alternatives to self harm - please add on

Discussion in 'Self Harm & Substance Abuse' started by allofme, Sep 5, 2004.

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  1. allofme

    allofme Staff Alumni

    hold ice on sensitive spot it hurts but does not damage
    snap a rubberband on your wrist pain no damage
    bite down on fist - hurt but no damage- (unless you are a dog - then do not do it) he he - use a marker and draw lines un yourself - push hard it will hurt no damage-

    exercise - trampoline - sing at the top of your lungs - dance, dancing has been proven to work 45xs faster than medication - jump up and down - spin round like when a child - scrub the tub and cuss - gardening , mother nature has been proven to rebalance the system - scream -

    post - write the hurt down - think of something good - think of us -
    call - someone - send yourself an email of how you are feeling - hell email me

    the thing to remember is that the urge will pass - I can not say forever but we need to take this on urge at a time.

    if we all say I will do 5 of the above mentioned things prior to hurting myself than we will have lelss SI

    please add on
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 5, 2004
  2. Laurie

    Laurie Member

    There's this one thing sometimes I do, where I just press a knife into my skin really hard. I don't cut, so there technically is no damage. But feeling the pressure and sharpness of the knife actually can sometimes bring a lot of relief. It doesn't always work, but can feel just as good. I don't know if this is as good of an alternative, though, since it's not going to do anything to get someone less mentally attached to knives. But, again, no hurting or pain involved.
  3. Darklink

    Darklink Well-Known Member

    get your fave songs on your MP3 or CD and go for a walk, a 1 or 2 hour walk and think about why you would want to do this, and if your a guy and gonna go for this walk look around, and im not talking about nature (although thats a good thing too) but im talking about the gals lol check them out and remind yourself that if you want to be with one you shouldnt cut or you will leave a few scars and that might scare them away, and if your a gal do the same look around at the guys....and if that wont work well then walk up to them and punch them right in the face(i was jokin about the last part)
  4. sadsong

    sadsong Staff Alumni

    i've got loads of ideas, but here's a few:

    *get a bit of blutac/plastercine (sp) and build little models with it
    *play the 15minute game, say if you still feel like hurting yourself in 15minutes then do it, if you feel stronger, give yourself another 15mins to get through
    *scream loudly!
    *punch a pillow/teddy bear
    *i have a smooth pebble that i just fiddle with untill i feel slightly more relaxed
    *put food colouring on your arm (red one!) as it is more realsitic looking than a red pen
    *my personal favourite, Pray.

    anyway, hope these help you.
  5. allofme

    allofme Staff Alumni

    some really good ideas - If we keep making this long enough the urge will have passed before we finish reading it. :D
  6. LostandConfused

    LostandConfused Well-Known Member

    Hold an ice cube in your hand, it hurts but theres no tissue damage
  7. Draw a picture of something you hate -yourself, another person etc. and then rip it into tiny pieces.It makes me feel better anyway.
  8. Jenny

    Jenny Staff Alumni

    A good list of SI alternatives can be found on this website :

    So what do I do instead?
    Many people try substitute activities as described above and report that sometimes they work, sometimes not. One way to increase the chances of a distraction/substitution helping calm the urge to harm is to match what you do to how you are feeling at the moment.
    First, take a few moments and look behind the urge. What are you feeling? Are you angry? Frustrated? Restless? Sad? Craving the feeling of SI? Depersonalized and unreal or numb? Unfocused?

    Next, match the activity to the feeling. A few examples:

    angry, frustrated, restless
    Try something physical and violent, something not directed at a living thing:
    Slash an empty plastic soda bottle or a piece of heavy cardboard or an old shirt or sock.
    Make a soft cloth doll to represent the things you are angry at. Cut and tear it instead of yourself.
    Flatten aluminum cans for recycling, seeing how fast you can go.
    Hit a punching bag.
    Use a pillow to hit a wall, pillow-fight style.
    Rip up an old newspaper or phone book.
    On a sketch or photo of yourself, mark in red ink what you want to do. Cut and tear the picture.
    Make Play-Doh or Sculpey or other clay models and cut or smash them.
    Throw ice into the bathtub or against a brick wall hard enough to shatter it.
    Break sticks.
    I've found that these things work even better if I rant at the thing I am cutting/tearing/hitting. I start out slowly, explaining why I am hurt and angry, but sometimes end up swearing and crying and yelling. It helps a lot to vent like that.
    Crank up the music and dance.
    Clean your room (or your whole house).
    Go for a walk/jog/run.
    Stomp around in heavy shoes.
    Play handball or tennis.

    sad, soft, melancholy, depressed, unhappy
    Do something slow and soothing, like taking a hot bath with bath oil or bubbles, curling up under a comforter with hot cocoa and a good book, babying yourself somehow. Do whatever makes you feel taken care of and comforted. Light sweet-smelling incense. Listen to soothing music. Smooth nice body lotion into the parts or yourself you want to hurt. Call a friend and just talk about things that you like. Make a tray of special treats and tuck yourself into bed with it and watch TV or read. Visit a friend.

