How To Stop Self Harming

Disclaimer: This blog post does contain references to self-harm and a video related to self-harm, which some readers may find triggering. If this is something that could trigger you, please click off and I will see you in my next post on Friday!

Hello angels! As the 1st March is Self Harm Awareness Day, I have decided to share the story of how I stopped self harming. I am choosing to talk about this in the hope that I can educate those who do not self harm and also offer a means of support to the people that have or do. Personally, I am 2 years and 11 months clean from self harm, and sadly I didn’t receive professional support with stopping. This means that I had no choice but to teach myself to stop. If any of you are struggling with self harm, I really hope that this post is something you can return to in the future for help and support!

 

What is Self Harm?

Self harm or self mutilation: when somebody intentionally damages or injures their body.

More than a third of 16-25 year olds in Britain have self-harmed, according to a new survey made by Self Harm UK, The Mix and Young Minds, which you can find here. The rates of self-harm are increasing rapidly and individuals are quite literally becoming addicted to hurting themselves. When a person self harms, their body releases endorphins to support itself in dealing with the pain. These endorphins provide a calm feeling and for a moment, the emotional pain isn’t there anymore. The release felt by individuals is extremely short-lived and can be followed by guilt, sadness and frustration. Consequently, this leads to further self harming behaviours and demonstrates the ongoing cycle of destruction that is easy to become trapped in.

There are multiple reasons why somebody may choose to harm themselves, for example:

To punish themselves
To gain control over their feelings
Low self-esteem
Bullying
Trauma
Bereavement
Stress
Illness
Abuse
To feel something

It is extremely common for individuals to hide their self harm from others, due to feelings of shame and fear of judgement. The stigma built up around mental health illnesses is so upsetting, although I am hopeful that one day it will be gone. If you are reading this and you have self harm scars, I want you to know that they really are nothing to feel ashamed of. They are reminders of the battles against yourself which you won, and that takes so much strength.

 

How to stop self harming

Confide in somebody that you trust

When I was relapsing into self harm, I recognised that to break out of my destructive cycle I needed to receive professional help. Looking back on this time, I wasn’t able to get help for myself because I was too unwell. So, when I confided in my Mum I was able to take a step towards recovery and keeping myself safe.

There are lots of ways that you can tell somebody that you are self harming. If you can’t face telling them in person you could write a letter, record a video message, send a text message or ask somebody else to tell this person for you. After telling somebody, prepare yourself for the following reaction, which could range from feelings of guilt, anger, sadness and confusion. Please know that their negative feelings are not aimed towards you. They are towards the act of self injury on somebody that they love and the pain which you have been through, to want to harm yourself.

 

Get rid of the tools that you use to self harm

This was one of the hardest steps for me in becoming clean from self harm, as it eventually completely removes all possibility of you hurting yourself. Simply, if you have nothing to hurt yourself with, then you can’t hurt yourself. I understand that for a lot of you, these tools are your comfort blanket, and taking them all away at once would be extremely overwhelming and difficult. That’s why I suggest doing this over a large period of time. For instance, after one week you’ll dispose of a tool. Subsequently, after another week you’ll dispose of another tool and so on…

This method makes the transition easier to adjust to, and it also proves to yourself that you don’t need them or rely on them as a coping mechanism. This is genuinely something to be celebrating! Taking steps towards getting rid of your tools is a massive step in your recovery and you should feel so pleased with yourself! I’m so proud of you angel!

I also found that writing down the personal reasons for getting rid of your tools is something which can help you to rationalise your thoughts when any urges return, and cause you to question your decision and progress. You could even leave yourself little messages around your bedroom, which motivate you to keep going and fighting! Below is a template which you can use to write your own personal reasons for getting rid of your tools.

‘I’ve made the decision to gradually dispose of my self harm tools. So, I am writing this note to remind you, (future self), why you should continue to dispose of every tool which you own, and of the reasons behind this decision.

I am deserving of happiness

I want to be a role model for other young people

The release is only temporary

I want to get better

I want to regain control.’

 

Recognise your triggers

A trigger is something which gives you an urge to harm yourself. Pinpointing what it is that triggers you to self harm means that you can take steps towards removing this trigger from your day-to-day life, or lessening the chances that you will be exposed to this trigger. This means that you are able to prepare yourself in advance and will be more likely to cope and overcome the trigger, compared to if you were thrown into a traumatising situation unexpectedly. Some examples of triggers could be a piece of music, a specific time of year, a place and social media.

I have found that a good way to identify your triggers is by writing them down in a safe place. When you feel an urge to hurt yourself, reach towards this and do your best to document the following:

Where were you when this happened?

Who were you with?

What did you hear/see/touch/smell/taste?

