Understanding Self-Harm as a Teen
When life throws a lot at us, things can get really overwhelming. Sometimes it feels like the only way to deal with everything is by hurting ourselves. That’s what self-harm is, and it’s important to talk about it.
Purposely causing pain to ourselves through things like cutting, burning, hitting, or anything else that causes pain is considered self-harm. It’s not a healthy way to deal with what’s going on, but sometimes it does feel like it’s the only way to cope with how we feel. Maybe you’re feeling extremely frustrated or very lonely, and feeling pain is a way to manage these emotions. Or, maybe you feel like everyone is dictating what you get to say or do, and hurting yourself gives you a sense of control over your own body. There are many reasons why a person chooses to self-harm. But here’s the thing – all of them are only quick fixes. They don’t solve the problem. In fact, self-harm can make things a lot worse in the long run.
First, if you’re hurting yourself, know that it’s not your fault. We try to find ways to cope with life as best as we know how. But you deserve to know that there are better, healthier ways to manage what’s happening around us.
You Deserve Support
It might feel like you’re the only one going through this, but you’re not. Many teens struggle with the same feelings and there’s help out there. You don’t have to face it alone and you deserve help.
It can be nerve-wrecking to do but telling someone you trust can make a big difference. Whether it’s a friend, family member, or a teacher, sharing what you’re going through can lift a huge weight off your shoulders. They may not have all the answers but just talking about it can help you process what’s going on and release all the pent up feelings inside. Finding a counsellor or therapist can also be a game-changer because they’re trained to help with all this stuff. It’s like having a guide to help you navigate through the toughest parts of life.
Taking Small Steps
Success is a journey. Keep yourself occupied with healthier activities. It can be through art, music, sports, writing, or cooking. Finding what you like can take a little time to figure out what works for you, but it’s a process that’s worth it. You can start doing more small things that lift your mood, like buying coffee or bubble tea. If it gets too expensive, consider making some at home. Add in extra movement where you can too, like walking instead of taking a 10 minute bus ride. Pair it with some music and you’re good to go!
Remember, life is tough but there are people and resources out there ready to help you get through it. It’s okay not to be okay, and it’s okay to ask for help. Take one step at a time and celebrate the victories, no matter how small they seem.
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About the author Jowena:
Jowena has rich bicultural experience having grown up in the United States for over 16 years before moving back to Singapore permanently in 2014. Her professional experience expands over seven years and includes work as a behavioural therapist, associate psychologist, and assistant manager at a private counselling centre. She has worked with children, adolescents, and young adults from a variety of populations ranging from special needs to prison services.