“Other times, I look at my scars and see something else: a girl who was trying to cope with something horrible that she should never have had to live through at all. My scars show pain and suffering, but they also show my will to survive. They’re part of my history that’ll always be there.”
Cheryl is not the only one, there are many out there. 1st of March and weeks leading upto it, is the day dedicated to the grassroot event of creating a global awareness campaign. There are people who share to be more open to their own self harm , special efforts are made to create awarenss about self injury and self harm.
Since I have recovered from a 40% burns accident I have often accosted this question, is it self harm, why did you do it? I have been accused of being self centered without considering my mother or daughters, well in all honesty I can say that it was an accident. But self-harm/injury is not just the act of petulant affluent teenagers it happens across sex, races, ages and backgrounds.
The word self harm describes a wide range of behaviours, and is usually a physical response to an emotional pain, this can become addictive. People are known to do varied things from cutting, burning, pinching themselves, other ways include drugs, alcohol, eating disorder. Even psychosomatic manifestations are sometimes triggered by self-harm tendency. What I have noticed both as a dentist and as a hypnotherapist, is quite often focusing on the feeling rather than the actual infliction often provides the key to recovery and rehabilitation.
Self harm often happens when the individual is overwhelmed with emotions like anger, fear, worry, depression or low self esteem, and this appears a way to manage or control negative feelings. Self harm quite many times is for of self-punishment for something someone has done, or even as an escape route for acute emotional abuse.
People do question what falls under the label of self harm. Well the bottom line is anything that causes harm even the slightest and in a small way makes you feel emotionally better would fall under the umbrella of self-harm. What is relevant is not the label, but recognizing when help is needed and providing support.
Self harm is strongly associated with borderline personalities and self harm is one of the nine diagnostic criteria for bipolarity, depression, anxiety, maniac episodes psychosis. Childhood traumas severe abuse, neglect, abandonment can lead to self harming tendency.
There are people who express feelings of emptiness, loneliness, inability to express themselves, abusive relationship that lead them to self injury.
The signs and symptoms quite much resemble addictions, there are secret stashes, rituals,. Sometimes these are cyclic, there might be anxiety, then impulse, then resistence, tension and release, this could be followed by shame. People with tendency to self-harms may have frequent accidents, claiming or appearing to be clumsy in order to explain the wounds or bruises. there is a tendency to be irritiable, prefers to alone for long periods of time,would have self esteem issues.
Stress à causes overwhelmed, unable to cope, exposed and sensitive. àtriggersàself injuryà now the person feels release, relief, calmness and in control.
Dissociation àfeels numb lost, unreal, alone and dissociated.–> triggers à self injuryà this in turn feel real, alive, functional and ready to act.
dealing with self injury involves the psychiatrist, psychotherapist, sometimes physician too.
what we do if hypnotherapy is the option is— since hypnotherapy deals with belief systems, we help the individual alter their belief system, this is possible only we can view the trigger event with clinical detachment. We would also create triggers and support system within the individual to resolve the causative irritant. Hypnodrama often comes to play in dealing with the primary trigger episode. After which the new belief is fortified using EFT or self hypnosis.