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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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Bianca_Mae Offline
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Red face Alternatives?? - May 30th 2017, 04:03 AM

So I have this one friend, whom I tell everything to. And after telling him about month and a half ago, I made the decision to stop cutting all together.

Things had been going pretty well, and I lasted two weeks. Until I had friend issues, where I was told I didn't think before I spoke, I was good in short doses, and I was depressing to be around. These people are no longer my friends.

After this, I lasted a month, and relapsed two weeks ago. Because once again, I was having friend issues, which made me feel worthless.

Once week passed and I relapsed again. Someone told me I didn't think before I speak, and that I should shut up for a few minutes so I actually speak correctly. Which is something I have always been self conscious about.

So, now I am really serious about getting back on track of quitting and I need some alternatives to keep my promise to my friend. I know theres a whole list of alternatives, but if anyone has any from experience they know worked for them, I would love to hear them. Although, any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks again,
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Re: Alternatives?? - May 30th 2017, 05:39 PM

Hey Bianca,

First of all, sorry that the issues with your friends have triggered you. I think the fact that you're working on this is wonderful though, and you should be proud of yourself for finding the strength within you to achieve what you have so far. Sometimes, relapses happen, and if you can try and stay positive rather than feel disheartened about it, you'll be able to work through this, I'm sure.

I found that for me, alternatives were less effective than short term goals. A few years ago when I decided I was going to quit SH, I looked ahead of me at the things I had coming up in the future. At the time, I had a wedding a few months ahead and I knew that I wanted to be cut free for the wedding, so I set myself a challenge with the knowledge that, if I didn't SH by then, I'd be able to wear short sleeves and be worry free about people seeing something. In the time leading up to that, there are other milestones I set myself too, such as being SH free for the following week where I may have had an exam, or being free for 3 weeks time when perhaps I was going out for dinner with a friend. What the target points are doesn't matter. It can be something really small, such as being SH free by the next night when your favourite show is on TV, or, if you're having a particularly bad day, being SH free until the end of the song you're listening to. The point is that, at the end of each mile stone, you can set yourself another one which is a little tiny bit longer in duration. Gradually, you'll work your way up and the goal will be that you can set targets only when they're needed and not all the time.

This is what worked for me, so perhaps it's something you can give a go! I've seen a lot of other alternatives though, such as something called the butterfly project which I thought was a beautiful way to stay free from SH. Basically, if you're finding the urges difficult, grab a pen of any colour and draw a butterfly on your arm where you want to hurt yourself (or your leg, stomach...anywhere you like!). Give it a name. The aim of the game is to keep him or her alive, and to do this, you can't hurt yourself. If you hurt yourself, the butterfly dies and you start again. Every time you're having urges you struggle to fight, add anther butterfly and name it. This way, you're able to draw on your arm which mimics the action of hurting yourself, but you'll be fighting the urges nonetheless. I know that this has helped a lot of people, so I hope that it may help you too!

Finally, I just want to let you know that, while it's great you're trying to quit SH for your friend, remember that the only person it really matters for is YOU. It is your skin and your life, and you alone are reason enough to not hurt yourself anymore. You don't deserve it, no matter what problems you're having with friends and what may have upset them or you. Nobody deserved to be inflicting pain on themselves, so remind yourself that you're worth so much more than that. If you're ever struggling to remember how much you're worth, pop along here and take a look at the replies people give to other posts. Every single person is so important and beautiful in their own way, and that includes you. You can always come back and ask for help if you need it.

Be proud of yourself for fighting this. It's not always going to be easy but you're fighting anyway and that's amazing. I hope this has helped you a bit, but please feel free to PM/VM me if you ever need anything at all.

Take care.

❤ Nana ❤

As far as we can discern,
the sole purpose of human existence
is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.
- Carl Jung

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Re: Alternatives?? - May 31st 2017, 01:15 PM

It seems like you've done a lot of work on staying self-harm free and that is great. It must be difficult to have issues with your friends, though. Are you able to talk to them about how you're feeling about your friendships?

Short term goals, as listed above, are a good idea. You could also reward yourself with things you have been interested in. Does keeping track of how long you go self-harm free help you? Some people become anxious by that and don't actively keep track. Something to consider.

Everyone is different with alternatives that help them but in my experience it helps me to take my anxious energy and put it into something else. That could mean baking, cleaning, taking a walk, or just finding a way to stay on my feet. I like to keep so busy that I don't have time to think. Other times I like to lay down for a few minutes to reset my mind or I escape into something like a book or a TV show. I enjoy writing poetry as well. Lastly, expressing my feelings through blogging or talking to my therapist works for me.

Best of luck on your search for new alternatives.

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Re: Alternatives?? - June 8th 2017, 06:34 PM


Thank you for coming to us here!

It sounds like the friendships you have are triggering a lot of emotions and urges and I was wondering whether this is something you could about to to them? If you want support with this if you decide you do want to talk to them, please know we're happy to support you!

Different things really do work for different people. I personally find having Lush baths with their bath bombs, wash etc helpful as well as things like my volunteer work, going for a walk, being around others, writing how I feel or writing letters to my friend/penpals, reading a good book, watching a easy going film, being with my cats, spending time outside (Especially in the sun!), baking, mindful colouring etc. Try new and lots of things and don't stop trying when you find things that don't help. Not everything will so it's about trial and error.

There are also projects like the Butterfly project and the paper chain project that you can look up and try them. I use a different one too which is where you get a glow band and snap it, put it on your wrist and then you're not allowed to self harm until it has stopped glowing (mine are normally 10-12 hours later) by which time the urges are usually gone are are not intense and therefore I don't feel the need to harm myself. It can also be good for others to recognise that you are struggle (when you have one on) too!

I hope that these help a little. Remember we're always here and you are never alone.

Hope and wishes,

"Only in the dark, can you see the stars..."
Josie 12/3/2014, always in my heart. Sue 19/2/2016; Peter, Ellie, Hannah, Andy, Kirtsie RIP.

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Re: Alternatives?? - June 12th 2017, 04:12 AM

Rub ice on your wrists or snap a rubber band against them without causing any damage. Another one is to take a cold bath. You can also duck tape your wrist and/or fingernails. If you need to talk, don't hesitate to PM me!
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