Trying to take the harm out of self harm :L

Hearing the words “I slit cos feeling physical pain numbs the mental pain” from a loved one is more than upsetting- for me as I have been there myself (and still kinda am) it’s soul destroying. I wish I could just take away all the pain with a big hug and put my friend in an invisible bubble preventing anything from hurting her. But of course I am not magic nor will I ever be and the best I can do is offer some non judgemental support for every step of her journey. So I thought I would post some of my top tips that I still use myself for trying to manage my addiction:
1. Accept that you have a problem- as scary as it is if you really want to tackle your addiction you have to start being honest with yourself in order to make progress!
2. Think! When you find yourself about to self harm try to think about what your doing. If possible put yourself somewhere public out in the open or in a room with friends or family so you can’t self harm. This will help you to address whether you really want to hurt yourself and ensures that you are fully aware of what you are doing- cos I don’t know about you but I would find myself cutting and wonder how I even started.
3. Grab onto a lifeline! If there is someone you can trust or who is aware of your self harm ask them to be you “lifeline”. Basically if you want to self harm you have to call your lifeline or talk to them, and if you do self harm you have to be COMPLETELY HONEST and tell them. Being open with someone is so stress relieving when you have been hiding your secret. It also means that together you can celebrate and enjoy your progress and achievements.
4. The butterfly technique. This one worked for me cos I am very empathetic and care deeply about my friends and family. The basic idea is that where you would self harm you draw a butterfly instead and give it the name of a family member, friend or pet. It seems daft but cutting a symbol of a loved one is like 100 times harder than just cutting you.
5. Scribbles not scars- this one is similar to the butterfly but uses a slightly different thought pattern. Grab a red pen instead of your weapon of choice and draw lines where you would hurt yourself, then look at all the red lines- each one of them represents a scar that YOU WONT HAVE WOOO!
6. Creative therapy; sometimes if you can’t express your feelings verbally it can help to write down some of the thoughts that bother you. I guess it feels like your literally getting rid of those negative thoughts causing you to harm yourself. Drawing is good to as it preoccupies not only your mind but your hands too! If your musical try writing some music or lyrics to create something positive out of those negative feelings.
7. Distract your over active mind! For me listening to music while doing a suduko works pretty well as it’s a challenge that requires my full attention. Other distractions may be tidying, reading, organising, planning, TV, youtube, go on fb or a blog. Basically the aim is to stop yourself giving into the urges for as long as possible, and I’ll be honest it is a total bitch to start with :L but that doesn’t mean you won’t succeed, it just means you have to stay committed!
8. Lists of lists. This is literally one of the most helpful things for me. I love organising and planning as it calms me so compartmentalising via lists is something that can genuinely improve my mood. Some of the most uplifting lists I write include: crazy things I want to do in life, goals for life, if I could choose 9 items to take to a desert island I would take, illogical thoughts I will not think about now, reasons to be cheerful, people I care about, things I am proud of, things I need to do soon, people I want to talk to tomorrow, items of clothing I would like to purchase, things I am thankful for… And these are just a few! Some that I wrote late at night make no sense now but hey they helped so yes I do have a list entitled “reasons why I don’t like coconuts”…
9. Try to do something less permanently damaging such as snapping an elastic band against your wrist or holding ice cubes. This will reduce scars and all chance of infection so no marks to hide but still a sharp sensation to help you deal with life.
10. Knowledge is POWER! Take the time to really learn about your condition, what are your triggers? When are you likely to self harm? Acknowledging these facts can help you to reduce and remove the things that set you off. And possibly most important of all- what is the underlying issue causing you to self harm? This is a big question so don’t expect to find the answer immediately, it could be anything from depression, bullying or low self esteem but whatever it is your addiction will not go away unless you grab the bull by the horns and tackle it.
11. Finally- be kind to yourself, celebrate the small victories and ignore the minor relapses. Dealing with an addiction is bloody hard so don’t beat yourself up about not being able to go cold turkey! And don’t expect to beat this all on your own, if you need help ask for it. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness it is a sign of strength, so whether it be a trusted friend or a doctor, don’t go through self harm alone.
Hope someone out there finds this interesting if not useful!

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