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Submitted on
March 1, 2012
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Self Injury Awareness Day by Soda-Dreamer
Stamp: Self-Injury Awareness by FantasyStockAvatars


Today marks an awareness day over a subject that can mean many things to many people. Self Harm (or Self Injury) is the act of physical damage to oneself, usually as a coping strategy for expressing deep distress or coping in difficult situations. Self harm commonly is associated with cutting, but can also  refer to any physical damage to the self including burning, hitting, taking overdoses, swallowing chemicals, bleaching, hair pulling ( trichotilliomania), scratching and so forth.

You may know what it is, but it is often the reasons why that people are not familiar with. There is still this belief and stereotype surrounding the type of person likely to harming them-self, but the truth is, it could be anyone no matter what gender, culture or age. The reasons behind self harm can be such a huge variety- different people cope in different ways with different distresses.  Such issues that may trigger self harm might be bullying, trauma, abuse, school, work pressures, bereavement, difficult relationships, and so many more. There doesn’t always need to be a triggering event in someones life that makes them turn to self harm, sometimes individuals just experience a period of low self-esteem or distress that leads them to harm themselves. 

Today, we encourage you to look at ways you can support self harm awareness. You may be struggling with your own issues looking to seek help and sanctuary. You may be a friend or family member who knows someone who is struggling. Even if you are not aware of anyone in your personal life struggling with difficult situations, you have an opportunity to learn and share what you learn with your peers.

Remembering that deviantART is an Art website- art is a great personal therapy for many people, and not just a professional too. The self-expression art can provide is a great way to channel how you are feeling inside, usually a place that inspires people creatively. We encourage you all to use art when you are feeling down and need to express those thoughts, even if it is only for your eyes. You can use it to create images or writings of hope, of survival, to share stories and share that those who are suffering are not alone. 

Comfort Me by chrzaszczwtrzcinieComfort by anxx


Personal experiences 

One of the encouragements of self harm awareness is to share experiences, to show others they are not alone and that others do care. We encourage you to share your experiences, whether you write them in the comments of this article or as a journal or deviation.It may not be about you, friends and family can be affected too. Below, two experiences are shared to get the ball rolling.

"I was severely bullied from an early age and used self harm as a way to cope with this. Although it seemed to stop for a while, by the time I hit university and with no parents to watch me, it escalated to the point of stitches and getting in difficult situations with those who didn't want to know. Without the support of a loving boyfriend, good honest friends (who accepted me for who I was) and the encouragement to see a (very hairy legged hippy) counsellor, I managed to face those old feelings of bullying and learned to move on from them. I am 7 years self harm free. The scars are still there and very prominent, but I dealt with those issues inside and feel I have moved on and am happy." (Beccalicious)

"I think everyone has their dark days and is exposed to feelings of self-destruction, if not from themselves but from people around them. I never cut but I struggled with an eating disorder in my early teens. The desire for control was something I feared, but needed, and in some ways was proud of. I saw similar behaviour in some of my closest friends- one who cut the top of her arms so deep she needed stitches and another who once broke 3 fingers punching her fist into a wall. 
Between the three of us I think we dragged each other deeper, wanted to have the ‘worst’ vice. The most shocking fall. 
We all separated and went to University and I have no doubt in my mind that the brake saved us and we dealt with our demons. 
“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” - a seemingly trite phrase but one that I feel sums us up in the best way." ( DistortedSmile )

Self Harm Facts

:bulletorange: A person who self harms is not defined as a “self harmer”. Many charities and organisations involved with self harm steer away from this term because it does not define the person and encourages a label.

:bulletorange: Self harm is not “attention seeking” or a tool to manipulate people. Even at times when you may feel that is what people are doing, there could be more underlying issues you are not aware of. Try to stay open minded.

:bulletorange: Self harm is a coping strategy, it is NOT a suicide attempt. 

:bulletorange: Self harm doesn’t necessarily mean the person has a mental illness. It can be a symptom of stress and low self esteem. Although sometimes a symptom of other mental illnesses, it is not considered its own.

:bulletorange: The severity of a person’s wounds has very little to do with how much he or she may be suffering. Don’t assume that because the wounds or injuries are minor, there’s nothing to worry about.

:bulletorange: Self harm affects a larger percentage of people than perhaps known- and it's not just the person who may be hurting themselves, but it affects family, friends, teachers, even professionals. The figures are always likely to be greater than any statistic can give you, because of how many who quietly suffer. 

i'll be there by MalvaAlcea 

 Self Harm resources

:bulletgreen: Self Harm UK  

:bulletgreen: Harmless UK…


:bulletgreen: To Write Love on Her Arms 

:bulletgreen: Recover Your Life 

:iconitdoesnothaveme: :iconself-injuryclub:

:heart: Spread the word of understanding and reduce ignorance about self harm. Favourite this article, spread the word and be open minded :heart:

 Beside You by adrienne-paynter 

Add a Comment:
paintedbluerose Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2012  Student Writer
It's a beautiful article. :heart: Lovely job on it.

And I can relate to it as well. I don't think I would have commented as much, but I did notice a few comments saying how self harm is attention seeking or saying this is weakness or illness and it's your fault for doing it or whatever and that is a bit bothersome to me. When someone self harms, they don't think themselves as "sick" and needing help. And they don't do it for attention. Yes, there are some out there who cut themselves and show it off, stating if you do this or that to me, I'll cut more! But they have something else wrong with them. Most self harmers are ashamed and do whatever they can to conceal anything, such as cuts they've done. They're not going to be blasting on the news like that.

