In this article I will try to explain what is self-harm and the reasons for this; from the views of a health care assistant with at least 20 years’ experience in mental health.  There are people in hospital who self-harm and also people in the community that self-harm but to different extents. Everybody has their own personal reasons why they do this and if you meet someone that does this please do not judge them. They are in turmoil, mental pain or they used to be and now they have learnt to control it to an acceptable level. What needs to happen is the health service and the private companies need to make awareness and knowledge more acceptable to the community to understand. I hope that what I have written here will help even if it is just a small amount. Any information that helps is better than nothing at all.

There was a horrible story in the papers a few months back about a young lady who had scares on her arms from self-harm and she went into a big super market chain, I will not name them as I don’t want to get in trouble, she went to the cashier with a bottle of alcohol and the cashier told her that they cannot serve her the alcohol because she had scares on her armWhat  The young lady was told it was company policy not to serve alcohol with anyone that self-harms. To me this is disgusting as alcohol is not the reasons why people self-harm and if she was out in the community she has a big control over these urges to hurt herself. You cannot judge a person just because they have scares. I have a few scares on my person but that does not mean I self-harm, I’m just clumsy.

Next I will try to explain some of the possible reasons why they self-harm and the ways people self-harm. It is mostly a female thing but it is on the rise of male’s self-harm and coming to light.

Visual and Auditory Hallucinations

Some patients within a hospital setting who suffer from hearing and seeing things like past abusers, demons or a coping friend due to stress or past events known as hallucinations usually not a friendly voice or vision. With a patient that has this condition, the voices are usually a kind of friend in a difficult time and is there only way of coping while it is a stressful time. The voices are usually a coping skill for the person but when someone who cares comes into their life the voices get louder as well as the visual problems get worse. At times of stress the hallucinations tell the person that they are worthless and they need to end their life because no one loves them or cares. This is why some patients find it hard to cope with when they find a staff member that actually cares. The voices get louder when the patient finds someone who actually shows a caring side. The patient will end up listening to the hallucinations as they will be as convincing to the patient as they are the only friend they have during the whole time. The patient may end up ripping their clothes tying a ligature around their necks or another limb. Maybe finding something sharp like a razor, metal, hard plastic and cut themselves to make themselves bleed. Some patients may also use the plastic from pens, metal from clothing, braking glass items. Some start to head bang and what I mean by this is that the patient usually sitting or crouching will bang their head off a wall or a door. This is all due to the voices or hallucinations they experience.

Abuse

What you may come across is mainly females but some males that have been abused from either family members or friends that know the family or it could be a random stranger which is rare. The abuse can come in all shapes when it comes to the subject of abuse, patients could start cutting, have sight dysmorphia, where they see something bigger or horrible when they look in the mirror. People could come across physical abuse, where the person will witness people being beaten, tortured or mentally abused just to name a few. It will come to a point where their coping strategy is to hurt them self to cope with the mental pain. They could start to withhold their food and fluid intake, start in to insert things whether it be through an open hole, mouth, rectum, virginal, or open wound. I know it is not nice to read but this is the facts I’m afraid. But this could also link in with hallucinations as well due to the past abuse.

Learnt Behaviour

It is an unfortunate thing but people that do go into care due to past problems will also pick up things while in care. There are some patients will see other patients do things like self-harm and find out that it can lead to maybe positive outcomes. Some patients will learn that from other patients that self-harming will bring in staff and also give the attention they need. But what you need to realise is that some patients don’t know how to ask for help in times of stress and this is the only way they know how to ask. So some patients that don’t know how to ask for help may self-harm just to get the staff member in close.

 

Eating

There are some patients that will either restrict or over eat on their food. This is a difficult situation to deal with as it could be life threatening in some cases. Some people will reduce food and fluid intake due to the stupid fashion industry. It is portrayed that the model should be skinny and beautiful, so the young mainly females will stop eating and try to up their cardio to lose the weight. The fashion industry needs to change their ways on this. Some patients in their previous lives may have been bullied at school, work or college and called fat, chunky just to name a few.

It is not just restricting food it can also be over eating for a number of days, then eating nothing. It could also be a problem where they will over eat and then self-induce vomiting as they usually think it will help them reduce weight.

 

These are just to name a few items problems to do with self-harm. If you want to look deeper there will be a number of triggers to influence self-harm.

I hope you have found this small amount of information useful helpful even if it was just a little.

Please feel free to leave a comment but remember this is just an opinion and not total fact .

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