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How to deal with self-harm alone?

225 Answers
Last Updated: 11/22/2020 at 10:29pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Deane Rain Marie, LMFT

Marriage & Family Therapist

I take a holistic approach in working with eating disorders, mood disorders, relationships, and the LGBTQ community. I use EMDR, Dreamwork, Stories, CBT and Cinema therapy.

Top Rated Answers
April 3rd, 2019 1:26am
Self-harm is a hard thing to deal with especially alone. I dealt with it alone for a while, then my friends figured out and actually helped me a lot. I recommend talking to a friend you can trust about it. If you dont want to do that come up with some coping mechanisms. Some coping mechanisms can be, but aren't limited to, Drawing on yourself or, Rubbing ice on yourself. There is also the butterfly, Its where you draw a butterfly where you would normally self-harm, naming it after someone you love and who cares about you. You cant scrub it off or self harm other wise it dies.
April 3rd, 2019 7:27pm
The way you deal with self harm is that you try to focus your mind on other things so that you won't be tempted to self harm. Self harming only hurts other people. You're only going to hurt your loved ones or the ones that really care about you. Self harming is never going to be the answer for anything i can promise you that. I know what it feels like to be tempted to but just know that it's never the answer for anything. Try to talk to someone about it and let someone know those kind of thoughts so that someone can help you and so that your not going through it alone.
April 4th, 2019 2:41pm
A self harm period is a very difficult and trying time. Furthermore it's extremely difficult to find the motivation to stop. If you don't have the option of talking to someone about your situation, then there are several methods that you can replace and prevent yourself from self harming. Firstly, even it you yourself don't believe it, tell yourself positive and affirming things. Secondly, some things that you can do to replace self harm when you do feel the urge come along includes: rubbing an ice cube on the area, snapping a rubber band on your wrist, scribbling furiously on a piece of paper with a crayon, and have a fidget toy at hand. For anyone going through this, maybe you can challenge yourself to try one of these a week and see what works for you :).
April 12th, 2019 3:40am
You shouldn't. Reach out to someone you trust, or even a listener on here to get the support and help you need. Self-harm is a sign of detrimental mental health, and it's really important for it to be addressed by someone who is willing to help. There are many ways to improve urges to self-harm, but having someone you can rely on to listen and talk to you about your issues is so important for getting on the right path to getting better. Try reaching out to someone on here or on another mental health page because there are many people suffering with similar issues.
April 12th, 2019 1:44pm
I've found what really helps is I keep a box near my bed (where my urge to self harm often starts) full of nice things-like photos of loved ones, little meaningful presents that I've been given by family and chocolate, of course. Whenever I feel the urge to hurt myself, I just delve into my self-care box. Another thing is I've since removed what I use to self harm and hide it in my kitchen cupboard (I currently live in accommodation). For me, it creates just another reason not to self-harm (i.e I have to get out of bed and into the cold kitchen)
April 17th, 2019 7:35am
Sometimes I have struggled with the idea of harming myself; however I am able to stop by remembering anyone who has ever loved me or given me joy. Even if you feel worthless, I promise you there is at least one person who cares. Even people on this site can be that person. Try breathing exercises or meditation. Or, if those don't appeal to you, when you feel bad, do your favorite hobby or write or draw in order to get your feelings out. I also recommend the butterfly project. Draw a butterfly somewhere on yourself and name it after someone you truly care about. Now you have to take care of the butterfly. Hurting yourself hurts the butterfly. Hopefully, one of these tricks helps you out (:
April 26th, 2019 7:34pm
In my experience, if you show some confidence on yourself and little support from family or trust worthy friends or life partner than self-harm can be controlled effectively. One should also not lose hope as there are worse situations than the one is feeling. Like if someone father is very strict, there are many kids without the love and care of a father. And they not feel secure and protected as you are. So there are positive points for many stressful situations. If the end self-harm is not a good thing and one should search for his goal in life. And make this world a beautiful place to live.
