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I Self-Harmed to Deal With Negative Emotions


Dealing With Intense Emotions

Self-harming was the only way I knew how to deal with intense emotions that were in danger of overwhelming me. For me, it was about the pain. I needed to be in pain to distract me from the inner screaming and inner pain and tension that I felt. It was the only thing I did in life that could release me from the grip of severe emotional distress.

I have cut myself, including my wrists, beaten myself with my own fist, jumped off high walls, taken overdoses, developed anorexia, taken drugs, abused medicated drugs, drunken sex, and stood at the top of the stairs and hit myself hard enough to see stars so that I would fall down the stairs. I feel that self-harming helped to save my life because it was the only way I could cope with my inner distress. Self-harming was a distraction

I was ashamed of my behaviour; I thought I was abnormal as my abusive mother had claimed when I was a child. I was taught from a very early age that I was worthless, not worthy of love and I believed her. I developed negative beliefs about myself that I was stupid, worthless and unwanted.

I could not communicate with anyone around me what I was feeling internal distress. I could not identify or express how I felt or what I was thinking. I was anxious, frustrated and alone and thought that I was the only one that felt the way I did. I lived in fear that I would be carted off to a mental institution never to be released and I was scared.


Learn to Love Yourself

I stop hurting myself when I learnt to love myself. This is the greatest gift you can give yourself and the world around you. If you do not love yourself no one else will love you. Love starts with the self. When you love yourself you are caring to yourself. You want the best for yourself. Here are some ways I developed self-compassion and self-love.

  • Go online, watch videos, and read about self-love and the importance of self-love.
  • Set goals: Setting goals helps to focus on your ideal future and gives you something to focus on. The first goal I set myself was to learn how to love myself. I learnt to love myself and now the self-harming memories are like remembering someone else's past.
  • If you are self-harming, know that you are not alone and you are not abnormal. If you hurt yourself, remember to take good care of your wound by cleaning it and putting a clean dressing on. If possible, keep your implements clean (blades, knives, glass or whatever you use). Keep yourself safe and, if possible, talk to someone.

Dealing With Emotional Distress

I found writing in a journal helped me to release any inner tensions and deal with my emotional distress. When I wrote about my negative thoughts and emotions in my journal, I felt relieved. The intensity of the negative emotion felt is reduced. I was able to identify each feeling and begin to process them.

By identifying the negative emotion I am experiencing, writing and sharing with myself, someone who I trust, I learnt to find the answers and solutions to my problems, from myself.

At the end of each writing session I would ask myself, what do I want from life? What do I need to make me feel better right now? And then I would write down the answer. When I got my answer, I would imagine that I had what I wanted and how it would feel. This writing is a distraction technique.

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The writing exercise can help to shift the focus to something more positive and most of all, help us feel better. Sometimes I rip up what I have written and sometimes I date it and keep in a journal. Later I might read the journals and look at my problems as if they were someone else's problems, and I ask myself, what advice would I give it I truly wanted to help them?

And Finally

Comment box below. Feel free to ask questions?


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


Louise Elcross (author) from Preston on January 31, 2012:

I agree about the dr's. I was always afraid of what mum taught me about God. Lived in fear of being sent to purgatory. Now I understand he is not a punishing God but a giving God. I ask and he gives. Its knowing what to ask for other than the ending of the suffering thats the problem. I am fortunate enough to have found what I needed to ask for to bring happiness and I hope you find what you need too SanXuary. Thanks for reading.

SanXuary on January 25, 2012:

The real affliction is pain caused by something else. You go days and years until something terrible happens. Then the depression and pain returns and its horrible beyond what anyone who has never experienced it before can imagine. It comes in waves and is so great that suicide is not even on your mind stopping the pain is. I have not hurt myself in many years but yes it can save your life when there is nothing else. I put all my energy into prayer and I believe God will solve the problem. Not all my prayers are nice but I believe God is a vengeful God as well and knows my pain and its real. He would not have given me this curse if it was not real. I always tell myself I am not alone in this experience and the only hope is finding others like me. The hell with for profit doctors and their drugs that kill your life. People kill me every time I suffer from this and it is usually the reason for my symptoms. Go fix them and leave me alone.

Louise Elcross (author) from Preston on January 24, 2012:

Thanks Jellygator. I hope my experiences will help others because I know the pain and loneliness of self-harming. Thanks for reading.

jellygator from USA on January 24, 2012:

I've noticed that many young girls cut themselves as a response to pain. I hope to see more about your experiences and what can help young women feel less alone. Voted up and useful.

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