Self-harm is most often an attempt to get rid of mental discomfort (fear, strong anxiety, self-hatred) and evidence of serious psychological problems. Self-harm of this kind is not intended to kill oneself, it only helps to alleviate and cope with strong emotions, by means of causing oneself physical pain consciously. The most effective treatment is complex: drug therapy; psychotherapy; treatment of wounds on the body and getting rid of scars. Drug therapy includes the use of antidepressants, antipsychotics, tranquilizers. All of these drugs can be purchased online at My Canadian Pharmacy. Even if you managed to overcome your desire to do self-harm, it’s necessary to know how to prevent the relapse. For this, read the tips offered by Sirius Project.
Tips of how to prevent self-harm relapse
- Realize that self-harm is dependent behavior. The desire to cause harm is classified as addictive habits. If you or someone you know is intentionally harming yourself, this act releases so-called “hormones of happiness” – endorphins in the brain. Breaking the vicious circle of self-harm is extremely difficult, especially until an alternative release of “hormones of happiness.” is found. Finding the right solution or a combination of solutions that ultimately work out can take a certain amount of time;
- Analyze the reasons for which you have a desire to harm yourself. The causes of self-harm may be different. Among the most common are the relief of strong negative emotions, such as anger, guilt, anxiety, feelings of isolation, grief or despair. Self-harming can be a way to express all these feelings. Another reason may be the desire to gain control of the body, while everything else in life goes out of control. Some people hurt themselves to feel pain in a state of emotional stupor. There are also a number of reasons that include reactions to injury, anxiety or depression. Identifying your own triggers is one of the first steps on the road to recovery. If you do not deal with the underlying causes and trigger mechanisms, there will be a need to cope with them in the usual way;
- Recognize your own thoughts. In order to understand what kind of thinking leads you to self-harm, first of all, you need to recognize your own thoughts. Your thinking process is one of your habits. In order to get rid of such habits as negative thinking, it is necessary to be aware of your thoughts;
- Keep a diary. One of the tools that can help identify your triggers or familiar thinking patterns is keeping a diary. Regularly describing your feelings will help you identify irrational thoughts that lead to self-harm. In addition, keeping a diary allows you to express your feelings and analyze your own thoughts. Whenever you want to harm yourself or harm yourself, make a diary entry. Try to describe the situation, your thoughts, feelings and emotions. Perhaps you will experience certain physical symptoms, such as a surge of energy, cramps in the stomach, or something similar. Describe in detail all that precedes the situation in which you are capable of harming yourself. Keeping a diary can reveal certain situations you are experiencing that trigger the emergence of an urge to self-harm, including problems with peers, pressure at school, a sense of social exclusion, violence, sexual disorientation or problems in the family. Your goal is to become aware of your own thoughts and escape from passive behavior and negative thoughts that provoke harming behavior;
- Stop your negative thoughts. Imagine a red light or a loud sound that stops thought. Your goal is to stop thinking in this way and remind yourself that this is your usual thinking. This way, you will feel that you are gaining control of the situation and becoming aware of your thinking habits. Physical changes, such as vigorous activity, help stop thoughts. Take a walk, chat with a friend, read a book or do your homework;
- Replace negative thoughts with positive ones. When negative thoughts begin to overwhelm you, you need to counter them with positive ones. Review your diary entries and write down a number of alternative positive statements. For example, if you think: “I always spoil a festive evening by being late,” you can counter this with such a positive thought as “I am a caring person because I always bring flowers for a festive evening”;
- Master dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) skills. They help to overcome negative thinking and understanding how to replace it with positive. CBT thought record will help you describe the situation, identify your own reaction to it, look at the situation from the outside, assess your perception of the situation, and determine what you can do in current circumstances. You can find the information on DBT skills on the website of Sirius Project;
- Try to learn a positive internal dialogue. Positive inner dialogue reveals your inner voice and what you say to yourself. This inner voice affects your motivation, appearance, self-esteem and emotional health in general. Positive internal dialogue is a conversation with yourself aimed at gaining self-confidence, creating a healthier lifestyle and overcoming negative thinking. Examples of positive internal dialogue: “I am attractive”; “I am special”; “I am confident”; “I can achieve my goals”; “I am beautiful”; “Harm to myself does not solve my problems”; “I can overcome my anger, sadness, and anxiety without hurting myself”; “I can trust my feelings to another person right now”; “I can find support”. If you hardly believe in these statements, you should not use them for the time being. You’d better pronounce positive statements focused on the desired behavior. They can give you more specific help. Positive internal dialogue should not occur under pressure from other people, it is needed when you really want to use it;
