Self harm with no selfishness

Self Injury or self-harm is something that I’m afraid of allowing the world to see. Often misunderstood, we are influenced to believe that people who self harm are doing so for “attention”.

But the fact is that it 50-80% of people with BPD, not to mention other mental health conditions, engage in self-harm.

Why would someone want to do this? It’s crazy right?

I am ashamed of my bruises, scars and sores. It’s something I am very reluctant to show people as society sees this behaviour as “antisocial”, “inappropriate”, and culturally “unacceptable”. Unfortunately, these thoughts only add to feeling alone and misunderstood.

Why self harm?

Self harm is an adaptive life preserving coping mechanism. It can be a way…

– to relieve emotional pain

– to substitute emotional pain for physical pain.

– express anger and hatred to oneself

– to punish myself

– to distract myself from distressing thoughts

– to end a dissociative (foggy, day dream) state.


– as an alternative to suicide.

Sadly, self harm can sometimes be an easier alternative to riding the emotional roller coater and using distraction techniques to little success.

I have been self harming for years. And until recently been self harming every day for many months with several admissions to hospital, I was in a very dark place. What I have realised is that the release of endorphins can make self-harming a serious addiction. One I’m battling everyday.

However, through occupations I am discovering new ways to build my distress tolerance to a new threshold level. As soon as I notice these destructive thoughts I prompt myself to leave the house, take lily for a walk to my nearest opshop. Or use art and beading which helps to wait out the storm.

The most powerful strategy I have is an amazing small group, a team of church friends and colleagues who I text when I’m feeling unwell who provide immediate prayer and emotional support.

These friends encourage me to use coping strategies and say helpful phrases that I have provided and educated them on in advance. It keeps me accountable. These people are not health professionals but people who listen non-judgementally and care deeply for my growth. It’s amazing to see how people are so willing to help others in their struggles.

Thankyou to everyone who is supporting me in my battles 💜.

#selfharm #suicide #BPD #selfinjury #mentalhealth #support #occupationaltherapy

Until then… Have a day,   

Love Laura

Founder of OT for BPD

Published by Beyond Personality Disorders

Founder of My Potential Mental health Advocate; Occupational Therapy Teacher and Researcher Australia “As an occupational therapist diagnosed with BPD I will use this page to share about the various interventions and strategies that are helpful to those with BPD. I will also share about the positive and sometimes challenging approaches that health professionals have used in my treatment in emergency, inpatient, outpatient and community settings. I hope that by sharing my lived experience I can help improve the experience of those struggling to understand Borderline Personality Disorders (BPD) and also support those living with BPD and other mental health challenges Most importantly we will share how occupation can powerfully help change lives!" Laura

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