If self harm is repeated often enough it develops into an urge that is very difficult to control. In other words you may think that you are in control of when you harm yourself but soon an urge develops and self-harm begins to control you.
The urge to self-harm becomes so overwhelming and strong (like any addiction to drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling or porn) that one feels compelled or forced to do it.
Some of the things people do are quite well known, such as cutting, burning or pinching, but there are many, many ways to hurt yourself, including abusing drugs and alcohol or having an eating disorder.
The urge to self-harm often happens during times of anger, distress, fear, worry, feeling low or bad in order to manage or control negative feelings.
Self-harm can also be used as a form of self-punishment for something someone has done, thinks they have done, are told by someone else that they have done.
The longer you live with self-harm the harder it is to break the pattern of behaviour. An important step in the healing process is to make the decision to want to live without self-harm and to be prepared to understand the underlying issues and triggers that cause the self-harm behaviour in the first place.
Counselling really does helps. Talking about your thoughts and feelings to a trusted non-judgmental person helps to release trapped negative feelings and troubling thoughts in a healthy and productive way.
At Youthline, I found it a really comfortable and open environment free from judgement