Geeks Vs Loneliness: a word about self-harm

Just a few words for those of you who physically hurt yourselves, or know people who do.

This article comes from Den of Geek UK.

Welcome to Geeks Vs Loneliness. This is a spot on the site where we try and talk about things that may be affecting you, or people you know. We try and offer a few nuggets that hopefully are of use somewhere down the line. But also, as best we can, we want to throw a virtual hug your way. Hope that’s okay.

This week, we want to talk a little about self-harm. It’s important we’re clear: this isn’t a judgemental piece. We just want to have a quick natter, and hopefully offer one or two ideas that may be of use.

The basics first. Self-harming is where people deliberately hurt themselves in some way, often as a method of dealing with or expressing difficult things going on in their lives. Some feel a release following self-harming, although inevitably a temporary one.

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It’s also an incredibly difficult thing to talk about.

We’re indebted to the wonderful people at MIND, who identify a wide number of reasons as to why people might hurt themselves. As with most things in life, there’s no easy label, nor would we seek to apply one. One person may be crying out for help, another may want to feel a bit more in control, someone else may hurt themselves as a way to try and cope with emotional stresses and pains. There’s no simple tick box.

Appreciating this is a broad statement, it’s rare for someone to want to hurt themselves for the sake of simply hurting themselves. Self-harm, in the overwhelming majority of cases, is a symptom of something else. A deeper unhappiness, perhaps, or stresses, or pressures, or – again – an abundance of possible things. As hard as it can sometimes be to talk about self-harming, it’s often harder still to open up about what’s causing it.

Firstly, as much as we can generate a warm hug from our side of the computer screen to yours, please have a warm hug. Secondly, if any of the above applies to you, or anyone you know, then one or two things.

There is, crucially, support out there. Not magical answers – we never seem to have magical answers when we’re writing these pieces, sadly – but certainly things that might be able to help.

One place that support can be reached is through your GP. As MIND points out, if you go and talk to your GP or a health professional about self-harming, you are utterly entitled to non-judgemental and sensitive care. Please: the vast majority of doctors and healthcare workers are far more interested in helping than judging. And what right do they have to judge you anyway? A GP is recommended as a first step, and they’ll have far more expertise than we can offer here.

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If that sounds too daunting a step, is there a friend you can talk to? Someone you trust who you can chat to? It might be that you’re not, consciously, trying to stop self-harming at this point. Even so: do consider telling someone.

When you feel the urge to self-harm, can you recognise and acknowledge it? If so, one tip is to find a distraction: be it making a coffee, doing the washing up, something simple that you reserve for those moments. Just to break yourself out of wanting to hurt yourself.

We’re giving just a taste of things here that MIND describes far better on its website. Do consider taking a look, here.

It’s a difficult subject, this one. Self-harm is beatable, but you don’t need us to tell you that’s something easier to write down and read, than actually do.

At the very least, if any of this applies to you, perhaps just say hello in the comments below? We’re all human beings (apart from the spam bots, but we’re doing our best with those!). We don’t bite.

Thanks, as always, for reading.

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