If you're struggling with self-injury or related issues, you may well feel powerless and out of control. However, there are actually a lot of things you can do to help yourself. These pages are for anyone who'd like to regain some control over their SI, whether you've made a commitment to never self-harming again, or you just want to try out a couple of alternatives and see if that helps.
The most important thing to remember is that self-harm is a coping mechanism
and often a symptom of other underlying problems. So if you want to stop hurting yourself, it's crucial that you
healthier ways of coping and address any issues that are causing or contributing to the self-harm.
The self-help ideas in this section are specifically for self-harm, while those in the Mental Health section focus on improving mental health in general, coping with life's problems, and addressing common mental health issues like depression and anxiety.
How can I go about stopping?
preventing self-harm - for example, by throwing your blades out, or being
supervised in hospital - is perhaps the most obvious way of reducing the amount
you hurt yourself, and can be a vital first step if
your self-harm is putting your health or life at risk. However, it's unlikely to
solve the problem on its own.
Most people who self-harm do so as a coping mechanism and will need to find other, healthier ways of coping before they can put self-harm behind them. You can find suggestions on our alternatives to self-harm page.
Understanding why follows on from this page. It looks at some of the most common reasons why people self-harm, what needs their self-harm may be meeting, and how those needs can be met in other ways.
Our crisis plans page shows you how to put all these ideas together and draw up a crisis plan for when you feel suicidal or like hurting yourself.
Setting yourself goals and being cheered on by others can be a great way of motivating yourself. Why not join our forums for advice and encouragement? Or take a look at our sources of inspiration page.
If you've managed to stop self-harming and would like some advice on preventing relapse, or if you've recently started harming again and are wondering where to go from here, take a look at our surviving relapse page.
Finally, you can make self-harm less likely to happen by overcoming the thoughts and feelings that lead up to it in the first place. For suggestions on ways to cope with or reduce unpleasant emotions, don't forget to check out our Mental Health section.
These websites provide general advice on how to stop self-harming.
Organised and Otherwise
Excellent list of alternatives to SI, divided into categories according to how you're feeling, and information on how to tell if you are ready to stop, dealing with intrusive thoughts after stopping, and more. Highly recommended.
Includes information on when is a good time to stop, long-term approaches to stopping self-harm, how to talk to others about your self-harm and why it can help.
Self-Harm: Recovery, Advice & Support
Aimed at 16 to 25-year-olds, this site includes a lot of information on coping tips, dealing with urges and seeking help.
Support and help in overcoming trichotillomania (pulling out hair).
My counsellor suggested that whenever I got a strong urge to cut (the feeling that I had to cut now), I should always try something else first, whether that be talking to someone about how I was feeling, screaming into my pillow, drawing on myself or whatever. If what I tried didn't reduce the urge, then I was "allowed" to cut. This worked really well!
Because I always tried something before cutting, it helped me build up a big list of things that might help and get a good idea of when they would and when they wouldn't. And because I was "allowed" to cut afterwards, there wasn't too much pressure on me at a time when I was already very fragile mentally. As I learned more alternatives to cutting that worked for me, I started cutting less often. Once you're used to always trying one thing before cutting, you could move on to always trying two different things, and so on.
I also get urges which are less intense (I can wait a while before cutting, I just feel I'm gonna have to do it at some point), but which don't go away over a period of days or even weeks, and gradually seem to get stronger. I've found with them that they come in waves, so if I can ride out the wave, distracting myself in any way I can to take my mind off it, the urge does get weaker again. I also found that I could gradually go for longer between cutting each time. At first it was five days (I was stuck on five for a loooong time, I think because I believed it was impossible for me to go for longer than five days without cutting), then 10, then 11 and so on. Now it's reached five months.
Another thing that really helped was CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy). It helped me cope with my depression better, so I didn't feel like I needed to cut so often. I also found I could use my CBT exercises as one of the things to try before cutting.
Finally, the thing that's really got rid of my depression has been meds. I had to try a few different antidepressants before I found one that worked for me. (The whole process could've been much quicker if my doctors had actually listened to/believed me when I said I didn't think something was helping!)
Overcoming self-harm wasn't easy, but I stuck at it, and I'm glad I did.
~ Moontree, Sirius Project Forums