May 8th, 2019 3:04pm
The best idea I can share with you is to NOT deal with self-harm alone. I understand that it can be hard to trust someone else with something like this, but being alone with it only makes it worse. Sharing what is happening in any small way with someone else is a very positive step in helping you cope with it and eventually to find other alternatives. If you don't have any family or friends you trust and you can't talk to a therapist, maybe you can try to find someone online that you can talk to. That can be a safer start. We have listeners who deal with this here on 7 Cups and there is also a self-harm recovery community you can join. But while you are still alone with it, you can also try the app Calm Harm. It offers many alternatives that can help you deal with the immediate urges. But I really hope you will find someone to talk to about it. Start small. Just tell someone a small part about it and see how they react. Slowly build trust and continue talking to the people who you see are safe to talk with.
May 16th, 2019 4:05pm
If possible, move to a safe public place where your ability to self-harm is restricted. For example, going on a walk by yourself if it's safe without taking your self-harm tools. You're alone, but still in the presence of other people. Re-evaluate how your're feeling after the walk. Sometimes the urge to self-harm can be impulsive and if we don't act on it right way, the urge can sometimes go away. It's about trying our best to give it the chance to pass. Also, you can always check into 7 Cups and chat with a listener of you're not in crisis. If you're in crisis, you can always reach out to a local helpline to connect with the right support that you deserve.
August 3rd, 2019 12:12pm
Dealing with self harm alone can seem scary, but understand that you alone are strong! The best way to deal with it is to get to the bottom of why you’re doing it first, stop yourself and think. Remember you are worthy, you are strong and you are loved. Keeping positive is key and having faith will help you get through this. As long as you put in the effort to change, you can do it, you can deal with self harm even if you are alone. Give yourself time to heal, give yourself love and remember you were given this body, and only this body.
August 10th, 2019 6:55pm
Do it safely and have first aid ready. Have emergency numbers and helplines in case self harm goes wrong. Try to tell someone about it in case someone can help you and feel less alone. Work out your triggers for self harm and what impacts on your thoughts and feelings. Work out the root cause of why you started. Self harm is a short term relief not a long term one so try to prepare a long term alternative or therapy/help. Some people use ice cubes, play dough, clay etc to distract from self harm thoughts and to not hurt themself
August 21st, 2019 4:07pm
First and foremost you need to try and identify why you self-harm. What is going on in your life or has gone on in the past? What feeling build up in the lead to self harming. What feelings do you get after self-harming. If you become more aware of these things, you will then be in a better position to identify what your current coping strategy is (self-harming) how it isn't effective at removing the problem, how it causes more damage and pain. You will then be able to work through what has went on and put in place more positive coping strategies such as mindfulness. However I must add there is no harm in asking for help, support or advice.
August 30th, 2019 9:01pm
Don't deal with it alone, it's not a good thing to go through it alone. Speak to a loved one, or someone you trust about it. They'll be there for you if they really care
October 9th, 2019 9:43am
Self harm is often connected to other mental health problems, like depression or borderline, so to really get to the root of the problem support from your surroundings and professional help are really helpful. However there are so called skills that help withstand the emotional pressure or tension that would otherwise be coped with by self-harm. There are skills that are more intense, others are less intense so start off by determining how intense the pressure/tension you’re experiencing is from 1-10. 1 is barely there while 10 is the point at which you lose control and turn towards self harm typically. The goal is not reach the 10 because in such a state self control is really difficult to maintain. The key is to be mindful and notice tension before it reaches this critical point at which it’s almost impossible to hold back. So to become more concrete, there are many skills you can use to lower your level of tension. Softer skills can be: drawing, solving puzzles, focusing on a game, painting your nails, taking a walk, doing a breathing exercise. Medium skills can be going for a run, taking a cold shower, letting out aggression safely by beating into a pillow or putting a fizzing vitamin tablet on your tongue that creates an intense sensation. Hard skills (that need to be used carefully in some cases) can be chewing a hot pepper or even ammonia capsules that can rip you out of very intense states of stress. Other tips are ripping paper, to safely destroy something or if you have the urge to cut use a red (soft tip!) felt pen or even red watercolor and a brush to paint the “cuts”. The same message is sent to the brain and the tension fades without you having hurt yourself! So depending on how high your starting level of tension is, you should use softer or harder skills. Work your way down the scale until you feel relaxed and safe. That can take a while sometimes but it’s worth being patient. Different skills work for different people, try different options and think of new skills yourself! It’s best to make it a habit to use them, they’ll work quicker and better that way. Good luck and take care!
