There are approximately 2 million people who self injure in the United States (You are NOT alone)
SAFE Alternatives in Illinois is a self injury inpatient program.
I strongly recommend reading their book Bodily Harm before considering it. It was written by Karen Conterio & Wendy Lader who run the SAFE program.
If ever you need to talk, I am here. Julie
Why Has Self-Harm Tripled Among Tween and Teen Girls?
The inability to express emotions is one reason people self abuse. At some point in their life, they were taught to keep certain emotions (fear, anger, or sadness) to themselves because they are wrong or bad. Self abuse is a way to punish yourself for having those feelings. For some, the physical pain dulls these overwhelming emotions. For others, a deliberate cut summons the sense of being alive. People who self injure, say the feeling of pain is a welcome change from feeling numb and empty.
Wendy Lader, Ph.D at SAFE Alternatives suggests that the urge to self-injure is a clue that you are avoiding something bigger-an emotion, a feeling, a fear.
Self-injury is the act of deliberately harming your own body, such as cutting or burning yourself. It's not meant as a suicide attempt. Rather, self-injury is an unhealthy way to cope with emotional pain, intense anger and frustration.
While self-injury may bring a momentary sense of calm and a release of tension, it's usually followed by guilt and shame and the return of painful emotions. And with self-injury comes the possibility of inflicting serious and even fatal injuries.
Because self-injury is often done on impulse, it may be considered an impulse-control behavior problem. Self-injury may accompany a variety of mental illnesses, such as depression, eating disorders and borderline personality disorder.
If you're hurting yourself...
If you are injuring yourself, even in a minor way, or if you have thoughts of harming yourself, reach out for help. Any form of self-injury is a sign of bigger issues that need to be addressed. Self-injury poses the risk of serious injury, infection or disfigurement, or even death. And self-injury has some addictive qualities, making it hard to overcome on your own.
While you may feel ashamed and embarrassed about your behavior, you can find supportive, caring and nonjudgmental help. Getting appropriate treatment can help you learn healthier ways to cope — ways that won't leave your body permanently scarred. Try to work up the courage to talk to someone you trust, whether it's a friend, loved one, health care provider or a school official. Someone you trust can help you take the first steps to successful treatment.
When a friend or loved one self-injures
If you have a friend or loved one who's self-injuring, you may not know what to do. You may be shocked and scared. Learning more about self-injury can help you understand why it occurs and help you develop a compassionate but firm approach to helping your loved one stop this harmful behavior.
If your loved one is an adult, gently encourage him or her to seek medical treatment. If it's your child, you can start by consulting your pediatrician or family doctor, who can provide an initial evaluation or a referral to a mental health specialist. Don't yell at your child or make threats or accusations — doing so may increase the risk that your child will self-injure.
If you discover that your teenaged friend is self-injuring, let him or her know that you care and let your friend know that he or she has options. Suggest that your friend talk to his or her parents, a teacher, a school counselor or another trusted adult. If your friend doesn't seek help, you may need to let someone know what's going on. Although you might feel that you'd be betraying your friend, self-injury is too big a problem for your friend to deal with alone. Ask your parent, a teacher or your school counselor for help.
People whispering...Behind your back You turn to face them...They smile back...They think you didn't hear...What they had to say...What kind of freak...Could hurt herself that way...It's for the attention...That's the word going 'round...Though you never showed it off...And never meant for it to be found...Why can't people...Just mind their own business...They didn't care before...Why is this any different...Now you walk around...With another label on your soul...For people to laugh at...Will you ever be whole?