Self-harm is a phenomenon in which a person deliberately hurts himself in trying to cope with a complex emotional state or oppressive circumstances. Self-harm can bring a sense of relief for a short period and help in coping with the situation. But in the long term, this leads to a deterioration of health and the creation of an even more dangerous situation. There is no magic cure for the propensity to self-harm. In addition, changing habits is always difficult, but it is easy to return to the former way of life. The recovery process takes time, so relapses are possible. If this happens, it is very important to show leniency to yourself and not reproach yourself for failure. If you decide to start the path to healing, read the guidelines released by Sirius Project.
8 Things to Do Instead of Self-Harming
1. Try to surround yourself with people. If you want to hurt yourself, force yourself to go where you find yourself among people. Sometimes it’s enough to go to the next room where your family or neighbors are located. You can go to some public place, for example, a cafe or city park. Whatever you choose, wherever you are, decide to stop inflicting injury on yourself. Do everything so that there are people around you.
2. Call someone. If you are alone at home or you cannot go somewhere, call someone just to chat. This could be your relative, friend, whom you trust or psychological support hotline. Many hotlines provide useful information to those struggling with the desire to do something with themselves. Sirius Project has made up a list of major hotlines providing psychological support:
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-TALK (8255)
- Youth Talkline: 1-800-246-PRIDE (800-246-7743)
- The GLBT National Help Center: 1-888-THE-GLNH (888-843-4564)
- The Crisis Call Center: 1-800-273-8255.
- Trans Lifeline: 877-565-8860.
It is useful to make a list of people whom you can call in a similar situation. You can even talk to an inanimate object: a photo or poster – or with a pet. Both will help you express yourself, and in return, you will never hear a condemnation.
3. Ask for help if suicidal thoughts follow you. If you are thinking about committing suicide, dial one of the above-listed numbers immediately. My Canadian Pharmacy pointed out the signs that it’s time for you to ask for help:
- You often say that you want to die or kill yourself;
- Thinking about ways to suicide;
- Your statements reflect a feeling of helplessness;
- You say that you see no reason to continue living.
4. Draw on the body with a marker. If you realize that your desire to harm yourself is constantly returning, you can draw on the body with a marker as an alternative. Draw something on the part of the body where you would like to injure yourself. At least, ink does not leave scars.
5. Try to escape. Attempts to distract – one of the ways to prevent self-harm at the moment when you feel the urge to this, or realized that this is exactly what you are doing. It is imperative to identify what kind of distraction works for you at one time or another. Sometimes, as a trigger or push to self-harm, there may be various factors, depending on your feelings or situation. This means that our reaction in an attempt to prevent injury to people should also be different:
- Dye your hair;
- Prepare a tea;
- Count to 500 or 10,000;
- Do puzzles or play intellectual games;
- Go see people;
- Play a musical instrument;
- Watch a movie or TV show;
- Paint your nails;
- Get organized, for example, in books, in a closet, and so on;
- Make an origami;
- Play sports;
- Go for a walk;
- Draw a picture or do photo editing.
6. Wait it out. Another way to break the vicious cycle is to simply start putting it off when you hurt yourself. Start by waiting 10 minutes. Watch the motive disappear. If not, wait another 10 minutes.
7. Make up a reminder of your actions. If you have the desire to harm yourself, talk to yourself:
- Remind yourself of your choice;
- Tell yourself that you do not want to have scars;
- Remind you that you do not want to hurt yourself just because you thought about it;
- Repeat to yourself: “I don’t deserve to hurt myself,” even if you don’t believe it;
- Do not forget: you always have the choice not to do this.
8. Remove all the tools which you could use to inflict wounds. Remove everything that can be handy for this. Knives, lighters, anything, even the most obscure things. All this needs to be simply carried away from home. Sometimes it’s easy enough to throw it all away. Just make sure you can’t get them back. It is better to give all such things to someone who can use them. You can even arrange a symbolic “burial” of such items, burn them, throw them away or bury them in the ground. Say out loud: “I don’t need you anymore.”
If there are signs of a likelihood of suicide, ask for help. If you have thoughts of suicide, immediately seek help. Call the helpline. A psychologist or psychotherapist can help sort out complex emotions and overcome traumatic experiences. Such a specialist has both education and experience, which can help you cope with irrational thoughs and learn DBT skills. You can find such support organizations and charities on the website of Sirius Project. Ask your doctor’s friend for a recommendation from a specialist. Make an appointment with him. If it is difficult for you to frankly talk about it with friends or family members, it may be much easier for you to speak all your experiences with a stranger. If you have a very difficult life situation, for example, you find yourself in a situation of violence or have experienced a traumatic experience, or your emotions are so high that you want to do something with yourself, the best place to express it all will be a safe, neutral environment where no one will judge you.
Advice from My Canadian Pharmacy
- Get a pet. People who are prone to self-harm are often advised to keep at least one pet at home, a dog, a cat, or a parrot. Responsibility for and care for others can have a very positive therapeutic effect. Life is so valuable, and you can make it better;
- Wear bracelets. These could be some special bracelets for you, symbolic or just one of those that you especially like. They serve as a reminder of your struggle. In addition, their weight physically reduces cravings to cause themselves any harm. It may take time to make it work, but sooner or later you will feel the effect. Hold on!