Self harming is more than that. It's deeper than that. Sometimes you're so ashamed, you don't want to talk to anyone about it. You think something is wrong with you and the world will look at you strange if you mention you cut yourself. Or worse, that you enjoy cutting yourself. You're afraid they'll lock you up, and who wants that?

I was about twelve years old when I started. I overdosed on pills, I cut myself, and I even was aneroxia/bulimic for a while. I did this for years until I just randomly stopped. I didn't think of sucide at the time. It was just a way for the pain to escape. I haven't cut myself in years, though I've been thinking about it lately. It wasn't until the past year that I actually talked to my parents and told them I used to cut myself. I'm almost twenty-six years old.

I don't think admitting what I did fourteen years ago counts as "attention seeking". I mean, if I didn't tell anyone until now, how is that seeking attention?

Yes, I probably should have gotten help, but I was scared and afraid. I didn't want to tell my parents that I was cutting myself. I was afraid they would be disappointed in me or think I was a freak or crazy. I couldn't take that. I think that also made me cut myself more when I thought about it. (The stress of it all.)

But it is NOT weak to say you have a problem and you need help. It is NOT weak to have a mental illness that affects you. It is NOT weak to say you have depression and you cut yourself because you're depressed. It is NOT weak to have a problem like this that you can't help.

The common causes of self-harm are mental illness, psycological factors, genetics, and substance abuse. I don't think having a mental illness is cause for saying the person is weak and that self harm is weak on their part. As my doctor says, self harm is the physical release for the pain you feel mentally.

Those who say self harm is weak don't know what it's like and will never know what it's like to feel that way. To feel that you have to cut to feel better. In a way, that's a good thing. But it can also be a bad thing because they think anyone who feels insecure or depressed and lets their depression out in a way they can handle it, is weak. It's not weak to have depression or to say you have a problem. It's weak when you can't understand.
sleepyowlet Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
This. And the worst thing is that getting help isn't always possible. The depression and the self harm aren't the problem, they are just symptoms. The underlying problem sometimes isn't anything that can be changed. How do you help someone who is simply different and has depressions because they simply don't fit into society? Aspergers, people with above average IQ, those who are hypersensitive? Just a few examples - all of those are perfectly healthy. Changing society itself is the only thing that would really help. And I don't see that happening any time soon.
paintedbluerose Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2012  Student Writer
First step in overcoming anything is admitting you have a problem. It's also the hardest. I mean, how many people are going to admit they self harm themselves? I mean, at this moment. Not in the past. Not too many are. Once they do that, it's one step closer to getting better. It's just hard to take that first step. :(
savagebinn Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2012   General Artist
Good article. :heart:

When I came online I was surprised how many other people with Trich there were. I'd heard about cutting which I thankfully haven't gone through (have many friends who have, unfortunately) but I really felt alone. I think it's great to spread awareness of these issues because there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding them. It just isn't talked about much and it needs to be.
CecaMire Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2012
People please to be realising that self-harm is not an illness in itself

It is a symptom

You cannot point to a self-harmer and lecture them on how stabbing themselves with a pen is unhealthy because hey


they already know that

Instead enquire into and try to fix the problem that they are using this Coping Strategy against and look! it is gone

what a miracle
PurpleAlienFlower Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
QUOTE "Self harm is not “attention seeking” or a tool to manipulate people. Even at times when you may feel that is what people are doing, there could be more underlying issues you are not aware of. Try to stay open minded." /QUOTE

No. No, it is so often attentionwhoring. I've seen this so many times on girls just to get attention from their boyfriends or parents, FORCING them to stay with them- they're threating each and everyone to "stay with them for eternityyyyy" or otherwise they would harm themselves.
My actual BF had such a girl friend once, she tried to threat him to stay with her "together for eternity", sending pictures of her freshly harmed arms and legs on his cell phone, "just as a short reminder to NOT forget to call her this evening".
I call BS.
Don't say NOBODY would ever to this kind of stuff for attentionwhoring.

beside this, why you put a picture of two pple sitting on a RAIL ROAD there? Irony much?
Discussing self harm here and put a picture of pple sitting on a rail road here (we all know just too many pple kill themselves that way!) is pretty inappropriate I think __
CecaMire Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2012
I think your boyfriend's ex-girlfriend needs to see a therapist if she's so desperate for attention that she'll carve up her own body.

I never noticed the irony on the picture though lol
HelenaRothStock Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2012  Professional Photographer
In my experience on both sides, what most people need is someone to talk to without being judged...just to accept what they have to say, it's a first step that anyone can give. You don't need to know what to say. Keeping it to yourself doesn't solve it and people brushing it off as attention seeking is naive and more than a little cynical.

I read someones response that it's just teens. That is very wrong, any person of any age can have trouble coping.

Well written article :)
MusicalEnvy Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2012  Student General Artist
I made orange awareness ribbons and handed them out in school on this day, and it really did help a lot. Not many people knew about Self-Harm Awareness Day, and I was able to explain it to a lot of people. The next day I noticed a few more people wearing orange shirts. :)
CecaMire Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2012
That's wonderful! Sounds like you really made a difference :D
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