This is a personal piece. Please be trigger aware when reading.
Just lately things have been really tough for me. I have found living extremely difficult and getting through each day is a challenge. Part of my coping strategies has been self harm. Now I have always been open about the fact that I self harm on this blog and with mental health professionals, but I have noticed I am not just harming consciously. There has been a lot of unconscious self harm going on. I therefore thought I would explore this topic about ways I unconsciously self harm to raise awareness. These methods I do not condone and I would never want to tip share so will not go into a lot of detail. Please be careful when reading the following post.
A major way I have been unconsciously self harming is to make myself physically unwell. I have physical health conditions that can be exacerbated. Unconsciously this is what I have been doing by not taking proper care of myself. When depression strikes this is an easy thing to do as you can neglect your physical health in a number of ways unintentionally. This is part of what has happened to me but I have also pushed myself to limits I know I can’t deal with.
Another part of not looking after myself physically has been not taking pain medication so I feel the pain of an injury I have at the moment. This is self harm as I am causing myself pain even though I am unconsciously doing this. I’m also possibly exacerbating the injury by not taking the doctor’s advice.
Another unconscious method of self harm for me is hair pulling (or trichotillomania). I know a lot of people do this consciously but for me it is an unconscious action and I suddenly find myself with a bald patch or missing eyelashes. It is self harm as it causes pain and also, for me, embarrassment which makes me feel worse. I will try to do a fuller blog post on this topic in the future.
The final way I unconsciously self harm is to skin pick (or dermatillomania). I do this without thinking and pull away skin from my arms, chest and face. Quite often I make it bleed and am left feeling sore and even scarring myself. I know some people do this as conscious self harm but for me it is mostly unconscious and I have no idea to what extent I am doing it.
So those are some of the ways I unconsciously self harm. They are things I do without consciously thinking about the damage I may cause myself. They are things I slip into when things are particularly bad. If you find yourself unconsciously (or consciously) self harming there are things you can do to help. Being aware of it is the first step. Then there are alternatives you can try. They may not work straight away. For more information on self harm check out the Mind website.
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