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.