What Do Thoughts of Hurting Yourself Mean?

December 23, 2021 Kim Berkley

If thoughts of self-injury keep popping up unbidden, it's natural to wonder: what do thoughts of hurting yourself mean?

What Thoughts About Hurting Yourself Mean

People think about hurting themselves more often than you might think. Many of us, for example, have experienced that surreal sensation of feeling an urge to jump when standing in a high place. Yet the obvious assumption—that we feel this way because deep down, we want to jump—often doesn't apply. People can experience this without having any actual inclination to jump or to hurt themselves at all.

Similarly, if you have thoughts about hurting yourself, this may not necessarily mean that you actually want to hurt yourself or that you're secretly suicidal.

However, having these thoughts does usually mean that something is amiss. Maybe you're feeling guilty about something and, subconsciously or not, wondering if you deserve punishment. Maybe you've been feeling disconnected, and pain seems like a way back to feeling somehow more real or present. Or maybe you're already in a lot of pain and hoping that self-harm can provide some sort of distraction or relief.

Whatever the case, if you're having thoughts about hurting yourself—especially if they are disrupting your life or disturbing your peace of mind in any way—it's important not to ignore them. Whatever the root cause may be, these thoughts are like little red flags from your brain signaling that something needs to change.

What to Do If You Have Thoughts of Hurting Yourself

Because I don't know you or anything about your unique situation (and because I'm not a mental health professional), I can't tell you anything specific about what your thoughts of hurting yourself mean. But I would like to share a few things you can (and should) do if you are having such thoughts.

Just to reiterate one more time: if you have thoughts of hurting yourself, please don't ignore them. Reach out. Get help. If nothing else, feel free to leave a comment here on the blog. Share your story; it may lighten your burden. Speak up about your thoughts of self-injury. Above all, remember: you are not alone.

APA Reference
Kim Berkley (2021, December 23). What Do Thoughts of Hurting Yourself Mean?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 21 from

Author: Kim Berkley

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