November 22nd, 2019 6:20am
we need to understand that a person who is at stage to self harm" is really needing some help to come out of negative beliefs and patterns and live a normal happy life. To harm self, a person has to be in a very negative frame of mind with low self esteem, weak will power and inability to see perspectives and delusion ed reasoning . To be aware that one needs to come out of this feelings, is a battle half won. If , for any reason, a person doesn't need professional help, and wishes for self help, there are many resources at his disposal. But most importantly , he will need to have a strong will . Self help books, volunteering for social cause, developing hobbies, reaching out to people and friends , meditation are few ways .
December 13th, 2019 7:33pm
Make sure to get rid of the tools you use. Then distract yourself each time you feel as if you need to hurt yourself. This can be done by icing the area that you want to hurt yourself in, drawing on yourself when the urge comes, making sure you clean your marks so they don't potentially scar or get infected. make sure you don't pick at the wounds and to just leave them be. If it upsets you to look at them then cover with band aids. Put ointment on the areas if needed. Remember you are in fact loved
January 9th, 2020 6:42pm
Dealing with self-harm alone is not recommended. But online communities can provide some help if you choose to seek help but remain anonymous. You are still dealing with your self-harm alone in your offline life. However, on an emotional level you are not entire alone. For example, 7 Cups is among the online communities. You will find a self-help guide for people living with the tendency to self-harm. Also you can post questions on the community forum and hopefully other members will provide some suggestion. In case you are in a crisis, volunteer listeners will direct you to the professionals or crisis hotlines. It depends on your comfort level.
January 12th, 2020 6:30pm
Dealing with self-harm alone is very hard, but I guess you already know that. Here are some suggestions that helped me, and friends of mine who also struggled with self-harm: - Using a red pen to mark where you would cut. This gives the tactile contact and the color. - Putting ice on the spot you would cut. Specially if the ice is dry (before it starts melting), it feels very similar to cutting but doesn't leave damage. - Just rubbing you fingers alone the spot. - Personally, just using my fingernail worked. The scratches fade after an hour or so, but it relaxed me. Remember that you are not alone in this, and you can reach out here and talk :)
January 18th, 2020 9:34pm
I understand that this is a difficult subject to open up about, even to the close friends or family. However... there isn't much recovery alone, and even if it is possible it is not something I've personally seen or experienced. Get help, please. Its a vicious cycle and it's all too easy to get sucked into it. Find help, talk to a friend, a family member, a professional, you know best what will help. Be brave! The first step is hard, so so very hard, but it gets easier as you continue. Self harm is usually something that starts after years of accumulated pain and it takes time releasing that pain, but only after that emotional release and working through all those pent up issues do you finally learn to deal with it. Stay strong, take care!
February 6th, 2020 11:59pm
In case there is no one to talk to, breathe. In and Out. Again. Try to calm down. I know it's hard and I'm proud that you're fighting. You might want to consider alternatives to self-harm like snapping a rubber band against your wrist or "burning" yourself with an ice cube. Sometimes it works. And please know, you're not a failure if you give in. It's hard and we can't always win. You're not alone. You've come such a long way. Whatever you do, I am proud of you. You can always start again, you don't even have to wait until tomorrow. If you just close your eyes and take a few deep breaths, that's good enough. Time for a new beginning.
