The Cycle of self-harm is a diagram that shows how our thoughts, feelings and the way we behave can all be connected.

Facing a difficult situation you may have some negative thoughts such as ‘I’m useless’, ‘I’m not good enough’ or ‘It’s all my fault’. This could make you feel very anxious, scared, insecure, hopeless, overwhelmed or angry.

These feelings can trigger a physical response and you may experience some unpleasant physical symptoms such as:

  • a dry throat
  • sweating
  • feeling ‘butterflies’ in our stomach
  • pounding heart
  • dizziness
  • shallow breathing

These thoughts, feelings and physical symptoms can then affect how you behave. Self-harm may give a quick release but can then cause more distress and make negative thoughts and feelings worse.

This can then make your thoughts even more anxious and the cycle continues…