- Talk to loved ones whom you trust. No need to wait until you have an unhealthy urge. Share your ups and downs with close friends and relatives. Surround yourself with their support. It is extremely difficult to put your feelings into words. It is sometimes much easier to simply throw out your pain, sadness, anger, or loneliness in the form of self-harm. But in terms of long-term success, it is important to learn how to work with the underlying causes of stress. If you hurt yourself, it can be very difficult and embarrassing to tell someone about it. You may be afraid that the other person will judge you. But sharing your fears and anxieties with loved ones is extremely important. They want to help you;
- Try to meditate or pray. It has already been proven that medication contributes to a surge of positive emotions, increased satisfaction, health and happiness. In addition, it helps reduce anxiety and fight depression. There are many ways to meditate, but one goal is to calm your mind. Take a comfortable position, concentrate your attention on one thing. It could be something visual, for example, a candle flame, a sound — a repeated word or prayer — or some physical action, for example, a search of rosaries. Choose one and focus your attention on it. Trying to concentrate, you will notice that thoughts strive to slip away. If you notice that you have become distracted in your mind, let go of irrational thoughts and try again to focus on the subject of your attention. Although it seems simple, in fact, attention concentration is not an easy task;
- Try breathing exercises. Breathing is a natural process that gives in to our control. According to My Canadian Pharmacy, the practice of breathing has a positive effect on our reaction to stress. There is a chance that at the moment when we have an impulse to cause ourselves harm, the usual reaction to stress comes into effect. Having mastered the new skill, you can take control of the reaction to the phenomena that provoke such impulses;
- Try progressive muscle relaxation. Progressive muscle relaxation is one of the types of defense mechanisms in which attention is focused on the tension and relaxation of various muscle groups. The obvious benefit of progressive muscle relaxation is a clearer awareness of the physical sensations in your body;
- Take a conscious walk. A conscious walk is a walk during which you try to be aware of what is happening. One of the advantages of such walks is the development of awareness in everyday life. In addition, some people find it difficult to sit still and practice “traditional” meditation. Walking is a more active form of meditation. Besides, any walk is beneficial to overall health. During the walk, pay attention to each step. What do feet feel when walking on the ground? How do legs feel in shoes? Concentrate on breathing. Pay attention to what surrounds you. As they say, feel the moment;
- Form a support group. Perhaps this will be a local psychological support group. There, you can articulate, express, and share your feelings about trying to hurt yourself. And do not forget that you can also get support from Sirius Project;
- Talk to your doctor about other problem conditions. Often people trying to do something with themselves experience other mental and psychological difficulties, in particular, depression, alcoholism and drug addiction, eating disorders, suffer from schizophrenia or other personality disorders. If you feel that your desire to cause harm to yourself is spurred on by other mentally ill conditions, talk to your doctor or psychologist about this;
- Be honest with your therapist about what you feel or what is happening. Do not forget that his task is to help you. If you are not completely honest, you risk not getting the treatment you need. Telling the truth is crucial. Remember that therapy is strictly confidential, so what you tell the therapist will never be heard anywhere else;
- Celebrate small victories. When it comes to addiction, it is important to celebrate your achievements from time to time. Every day, when you managed to avoid self-harm – this is an occasion for a holiday, already a victory. At the end of the first week, give yourself something special or visit friends. Increase the periods that become an occasion for a holiday. You can start with celebrating every day, then weeks, then months and years. Perhaps at first, this idea will seem a bit wild to you, but in this way, you will be able to appreciate your efforts and, looking back, see your achievements;
- Believe in yourself. In the end, everything is in your hands: if you learn to think positively and believe in yourself, your addiction will become a faded memory, leaving a couple of scars on your body. As soon as you stop harming yourself, you will immediately feel how your thoughts become clearer, how brighter you see the world around you. You can stop it!
It is important to know that relapses are possible. It is possible that the moment will come when you want to do something with yourself or even do something. It is not necessary to drive yourself into a corner after this; all patients recur from time to time. Do not forget: self-harm is an addiction, respectively, the rehabilitation process is often accompanied by relapses. It may be difficult for you to cope with yourself, but this only means that you should continue with renewed vigor. One step back does not mean that you are not able to take three steps forward. We wish you good luck!