Did you know that the first of March every year is set aside as the Self-Injury Awareness Day worldwide? Did you know that the orange ribbon is a symbol that has been adopted to promote awareness of self-injury? If you did not know these before, now you do.
Self-injury is the act of intentionally injuring yourself. It occurs when a person purposely harms or hurts his/her body.
Self-injury is also called self-harm, deliberate self-harm, self-mutilation, self-injurious behaviour, non-suicidal self-injury, self-abuse or cutting.
A lot of times when a person self-injures, it can be very scary and look like a suicide attempt. But, people who self-injure usually do so without intending to commit suicide. An individual who engages in self-harm does not intend for it to be life-threatening or to end up in death. However, there is always the possibility of these actions ending up becoming more serious than was intended – resulting in serious health problems, or even death. Self-harm is usually done impulsively.
When a person self-injures, it is the person’s way of coping with problems, certain intense emotions, and distress – like intense anger, frustration, overwhelming emotional pain, etc. and it could actually make the person feel better – but it does so only for a little while. And then, the emotions that the individual had been trying to escape from come back, and he/she would feel like hurting his/herself again. A vicious cycle, isn’t it?
It is an unhealthy way of coping.
There are many forms of self-injury – many ways people hurt themselves and cutting is the most common of them all. It can be carried out on any part of the body; but the parts of the body that are commonly involved are the thighs, wrists, stomach and hands.
Self-injury is an unhealthy and potentially harmful habit. Some people do it a few times and stop while some do it repeatedly. And contrary to popular opinion in Nigeria, it is a very real problem. It would surprise many to know the number of people in Nigeria that battle with this problem.
It is important to know that individuals who self-injure usually keep it secret.
Anyone who hurts his/herself on purpose is engaging in self-injury. It is a sign of emotional distress when you hurt yourself or think about hurting yourself.