Self harm doesn’t just mean cutting yourself. It also happens when you hurt, injure or make yourself ill on purpose. As well as cutting this might by overdosing on medications or harmful substances, burning, swallowing objects, hitting your head/body off of hard surfaces. Although you may feel very alone when you self harm it is important to remember that you are not the only one feeling this way. About 10% of young people self harm. It is most common during teen years but anybody at any can find themselves dealing with self harm.
The urge to self harm can often feel very intense and very sudden. There are some things you can do to help though. This can help you reduce the feeling so you can deal with it without hurting yourself.
Below are ideas for things you can try when you start to feel the urge to self harm:
- Placing an elastic band around your wrist and pinging it
- Holding an ice cube (you can use red food dye when freezing to make it look like blood)
- Holding an egg in your hand and crushing it
- Writing or marking yourself with a red (non-permanent) pen
When you feel the urge to self harm you may find that your heart beats faster and your mind is racing. Sometimes, being able to focus on something else can help you calm enough to let the feelings start to pass.
If distracting yourself isn’t working it might help to calm your body down so you feel more relaxed. Once you feel calmer your heart will stop pounding and your body will relax. Try focussing on taking deep breaths down to your stomach. Hold your breath briefly. Then slowly let your breath out. This can help you calm down. It will also reduce the panicky feelings you might get when you feel the urge to self harm.
More information on self harm can be found here.