14 ways to hurt yourself when you are depressed

May 03 2010 Published by under Decision, Determination, Inspiration


Gwyneth Lewis in her book ‘Sunbathing in the rain’, which describes her experience of depression, writes ”Depression itself can’t harm you, only what you do about it can.

Way too often we choose behaviours to harm and hurt ourselves when we feel depressed.

Here are a few examples how you might be hurting yourself:

  1. Not sleeping enough.
  2. Oversleeping.
  3. Locking yourself indoors and being inactive.
  4. Avoiding stimulation, excitement, adventures and experiences.
  5. Suppressing and/or repressing your emotions.
  6. Allowing your moods to be in charge.
  7. Letting negative thoughts run freely in your mind.  
  8. Not feeding yourself properly and adequately.
  9. Avoiding all social contacts, connections and situations.
  10. Avoiding planning and making decisions.
  11. Finding excuses, bailing out of and/or betraying your plans and ideas.
  12. Handing your recovery to others, giving up on yourself.
  13. Succumbing to substance abuse, becoming dependent on it. Choosing short-term relief over long-term recovery.
  14. Pushing your loved ones, nearest and dearest, away.


Some of you might exclaim: ’Kat, but isn’t this how depression manifests itself?’

I would disagree. If we settle for believing that these behaviours are the symptoms of depression, and we are just victims of it, then, perhaps, recovery will be out of our reach.

We choose our actions, depressed or not.

I remember when I was depressed, I chose certain behaviours to hurt myself. For example, I routinely unplugged my telephone, so that no one was able to reach me. Every time I did it, I felt awful, as I knew that I was cutting myself further away from social contact and help.

I also knew that I could have chosen to leave the phone plugged in, answer it if it rang, or even contact others myself. Instead, for a long time, I chose to behave in this dysfunctional way: allowing myself to hurt myself and establish a strong habit  that actively propagated my vicious circle of despair.

While some self-hurting behaviours are made consciously, very often we are totally unaware of them.

How do you hurt yourself? Are you aware?

Awareness brings healing! Awareness allows us to assess what we are doing wrong, get in charge of our lives and start implementing changes that support our new selves.


Becoming aware is not easy!

Making choices in favour of self-supportive behaviours is not easy!

Doing it alone is not easy!


I encourage you to begin building your recovery team to support your journey out of depression!

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Love, light and healing!

Kat xx

Photo by: 123rf.com

18 responses so far

  • Wendy Love says:

    Oh what wise words! Thank you for your well thought-out reply. I am making a paper copy and putting it on my bulletin board to remind my self that action comes first, caring will follow….

  • SpaceBound13 says:

    Hi Kat,
    Im in need of advice im so far down i just cant get back up. i have lost my boyfriend and i have 2 kids with him we had been together for 5 years and i lost him cause all we do is fight cause im so depressed and having a hard time copeing with everything i have really bad anxity and im a affraid to seek medical help as i do hurt myself and im terrified of losing my children i know i need help but what do i do? He is gone now and it just makes things worse cause he knows whats going on with me and sometimes i cant control what i do or say i need help and good advice.

    • Kat says:

      Hi SpaceBound,

      Sorry I am not able to give you an advice, as I don’t know your full story.

      It must be so hard for you to look after your kids when you are just about managing to look after yourself. If I may ask, on a level 1 to 10 how stressed are you? Do you get any help with your kids? Do you have a daily structure and some routine in place to help you cope better? Do you get time for yourself? Are you able to relax when kids are asleep? Do you sleep ok? Do you have lots of additional worries now that your partner is gone?

      If I am to give you just one tip, it is this: For your own sake and for your kids’ sake, do not isolate yourself. Reach out to people; seek out company, support and help.

      Hope to connect with you again soon.

      Love and healing,


  • Runia says:

    hi, im suicidal, I am alone in this world, i want to die.

    • Kat says:

      Hi Runia,

      Thank you for your courage to express openly how you feel. That takes some guts!

      I wish I could send you my loving intention, so that you can be healed in an instant.
      I am sending you my love and healing and warm hugs. Here!

      However, your healing would take some time and lots of your strength and determination to get better. Somehow I feel like you have lots of strength in you and, deep down, you know that your life challenge is to recover, not to give up on yourself.

      Now, allow me to challenge your statement please. Are you alone in the world or do you feel alone and empty inside?

      Love and healing,

  • Jenny says:

    Hi Kat
    Im in a state where im so depressed that i dont feel like i want to bear the pain anymore. My husband cant accept his child im currently bearing due to him being not prepared at his age. He brings up divorce and we love each other alot, but something is making us part and im not sure of what it is yet. We have been together for 3years and now we are falling apart. I love him and dont want us depart cause it causes so much pain, he wants me happy but its hard to know if its true, i try make him happy but fail. I just cant bear the fact of him leaving me just because i bear his child. Please help, i cant stand this pain anymore i get restless after our bad conversation over divorce.

  • Samantha says:

    Hey kat,
    I’m Samantha I’m A freshman in high school and I was reading your aticle and I do have some of these symptoms , my dad went to prison when I was 5 and I’m almost 15 and he has been in there for 10 years and I never was able to speak my mind when I was younger and I guess I never got the courage to speak and I don’t know how to and well about august of 2011 I broke up with the one guy I never wanted to loss and I found out he was going to get married to one of his ex girlfriends and I feel so hard in depression and I started thinking about the most stupid suicide thoughts and when I whent to school I acted normal and that everything was fine and then I went online and found this and I found out I’m not the only one that has depression and this made see the world different I see it as a happy place now thanks for showing me the right path

  • tani says:

    you really give excellent advice……. keep it up


  • Friday Bean says:

    I want to harm myself so badly. In my head I think the physical pain will be better than what I’m dealing with now. But I keep chanting to myself, “One more day”. Corny, I know. But I try, and I cry through one mmore day. It hurts but it hurts a little less everyday.

    • Kat says:

      Dear Friday Bean,

      You can’t cut out the pain. The only way to heal is to nurture and nourish yourself back to health one step at a time!

      Love and healing,


  • kriti says:

    hi Kat,
    Sometimes I really feel alone. I feel like no body loves me n no body understands me….I have a boyfriend and i know he loves me alot but sometimes he doesn’t understand me..even i knw i myself don’t love me because while i m upset i use to cry aloud and cut my hand with blade to commit suicide even once i took some expired tablets but nothing happens i don’t know why…please tell me something wat should i do wen i feel alone because i dnt want to leave my family n my boyfrnd…

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