February 13th, 2020 8:56am
Hey, personally as a person who has been self harming over a period of two years, it is DAMN HARD. You may have been doing it longer then me, which is even longer so you know even more how harder it is. Though if you want to learn how to stop, I want to start out by saying: Beginning my journey to stop self harming was not easy. It won’t always be consistent and it is inevitable that you will not follow these tips all the time( I sure wasn’t consistent). In fact I still do it today, but generally I’m happy to say that I have made progress. I am confident to say if you try, you can make at least a little bit of progress slowly. Most likely your journey could certainly be slow. After all, self harm can easily turn into addiction. Simply saying “to continue to go to therapy and the hospital” is temporary or long term solutions that take time. Don’t get me wrong, one half of achieving success is Therapy and Medication Therapy/ Meditation plays a IMPORTANT ROLL in defeating self destructive behaviors, as it can achieve these things: Besides building emotional regulation which is key, you will eventually find the source of your distress and identify triggers that will dramatically guide you in defeating self harm. Medication can aid you in decreasing your emotional distress to increase your ability where you can function and manage life. This should not be taken with a grain of salt. Though, as said before it only addresses one half of your success to stop self harming. The other detrimental half contains a word that we all generally dread; coping skills. This is a very underestimated skill, and I curse it under my breath to this day. But I realized it was one of the big things that got me instantly to stop. Whenever self harm occurs, we have a extremely elevated level of emotional distress and our regulation abilities are often low. The purpose of coping skills is to lower emotional distress and regulate your emotions. You will probably be sick of hearing this but the key to stoping self harm is to replace these mechanisms with a personalized list of positive coping skills. I’m done with the talking, here is a list of help full positive, creative coping skills; Writing on yourself: This is often discouraged by therapist because it is deemed to be a gateway to self harm. Often people write negative stuff and self mutilate with the pen. I am not discounting the professionals, but surprisingly it helped me. I would draw Mandela’s and Aztec patterns along my arm and I became distracted. I also did write negative stuff, but I found myself to get bored- kind of like writing all your negative thoughts on paper multiple times and getting bored. I dosed off. Caution: Though, if you know that you would self mutilate, do not do this. Drawing on Paper: I am often at school, where I can’t write on my arm without grabbing attention. A very discreet way and effective way is to sketch. When the teacher is talking and I feel the urge to go to the bathroom and self harm, I sketch on my paper. If you are in high school, when you have anxiety you are permitted to have a 504 which can give you exceptions and allow you to draw on any paper when in crisis with request. Hypnosis App: this is my far and most favorite one. This is an interactive app called hyp where you press the screen and a geometrical pattern swirls and binaural music is playing. It is very psychedelic, trippy, and abstract- I can not stop listening to it. You can edit it to change the shapes and the speed. It is extremely beautiful and is the one that is by far the most effective for me. Binaural Beats Music: this is not just meditation music, but certain binaural beats can bring you to a euphoria and make you feel somewhat nostalgic. It is just the matter of picking the right one. There is MILLIONS of videos on YouTube, and even better, you can download MUSI, a free app that contains all YouTube videos and allows you to listen with your screen closed. CAUTION: SHOULD NOT BE LISTENED TO WHEN OPERATING A VEHICLE . THAT STUFF CAN MAKE YOU SLEEP MAKING MEMES: I am a big fan of this one. Downloading editing apps and adobe photoshop goes a long way. I often search and make political memes. This makes you laugh and can lead you to ideas. I even had a meme notebook one time and sniped out photos of political figures and pasted them on model heads. SEARCHING MEMES: Instead of following people on Instagram that I don’t really relate to, I follow comedians and meme pages. I was depressed the whole day today and was tempted to pick up a knife because I was bored… And then found the stupidest, spicy meme. They have really obnoxious, stupid, questionable stuff which is my sense of humor. You’d be surprised what you would find on Instagram, there a whole universe… Taking Balloons and writing faces for all the people you hate and turning it into a creative film project: this is actually fun. I get to make stuff that nurtures my creativity and I have cool things to share on Instagram with only my 4 close friends. Just don’t expose the people you hate. Searching Places around the world and making a bucket list: