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How can I stop Self Harm if its the only thing that's keeping me from my anxiety?

22 Answers
Last Updated: 08/31/2020 at 3:09am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Alex DS Ellis, MA, LMFT

Marriage & Family Therapist

Feeling depressed or anxious can be so overwhelming. I want to help you feel better and be able to enjoy life. You are not alone and you deserve emotional support.

Top Rated Answers
January 25th, 2015 11:17am
I've found self-harm to to creates a physical pain to numb out the emotional pain such as the anxiety you are asking about. I think the first step to stopping the self-harm, is to begin to identify what the anxiety is about, and then finding other ways to cope with the anxiety. There are a few ways people cope with anxiety. A very helpful way is addressing our mind set and thinking (such as negative thinking, all black or white thinking, or waiting for a catastrophy to happen, etc.) and starting to address that thinking to take control of it so it stops getting us more anxious. Another thing that can be addressed is looking for things to do for distraction. This can help for both anxiety and self-injury. There are tons of things - from very active activities (aerobics, dance, hiking, etc.) to less mobile ones (arts, crafts, reading, visiting a friend, etc.). There are some websites that address self-injury that provide various ways of coping with distractions. Also, if you haven't already, consider talking to your physician. There are medications available for anxiety that is significantly intensive and can be prescribed on a regular or as needed basis. Don't be afraid to use online support groups, and find a listener you are comfortable with who can help you sort out the anxiety side of things and support you in your journey of stopping the self-harm.
January 27th, 2015 6:55pm
If you aren't already, try and go to therapy, it will help you so much with your anxiety. You need to find another coping skill to deal with your anxiety - try yoga and running for stress relief. When you get the urge to self harm, try squeezing ice cubes or snapping an elastic band against your wrist or drawing with pen on yourself where you want to harm. Best of luck with everything, you can and will get through this.
February 11th, 2015 10:01am
Try to focus on other alternative other than self harm. Maybe try doing something that can makes you feel better.
April 29th, 2015 4:41am
This is a hard question to try to answer. Responding to one thing that you wrote; "its the only thing that's keeping me from my anxiety" - are there any coping mechanisms apart from self-injury which might help you deal with your anxiety? There are no "right" answers to that question but *your* answers to it are what matter.
May 9th, 2015 8:30am
I had to physically restrain myself and removed all objects that could be used out of my area. I found that instead, a slightly better alternative was Snapping and elastic band on my wrist. However this doesn't address the underlying issue, but it is a good short term prevention.
May 20th, 2015 9:31am
There are alternatives to self harm. It may seem that self harm is doing you good, but you need to realise that it is damaging your body and having a worse effect on you physically. Depending on the way you choose to self harm, try and find something else to do, which will not have the same physical effect but could help you emotionally. Always remember why you are wanting to stop self harming, keep a note hung up in front of you as a constant reminder and experiment with other means. Talking to someone, writing a journal of your feelings, doing things symbolically (e.g. if you cut yourself, try using a red pen instead as a symbolic means rather than doing it). There are many alternatives on the self help guides on this website, have a read through those too.
June 18th, 2015 1:04am
Try to find ways in which you can let go of the feelings that cause you to self harm, without having to hurt yourself
June 30th, 2015 5:38pm
Self harm is never the answer, it only hurts you physically and doesn't soothe you mentally, try the butterfly project! :D
July 7th, 2015 3:09pm
The best way to stop self harming is to get to the root cause of it. If you self harm just to help your anxiety, then you'll have to do things to help your anxiety without having to hurt yourself. I don't know you, so I'm not sure what the best way to help your anxiety is. But a good way for me is to use breathing techniques and count down from 10 slowly. If you don't want anybody to notice, try bending a paper clip or pin in your pocket or, what I usually do, squeeze your sleeve of your shirt or a piece of cloth in your pocket really tight, wring it, or whatever you have to do. But after you get the right technique, stopping self harm should be easier. If you still need help, talk to people on this site or look up alternatives for self harm. I hope that helped :)
July 7th, 2015 11:53pm
