking to your therapist about this issue if you're able—do they know that you feel like therapy isn't helping? Simply telling them this may help them find new, better ways to work with you in the future.
It's also important to make sure that you are actively participating in the therapy process. Talking to someone is a critical first step, but if your therapist is giving you exercises to do or thought experiments to try, or any kind of therapeutic "homework," it's vital to make sure that you are working on these things and putting real thought and consideration into them. I know it can be difficult when you already feel so low, but these things can help, and it's important to do them to see if they will make helpful recovery tools for you or not. (I don't know if you are doing this already or not, so I wanted to mention it just in case this is something you might be struggling with. I know many people do.)
It is also possible that this is simply a case of mismatch between therapist and patient. If you've been working together for a while, as you mentioned, and you don't feel like you can trust this person or like they're understanding what you need in order to get well, it may be worth considering if you should try finding someone else to work with. There is no shame in this, nor should your current therapist take it personally—we all need different things to recover, and having someone in your corner that you can truly connect with and who understands you on a deeper level can make all the difference.
I also understand not wanting to "stress out" your family; I kept my self-harm to myself for a long time for similar reasons. But if your family loves you, the most important thing to them will be your well being. And if I were your family, I would want to know about what you're going through and help, rather than have you keep me in the dark to "protect" me from stress. Obviously, I don't know your family or how you relate to them, but if you have reason to believe they would be supportive and understanding about what you're dealing with, please do consider talking to them as well. The stronger your support system is, the smoother the path to recovery becomes.
I hope this helps. Please feel free to reply here or comment again elsewhere on the blog if you have more questions or concerns you'd like to share. I'll be reading.
I'm Alex, i m only 12 but I've been having dreams about this frequently. Its strange because its always one of those dreams where you wake up and feel it, but its not actually there. The thought of cutting scares me, it makes me worried ecspecailly because a lot of my loved ones do it. I wake up and get the strong urge to do it and frankly, it terrifies me. I do have a lot going on at home, my bio dad had an OD and passed because of it, my mom and stepdad always fight about me, and my stepdad also invalidates everyone's feelings. I'm just not sure what to think honestly, I would seek professional help, but talking about my problems worry me.(I've been convinced that I'll make the other person hate me/themselves due to personal experience). I told my mom and she said to look it up, so here I am.
Hi Alex, u can call me LL, I just wanna say that I'm sorry for your loss and that you should not start doing self harm, I had a dream about doing it, and I've been wanting to do it for a while. But it never feels as good as u think. You should go to professional help, even if u don't like talking about your problems, mby you could write it down for the therapist and then she will only ask you a couple of questions. I'm only 13 years old and I know 4 people that has done self harm, but they never wish to it again.
Thank you so much for your comment. I'm so sorry about what you've been going through. As LL mentioned already in their reply, self-harm can definitely be tempting during times like this but it is never a good solution. It is good that you are worried about these feelings, and it is good that you reached out to your mom for help and commented here as well. I completely understand about feeling uncomfortable talking about your problems with someone else, but LL is right, if you can it would absolutely be beneficial for you to get in contact with a counselor or therapist.
The thing to remember is,. most people aren't comfortable in therapy at first, and therapists know this. You don't have to talk about anything you're not ready to, and they can't force you. So you can take it slowly; you might even begin simply by letting them know that you are uncomfortable and worried about the situation. A good therapist will help you work through these barriers and feel more comfortable over time, at your own pace. (And remember, you can always change therapists if you don't feel a connection with the first one you find. I do suggest giving it some time, because you will likely be uncomfortable at first either way, but over time if you feel this person is not helping you, it is absolutely all right to seek out a different option. Not every therapist is right for every patient, and it's important to find someone you feel you can trust--though that trust may take a while to build up.)
If it helps, keep this in mind—you've just talked about your problems with me (even if only a little), and I don't hate you. Reading about your situation makes me hope that you can find the help you need to feel better. And others who hear your story may be helped by simply knowing that they are not the only ones going through something like what you're going through. You are not alone; please do not forget that.
If you have more questions or just need to talk more about this topic, please feel free to reply here or comment elsewhere on the blog. I'll be here, reading.
Wishing you the best of luck in your recovery journey,
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.
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!
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!
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..
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:
I hope this helps. If you have any more questions, concerns, etc., feel free to reply here or comment on future blogs. Take care.
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
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:
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.
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!
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:
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.
Hello, I’ve never commented on something like this before because I was scared of the person on the other end telling someone else. I’ve self harmed in the past and have been going through alot of stress lately. In my dream (I have this one alot) Im self harming and nobody comes in to stop me and I die. Well I assume I do because my vision gies black. I have history of bad mental health. My family is aware of it. So I talked to my family about how i’ve been feeling and I feel like she didn’t understand what I said. And I know this blog is about self harm dreams, but I also still struggle with eating disorder. And I have dreams were im doing it again, purging and skipping meals. If you could get back to one of the dreams, or both, it would make my day.
Thank you for your comment. I understand your fears about reaching out, but I'm so glad you decided to anyway. I'm sorry to hear about your recent stress and nightmares, and that your family does not seem to fully understand what you're going through — but it's good that you at least tried to talk with them about it.
I'm not a licensed dream analyst or any kind of mental health professional, so I'm afraid I'm not qualified to give you an official analysis of your dreams. But from what you've said, I would guess that your dreams have a lot to do with that stress you mentioned, and perhaps some thoughts you may be having (conscious or subconscious) around relapsing into self-harm and your eating disorder. The dream in which you die because no one comes in to stop you also sounds like you may be feeling isolated or misunderstood, like you're on your own in this — which makes sense if you feel like your family isn't really getting the message you've been trying to convey.
So I think the most important thing here is to remember that you're NOT alone, even though it's easy to feel that way, especially when you're stressed. Keep reaching out to your family if you can (as long as it's not making things worse for you); you might try explaining in different ways, maybe even sharing some resources to help them understand. I'll link a couple helpful pages below for you:
There are also other sources of support you can try reaching out to (some of which you can find in that first link), including hotlines, support groups, and of course, professional help. I would strongly suggest trying to get a therapist or counselor in your corner; it sounds like you're dealing with a lot, and someone like that can be a huge help in figuring out what's triggering you and what you can do to feel better. If you're still in school, check if your school has free counseling services. (Some workplaces have this too.) Remember too that you can also get professional help totally online through teledoc services and online therapy services like BetterHelp (which helped me connect with a therapist I really liked) and Talkspace. A therapist can also help you help your family better understand what you're feeling and how they can help you get better.
I hope things get better for you soon. If you have any more questions, comments, etc., feel free to reply here or elsewhere on the blog. I'll be around. :)
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?
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:
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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:
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.
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
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.