Social Anxiety Forum - View Single Post - Self harm coping mechanisms (Trigger Warning)
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 05-27-2012, 01:59 AM Thread Starter
SAS Member
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 387

4 things to consider before you harm yourself, and self-care

Do you still want to hurt yourself?

So you’ve tried everything above, or at least most of it. You’ve made a contract with yourself, you’ve slept it off but these feelings are still there and they are very distressing to you. You’ve called the Samaritans, you’ve called a friend, but there is still a massive craving in the back of your mind. It feels like self-harm is the only option, at the moment. I understand how this feels and you must be in a really bad place right now, and I’m sorry that you are feeling this way. I’d like you to consider 4 things right now.

1) Why do you need to hurt yourself? What has made you want to do this?

2) Have you been in this situation before? What did you do to deal with it then? How did you feel about it then?

3) What are the things you have done that have helped you to ease the discomfort? What coping mechanisms have you tried? Can you try any more? What else can you do that won’t hurt you?

4) Will you regret this decision later on? How will you feel about it tomorrow? Do you still really WANT to do it?

If you do self harm (which I hope you don’t)…

Warning - this might be triggering for some people.

If you have self-harmed, I want you to take care of yourself afterwards. I hope that you have used something that is safe– hopefully something that has been disinfected. I’m going to list very basic things you should do if your method of self-harm is cutting.

1) Stop the bleeding. Apply pressure (with a tissue or a cloth) to the cuts to slow it down. Keep holding it there until the bleeding has stopped completely.

2) Run your wounds under warm water. Do not use soap or any other products. Putting your wounds under warm water is going to hurt, by the way.

3) Dry up your wounds and let it air for a little while, applying pressure if the bleeding starts up again.

4) Bandage your wounds snugly.

5) The next day, take off the bandages and rinse it again in warm water. Still, do not use product or soap on it. Just warm water.

6) Air dry it, and then bandage it again.

7) Once you see it starting to heal slightly, you can use antiseptic cream to ward off any infection. I just use normal moisturiser, but that’s your call. Keep it bandaged, and if you don’t want it to scar then keep it out of the sunlight. Let it heal.

As a general rule – do not put anything on an open wound that you would not put on your eyeball.

And finally…

Do not keep whatever instrument you have used within easy reach. Either throw it away now, or if you feel like you aren’t ready for that yet, then hide it in a really inconvenient place. Put it on top of a really high cupboard or on a shelf that you can’t reach without a chair, or something. This will work very well in conjunction with urge surfing. You need to create some space between the urge to self-harm and the act of self-harming. One CAN exist without the other, even if in the moment it seems like it can’t.

Take care of yourself. You are worth fighting for.

Some links

Here is a little reminder of what you deserve.

And if you need a distraction, check out Desiderata by Max Ehrmann.

The link below is primarily for suicidal feelings but you can also use it for self-harm.

As mentioned below, the Samaritans email is,
[email protected]

You can also Google "Samaritans in..." and wherever you live. There will be a phone number.

And lastly, live 24-hour chat with trained volunteers (primarily for suicidal feelings but you can also use it for self-harm)
They stress the fact that they are all Christian on there quite a lot. If you are not religious, please don't let that turn you off. I'm not religious but I occasionally use them, and they are totally fine with that. They have worked for me before and they are very direct (in a gentle way) and supportive. They are incredibly useful when you are feeling completely alone and need to connect with another human being. Sometimes it just helps to know that someone out there is reading your thoughts and responding to them with care.
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