Self-harm has a massive impact on not only the person doing it, but also the people who look after them. It can be draining, upsetting and sometimes make you feel quite useless because you might feel like you can’t do anything to help. Because of this, we need to look after ourselves, especially, because if we aren’t looking after ourselves then there’s no way we can look after someone else. Though, having said this, it is very important to remember that it is not your responsibility to make sure they are safe, and you should always tell someone else if you are worried about their safety.
It’s very easy to fall into a cycle of guilt when caring for someone who self-harms, because when they self-harm you might feel like you failed them, and you should have tried to stop them more.
This is not the case however, because it is never your fault, it is not your sole responsibility to keep them safe, and you are already doing really well trying to help, so you should not put any more pressure onto yourself.
Are you a person caring for someone who self-harms but doesn’t know where to even start?
Yeah, that was me a while ago, in a way: it still is.
Self-harm is a difficult subject for any of us to talk about, especially those caring for people who self-harm, so what should you actually do?
One thing I found always helped my friend was to give them an open space to talk about it when they were ready to, and not force them into talking about what happened. The most important thing I have learned while caring for someone who self-harms is that there is a very fine line between looking out for them, and making sure that they are safe; and being controlling, pushy and overprotective because of your anxiety about them and their safety.