Hey there! I’m back once more… over the summer I decided to write a load of blog posts, and I have scheduled them to be posted once weekly every Wednesday.
If you’ve ever self-harmed, or if you do now, please know that you are not alone. There is always someone who will listen to you and support you.
Even as someone who hasn’t self harmed in years, sometimes when life gets a bit much, the urges can weed their way back into your head. Unfortunately, all we can do is endure those urges until they pass, which can be so hard. But sometimes, it can be really bad, and these urges don’t seem to leave you alone. I experienced this quite a bit over the summer holidays this year, but kept it relatively private because I didn’t want to worry anyone, or talk about my feelings, but also because I always tried to distract myself from those urges- and so didn’t do it.
One thing i want to make crystal clear though, is that relapse is normal – sometimes you will relapse, and the worst thing you can do is start guilt tripping yourself. If it is something you do, or something you have done, it is a coping mechanism that either works or once worked for you (no matter how dangerous it could be) and so when in hard times it can be easy for these urges and actions to replace themselves in our lives. So please don’t beat yourself up if you relapse- but do talk to someone.
I, ironically, was having one of those moments just before I started typing this blog post. As I was scrolling through a google search titled ‘Things to do instead of self harming’. I couldn’t find anything that was very appealing – and then it popped into my head to try and write a blog post and come up with 5 things that could be effective alternatives for when people feel like this.
So lets go
The first thing you could try, I personally found distracting myself with writing this to be beneficial, if you have a blog you could try and write about something you are passionate. Or you could get some scrap paper and just vent, this you can then shred, or (safely) burn and discard of- that way you have gotten how you feel out. If you feel like telling someone – tell someone, tell a trusted family member, or friend. You could even contact someone at TheMix, Young Minds, or the Samaritans. (offering online 1-2-1 help, online group support, email support and telephone and texting support)
Take yourself away from the environment causing you to feel this way. This could be through leaving – if that is possible, if not and say you’re at home, you could go for a walk in the green, or sit in your garden. I personally, have always wished for it to be raining so that i could go and stand in the rain for a little while (not long enough to catch a cold). Or even something as simple as taking a warm shower or bath (or cold if you like them cold)
A good mindfulness technique that i learnt when I first started at university is also a good way to distract yourself. You could even combine this one with the above idea and do it in the new environment you’ve whisked yourself away to. The 5-4-3-2-1 technique- find the following:
5 things that you can see
4 things you can touch
3 things you can hear
2 things you can smell
1 thing you can taste
If you are feeling anger or frustration, rather than taking it out of yourself, rip up some old paper, scream into a pillow, you could even try punching your pillow, break some sticks (or something you don’t mind being broken). Or if you don’t want to use aggression to relieve that, go for a brisk walk, or a run even if it is just up your road. The most important thing to remember is that you must allow yourself to feel, so if you want to cry, then cry, if you have another way of letting your feelings out then do so.
I quite like to do creative things, although since GCSE art i have lost my artistic knack for real drawing and painting- this doesn’t stop me from doing it. I always have quite a strong urge to paint something- I’m not sure what, but anything – this is another way to let how you’re feeling out- even if it doesn’t turn out to be anything in particular. Just doing whatever feels right, even if its splatting paint on to the paper for half an hour, if it helps you feel better, then it is a much better alternative 🙂
Please, remember, if you are struggling – don’t be alone. There is always someone who will be there for you, and you are never alone. If talking is difficult you could try talking to someone online, or just using a word document to get how you are feeling out of your system in a healthy and more positive way.