How did you cope with the urge?

How long did the urge last?

Patterns should start to form in your log of things that trigger your self harm urges. Identifying these sequences means that you can find healthy ways to cope with any urges. For example, if a predominant urge is being in busy and crowded places, you can equip yourself with valuable support systems (such as headphones, breathing techniques and ice packs) and slowly ease yourself into that anxiety-provoking situation over time.

 

Self Harm, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Recovery

Find your coping mechanisms 

Being able to reach towards things that you know have the potential to help you is just so reassuring and positive! If you don’t already have some coping mechanisms readily available to you, I highly suggest putting some in place.

Each of the distractions listed below are ones that I use myself, to challenge negative thoughts. I can’t promise that they will work for you as everybody is different! However, I would love for you to leave your own distractions in the comments section below! You may come across a new one that you hadn’t heard of before, or help somebody in need right now.

  • Holding onto ice:

The intense feeling of coldness helps to bring me back from a panic attack and into the present moment. But make sure to not hold it for long periods of time as it can hurt your hands!

  • Feeling your pulse:

At times where anxiety gets the better of us, it is common to experience symptoms like trembling, excessive sweating, shortness of breath and a fast heartbeat. I have found it really useful in the past to find my pulse and hold my fingers there. This is because the strong feeling reminds you that you are alive. Your body is fighting to keep you alive, and it deserves to be loved and taken care of.

  • Write words in the sand and let them be washed away: 

There is something so freeing about watching your worries and negative thoughts wash away! If you don’t like near the sea, you could write your worries down on some paper and then rip them up! It represents the same action of any negativity being removed from your mind.

  • Self soothing:

Being kind to yourself when you feel this low is so incredibly important! I have written a post explaining how you can make a Self Soothe Box, which you can find here.

  • Eat or drink something sour:

I’ve found that drinking a really cold Lemon San Pellegrino is enough to distract me. The sharp taste brings me back to the present, and it stops me from thinking about any urges.

  • Drawing or painting on yourself:

The video which I have included below is a BBC Story, highlighting how a girl named Amelia uses art to fight her self harm urges. Amelia has a Instagram page dedicated to all of her paintings which you can find here.

 

Take care of yourself

Lastly, I cannot stress enough the importance of being kind to yourself; even on the days when you don’t feel deserving of any kindness. I understand that mental illness can make it difficult to find the energy for this, but pushing yourself to do some of these small things can really change how you’re feeling for the better!

Getting a good amount of rest

Eating and staying hydrated

Taking your medication everyday

Having a shower

Getting some fresh air

For the perfect self care exercise, read my post here angels!

 

Becoming clean from self harm hasn’t been easy, although with everyday that passes I have more faith in my ability to not let the urges win. Thank you for reading angels! I hope that today, on Self Harm Awareness Dayyou feel inspired to be mindful of how you treat those around you. Everybody is fighting a battle which you know nothing about, please be kind.

 

Make sure to follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest!

See you on Friday for a new post!

Love Casey x

 

Below are links to websites that can support you if you are suffering from a mental illness.

Samaritans
116 123 (24 hours a day, free to call)
jo@samaritans.org
https://www.samaritans.org/

Mind
0300 123 3393 (9am-6pm Monday to Friday)
info@mind.org.uk
https://www.mind.org.uk/

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55 Comments

  1. 01/03/2019 / 12:21 PM

    Well done for working so hard to stop self harming. I’ve never heard of things like holding an icecube to distract you from panic attacks but it sounds like such a good idea. You deserve to be so proud of yourself xx

    • casestreetx
      Author
      01/03/2019 / 2:15 PM

      Hi Becky,
      Thank you so much!
      Love Casey x

    • 06/03/2019 / 8:48 PM

      I’m so sad and frustrated for you that you didn’t receive any help with your battle. I’m so happy for you that you managed to stop though. I’ve never felt the urge to self harm but I did battle with mental illness for a while and found myself in a very dark place. The hardest thing is knowing where to start, especially as it’s such a personal thing. What works for one person may not work for someone else.

      Good on you for finding the courage to share your experiences. I really hope it will help someone in the same situation x

      • casestreetx
        Author
        07/03/2019 / 9:00 AM

        Hello Rachael,
        Thank you very much angel! I’m so pleased that you got out of that dark place, that shows amazing strength! Thank you!
        Love Casey x

  2. 01/03/2019 / 5:20 PM

    You are incredible person to stop it and your method of doing it is just amazing. Also, you look pretty in the pictures πŸ™‚

  3. 01/03/2019 / 6:47 PM

    I’m so glad you’ve been able to overcome your self-harming! And thank you for sharing your story. It’s so important to let others realize that they are not alone in what they are going through and that there are plenty of people who can relate to them. I love that you mention other coping mechanisms. This is a great place to start for someone who is self-harming!