this is fun. I bought notebooks from micheals and decorated it. I made it special and even wrote a note to my future kids or people that I wanted to give it to. It is a celebration of life and more of a nostalgic thing for me. Conduct Science Experiments / Learn new things: Grow plants, it’s fun to watch them grow. Learn the theory of relativity, make your own plasma ball with a scientist (this is dangerous, do something else.) Draw, do all those things you wanted to do as a kid. I look on Pinterest and it is very effective. I create my own styles! Polyvore is gone, but I use Pinterest as a shopping list! Explore your identity! Just don’t compare your self to models though. If you think it’s not a good idea don’t do it. Coping box with favorite candy; when I first heard the idea i was turned off because I already had 60 stress ball that I didn’t want and a plain box. Though I was suggested to make one and it was super fun! I went to the drug store and got vintage candies like high chews, the ones in the bottle, and I stashed it up in a secret compartment in the box! I also took a ballon put play doh with essential oils, and painted it with eyes and glued hair to it. It’s crazy. There’s also light bulbs sealed with glitter and water, mini lava lamps.. look on Pinterest. There’s some pretty trippy stuff… Talk to someone: Seriously, don’t just have the suicide hotline and your parents on your safety list. They are not always reliable. Sometimes they are helpful and others times they are complete hell. There are tons of people who care and hotline websites. If you are a religious you can find people who volunteer and a mentor. There’s ALOT. Keep your eyes out and seek vigorously. There’s always that person, I promise. KEEP YOUR KNIVES LOCKED UP: If you live with your parents and they care, have them closely monitor you and hide knives in a strong box. If you don’t live with your parents, hide them in a wall or somewhere, find a place where you have to do strenuous work to get access to knives. It’s not favorable, especially when you need them for cooking, but it works. Writing, coloring, sniffing oils, and meditation: I genuinely don’t like this one because I find it basic and boring. But it helps and “I’m willing to do any thing for my mental health” I guess. I’m not to enthusiastic about this but it works. It does if you are patient and take it seriously. CAUTION: Last resort sleeping If everything else fails go to bed. This can save your life but also ruin it if your not careful. When you wake up you feel better or more stable. But also do not make your first resort because you can end up making your depression worse and ruining your sleep pattern and self care. Sorry for the ramble. To be honest if you made it to the end, you are patient and maybe really willing. Thank you and good luck! I hope this helps! You are beautiful and you can do more then you think.
March 12th, 2020 1:37am
dealing with self-harm is hard to do as it is very addictive and dealing with it on your own is even harder to do. there are a few methods that can stop u from self harming. one is drawing a butterfly wherver you cut yourself and nam it after someone you love. If you cut yourself, you kille the butterfly so you killed someone that you loved which stops some people from cutting. another methos is drawing lines on your arm pretending that those are real cuts. you can also use an elastic band and keep pulling it and making itbounce back on your skin. this ensures that there are no scars and it only hurts for a second if you are really impulsive.
March 25th, 2020 10:56am
A really tough question to answer however , from my own personal experience of dealing with it alone if knowing that the feelings I have can be challenged in more positive ways. Although we have those intense feelings of wanting to harm ourselves in the moment , we get a short relief and then usually its the instant guilt. Sometimes challenging these intense thoughts in other ways can be useful you dont have to reach out. In the past I have drawn a picture of myself and around it written what bothering me and what i might do to challenge it. Then in speech bubbles ive put more positive ways of challenging the thoughts and feelings . For example on the outside - " I am not worthy its not worth it " then in the speech buuble " I will rememeber the positive things people have said about me "
March 29th, 2020 4:39am
Being someone who attempted to deal with self-harm alone, I don't think it's the best thing to do. Self-harm is more than just an external injury. It comes from real, deep hurt from inside. It's hard to heal that internal hurt if you don't have someone to listen to what you're hurting from. Isolating yourself could make the situation worse. When you don't have someone else's point of view on your situation, there isn't a whole lot of new hope for your situation, or motivation to seek improvement or healing. Find someone that you trust to talk to. Don't go through this alone... you don't have to! Having someone to walk through these hard times with will make you stronger, and will make your road to recovery faster.
