Many people struggling with an eating disorder also self-harm, as a result of the intense emotional distress they’re experiencing. It can seem like a strategy for coping and it can become a compulsive behaviour, which can become more frequent or severe each time. Like an eating disorder, the consequences of self-harm are very serious and it's important to confide in at least one trusted person so you're not alone. If you'd prefer to talk to someone outside of the situation, you can speak to a member of ABC's support team in confidence, where you'll be listened to without judgment and understood.
ABC's Support Line - 03000 11 12 13
“When I realised I needed help I turned straight to my parents. I hid it from them for about a year and a half so they were heartbroken when I told them and showed them what I had done to myself. I think actually talking to someone about my feelings and everything going through my mind helped me so much as it was such a relief that I didn’t need to bottle all my emotions up anymore like I had been doing. After that initial talk with them all the stress and the worries of what they would think just went away as I then understood that all they wanted was for me to get better. It will always be a part of me but I feel incredibly strong now and don’t feel ashamed anymore. Talking and time are the best healers.”
"Like any repetitive behaviour, it takes time before you can disassociate the feelings behind it from the action itself. Learning to recognise when you are most vulnerable and identifying which emotions are trigger factors is key to making the first step to recovery.”
Ways To Help
Learning to distract yourself from acting immediately and using distraction techniques to help – for example, writing, listening to music, walking, sleeping
Accepting the intensity of emotional pain as a temporary state of feeling, not a permanent one
Learning to seek out support - being with someone supportive
Identifying triggers and putting in place counter actions and strategies
Finding strength from your motivations for recovery - a person you love, a professional aspiration.