    πŸ’— Alexx | Aesthetics by Alexx
    https://aestheticsbyalexx.com

  4. Asher Downer
    01/03/2019 / 7:11 PM

    This is SUCH A IMPORTANT POST. Well done for working so hard, well done x

  5. 01/03/2019 / 7:16 PM

    Some really useful tips you have shared in this post! I’d like practicing some of these. Thanks.

  6. 01/03/2019 / 7:47 PM

    well done on the great job that you are doing. it takes a lot of guts to change from one addictive thing to facing life and dealing with issues. Thanks for sharing.

    • casestreetx
      Author
      07/03/2019 / 9:21 AM

      Hello Lilian,
      Thank you very much angel! It is a very hard cycle to break out of, but it is also very possible! Thank you for reading lovely!
      Love Casey x

    • casestreetx
      Author
      07/03/2019 / 9:17 AM

      Hi Sarah,
      Thank you so much angel!
      Love Casey x

  7. 01/03/2019 / 9:10 PM

    Thank you for sharing your experiences – this was incredibly brave and provides a lot of well-thought insight. I had no clue that 3/1 was Self-Harm Awareness Day, so I’m grateful to know this so I can be aware moving forward.

    • casestreetx
      Author
      07/03/2019 / 9:17 AM

      Hello lovely,
      Thank you for taking the time to comment! Even though March 1st is Self Harm Awareness Day, I feel it is really important to be mindful of self harm and supportive to individuals that do self harm, every day.
      Love Casey x

  8. 02/03/2019 / 1:27 AM

    You’re so brave! I don’t think I know anyone as brave as you, who would come out to talk about your experiences with self-harm. Also, I really love the idea of covering up self-harm scars with a sunflower. It’s not a way to ‘hide’ your scar, but an answer. It’s a way to say ‘I’m done and over with you. I want to replace it with new lovely memories from now on’. Great job! Thanks for sharing!

    • casestreetx
      Author
      07/03/2019 / 9:15 AM

      Hello Kaye,
      Thank you angel! That is a really lovely thought! Thank you so much!
      Love Casey x

  9. 03/03/2019 / 3:48 PM

    This is a great read and going to be helpful to so many people. I’m still trying to identify and understand my triggers.

    • casestreetx
      Author
      07/03/2019 / 9:13 AM

      Hello Arianne,
      Thank you lovely! It will take time angel. Keep being strong, I’m proud of you for taking the time to understand your triggers!
      Love Casey x

    • casestreetx
      Author
      07/03/2019 / 9:12 AM

      Hello Melanie,
      Thank you very much, me too!
      Love Casey x

  10. 03/03/2019 / 7:04 PM

    Congratulations not only for taking this incredible step in your own personal life, prioritizing your own well-being but also for being such a strong, vulnerable individual by sharing this. Your post could make an incredible difference for many people who are still struggling.

    • casestreetx
      Author
      07/03/2019 / 9:12 AM

      Hiya Britt,
      Thank you very much lovely! I really hope that it does! Thank you for taking the time to read and comment!
      Love Casey x

  11. 04/03/2019 / 12:14 PM

    Thank you for being so honest! πŸ™‚ This was a very informative and useful post πŸ™‚ Glad to hear you are doing better now πŸ™‚πŸ’œ

    • casestreetx
      Author
      07/03/2019 / 9:09 AM

      Hello Emma,
      Thank you for such a lovely comment!
      Love Casey x

    • casestreetx
      Author
      07/03/2019 / 9:09 AM

      Hiya Samantha,
      Thank you angel! I hope that you were able to learn more about why people self harm from my post!
      Love Casey x

  12. Emma
    04/03/2019 / 9:25 PM

    You are an amazing person to write about this topic and be so open about your struggles. You are clearly a very strong person and I am sure this blog will help a lot of people who are also struggling. You are doing great and I wish you well! Take care 🌼 xx

    • casestreetx
      Author
      07/03/2019 / 9:08 AM

      Hello Emma,
      Thank you so much, it was very hard to do but I want to use my experiences to help other people! Thank you angel!
      Love Casey x

  13. 05/03/2019 / 6:30 PM

    I think it’s great that you posted this! I’m sure it could help a lot of people. Thanks for being so honest with this

    Coralle x

    • casestreetx
      Author
      07/03/2019 / 9:06 AM

      Hello Coralle,
      Thank you angel!
      Love Casey x

  14. 05/03/2019 / 8:21 PM

    Thank you for sharing your story! I am sure this is going to help a lot of people to stop self harming 😊

