The Truth About Self-harm
By: Gabby Frost
Self-harm. It’s a newer concept arising in our generation. Many people don’t fully understand it, which has created a stigma. According to The Refuge, due to “self-injury frequently occur[ing] in private, rates of self-harm are difficult to determine.”
No matter what the statistics truly are, it is clear that self-harm is something we need to raise awareness for so that people are properly educated.
Education is the key to ending ignorance, which will end stigmas since they are a result of ignorance. People need to realize that self-harming is an addiction. It is not something someone can stop doing immediately. Ending a self-harm addiction takes time. It is a journey that requires patience and strength.
I know there are many of you that are currently reading this who might have a self-harm addiction or have a friend who does. I’m going to list some good alternatives to self-harm so that you can let out your emotions in a healthy way or spread them on to your friend(s) who need it. I’ll also put some important sites at the bottom in case you need advice on telling your parents/guardian about it or if you have a friend who you want to encourage getting help.
But before I list some alternatives, here is a message out there to anyone who has ever self-harmed (I actually wrote this post about 2 years ago and it is on my tumblr).
· Scribble on photos of people in magazines
· Tear apart newspapers, photos, or magazines
· Go to the gym, dance, or any type of physical activity
· Splatter paint
· Write your feelings on paper then rip it
· Run your hands under freezing cold water
· Clap your hands repeatedly
· Splash your face with cold water
· Take a hot shower/bath
· Write or paint on yourself (don’t use pen!)
· Take a bath with ice cubes (it gives a numbing sensation)
· Bite into a hot pepper
· Count ceiling lights or tiles
· Play a musical instrument
· Doodle on sheets of paper
· Write out lyrics to your favorite song
· Browse eBay or Amazon
· Memorize a poem with meaning
· Learn to swear in another language
· Go outside and watch the clouds roll by
· Re-organize your room
· Draw or paint
· Buy a cuddly toy
· Wander aimlessly through a bookstore
· Watch a favorite TV show or movie
· Eat something ridiculously sweet
· Remember a happy moment and relive it in your head
· Look at things that are special to you
· Youtube funny videos
· Let yourself cry
· Write words in the sand and let them by washed away
· Meditate/do yoga
· Hug a pillow or soft toy
· Crunch ice
· Feel your pulse to prove you’re alive
· Create a safe place and take yourself there
· Remember that you don’t have to hurt yourself just because you’re thinking about self-harm
· Make a notebook of song lyrics you relate to
· Paint yourself with red tempra paint
· Repeat to yourself “I don’t deserve to be hurt” until you believe it
Angry, frustrated, restless?
· Hit a punching bag
· Use a pillow to hit a wall, pillow-fight style
· Rip up an old newspaper or phone book
· On a sketch or photo of yourself, mark in red ink where you feel like cutting
· Make Play-doh or Sculpey or other clay models and smash them
· Throw ice against something hard enough to shatter it
· Crank up some music and dance
· Go for a walk/jog/run
· Play a physical sport
Sad, depressed, unhappy?
· Do something slow and soothing, like taking a hot bath
· Light sweet-smelling incense
· Listen to soothing music
· Smooth nice body lotion into the parts of yourself you want to hurt
· Call a friend and just talk about things that you like
· Visit a friend
Craving sensation, feeling unreal?
· Squeeze ice cubes hard
· Put a finger into frozen food (like ice cream)
· Take a cold bath
· Focus on how it feels to breathe. Notice how your body moves
Wanting to see scars or pick scabs?
· Get a henna tattoo kit. You put the henna on as a paste and leave it overnight; the next day you can pick it off as you would a scab and it leaves an orange-red mark behind
I found some sites that I think would be useful for anyone looking for more information on self-harm and advice if you or someone you know wants to tell their parents/guardians or get help.
No matter what situation you're in right now, I am so proud of you. Always remember that.