Is That Really Me: What Is Self-Injury?

How do you know if you self-injure? It may seem an odd question to some, but a few people aren’t sure if what they do is “really” self-injury. Answer these questions:

1. Do you deliberately cause physical harm to yourself to the extent of causing tissue damage (breaking the skin, bruising, leaving marks that last for more than an hour)?
2. Do you cause this harm to yourself as a way of dealing with unpleasant or overwhelming emotions, thoughts, or situations (including dissociation)?
3. If your self-harm is not compulsive, do you often think about SI even when you’re relatively calm and not doing it at the moment?

If you answer #1 and #2 yes, you are a self-injurer. If you answer #3 yes, you are most likely a repetitive self-injurer. The way you choose to hurt yourself could be cutting, hitting, burning, scratching, skin-picking, banging your head, breaking bones, not letting wounds heal, among others. You might do several of these. How you injure yourself isn’t as important as recognizing that you do and what it means in your life.

If you think you would like to stop, then consider this step.

Eating Disorder Self Test. Take the EAT-26 self test to see if you might have eating disorder symptoms that might require professional evaluation. All answers are confidential.

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