From the off, I need to warn you that this page can and probably will be trigging for many reading it. Self-harming is something that can be difficult to talk about and read about at the best of times, but with BPD it can be a strong symptom meaning things can easily get out of hand. But there are plenty of myths relating to self-harming that I hope to cover on this page, so do read on for more information about self-harming, why people do it and of course how you can stop it…
What is the BPD Symptom of Self Harming?
While you might think self-harming is just cutting on the arm and other areas of the body you would be wrong as this symptom covers so much more than that. It could be skin-picking, nail-picking or even not letting wounds heal or rubbing yourself until it burns, there are many, many ways you can self-harm without noticing it, yet it is one of those signs you need serious help or at the very least are starting to get to that point. So its a symptom to be very aware of, especially if you are looking after a friend with BPD.
What Can Cause Self Harming?
To self-harm is to call for help. To want to reach out and get the help or advice you need. It is a way for those of us who are overwhelmed to “release” out problems and inside pressure and many people describe the act of self-harming as releasing “emotional steam”, even to the point that they feel “normal” after doing it. It’s a way to deal with strong emotions, but it can also be a way of making others aware of how low you are feeling. Sadly those of us with BPD are much more likely to do this due to our rollercoaster ride of emotions we endure every single day.
How Bad Can Self Harming be?
Even the smallest instances of self-harm are a cry for help and something you should be taking very seriously. If you notice yourself doing it seek professional help immediately. Speak to a doctor or a friend, but do keep talking about it as it will help others know what place you are in. You don’t need me to tell you that this can cause death in a multitude of ways and not just by the self-harming, it could cause internal infections to result in the same thing. SO do be aware that any sign of self-harming needs to be addressed.
Does Everyone With BPD Suffer From Self Harming?
Looking around BPD chat forums and Facebook groups with might well think so, but that is not true. While a large percentage of those of us with BPD will indeed self-harm it is often not bad enough to get noticed by others meaning the true percentage of BPD sufferers who self-harm could well be an unknown number. There is also the problem of the number of ways you can self-harm, which includes alcohol and drug abuse which means the number could be much higher.
How Can I Stop Self Harming?
The very first step you need to take is to make others aware of what you are doing and how bad it really is (even if you don’t think it is that bad). Maybe write down what you will say before talking to someone. They could be a friend or family member, but better still a GP or support worker. If you don’t feel strong enough to do that you can always look at the many other ways to stop self-harming like self-distraction, yoga, mindfulness, taking a cold shower, drawing cuts on the skin or even clapping the hands hard and stomping the feet loudly to “snap” yourself out of the low point.
No matter how much information I add to this page it never feels like enough, so do get in touch if you have any more question relating to this. As always with any posts/pages on this site, we would love to hear from you in the comments below. Is this a question you wanted answering? Are there any questions you have relating to BPD that we have not covered? If so please leave a comment to if you want more privacy do please to get in touch with us via the Contact page.