I’m glad the day exists, though I wonder how many people know about it. Self-harm is something that not a lot of people talk about, and when they do, there’s often shame. People often respond to self-harm with anger, blame, disgust, attempts at control…or they just don’t know what to do.
There are a few things I think it’s really important to know:
- Self-harm is NOT acting out, manipulation, or a failed suicide attempt; the person is usually trying to cope with great emotional distress, and trying to feel better.;
- One of the most helpful responses to self-harm is coming from a place of compassion. It also helps to educate yourself about self-harm.
More people are becoming aware of self-harm, and more people are responding in ways that help–but there are so many teens using self-harm that feel like they’re the only one, feel like no one understands them. I’ve received so many reader letters telling me that. So if you know someone who’s used self-harm–or even if you don’t–I hope you’ll take a minute or two to read some tips on self-harm, and perhaps be better prepared when you come across it. And for those of you who have used self-harm–I hope you know, and can take in, that you don’t deserve to be hurt–not ever, not by anyone–not even yourself! I also hope you’ll find ways to treat yourself with the same love and compassion that you would a friend. It’s hard, it takes time–but it’s worth it. You are!
and my detailed article What To Do When You Feel Like Hurting Yourself
Another *fantastic* resource on understanding self-harm is Secret Shame. It is the first site I send anyone, and one of the best-written sites with the greatest (in my opinion) understanding of self-harm, its causes and effects.
If you’re looking for a more detailed insider view of self-harm, you might consider picking up my book Scars.