    • casestreetx
      Author
      07/03/2019 / 9:05 AM

      Hi Rob,
      Thank you very much, I hope so too!
      Love Casey x

  15. 05/03/2019 / 9:07 PM

    So impressed with this post you are inspirational sharing your story and overcoming this. The tips you have suggested are also so different to anything I’ve ever come across but I can really see how they would work and help the situation. Thank you so much for a post which must have took such courage to write xx

    • casestreetx
      Author
      07/03/2019 / 9:03 AM

      Hello Michelle,
      Thank you very much lovely! I really hope that everybody finds them useful, I have used them for years myself! Thank you angel!
      Love Casey x

  16. 07/03/2019 / 7:28 AM

    Well done for sharing your story, it’s so brave but so important to talk to people about it as you’ll help so many other people!

    Katie | http://www.justkatiee.com Xx

    • casestreetx
      Author
      07/03/2019 / 8:57 AM

      Hi Katie,
      Thank you so much lovely!
      Love Casey x

  17. 07/03/2019 / 5:16 PM

    Thank you for sharing your story and for giving hope and motivation for others. I sometimes suffer from anxiety and I find that music, relaxation videos and breathing exercises, also the smell of a perfume or essential oil help a lot.

    • casestreetx
      Author
      08/03/2019 / 8:13 AM

      Hi Lovely,
      Thank you very much! I’m glad that you find them useful.
      Love Casey x

  18. 07/03/2019 / 7:51 PM

    Well done for stopping. I self harmed through my teenage years and was self harm free until last year when I relapsed. But I did manage to stop again and have been ‘clean’ for 9 months now, I’m hoping I never go back there again. These are some great ideas, I’ve personally used the ice cube method and drawing methods. I’m never comfortable talking about it though or the urges (which I occassionally still have).

    • casestreetx
      Author
      08/03/2019 / 8:14 AM

      Hello Kim,
      Thank you angel! That’s amazing! I’m so proud of you! If you need a friend then please send me a message!
      Love Casey x

  19. Millie
    09/03/2019 / 2:57 PM

    This is a great blog! Your honesty and your growth are both where inspiration lies!

    • casestreetx
      Author
      12/03/2019 / 12:57 PM

      Hello Millie,
      Thank you angel! That is very kind of you lovely!
      Love Casey x

  20. 10/03/2019 / 8:30 AM

    Thank you for sharing such an important and well written article x

    • casestreetx
      Author
      12/03/2019 / 12:50 PM

      Hello Chloe,
      Thank you very much angel!
      Love Casey x

  21. 12/03/2019 / 9:15 AM

    So brave of you to open up about your self harming journey, you should be so proud of yourself for overcoming it!!
    You’ve written such a brilliant post for those living with these issues, the coping methods would really help someone!

    Liv x
    http://www.seabreezecorner.com

    • casestreetx
      Author
      12/03/2019 / 12:39 PM

      Hi Liv,
      Thank you very much angel, I really hope that this post can!
      Love Casey x

  22. 12/03/2019 / 10:58 AM

    Very informative article. Recently a loved was self harming themselves, I will make sure I pass this post to them. Thank you 🌻

    • casestreetx
      Author
      12/03/2019 / 12:38 PM

      Hi Raki,
      Thank you very much lovely! I hope that they find this helpful, sending both of you positive vibes and strength!
      Love Casey x

  23. 12/03/2019 / 4:12 PM

    Congratulations for working hard on yourself. Mental health has become an epidemic and requires more attention. You are an amazing person, it means a lot to turn around and start helping others get through the challenges life throws at them. Thanks for sharing ❀

    • casestreetx
      Author
      12/03/2019 / 11:07 PM

      Hello Sheqo,
      Thank you very much angel, that is very kind of you!
      Love Casey x

  24. 26/03/2019 / 2:11 PM

    This is a brilliant post. I know many parents who may have teenagers who self-harm and I shall refer them to this.

    • casestreetx
      Author
      14/04/2019 / 3:16 PM

      Hiya Elisabeth,
      Thank you! I hope that they find my post helpful!
      Love Casey x

  25. 20/04/2019 / 9:19 PM

    Wonderfully helpful tips. I am a former self-harmer and, somehow, managed to stop with the use of journalling, talking and alternative methods of calming.

    This will really be able to help others who are going through self harm, thank you for taking the time to write it.

    – Nyxie

    https://nyxiesnook.com/how-to-practice-self-care-on-a-bad-day/

    • 30/04/2019 / 10:35 AM

      Hello Nyxie,
      Thank you very much! I am so pleased to hear that, you should be so proud of yourself! I really hope so, thank you for your lovely comment!
      Love Casey x

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