The answer for this is going to be different depending who you are. I think that depending on Self Harm for relief from anxiety is very dangerous, so it's important to find something to replace it. It can be very hard to stop hurting yourself, but if you want to stop, you can, I promise. Find something else that gives you a sense of security and relief that is accessible to you whenever you are feeling anxious. For instance, I feel very secure in long sleeves. Caffeine also boosts my mood, and warm drinks make me happy/secure. Something I do when I know im going to be in a situation that could provoke my anxiety is I wear a comfy sweater and sometimes bring a small coffee/tea for preventative measures, and I am less likely to feel overwhelmingly anxious in that situation. I'm sure we can find a healthy substitute to Self Harm for everybody; If you need help finding your substitute, you can talk to me or any of the other listeners about it and we'd be happy to help you through it. :)
July 13th, 2015 3:24pm
Anxiety isn't always a bad thing. For example, if you are walking on a dark road and someone strange is following you, if you have this anxiety, it means you understand what's going on. So, you need to start thinking about adjusting this anxiety and start impugn it.
July 28th, 2015 10:10am
Find other coping methods. E.g. Meditation/Yoga - meditation actually increases the amount of grey matter in the brain, essentially rewiring the body to stress less. Create a vision board. - If the future seems big and scary, try changing the thoughts about what lies ahead. Sometimes the mere act of setting concrete goals can take the edge off anxiety about future unknowns. Journal - Helps to track progress and express emotions. A Destroy This Book - A book in which you can write, burn, draw, tear, cut etc. This is best for those who can’t keep ordinary journals.
August 4th, 2015 12:08am
Try using a marker or pen to draw on places where you feel like hurting yourself. Keep doing this until you do not feel the desire to cut anymore.
August 25th, 2015 2:43pm
you can find alternatives. Like doing artwork . Or drawing on the area you want to hurt yourself .Or you could wear a rubber band and flick them
December 29th, 2015 6:43am
Of course the most logical answer would be to attempt to find what is causing your anxiety in the first place and address all those problems eventually, but temporarily you can imitate the satisfaction after a self-harm event but not actually endanger yourself by snapping a rubber-band around your wrist, but try not to do it too often or too hard or you might end up with painful pinches. I find it therapeutic to also tear out pages from diaries I keep specifically for stressful times, a messy solution, but anything is great as long as it doesn't hurt yourself.
February 9th, 2016 8:14pm
You should speak with someone and make sure you're comfortable with them. It's best if you try to 'cool' down your anxiety and try to see the good things in life! :)
March 8th, 2016 7:16am
Learn to accept yourself , know that you are beautiful. Find something else that truly makes you happy
December 12th, 2016 3:14am
I can truly understand how that feels. I am 4 months clean from all forms of self harm. Being able to stop self harm is different for every person. Somethings that I did was write, go outside, talk to someone who was my friend at the time, and just try to distract myself from other things.
October 16th, 2018 6:46pm
A person told me that I should draw a butterfly on my thighs and if I cut then I kill the butterfly but if I let it fade then it is let free so that helps me to stop self harming. Also it can be helpful to have an elastic band around your wrist and ping it against it when you feel the urge to self harm. This can be helpful as it means that you get the feeling of pain that you are craving but you do not get the severity of cutting or burning etc. This means that you still have some pain stopping the anxiety but at the same time you are not causing severe harm to yourself
April 1st, 2019 4:04pm
I would recommend doing something that takes your interest away from the thoughts of self harm. I always found drawing or music would help me ease my mind, Some people do physical exercise (such as using a punching bag). In the end self harm will only be a temporary fix and people will often revert back to it to calm their mind. With anxiety related issues i recommend reading the book "Dont Panic" as it's helped me through a lot of my anxiety problems. Anxiety doesnt define the person you are, it's something you live with. So self harming yourself shouldn't be the option you use to ease your anxiety because unfortunately... anxiety will always resurface, you need to find the best way to beat it.
March 3rd, 2020 9:03am
Self harm is never the answer to any problem. There are so many other ways to combat anxiety. You just to have to find healthy ways that work for you. You need to seek professional help if you’re thinking about harming yourself. I wish this was never anyone’s way of coping with things and hope that if it is they are able to overcome it. Any bad behavior can be overcome and be taught to work things out in a safer way. No one should be able to do self harm so you really need to get professional help and even reach out to crisis care.
August 31st, 2020 3:09am
I know it may seem like self-harm is the only thing that is keeping you from your anxiety, but in truth, it is not. I've gone through the same feeling recently, but I managed to pull through. Here are some things I did: - Talk about what you're anxious about with someone who can listen to you, perhaps someone from our community - Think not about your anxiety, but about the thoughts you're having. There is usually faulty thinking at play here - Find a way to physically relax. Listen to calming music, take deep breaths, meditate I know how hard it can be to go through, but I know you will overcome this. :)