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Self-Harm: Emotional Checks and Balance – Trigger WARNING

Trigger WARNING: Referencing topic on Self-Injury (Self-Harm) or Non-Suicidal Self-Injury (NSSI).

Self-harm As An Emotional Checks and Balance

In my experience Self-Harm (clinically known as non-suicidal self-injury or NSSI) is more of the top of deeper issues.

As for me, I knew that Self-harm was not a healthy way to cope with painful emotions.  Never-the-less I always reasoned it was better than the alternative to suicide.  Yes, I truly felt I was avoiding death by suicide with SI, but emotional pain release is habit-forming.  I need more, and I was not going to keep this cat in the bag too much longer.

Self-Injury Mrs Potatoe Head

It became my go-to compulsive behavior, I used it not only to cope with stress. Self-harm was my own check and balance between something physical and emotional. The sense of control over and a bit of Self-punishment just added to the guilt. Expressing emotions.

This was a terrible disturbing time in our life,  I was still a young father, moved from the big city to Florida and just received gone thought completely destructive few months.  Including major future set back.  Along with coping with a new mental health diagnosis.

My First Step To Stop Self-Harm Change With A Word

Self-harm was part of my life since my early teens until I was in my thirties…till then I did not even think of stopping.  Writing became an outlet for me, and of all things, I found writing poems helpful. I started to visualize feelings into words and imagery.

was learning the power of the written word.  I found out when I was at my deepest and darkest, I could bleed out my feelings into words or poems instead of self-injury.

It helped take the edge off, and more then a few times stopped the act of self-harm and aided with the healing. Some of the poems were dark, and some not so poetic.  But it was the process which helped me through the urge to self-harm to get to the other side where I could control the urge.

The following poem I wrote instead of self-harming.

Why Self-Harm | Stop Self-HarmSelf-Harm PoemsSelf-Harm Poem 

DIG DEEPER: Crisis Text Line How Do You Stop Self-Harming

  • Name your reason for hurting yourself and your reason for quitting. 

  • Identify other ways of achieving the same result. For example, if you self-harm for the physical sensation, seek other ways of releasing endorphins, like exercise. If you self-harm to express your emotions, practice expressing them in words by writing them down.

  • Tackle the underlying emotions. Explore the feelings that lead you to want to hurt yourself. If it’s guilt, where is that guilt coming from?

  • Tell someone you trust. 

  • Call a Warmline/Text Crisis Line. Text Crisis Text Line at 741741 in the US or 686868 in Canada.



Chato Stewart

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Originally Posted at Chato Stewart’s Mental Health Humor at Psych Central:

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Stewart, Chato. (2018). Checks and Balance. Psych Central. Retrieved on Oct 30, 2018, from





Self-Harm: Emotional Checks and Balance – Trigger WARNING

Chato Stewart

Chato Stewart has a mission, to draw and use humor as a positive tool to live, to cope with the debilitating effects symptoms of mental illness. Chato Stewart is a Mental Health Hero and Advocate. Recovery Peer Specialist board-certified in Florida. Chato is the artist behind the cartoons series Mental Health Humor, Over-Medicated, and The Family Stew - seen here in his blog posts. The cartoons are drawn from his personal experience of living with bipolar disorder (and other labels). [email protected]

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APA Reference
Stewart, C. (2018). Self-Harm: Emotional Checks and Balance – Trigger WARNING. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 5, 2020, from


Last updated: 31 Oct 2018
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