Stop cutting yourself. End the desire to self-injure and feelings that motivate you to cut yourself. Stopping the cutting and self-injury takes work. Here's how.
However much it hurts
However much it takes
Believe and all your dreams will all come true
However hard it gets
However much it aches
Always believe in me
As I believe in you
Dredd Song - The Cure
How to Stop Cutting Yourself
Stopping the cutting is easier said than done. I have read a lot of different suggestions. Basically what it boils down to is that you have to want to stop cutting yourself. Of course, self-injury cutting releases pain and tension. Of course, it makes you feel better immediately, but in the long run, it makes you feels worse. When you cut, you generally end up feeling ashamed that you hurt yourself and embarrassed by the scratches and self-injury scars. There are other ways to cope with your pain that won't make you feel bad about yourself. Here are some of my suggestions on how to stop cutting yourself:
- Do something creative! Everyone enjoys doing something creative, whether you're good at it or not! I have a friend that paints, one that journals, and still another that writes poetry. I have several friends that write and compose music to release their frustrations. Personally, I like to create/modify websites to get my mind off the things that are bothering me. Sometimes I'll take photographs, work on graphics, or just surf the web for ideas.
- Entertain your mind! You can do a lot of things to occupy your mind besides expelling creative energy. You don't have to dwell on your problems. You can watch TV, rent a movie, or read a book. I would suggest something comical, not dramatic! I would also suggest going to a theater to see a movie because it helps to get out of the house. Also, if you go to a theatre you can't turn the movie off halfway through and you'll be less likely to leave since you've paid money to get in
- Talk! This is probably the most obvious suggestion in the book! You can and should talk to others about your self-injury problem! You'd be surprised at how understanding people can be. I would suggest turning to a close friend or significant other first, but parents can be a good thing to fall back on. If you are not sure how to broach the issue, here are some suggestions on how to tell someone you self-injure. (If you are a parent or friend and you've come across this page, how you react to self-injury disclosure is very important.)
- Practice Violence! Did I really say to do something violent? Yes, but not something that will hurt you or someone else. You can rip up or punch a pillow, scream your lungs off, jump up and down, or practice a combination of things. Exercise is also a good idea, since it can be good for you.
Other Ways to Stop Cutting
If you're still wondering how to stop yourself from cutting, here are some ideas that a friend of mine suggests:
- Journal! Keep a self-injury journal of the bad times. Sometimes, writing can help sway your feelings and the desire to self-injure will subside. Afterwards, you can analyze your feelings and possibly avoid what triggered the desire to self-injure in you in the first place.
- Music! Listen to music. Make mood tapes. Tori Amos seems to be a favorite. Little bits of her music and snippets of quotes twist themselves around the edge of my friend's journal. She has a lot of tapes she has made for herself that help her when she is in the mood to self injure. She has sent quite a few of these tapes to me. They give her something to identify with, so she knows she is not alone.
- Collages! Another interesting thing that she does when she feels down is make collages. She has several that are very interesting, although most are painful to see. It hurts to know someone is in such pain, especially when you know what they are going through and still don't know how to help them. We talk about her collages, why she chooses the images she does, and I try to reinforce that she is just as intelligent, beautiful, and important as the people in her collages.
For more suggestions on ways to immediately avoid self injuring, please take a look at this page on self-harm alternatives. This page offers ways to cope with self-injury based on the feelings that motivate you to self-injure.
Another thing to do, after you have calmed the urge to self-injure, is to go back through your day and try to determine what pushed you to want to SI. This self-injury test might come in handy for that. If you can recognize what is causing the problem, you can attempt to come to terms with it or handle it differently.
Stop Cutting For the Long-Term
Here, you will find methods and suggestions to stop self-injuring permanently, as well as more spur-of-the-moment suggestions. Be prepared to make a commitment to yourself and stop the self-harm. Cutting help and professional cutting treatment are key to your recovery.
I can't stress enough how important communication is in the healing process. If you want to get better, you have to come to terms with your problems, and the best way to do that is by getting self-injury help and support and another perspective by telling someone close to you about your problem.
If someone you care for needs to go to the hospital and wants you to go with them, there are a number of things you can do to ensure they get proper treatment. Sometimes the person that has injured themselves will feel meek or vulnerable. In this situation, you must stand up for them and be their "advocate."
About the author: Vanessa, is a self-injurer and started the self-injury website, "Blood Red."