Self Injury Awareness Day 2011

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*This post was originally published on SMS Mental Health, another blog of mine I haven’t been keeping up. So I’m moving it over here and reposting it this year.

March 1st is Self-Injury Awareness Day around the world. The date doesn’t seem to be as well-known as I think it should be.

First Signs is the home of the offiical website for SIAD but is in the UK. However most if not all of the information provided is helpful to anyone wanting to help spread the word that self-harm is real and is more than just a cry for attention.

You may also be interested in these posts by Dr. Kathleen Young:
Common Myths about Self Injury 
Self Injury Awareness Day

I started self-harming at about age 16 (1999) and wasn’t able to quit until 2004. Since then I’ve had two slipups but I was able to stop them from continuing. I still struggle with thoughts of SI, especially if I accidentally hurt myself or someone else does. Sometimes I find myself wishing it had happened to me. How did I stop? It wasn’t easy. It tooks years of therapy and a few hospital visits, medication and a class on trying to stop SI. IT involved finding out why I did it and coming up with less harmful ways to get the same effect. The hardest part of it all was deciding that I wanted to quit once and for all. Without the determination to quit, you’re not going to be able to resist the temptation. I wouldn’t be surprised if the temptation never fully goes away for me. 

Here are a few hints:

  1. Some people find reading books or websites about self-harm make them feel better and some people find it makes them feel worse. I found the information helped me understand it but after that, chatting online about it with other self-harmers made me want to do it.
  2. Try and figure out why you do it. There are a variety of reasons. Usually: you like to see the blood, you feel pain when otherwise you feel numb, you can control the pain unlike other pain or you feel it’s self-punishment.
  3. Research things to try instead of self-harming, based on your reasons for doing it:
    • Draw lines with red washable marker on your arm if it’s the blood you like
    • Keep an elastic around your wrist and snap it on your wrist (this one worked for me)
    • Journal or talk to someone who cares

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