intentional injury to one's own body without the intention to kill oneself

Self-harm (SH) or deliberate self-harm (DSH) includes self-injury (SI) and self-poisoning and is defined as the intentional, direct injuring of body tissue without suicidal intent.


  • Break the bones and the body will heal.
    Break the spirit and the body will die.
    • Anonymous proverb, in Dictionary of Proverbs (2005) by G. Kleiser, p. 31
  • For the first time in months, I felt together. Sharp. In hurting myself, I had at last found a way to release the pressure.But it was more than that. I was now different. I felt different. I’d discovered a way to control my feelings. Just because self-mutilation wasn’t deemed an acceptable coping mechanism didn’t mean I was going to stop doing it.
    • Victoria Leatham, Bloodletting: A Memoir of Secrets, Self-Harm, and Survival
  • The day I’d first cut myself, a switch in my head had been flicked. Instead of feeling horror, I felt nothing, and although I no longer wanted to hurt myself, my episodes of self-harm still felt normal for me in a way. I’d sometimes forget it still shocked other people.
    • ditto
  • Cutting relieved the pressure and stood as some enduring demonstration of her emotion, some way to be in control of a body that could toss her about with seizures. It was borderline artistic to mark her body, chiaroscuro designs in blood. Dying is the last thing she would want, like any healthy organism. A little pain, a small invoked sting trailing her arm, brought her much closer to grounded when she could not keep her head from racing, her thoughts from consuming her with obsession. An ounce of liquid weight loss and she could go back to being herself again. Usually.
    • Thomm Quackenbush, Danse Macabre
  • Better to inflict pain on myself than to let other people do it.
    • Tracy Thompson, The Beast: A Reckoning with Depression
Wikipedia has an article about: