Funny thing is I had no idea I was hurting myself. I thought it was normal.

I recently learnt that self-harm, is when you hurt yourself to deal with very difficult feelings/suppressed emotions.

I imagine myself a very self-aware person. I understand the link between my thoughts, emotions and my behaviour. Fully grasping this connection helps me cope with stress a lot, but not nearly as much as it should.

A favourite poet of mine, Miles Hodges once said “There will be days when heaven doesn’t seem so close”, in a poem that forces us to strive and push past boundaries.

When I have days like this, I don’t strive. I’m either thinking about drinking, masturbating, blowing off work or exercising. Weird mix of coping strategies but the feeling that comes with each one, even if for 10 minutes, relieves some tension.

A few months back, I was dealing with a lot of loneliness, rejection and self-hate. It was a tough time. I spent days running from God, my friends, family and most importantly myself.

The only thing I ran towards was the source of the pain. Then once I felt I had gotten enough of that pain, I would either drink and/or masturbate to gain some sort of control over myself.

This was often followed by shame and guilt and so to cope with that too, I’d either masturbate or drink again.

This is a pretty accurate description of the cycle I find myself in.

Talk about self-harm eh. Funny thing is at that time, I had no idea this was self-harm. I figured it was normal.

I wasn’t cutting myself, punching walls (well not all the time) or burning my skin, which are all very real means of self-harm by the way, but it helped me deal with alot of tension and emotions.

Thinking back now, I never enjoyed it; I think that’s what makes it self-harm. I was okay physically, but mentally, I was a wreck.

One day, a friend of mine, who knows me a little too well said “You gotta take care of yourself man”.

I never shared any of this with her but she knew I wasn’t acting right. She’s pretty knowledgeable when it comes to mental health and can read people really well, so she caught me.

Deep down I think I knew it too, but like most humans, I treasured instant gratification over long term reward/change in behaviour. I think most often that’s what self-harm gives us. A quick fix. A high we constantly chase.

I’m still dealing with those behaviours and most importantly, using the link between the thoughts I have about them, the emotions that come as a result and my behaviours, to help reduce them.

It’s self-harm awareness month, so I think I’m a little bit more aware now. Thanks for letting me share this.

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This post was submitted by an anonymous writer for

If you think you have some behaviours that may look like self-harm, or know a friend who might be self-harming, please reach out for help. It’s best to understand what is causing these behaviours in order to work on reducing them.

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