KALMers, have you ever watched a movie with a character that shows self-injury behavior? Does that behavior really exist? Actually, why do some of us hurt their own body? Well, in this article, Kalmselor Dwi will provide stories and information about this issue. Keep reading!
Caution: This article may contain content/topics that make you feel uncomfortable. If you find this disturbing or triggering, please stop reading it immediately!
What Does This Self-injury Look Like?
The following is an illustration of the story experienced by Kalmselor Dwi’s client:
“My name is W. My boyfriend’s name is D. I often fight with him because D always cheats on me which hurts my feelings. The heartache made me hurt myself physically by cutting my own hands with a razor blade. I did this so that my boyfriend cared and wanted to love me again. Every time I have a conflict with him I try to hurt myself by cutting my hand with a razor blade.”
What Is Self-Injury?
Self-injury is a form of behavior where someone hurt themselves intentionally as a coping mechanism without suicidal intent. They do this as a way of dealing with unbearable sadness or emotional numbness. Examples of self-injury behaviors are:
- Cutting with a knife / razor
- Burning specific body parts
- Pulling hair
- Banging head
- Consuming substances that are harmful to your body (such as poison)
Why Do People Self-Injure?
Self-injury is actually a complex condition that is difficult to explain. Most people do self-injury as a coping mechanism for their distress. Someone who grew up in a family where expressing “negative” emotions is not allowed, a victim of violence, or someone with experiences of neglect as a child – are more likely to be prone to this condition.
People who grew up in those conditions will find it difficult to express or communicate their emotions. As a result, self-injury is chosen as a way to hold and/or release emotions. They do self-injury to punish themselves when they feel bad or just want to show others how difficult they are suffering.
Self-Injury V.S. Suicidal Thoughts
Suicide is the act of escaping from suffering by ending one’s life. Someone who wants to commit suicide is usually motivated by feelings of hopelessness or loss of interest and desire to live. This is in contrast to self-injury which is done because a person is not able to express their pain and emotions. They hurt themselves on purpose to relieve stress, not to end life.
But some people who do self-injury are also at risk of committing suicide. It’s not easy to notice the difference. The only way is to ask the person directly if they are suicidal. You can ask them without negative judgment.
It is important to note that currently Indonesia does not have a hotline or specific telephone service for suicide prevention. If you are in an emergency situation, you can directly contact the nearest health facility such as a health center (Puskesmas) or hospital.
Read more about the causes and how to help someone with suicidal thoughts in this article.
Who Are At Risk of Self-Injury?
Although anyone can do this behavior, there are certain categories of people who are more at risk. The following are people who have a high enough risk factor for self-injury based on the number of cases that occur currently:
- Those with a history of physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse,
- People who have trauma in terms of expressing emotions,
- Those who have a history of other mental disorders, such as Borderline Personality Disorder, mood disorders, and anxiety disorders,
- People with behavioral disorders such as addiction, eating disorders, or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
How To Help This Condition?
People who have self-injury behavior are advised to immediately seek professional help RIGHT NOW. By consulting with a professional, the root of the problem can be identified. Basically, the trigger for self-injury behavior is trauma. If not treated with appropriate therapy, the trauma often leads to negative behaviors, such as self-injury. How to takes care of self-injury on a regular basis can be done with counseling and psychotherapy. CBT therapy, emotional therapy (CTC), and hypnotherapy are common to use in this case.
So, that’s the explanation about self-injury, KALMers. If you find anyone around you experiencing this condition, you can help them by recommending counseling and therapy with a mental health professional.
You can also do online counseling with Kalmselor Dwi on the KALM App (download here) by entering the Kalmselor code DWI-888. Don’t hesitate to do counseling if you need help.
Written by: Kalmselor Dwi
Translated by: Rachma Fitria
Edited by: Rachma Fitria & Lukas Limanjaya
Afnida. 2021. Apa Itu Self Injury?. Retrieved from: http://awalbros.com/kejiwaan/apa-itu-tindakan-self-injury/
Shabrina, Astri. (2021, July 14). “Nonsuicidal Self injury”. Retrieved from: http://astrishabrina.blogspot.com/2011/07/te s.html
Mental Health First Aid USA. (2020, March 5). Suicide vs self-injury knowing the difference and how to get help. Retrieved from: https://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/2020/03/suicide-vs-self-injury-knowing-the-difference-and-how-to-get-help/