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Self Harm. Introduction, Alternatives & Where To Get Help

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Self Harm. Introduction, Alternatives & Where To Get Help

Postby CrackedGirl » Sat Nov 29, 2014 5:01 am

Introduction

Self harm or self injury (sometimes referred to as "self mutilation" but this term is often offensive and upsetting to many who self harm so it is more appropriate to use "self harm" or "self injury") is when a person does something to deliberately hurt themselves.

This is usually physical in nature but can also be emotional (eg deliberately disengaging from a support structure [such as a psychiatric team or friends], or having reckless sex might be considered self injury).

Some examples of self injury are listed below.

• Cutting
• Burning
• Skin picking (dermatillomania)
• Excessive hair pulling/plucking (trichotillomania)
• Hitting
• Ingesting harmful things
• Emotional self harm
• Any other behaviour which is done deliberately to cause harm to oneself

Reasons for self harm can be complex but some reasons are listed below. this list is not exhaustive

• To deal with anger
• To calm down
• To deal with being unable to feel emotions
• When feeling scared
• When feeling sad, lonely or helpless

If you are self harming or think you might be self harming, it is really important to talk to a professional about this. It is also important to maintain your own safety and seek urgent help if you think that you have caused yourself serious harm. This may need to be in the form of attending your ER or A&E urgently. This will be discussed further later in this thread.
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Re: Self Harm. Introduction, Alternatives & Where To Get Help

Postby gratteciel » Sat Nov 29, 2014 5:23 am

Alternatives to Self Harm

If you self harm to deal with anger that you feel you cannot express openly…
• Scribble on photos of people in magazines
• Have a pillow fight with the wall
• Scream into a pillow
• Tear apart paper (bonus: write your feelings down, then tear up the paper)
• Listen to music and sing loudly
• Stomp around in heavy shoes

When you’re feeling restless/want to calm down…
• Write in a journal
• Paint/draw using soft lines
• Listen to classical music/soft, acoustic music
• Practice breathing exercises (example: inhale for five seconds, hold, then exhale for five seconds repeatedly - try to get up to eight seconds)

If you’re numb inside or are having trouble feeling emotions…
• Hold ice in your hands, against your arm, or in your mouth
• Run your hands under freezing cold water
• Splash your face with cold water
• Write or paint on yourself
• Listen to sad music and cry it out
• Bite into a hot pepper
• Rub tiger balm on your skin (it is a muscle relaxant that will leave a tingling sensation)

If you’re panicky or scared…
• Focus on a feeling of safety - crawl into bed and focus on the feeling of the soft blankets, hold a stuffed animal, etc.
• Do a reality check-list: What’s the date? Where are you? I am safe because…
• Put your feet firmly on the floor and focus on that
• Create a safe place for yourself and take yourself there (either physically or mentally)
• Drink a warm drink
• Hug a pillow or soft toy
• Cuddle or play with your pet

When you’re feeling sad, lonely, or hopeless…
• Call a friend or family member, ask for company (even if you don’t tell them why you’re calling, it’s good to hear someone else’s voice)
• Imagine the future and plan things you want to do
• Look at things that are special to you - pictures, things people have given you, etc.
• Call a crisis hotline
• Hug a pillow or stuffed animal
• Plan something fun to do with friends or family
• Play with or cuddle a pet

If you just want to wait it out…
• Play “The Waiting Game” - choose an interval of time (one minute, five minutes, fifteen minutes, etc.) and decide you will not harm for that period of time; congratulate yourself every time you make it to your goal
• Count to 500
• Play a musical instrument
• Play computer games
• Memorize a poem
• Make fun weekend plans
• Choose a random object, like a paper clip, and try to come up with 30 uses for it - be creative!
• Re-organize your room
• Call a trusted friend or family member

If you need a reason not to harm yourself…
• Repeat to yourself, “I do not deserve to be hurt” even if you don’t believe it
• Write down affirmations, or positive thoughts about yourself, and hang them where you can see them - even if you don’t believe them at first
• Remember that you ALWAYS have a choice
• Remind yourself that this is only temporary; the feeling will pass
• Think about what you would say to a loved one who is thinking of harming themselves; use those same caring words toward yourself
• Remember that people care about you, and don’t want you to hurt

Keep numbers of local crisis hotlines handy, and remember to use them, no matter your reason for wanting to self harm. Also remember to call your doctor, therapist, or other professional in a time of need if possible. (Scroll down for a list of crisis hotlines.)

