Self-harming already has a substantial stigma surrounding it. People glamorize or demonize self-harming with such a quick ferocity that they sometimes miss it when it’s right under their nose. In the past, I published “Five Ways You’re Self Harming Before You Pick Up the Razor,” to educate people on the different less famous ways people self-harm. It’s hard to get help when you don’t know you need it, which is why I have expanded it. Below are five more ways you’re self-harming before you pick up the razor.
There is a difference between being a reckless person and committing an act of self-harm. A lot of the time the line between self-harm and unhealthy habits lies with intentions. While some people self-harm to feel, and others self-harm to escape or punish themselves, this type of self-harm revolves more around not caring at all.
Picture being in a car crash, or almost being in one, the wheels skidding, the smell of smoke engulfing your lungs. Image what your reaction to the situation might be. Someone who falls into a severe apathy might not even blink an eye. They already want to be dead, so why would this matter? Thinking like that can lead to a plethora of terrible things, including death, and it is one of the most severe ways you can self-harm.
Ignoring Self Care
This falls along the same lines as intense apathy or a reckless carelessness. Lack of showering, brushing your teeth, and lack in self-care are all symptoms of depression and other disorders. However, sometimes the same actions come from the opposite source. While some people have a lack of motivation to take care of themselves, the motivation for some can be to cause harm. It can be that you feel that you don’t deserve to be taken care of.
The best way to combat this is to take little steps to practice self-care. If you can’t will yourself to brush your teeth, on a good day, go out and get those waterless mini toothbrushes and put them beside your bed. That way you won’t even have to get up to clean. Take a damp washcloth and wipe your face if you can’t shower. Feeling just the little bit clean can help overall, in a big way.
Fighting can be verbal altercations that may trigger depression, anxiety, or PTSD related symptoms. I talked about willfully triggering yourself as a form of self-harm in the previous article, but fighting isn’t always verbal. It can also be a way to injure yourself without people worrying too much about the underlying issues.
Any form of purposeful pain can be a way to feel when there is nothing inside but an intense hollowness. It’s one of the reasons many people cut. Picking fights for no reason other than to injure yourself is another form of self-harm, that can lead to physical and mental problems such as concussions and back problems.
Trichotillomania is a disorder where one feels an intense urge to pull their hair out. There are many reasons why they do it, the compulsion can be the only cause, or it can be another way to hurt themselves. Pulling hair out by the root hurts, can cause bleeding, itchiness, isolation, feelings of shame, and scarring.
When it comes to self-harm, some people want others to know. It can be a cry for help, but it can also be a very private thing. One way that people can keep their self-harming habits a secret is by hurting themselves in a way that doesn’t cause as much alarm. Forcing yourself to fall, or run into things in order to get bruises is one way you can self-harm, while another is scraping. Scraping yourself can be a less noticeable form of cutting, and can be the gateway to actual cutting.
Sometimes we allow ourselves to continue self-harming habits, because they aren’t as popular as cutting. Since no one talks about them, it can be easy to brush these habits off as not severe enough change. I’m here to tell you that any time you do something that causes pain, it is bad enough to change, and taking that step, can change your life for the better.
1-800-DON’T-CUT and 1-800-334-HELP
1-800-334-HELP is a 24-hour service for a number of things.
Boys Town National Hotline 1-800-448-3000.
Text CONNECT to 741741 for PTSD episodes. They are also on call 24-hours.
1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.
“Symptoms.” Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA, adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/depression/symptoms#.
Seltzer, Leon F. “The Curse of Apathy: Sources and Solutions.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 27 Apr. 2016, www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolution-the-self/201604/the-curse-apathy-sources-and-solutions.
“Trichotillomania (Hair-Pulling Disorder).” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 17 Nov. 2016, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/trichotillomania/symptoms-causes/syc-20355188.