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Why Do People Self-Harm: Trigger WARNING

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

Self-Injury SI or NSSI (non-suicidal self-injury) is a serious issue and subject matter that I’ve lived with from a young age.  It started in my youth and in my late teens with cutting. Over time the self-injury advanced into burning and branding.

What is Self-Injury?

  • Self-injury refers to a variety of behaviors which might include cutting, burning, scratching, self-mutilating etc. in which an individual intentionally inflicts harm to his or her body for purposes not socially recognized or approved and without suicidal intent

This mal-productive, unbalanced coping mechanism of cutting started early for me and was kept secret from family and friends. Self-injury is violent but was the only way out of my inner turmoil at the time. The signs and scars were there, yet no one ever connected the injuries as self-inflicted for years.

About the act of cutting or branding, I can remember the emotions that led up to the act, but I can never remember the physical pain.  For me, the physical discomfort felt better than what was going on in my head.

This was an unproductive coping mechanism which followed me into my adulthood. I got good at hiding it as it advanced to burning and branding.

Why Do People Self-Harm?

Self-Harm: Everything from fast facts to getting help:

“People self-harm for a variety of reasons. Understanding …often an important step to supporting them.” Examples:

There are so many dangers inherent with Self-Harm. Remember self-harming is temporary, but creates
problems.  The injuries can get infected, permanent scars, uncontrolled bleeding, and even death. On the emotional end, we could be dealing with an addiction behavior filled with guilt and shame. Our self-esteem could be so diminished and we feel helpless or worthless. I know the next day after I gave into self-harm, I would feel defeated and guilty for giving in…I also had to hide what I did to my body most of the time from Joan.

Okay, I get maybe why some Self-Harm but how do you stop?

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


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). Self Harm. Psych Central. Retrieved on Oct 30, 2018, from






Why Do People Self-Harm: 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). Why Do People Self-Harm: Trigger WARNING. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 6, 2020, from


Last updated: 31 Oct 2018
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