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.