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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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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
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How do I tell my friend to help me? - February 7th 2014, 11:06 PM

Hi! I was on here years ago and found it to be a helpful place to get advice, so I thought I would give it another go.

I've been a cutter (not deep) on and off for 8 and a 1/2 years now. Recently, my stress level has increased therefore I've wanted to cut myself a lot. I caved in after going strong for six months - and now I have urges every day. I have one friend whose trying to help me get through this - because I frankly don't have many people that I trust left. And frankly it's really hard on him, because he's trying to maintain a full time job, do college and deal with my "breakdown," all at the same time. And it hasn't been easy on him, or me for that matter, because the last thing I want to do is hurt my best friend, or lose him.

Basically - right now I'm in a pretty low spot and it's hard to get through on my own. It's also hard to explain the crushing weight that has been placed upon me or so it feels and I can't sit by myself alone, without cutting. I literally just can't at the moment. So I usually end up texting him. Which I feel bad about.

I also have a counselor who I see about this, and she knows about him and thinks that it's great that I have a support system. I think he just wanted advice on how to best handle a "cutter," and what to do for them, so he knows that he is helping me, and that's it's legit advice and not just something he googled. I'm not good at listing things, so this would be a good thing for both of us to learn.

So far we have the:
- write the names of the people who care about you and make you happy on your arms. (so you don't want to cut) that usually works, but it faded away and now I don't want to write them back because of the guilt and shame, and I don't want him to re-write them for me because well, I need to be stronger than that.
- Ice trick, where you hold and squeeze ice for a select amount of time. Again, it's easier when he's there telling me to hold on, or even doing it with me...just because I'm at a pathetically weak point in my life.
- I also gave him my blades - but then I just went out and bought more...and now I feel like I betrayed his trust, so I don't know what to do about that. In a way I feel like I need them.... I don't want to do something more reckless.

I guess, if there's any suggestions or ideas that you could throw out, we know all the generic alternatives. But what's worked for you? Or what has a professional told you? I really just need help. Also, how can I support myself, so he doesn't always have to carry the weight of my problems, or is something that is just going to take time?

Thanks!
   
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Re: How do I tell my friend to help me? - February 7th 2014, 11:48 PM

Well, welcome back to TH! I hope you still find this to be a helpful place.

I want to say that even though you have had urges to self harm every day, going six months was a really great accomplishment, so even though you had a slip up, don't let this stop you from becoming self harm free again. I can tell that you have tons of strength to make it six months!

I agree that it's great you have a support system. If you feel bad about texting this friend, maybe you can let him know that if he ever needs any support, he can come to you as well. That way, you can at least make sure this is a two-way street, and having him know he can talk to you may make you feel a bit better since the option is there, if that makes sense. Let him know you do feel a bit guilty for buying new blades, but explain how difficult it can be to stop self harming sometimes and a bit about why you bought more. If you think it would be beneficial, you can explain more about what you are going through and why you are feeling the urge to self harm so he understands.

Your stress levels have increased, so it is important you find a way to manage these stress levels. Continue to see your counselor and definitely be honest with her about how unsafe you are being and about how stressed you are recently to start off with, because she's definitely someone who can help. Let her know some of the alternatives you've tried as well, such as the ice.

But, also try and find ways to express what you are feeling. Maybe you can use writing, art, or music to get out your pent up thoughts in a creative way. What you produce doesn't have to be some masterpiece, but what it basically does is gets out a bit of what you're feeling. Also, maybe you can exercise, because that's a good way to release stress.

My counselor told me once that I have to focus on ME sometimes, rather than everything else going on in my life (for me, school is a big stressor and it has lead me to self harm, for example). I have to learn to put that aside, even if it's just for one day out of the week, to do something I want to do and allow myself to thoroughly enjoy it. For me, one thing that I did for myself was to watch a few episodes of Pretty Little Liars without any interruptions because I enjoy the show. You can substitute Pretty Little Liars with a good show or movie, if you want to go that route. You can even allow yourself to be absorbed in a nice book for a change. If you have any interests you like, do those, of course, I just listed a few examples that came to my mind. But make sure it's something you are doing for yourself, even if it's just once a week for a start, that you can get into and enjoy yourself doing.

Try and find ways to relax. Even if it's just taking a bath or shower then curling up with a book or movie or eating your favorite goodies, those all definitely count.

There's definitely no guilt in writing the names of people you care about on your arms. That's similar to the butterfly project, where you draw a butterfly where you want to cut. Then if you don't cut until the butterfly fades, the butterfly is set free, but if you cut while the butterfly is still on your skin, then you have to wash it off and start over. Do you think that there would be a bit less guilt and shame if you used butterflies (or, well, anything else nice. I've heard of people drawing owls or music notes if they don't like butterflies) rather than people's names?

Of course, you also have to find a way to deal with the problem that's given you the urge to self harm to begin with. I'm not sure what is stressing you out currently but maybe you can discuss ways to combat it with your counselor and, if possible, come up with solutions to the stressors.

I know it's hard now but you totally can do it.

-Dez


   
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Re: How do I tell my friend to help me? - February 8th 2014, 04:12 PM

Hey there,

I think it is great you have that support network behind you. I know it can be hard letting people help us but in the end they wouldn't be in our lives if they didn't care. Something you can do is let your friend know that if he is ever having problems he can come talk to you. That might help you feel a bit better about leaning on him for support.

I think it is great that you two have found some alternatives to use when you are feeling the urge to self harm. I am going to give you Alternatives to Self Harm sticky and I think you should look through that and see if some of the things in there prove helpful. Something that has helped me in my recovery with self harm is reminding myself that the urges I am having will pass with time. I know sometimes the urges can be really bad but all the urges you get will pass in time you just have to get through them. So, the best thing you can do is keep yourself preoccupied. When I am having urges I will come onto teenhelp or play games on my phone. Something else that might help is getting out of the house. If you are out of your house and away from the blades you might be less likely to cave in to the urge.

I hope that this helped and if you need anything please feel free to message me.


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