I am starting a new feature on the blog, where I answer user-submitted questions in a brief format to help writers with specific issues relating to mental health and more general writing advice.

If you have a question to submit, please visit the Ask a question page.


Steve asked:

I have a character who self harms by maintaining wounds he received in an explosion that his colleague died in. Is this a realistic scenario?

Yes, it is. Some people reopen scar tissue. Some people pick at wounds so they don’t heal and constantly gain infections – this can also be an unconscious act.

He probably has more of the “punishing” reasons for harming, but maybe also wants to provide “visible signs of distress” on his body to reflect his emotional state. I suspect his self-harm wouldn’t give him any distress relief as it does for some people.

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