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to ask you about self harm? *possible triggers*

(23 Posts)
notsurewhattoput Wed 27-Aug-14 22:08:29

Sorry not sure if this is the right place to post. NC for this

Just would be interested to know for those of you who self injure or have done in the past, what techniques or strategies you have used to stop yourself that have really worked. For example, drawing lines on yourself with a marker pen instead of cutting is something that's often suggested.

Making a real effort to fight the urge recently and would welcome any advice smile

notsurewhattoput Wed 27-Aug-14 22:16:27


Wishingtimeaway Wed 27-Aug-14 22:20:50

I didn't find a marker pen ever really helped. Other than distraction/avoidance/surrounding myself with people, the only real technique that ever worked was using ice against my skin. Which is probably not that helpful, because it was still using pain and therefore probably still a destructive behaviour, but since caused no long term scarring/issues, used to help me get through the night, when I just needed something

donkir Wed 27-Aug-14 22:25:45

I'm sorry your feeling low op. Have you tried the mental health section you might get more people who have experienced this.
Hugs and thanks

Lozzapops Wed 27-Aug-14 22:25:54

Hi there, I'm sorry you're feeling crap at the moment. I have worked in mental health care for some time, some of the things I would suggest are:

Red pen (as you have suggested)

Putting an elastic band around your wrist and snapping it quite hard when you get the urge to harm.

Holding ice cubes tightly in your hands, really try to crush them.

Punch your mattress repeatedly to let out some of the pent up emotions.

Scream into a pillow if it isn't going to cause anyone any alarm! Similar to the above, releasing pent up emotion.

Distract yourself - write a letter to someone, write a list of positive things in your life, write a list of the difficulties/struggles you are having right now and then destroy it, do some exercise - make your body ache/hurt in a different, positive way, call someone for a chat - let then know you are struggling if you can, but if not, just have a catch up.

Hope that gives you a few things to think about. Do you have someone you can talk to about what is going on for you? If it gets too difficult, call the Samaritans, they will be sensitive and a good listening ear.

sillymillyb Wed 27-Aug-14 22:32:47

I hope your ok?

I haven't self harmed in a long time now, but when I was trying not to I used to run as fast as I could on the treadmill(was too scared to go outside!) I found I needed to do something physical, and wear myself out.

notsurewhattoput Wed 27-Aug-14 22:36:22

Thanks everyone thanks

Running or exercise to kind of hurt in 'positive' way sounds good. Will try mental health section.

CaptChaos Wed 27-Aug-14 22:37:37

The elastic band around the wrist thing works for me, as does the ice.

Lifting weights, heavy ones, until I almost couldn't lift my arms anymore.

Screaming loud and long into a pillow sometimes, but that sometimes made me want to cut more, because I felt like a cunt for needing to do it.

For me, only pain took the pain away.

notsurewhattoput Wed 27-Aug-14 22:38:03

And I'm ok this evening, I will give somebody a ring if I feel very low, Samaritans have really helped in the past

SaucyJack Wed 27-Aug-14 22:41:39

I took up kickboxing. Worked wonders for the soul AND my arse.

aNutAboveTheBreast Wed 27-Aug-14 22:42:51

I would make myself go to sleep, whatever the time of day. I'd tell myself to sleep on it, and if I still wanted to when I woke up, that was fine. I never wanted to after sleeping though. A big cry into my pillow at the same time would help to relieve and exhaust me at the same time.

Good luck. Making the decision to stop, wanting to stop, is the hardest part I think. All you need to do now is find the method that works for you and gradually you'll reprogram the part of your mind that jumps to s/h at the moment.

crazykittensmile Thu 28-Aug-14 00:14:01

I've never found any 'replacement' such as ice cubes/ marker pens helpful to be honest, I've been able to delay harming for a while with these kinds of things but they haven't helped me to stop. I have been able to reduce how often I self-harm, and surpass the urge in some ways though.

Things that I've found have been able to get me beyond the urge are usually physical/active things - I try to take myself out of the house when I feel an urge to self-harm. I will go for a run or will go out cycling and often I don't still want to self-harm when I get back. Even just going out to the shops or something can help - when I'm not at home I'm not in a position to self-harm and often the urge is gone when I'm home. I will delay going home as much as I can so that I just go home and straight to bed if necessary. If it's possible just taking myself to bed is a good way to ignore the urge and it is almost always gone in the morning. The worst thing I can do is stay home as no matter how much I try and distract myself I am usually just delaying myself from self-harming. I do find it helpful to write down what's on my mind but not necessarily in the moment - if I write in my diary I will still want to self-harm afterwards.

Human contact does usually help for me, even if I can't meet up with someone in person a chat on the phone/skype usually has me feeling okay again. I am lucky to have a close, supportive group of friends who have expressed I'm free to call them any time of day/night. I do find it very difficult to phone people when I'm in crisis though, I don't like to feel like I'm imposing and rarely manage to reach out. I have found it easier to send out a facebook message to a group of friends saying something along the lines of 'Anyone free for a phonecall?' so that I have confirmation I'm free to ring. that helps as I know I won't be imposing as people can ignore it if they want to and usually one of my friends will be free.