As always, if you are in a life-threatening emergency or need medical attention, please call emergency medical services or, if you can safely do so, go to the ER or A&E (or the equivalent in your area) immediately.
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
-Albert Einstein
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Re: Self Harm. Introduction, Alternatives & Where To Get Help

Postby CrackedGirl » Sat Nov 29, 2014 5:32 am

Where To Get Help

IF YOU HAVE CAUSED YOURSELF SERIOUS HARM OR THINK YOU HAVE CAUSED YOURSELF SERIOUS HARM PLEASE GO TO YOUR NEAREST EMERGENCY ROOM, ACCIDENT & EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT OR EQUIVALENT AS A MATTER OF URGENCY

It is very important to make sure that you seek medical advice if you are concerned about what you have done to hurt yourself. This may need to be in the form of seeking urgent advice at hospital. Your safety comes first and whether or not you want to, it is really important to seek help if you need it. Accessing crisis lines is another option when you are struggling with self harm urges but if you have badly hurt yourself you need to go to the hospital. You can find some specific crisis line details in the post "Specific Resources".

In terms of seeking further help, this will depend on the healthcare system where you live. The important thing is that you tell a professional that you are self harming so they can decide what is the appropriate management for this. The professional you will tell will vary between locations but examples are a GP, a therapist or a psychiatrist. They can then work with you on this or refer you to the appropriate person who can help. If you are a minor then it may be that you don't have immediate access to a medical professional. In which case telling another safe adult such as a family member, teacher or someone from your place of worship who you trust is an option. They can then help you access the help you need.

Remember that as well as telling a professional, it is good to have a support structure in your life eg comprising family and friends. It is important to use this support structure healthily. Remember no one can stop you self harming but yourself. But it is good to have support around you. It can be difficult to tell people about self harming so make sure you pick people you tell carefully. Hopefully you can build a supportive structure around you.

Overall 3 good rules to follow are

1. IF YOU HAVE CAUSED YOURSELF SERIOUS HARM GO STRAIGHT TO THE ER/A&E
2. Be honest with people and yourself about what is going on
3. Remember only you can stop yourself self harming but it is good to have professional and non professional support around you
So long and thanks for all the fish

Now we are out of the sea and we're keeping away from the sharks

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Re: Self Harm. Introduction, Alternatives & Where To Get Help

Postby gratteciel » Sat Nov 29, 2014 5:36 am

Specific Resources

Fortunately, there are many crisis centers and hotlines for people at risk of self harm or even suicide. Please remember that these resources are in no way a substitute for professional care, and you should still call emergency medical services if you need urgent medical attention.

Emergency Numbers:

http://www.911dispatch.com/911/911_world.html

Crisis Hotlines:

http://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/ (All countries - directory)

http://suicideprevention.wikia.com/wiki ... _Directory (All countries - directory)

https://www.psychology.org.au/public/me ... -websites/ (Australia)

http://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-he ... contact-us (UK)

http://www.mind.org.uk/ (UK)

http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/gethelp (US)

https://www.dosomething.org/tipsandtools/hotlines (US - this one includes crisis lines for more than just self harm)

Miscellaneous Resources:

http://www.211search.org/ (US - use this for networking/referrals if you need to find a doctor or therapist; please note that this is NOT a crisis line)

Please note that, although we will make every attempt to keep current information in this thread, these websites are separate from PsychForums and may change without notice. If you are in danger, please call emergency medical services IMMEDIATELY or, if you are able to safely do so, go to the ER/A&E/your local equivalent.
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
-Albert Einstein
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Re: Self Harm. Introduction, Alternatives & Where To Get Help

Postby gratteciel » Sat Nov 29, 2014 5:38 am

If you have anything to add...

If you have anything to add after reading through this thread, please contact one of our Cutting/Self Injury Forum moderators via private message (PM). (You can spot a moderator by the color in which their username appears - site admin are in red, super moderators in green, and moderators in blue.) Anyone will be glad to help you. Keep in mind that we will use our discretion to decide whether or not any addition is necessary, and PMing a mod does not guarantee an addition to the thread. For organizational purposes, please use PMs to make suggestions instead of the open forum.

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The Moderator Team
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
-Albert Einstein
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