April 1st, 2020 2:20am
Dealing with self-harm is never good to do alone, but I am sure you have already heard this before. Receiving help from family and friends, as well as professionals is very helpful, as cliche as this may seem. As someone who has dealt with this before, having help was very beneficial, but I am going to address your question, how to deal with it "alone". Talk to someone about it, even if it is anonymously. Think before you act. Try hiding the objects you use to hurt yourself in a place where they are difficult to access. Address your wounds, be sure that they are seen to and not infected. Stay safe, and please consider reaching out for help. You are not alone.
April 16th, 2020 11:48pm
I'm really sorry that you are struggling with self harm all alone. That must be really difficult to cope with. I would suggest trying to use DBT TIPP skills to distract yourself in moments of intense distress. T.I.P.P. is an acronym. It stands for: T – Temperature I – Intense exercise P – Paced breathing P – paired muscle relaxation When you are in a moment of crisis or intense emotion, you can use these skills to help you calm down. > Temperature: you can try holding some ice cubes or splashing your face with really cold water This works similarly to self harm. The intense physical sensation serves as a distraction from the emotional distress. Intense exercise: jumping jacks, pushups, situps, sprint up or down some stairs. Paced breathing: at +2 seconds to your exhale. Listen to calm music. Paired muscle Relaxation: tense/ clench a group of muscles (such as your legs) as hard as you can for 5 seconds, then let go.
April 29th, 2020 3:48am
Breathe and know that the pain you feel is temporary. If you need to release your pain, talk it out. Talking it out, voicing your frustration is better and even feels better than self harm. Sometimes it just takes a few moments to realize that self harm isn’t giving you the change you want. I use to self harm and when I stopped that’s when I realized how much it was actually hurting me. If you can’t talk to someone journal it out. Voice your words and concern in a journal. You don’t have to come back to it. Depending on how you feel you can write it and then destroy it.
May 2nd, 2020 4:55pm
Dealing with self-harm is very challenging, but dealing with it alone makes it so much harder. I personally think dealing with it alone isn’t the best option, and that finding someone you trust (i.e. a friend, loved one, counselor, etc.) to talk to about it. From personal experience dealing with self-harm is a very difficult thing to hide, especially when you’re the only one who knows you’re doing it. The fear of someone else finding out keeps nawing at you in the back of your mind. But, there is a few ways to cope. When you feel the urge, give yourself 5 minutes. After that time passes, see if you still feel the need to self-harm. If you still do, try to give yourself another 5 minutes, and keep going until the urge goes away. But overall you still should find some way to talk to someone about it, keeping things to yourself isn’t healthy and can lead to bigger problems.
May 13th, 2020 12:23pm
in my personal opinion self harm isnt something to deal with alone! and the amazing volunteers are here to support you, i think when feeling the urge to self harm you try hold back as long as possible using diffrent ways such as placing ice were you would like to harm, putting an elastic band or hait tye on your wrist and flicking it this will give a sting but leave no marks! when the urge is strong i suggest sitting on your hands and doing a breathing exercise till you have calmed down and the urge has passesd! remember there as amazing listeners here to help love and support you, you got this keep going !!!!
June 18th, 2020 11:49am
Firstly, it's really brave that you want to help yourself with your self-harm, and I know how difficult it can be to take the first steps when trying to stop self-harming. There are some things that from my own experience in the past have helped, but have a look at different methods too, as they might also help. So the things that helped me the most was distracting myself and channelling the emotion I was feeling into something else. So if i was angry I would scribble on pages or write down my feelings. I found exercise is definitely something that can help as well. Sometimes drawing on where I wanted to harm also helped as it gave me something visual which is sometimes what I needed. Just try to take every second you do not give into that urge as a success, and try to keep building up how long you can go without harming. Even if you slip up, that's completely okay as well, and focusing on the efforts you have taken to try other, more healthy coping choices really helped me.