I also found it helpful to record it every time I self-harmed and to see how long I was going between self-harming. I would set records with myself to try and go a little longer in-between. It also helped to recognise whether there were any patterns (eg: time of day, days of week, time of month etc) I was harming - there were patterns so I was able to pre-empt times I might get the urge to self-harm.

I also arranged with a friend to go swimming weekly at our local gym which really helped as I felt I wasn't able to self-harm or I knew I would either have to cancel or risk her seeing it so it made me really think before I self-harmed.

It also has helped me to try not to have the resources to self-harm, for example I used to carry things in my handbag which meant I wasn't always safe out of the house. When I was feeling well I removed all of these so that I was only in a position to self-harm at home. I've also made sure that things I can use to self-harm are not easy to get, so for example wrapped up in layers and layers of duck tape so I really have to struggle to get into them - if I didn't really NEED to self-harm I would give up before I succeeded to get into it. Keeping things I would use to self-harm at the bottom of a box of happy things (eg: photos, letter from friends) also worked quite well in the past as sometimes I could distract myself from happy things.

It is hard - I liken self-harm to an addiction and once it becomes a part of your identity it is so hard to stop. I have managed to reduce it to so that I may go months in-between self-harming and it is no longer the first thing my mind jumps to when things are hard and when I do think about doing it I am able to stop myself from following through more and more.

Good luck and hope you find the method which will help you to stop smile

CoolCat2014 Thu 28-Aug-14 06:17:40

I never found any of the ice cubes/elastic bands/etc things helpful.

I found distraction was far better. If I felt the urge I would throw myself into doing something else - exercise, crafty project, surfing the internet for hours, or talking to someone (even if it was just an online friend).

I also removed anything that I could have self harmed with from the house. It probably helped that I was very hygiene conscious so couldn't have used anything that had previously been used for something else.

I think a good dose of stubborn determination helped a great deal too!

JadeJ123 Thu 28-Aug-14 06:33:33

Chewing gum, flicking myself with rubber bands never worked, drawing lines didn't work.
The best thing that worked for myself was exercise and distraction.
I was more focused on what I was doing than self harming, yoga didn't really work for me like it has some people.

heraldgerald Thu 28-Aug-14 13:22:54

I've been diagnosed with ptsd and went on a psycho education course before having edmr. It went through the biology behind the autonomic nervous system going into hyper arousal and self harm being a crude way or poor strategy to bring it down. This made a lot of sense in the context of why I self harmed. Your context might be different though, I don't know. Strategies suggested to me that really have worked in the immediate precursor to very very intensive emotional experiences which self harm followed have been mindfulness, ie acceptance of the emotion, knowing it will pass , and using sensor things to help calm the nervous system without self harming, ie pushing pressure points like between the thumb and fore finger, clapping hands, squeeze ing a stress ball, smelling essential oils. Stimulating the senses helps to prevent the need to self harm. Op, hope you are ok? Feel free to pm me if you'd like more info.

CrayolaCocaColaRocknRolla Thu 28-Aug-14 13:50:47

Mine was, Dp was upset about it and he asked me to stop so I did.
The urge never goes away and I am always pretty much depressed or anxious
but for him, I will never, ever do it again.

wrapsuperstar Thu 28-Aug-14 13:56:03

I used an elastic band as described by a PP. I have had various mental health issues (also suffered from anorexia nervosa, I think the two often go hand in hand) and whilst certain urges never go away, especially in times of crisis, I am proud to say I haven't actively hurt myself since I was pregnant with DD1 three years ago.

I hope you are able to overcome, notsure. I'm not always happy now, but life is better now I am able to avoid hurting myself to get through the tough times. flowers

MollyBdenum Thu 28-Aug-14 14:07:14

Really hard exercise is best, as it gets rid of the feelings while also being a way of taking good care of yourself. Orgasms don't work as well, but can be helpful. I should so have namechanged for this post blush )

KittyandTeal Thu 28-Aug-14 14:15:13

I found the elastic band worked if I couldn't get my hands on razors but never managed to use it instead iyswim.

I also have over eating self harm urges and pints and pints of water helped with that.

I haven't sh-ed for ages and I found that having lots of people around and distractions helps

ashtrayheart Thu 28-Aug-14 14:20:58

My dd who has bpd and is in hospital finds the butterfly project helpful also DBT therapy, ice diving and the elastic band have been useful.

CustardOmlet Thu 28-Aug-14 14:32:14

As a professional, my inpatient service users use distraction techniques such as playing board games/drawing/watching a film/sleeping/talking through their feelings. They have always said going out for a walk has helped best but that isn't always a possibility when in hospital. Thank you ashtrayheart for that link, it will come in handy.

goodasitgets Thu 28-Aug-14 14:41:13

99% of the time I harmed on my left wrist. I have a tattoo there now that says "strong"
I don't want to ruin the tattoo and I haven't harmed since. Not for everyone but it worked!

ebwy Thu 28-Aug-14 16:47:28

having good reliable people I could just turn up to and would understand and be with me until I was safe again.

That and sheer willpower of the "I need to finish this first" "after I just do that..." type.

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