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Reasons why not to SI


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It has been a long time since I habitually self harmed although I've had many slip ups since I gave up.


I had another slip up this morning and SI has been on my mind a lot lately.


The thing is, I can't think of many good reasons not to make it a habit again. When I've stopped before it was out of shame for doing something "crazy" and worrying about people finding out or because I knew SI was "bad" and I would be doing a bad thing if I did it.


Shame, worry and guilt are not doing it for me at the moment so I need some better reasons.


Could anyone help me out with some? Or just point me to a thread if there is one already. 

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The thing is, at the barest level of it, self harm works short term, otherwise, why do it? Given the stigma, risks and hassle it creates, if it didn;t fulfil a purpose in the moment, people wouldn't do it.


That said, every person has a reason that is relevant to them for finding another way to cope. Self harm is destructive to your body, self esteem, relationships, career options etc, and it is also unsustainable in that long term it usually escalates or winds up causing more injuries that mean people who self harm have less ability to cope and conceal it.


The more self harm becomes an automatic first stop for coping, the less a person has a chance to cope in other ways. Many people who have self harmed long term with no other support find that substituting other coping skills before self harming doesn't make a difference at first, mostly because it takes time and practice to get any real relief and progress from using other coping skills. Self harm is destructive, but it also means that the time you spend self harming i time taken away from finding out if there are other ways you would feel good about using to cope. Self harm is something most people turn to in a time of lack: without support, care from others, a sense of self care, other skills etc. So when people say that nothing else works, it's more because they haven;t been a place where they can experiment and still stay safe with the feelings that exposes them to.


If you have been isolated with horrible mental health stuff and you are still alive and trying to get better, then self harm or not, you've done pretty well. Self harm might be where the story began, but don't let it end with self harm. If it got you this far, shame and judgment isn;t going to help you stop. But it is possible to feel intense pain or fear or whatever you feel AND not have to hurt yourself to modulate that.

Edited by Titania
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I'm not okay, okay but I haven't cut since that last time. That was, um, yesterday, but I'm taking things one day at a time for now. And I'm trying to be kind to myself.

That's great. :) You deserve that kindness.

One day at a time is the answer, it truly is. And Titania is right; we get stuck in it because it does work, sometimes when it's hard to find something else that does. You're continuing to fight: looking for reasons is good, as are the other steps you're taking right now. There's a tendency to think of SI as a simple do/do not act, but it is very complex, and can be wound up into the very way you think and assess problems. Being free of SI is an ongoing thing, I think even when a person has been without it for a long time. So you can still say you're getting there. It's one thing at a time.

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Thanks Titania, for your really considered response. I'm sorry it has taken me a while to reply.


Cutting does tend to escalate over time for me so it is good to stop now before I end up with scars I'll have for years. And I will start thinking about other ways to cope that I can practice and develop over time.


I think the worst is over for now and I don't "need" to SI at the moment butI know there'll be lots of times in the future when I feel so bad that I will need some way to cope. Even if I can't say I'll never self harm again, I can at least give myself some alternatives.


I am frustrated that, despite getting on meds a year ago and doing a fair bit of therapy, I find myself going back to SI as a way to cope with being overwhelmed. As Mim says, I'm still getting there.


Mim, thank you for your encouragement and wisdom, it really helps.


Being free of SI is an ongoing thing, I think even when a person has been without it for a long time. So you can still say you're getting there. It's one thing at a time.


I agree with you here. It's not a matter of quitting, and that being that. I will need to deal with the mental health stuff that led to me first self harming as a way to cope, and practicing other ways of tolerating and surviving the feelings and thoughts that trigger specific bouts of self harm for a long time.

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  • 2 months later...

I'm just checking in. I slipped last week, and cut (I can't remember when, exactly). But because I was sort of out of the habit it was much more superficial than before. 


I haven't hurt myself since then. Relapses do happen so I'm not too fussed about having one. I'm definitely out of the habit of SI now and every day I don't do it is it's own achievement. I'm hoping to have less stress over the next few weeks and that will help too. (I'm probably the only one hoping this, as it's nearly Christmas now!)

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