Suicide vs. Self Harm

A lot of people mix these two up quite a bit. Suicide and Self Harm are two different things.

If someone self harms it does not mean that they want to die – It is not an attempt to kill themselves. It’s been said that Self Harm can lead to suicide. But this does not mean that they are the same thing. It can seem that these two things are directly related. Most of the time, it is the only thing that is helping them cope and stay alive. Although, they could have suicidal thoughts.

For instance, Someone who cuts, can get an immediate sense of relief and release. In which they cannot get from anything else in their life.  In my experience, when having suicidal thoughts and end up self harming it isn’t an attempt to kill myself, it is simply a way of coping with the thoughts. A way of silencing them. Though, there are better ways to deal with those thoughts. This is why talking to a professional like a therapist or a counsellor is so important. Even reaching out to a trusted friend, family member or even a teacher can be very helpful as well because they can help connect you with the right support. It is also one of the most hardest and most bravest things you can do.

Parents of someone who may self harm could be in shock and out of fear say things to their child that may be very unhelpful and invalidating. We need to talk openly about these issues so that there is a safe place for the ones who are suffering to speak out about getting help without being judged or misunderstood. It is important that people who are struggling with self harm know that they are supported and that they are understood by those around them. Which is not always an easy thing to truly believe. Often, teenagers who self harm are paranoid that nobody cares about them, that they are unworthy of love and care. It feels like nobody understands and no one really “gets” it. Making them feel more ashamed can end up triggering more self harming thoughts, too.

Statements like “why are you doing this to yourself?”, “how could you do that to yourself”, “doesn’t it hurt?”, “Just stop” are very unhelpful and hurtful in the end. People also link Emo with self harm and cutting. Most often these individuals do not understand self harm and therefor judge someone when they do not have the knowledge about the subject at hand.

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