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Hi, I’m a girl of sixteen who’s just started self-harming. There’s a long story behind it which I won’t mention now. I wonder if it’s serious? When I’ve seen other people do it, I’ve always thought it seemed so serious. But it doesn’t seem serious at all when I do it myself. I feel that every cut I make helps me more and more. I cry less at night as in a strange way the tears have been replaced by the cuts. I’m already quite addicted. I can’t go a day without scratching my arms. I’ve stopped wearing short-armed tops as I’m afraid someone will see it. No one knows about it, and I’ve decided that no one will find out. My mum would really freak out and it would cause an uproar in the family. I don’t want anyone to waste energy worrying about me! How should I handle all this? I think it will be very hard to stop!


It is sad to hear that you have started to self-harm as a way to release your feelings. As you say, it can be addictive as you don’t feel it’s dangerous and as you think it helps you.

You mention that there is a long story behind this, but often people don’t know why they self-harm. Lots of people are like you, they keep it hidden as they don’t want a lot of fuss and focus on it, and as it can be hard to explain and talk about. People can also be afraid of being misunderstood.

The best thing you can do is to talk about it, even though it can be difficult to do this. Identifying your feelings and talking about them is a much better release than self-harming. Talking through things will bring lasting healing compared to self-harming which seems to heal in the short term but which doesn’t remove the root of the inner pain you feel.

It is important that you talk to someone about this. Even though you don’t think or feel that it will help, you have to realise it will help you in the long term. We recommend you to find an adult you trust, perhaps your parents or someone else in the family, a school nurse, doctor or teacher. You can also use a telephone helpline – most countries have them.

You ask us how you should handle all this, and our answer is that the first step is to talk to an adult you trust, or a school nurse or doctor. There will be a school nurse at your school, or you can find one at a district health centre. You can also visit your doctor. You might be afraid of being misunderstood, but they are used to talking about things like this and they won’t think it strange that you can’t explain why you do it. All of these people know how they can help you with the reason behind your self-harm.


Best wishes

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