| “be kind to yourself” - a self-harm prevention post |
**please don’t delete the text, i worked so hard on this article**
self-harm/self-injury: ”Self-injury, also known as cutting or self-mutilation, occurs when someone intentionally and repeatedly harms herself/himself. The method most often used is cutting but other common behaviors include burning, punching, and drinking something harmful, like bleach or detergent.” (mental health america, 2012)
last year, an estimated two million people in america alone suffered from some kind of self-inflicted injury or pain. comparing that to america’s total population, that boils down to a rough average of one in every six people. with the average high school classroom containing thirty students, hypothetically, three of your classmates in each period have self harmed.
i could list statistics for hours and it would bring us no closer to answering the only question that matters: how do we stop this?
there are countless organizations out there entirely devoted to stopping self harm and helping its victims in recovery, like To Write Love on her Arms and the National Self Harm Network. while these are incredible organizations, they cannot be inside your mind at 4 am to calm your thoughts and keep you from self-harming.
so, in an effort to be there for any of you suffering from this brutal addiction, i have created a brief list of short-term self-harm prevention methods, all from personal experience.
1. rubber bands: for those who self-harm simply for the experience of pain, try this when you feel the need to do it instead: take a thin, all-rubber rubber-band and place it on the wrist where you most often self harm. (if there are any open cuts, do not use this method on them.) pull the rubber band about three inches away from your skin and snap it back into place. this hurts like a bitch, and will not break the skin nor cause any damage, other than a little redness. do this until the urge to self-harm subsides.
2. ice. again, for those who self-harm simply for the pain, look no further than the simplest of household objects: ice. hold one or two ice cubes in the palm of your hand and squeeze as hard as you possibly can. the biting cold from the ice will cause some serious stinging, but again, will leave no permanent damage. (note: please do not try that stupid salt-and-ice shit. it can cause third degree burns and we don’t want that shit)
3. a bubble bath: for those who self-harm as a calming mechanism, instead, take a boiling hot bubble bath. fill your bathtub up with as hot of water as you feel comfortable with, and pour bubble bath liquid under the running spout of water. turn all of the lights out, play your favorite calm music, and disappear for a while under all the lovely bubbles.
(note: if you don’t own any bubble bath, try these easy diy ones listed here! the vanilla-honey one is the best just saying)
4. rip paper. for those who self-harm as an expression of anger, rip paper. not frilly little corner tears, i mean grab an ink pen, open a notebook that doesn’t mean much to you anymore, and stab the shit out of it. drag your pen through layers of paper, rip whole pages out, color in one spot so long you’ve broken through to six pages back. do it until your hand is sore, then aggressively throw the now-demolished notebook away. the feeling of dragging the pen through the resistance of the pages will give the same effect as the self-harm, and the only damage left is a poor, sabotaged notebook and slightly-red palms.
5. clean. for those who self harm as a way of exercising control (my own personal downfall), instead of ripping apart your skin, rip every article of clothing from your dresser. organize it by size, by color, by frequency of use or wearability, anything that makes you feel like those drawers are your bitch. scrub the baseboards with a toothbrush, windex your windows from the inside and the outside, tackle that nasty pile of love-letters from your ex and light them on fire. vacuum the floor. vacuum it twice. polish your god-dam doorknob. make everything in that room under your control, even if nothing past the door is at the moment.
6. letters: for those almost always triggered by the actions of others, instead of surrendering to their stupid asses with cuts on your wrist, write them a letter. it may be angry, for the girl who stole your boyfriend (he wasn’t even that cute anyway.). it could be an apology, for that friend you drifted away from and never really meant to. whatever it may be, just write. write until your hand hurts and until your mind is totally blank of words. take the letter and destroy it. burn it. chew it up. angrily stuff it in your neighbors trash can. the past is gone. let it stay that way.
7. compliments. lastly, for those who self-harm to deal with feelings of inferiority, do something that sounds absolutely idiotic: compliment yourself. grab a piece of paper and a pen, and write down everynice thing anyone has ever said to you that you can remember. i don’t care if it was something as tiny as “your earrings look really nice on you”. write it down, and take it to the nearest mirror. stare your reflection straight in the eye, and read out every single compliment. everyone. ignore how stupid you feel and/or look. tell yourself how fucking awesome you are, even when not an ounce of you believes it.
that completes the list of ways i’ve personally found to deal with self-harm! i do hope this was helpful to you, as all seven of them have certainly saved me extra scars on more than one occasion.
important note: you are a fucking gorgeous ray of sunshine, and under no circumstance do you deserve to be harmed, especially not by yourself. i love you to the ends of the earth, and should you ever feel the urge to self-harm, please, take advantage of these resources: