I have always had self-harming ticks to cope with my anxiety, but there’s one I picked up recently that makes me concerned to say the least. I punch my head to get rid of my intrusive thoughts. Is hitting the top of your head a form of self harm?

Thank you for asking this. It’s an important question to discuss. Anxiety is felt by many children and adults alike, and some do resort to harming themselves as a way to deal with uncomfortable feelings. Punching your head is indeed a form of self-harm. While self-harm may offer some short-term relief, it can result in serious bodily harm and is likely to intensify anxious feelings.

Therefore, consider substituting self-harm with safer and more effective coping mechanisms. Some examples are:

  • deep breathing
  • engaging your five senses
  • taking a walk
  • doing a pleasurable activity

For more support and information, seek consultation with your school counselor, family, trusted adult, or a healthcare provider. For emergency consultation, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline (800-273-8255) to speak to somebody immediately or call 911. It’s important to continue to ask these questions and be introspective, while advocating for yourself when in need. We wish you health and safety on your journey.