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Self Harm If you or someone you know is struggling with self harm and needs advice or alternatives, we're here to help.

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Self harming in my sleep???? Please help :'( - October 15th 2012, 08:46 PM

hello, I really need some help.
I have a problem with self harming in my sleep. I used to do it intentionally but it was upsetting my boyfriend, so I forced myself to stop. since then, I have been waking up with scratches and cuts on my arms and thighs. I don't know how to get out of it, or how to break to my boyfriend that it's happening in my sleep. So far, he hasn't seen any of the scratches as it's winter and i'm usually wearing jumpers and jeans, but I can't keep hiding it from him. I'm desperate for help, what should I do?
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Re: Self harming in my sleep???? Please help :'( - October 21st 2012, 08:01 PM

My friend had a similar situation, I always used to see scratches on stomach, arms and thighs and I asked her about it. She flat out told me what was going on because she knew I self harmed too. What you have to think about is the underlying problem. You have to try and fix that before anything else can be fixed... do you happen to have any mental illnesses? or depression? Or maybe self confidence issues? I think that if I knew about any of these it would allow me to fully understand the situation and be able to help you furthur.
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Re: Self harming in my sleep???? Please help :'( - October 21st 2012, 11:49 PM

In order to break this habit, there are several creative methods you could try. It sounds like this is happening involuntarily, which means that it's just your mind set messing around with you.

First, for at least 15 minutes every day before you go to bed, find a quiet space where you won't be distracted (and for safety's sake, make sure there are no sharp objects around). Sit down, close your eyes, and de-stress. Think through things that happened during the day that made you angry, things that made you sad, things that made you want to hurt yourself or somebody else. Then, think about the things you're looking forward to, the things that make you happy, plans you have for the future, a good grade you got, et cetera. (You could also do all of this by writing it down in a diary). Basically, get out all of the frustration of the day, and then change your mindset to a happy one by thinking about the good things in your life.

Continue thinking positively until you fall asleep. When you're asleep, there's really nothing you can do. However, you can make sure you keep your nails filed and short until you break this habit, to minimalize damage to yourself (this includes toenails).

Another thing you could do is wear long sleeves when you go to bed so that your fingers can't get at your skin. It's almost Winter anyway, so this won't seem to weird to anybody you live with. You could also try just putting your hands behind your head - it's a safe position, and it would require you to move a lot more than just flexing your fingers to dig your nails in.

Other than that, it seems like more of a mental problem than a phyiscal "your hands are literally rebelling against you" kind of thing. One thing that you DEFINITELY do not want to do is tie your hands up or restrain yourself physically, because you will only hurt yourself and you won't end up breaking the habit at all.

One more thing you might want to do is talk to your doctor and ask if they have any reccomendations for you. You don't even have to tell them that you self harm - just that your hands keep scratching when you're sleeping.

Be like the birds: sing after every storm.
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