    craving sensation, feeling depersonalized, dissociating, feeling unreal
    Do something that creates a sharp physical sensation:
    Squeeze ice hard (this really hurts). (Note: putting ice on a spot you want to burn gives you a strong painful sensation and leaves a red mark afterward, kind of like burning would.)
    Put a finger into a frozen food (like ice cream) for a minute.
    Bite into a hot pepper or chew a piece of ginger root.
    Rub liniment under your nose.
    Slap a tabletop hard.
    Snap your wrist with a rubber band.
    Take a cold bath.
    Stomp your feet on the ground.
    Focus on how it feels to breathe. Notice the way your chest and stomach move with each breath.
    [NOTE: Some people report that being online while dissociating increases their sense of unreality; be cautious about logging on in a dissociative state until you know how it affects you.]

    wanting focus
    Do a task (a computer game like tetris or minesweeper, writing a computer program, needlework, etc) that is exacting and requires focus and concentration.
    Eat a raisin mindfully. Pick it up, noticing how it feels in your hand. Look at it carefully; see the asymmetries and think about the changes the grape went through. Roll the raisin in your fingers and notice the texture; try to describe it. Bring the raisin up to your mouth, paying attention to how it feels to move your hand that way. Smell the raisin; what does it remind you of? How does a raisin smell? Notice that you're beginning to salivate, and see how that feels. Open your mouth and put the raisin in, taking time to think about how the raisin feels to your tongue. Chew slowly, noticing how the texture and even the taste of the raisin change as you chew it. Are there little seeds or stems? How is the inside different from the outside? Finally, swallow.
    Choose an object in the room. Examine it carefully and then write as detailed a description of it as you can. Include everything: size, weight, texture, shape, color, possible uses, feel, etc.
    Choose a random object, like a paper clip, and try to list 30 different uses for it.
    Pick a subject and research it on the web.
    Try some of the games and distractions at digibeet's page; she's assembled a lot of distractions.

    wanting to see blood
    Draw on yourself with a red felt-tip pen.
    Take a small bottle of liquid red food coloring and warm it slightly by dropping it into a cup of hot water for a few minutes. Uncap the bottle and press its tip against the place you want to cut. Draw the bottle in a cutting motion while squeezing it slightly to let the food color trickle out.
    Draw on the areas you want to cut using ice that you've made by dropping six or seven drops of red food color into each of the ice-cube tray wells.
    Paint yourself with red tempera paint.

    wanting to see scars or pick scabs
    Get a henna tattoo kit. You put the henna on as a paste and leave it overnight; the next day you can pick it off as you would a scab and it leaves an orange-red mark behind.
    Another thing that helps sometimes is the fifteen-minute game. Tell yourself that if you still want to harm yourself in 15 minutes, you can. When the time is up, see if you can go another 15. I've been able to get through a whole night that way before.
  9. SmilePretty

    SmilePretty Staff Alumni

    hey allo,
    Jenny told me to that ice thing! it really works, unless you are so messed up that you only want to cut like i am sometimes.
  10. Stainless

    Stainless Well-Known Member

    this was too long for me to be bothered with reading so i don't know if this has been said but yell, scream swear words and smash breakable things to relieve tension. the down side to this is that you have to tidy up afterwards but its effective
  11. SmilePretty

    SmilePretty Staff Alumni

    wow stainless, i like your method!!
  12. kitty

    kitty Member

    wot i do is...
    either write.. wot im feelin but tht takes too long..
    get an apple and slice it to bits...
    scribble on loads of bits of paper...
    put a bandage on my arm to stop me frm cuttin..

    erm thts all i can fink of right now..
  13. skittles

    skittles Guest

    Stainless, did you know there is this place somewhere in Japan where you can go there, and for about $20 american, they give you a room full of ordinary things and stuff and you can go n there and break EVERYTHING.... just thought I'd tell you about that... lol

    one thing I do is knit.. I know it sounds a little weird, but it gives my hands something to do and then my mind gets taken off my urge to cut... it takes a little while to learn how but after that it can be really relaxing (also the stuff you can make makes really good presents and stuff...)

  14. Stainless

    Stainless Well-Known Member

    unfortunately Skittles getting to Japan is rather beyond my current financial ability as i have... *counts pocket change* about £1.80. though the idea is cool,i might biy some cheap and breakable stuff just to do that :D
  15. Jenny

    Jenny Staff Alumni

    I have a rather weird alternative.. it's worked for me a couple of times in the past :eek:

    Basically, if i can't resist the urge that bad, and i do end up razor in hand.... i sometimes tell myself that first i will shave.. legs, armpits, etc... and if i still feel like it after, then i will.

    Cos really, sometimes just shaving is kinda therapeutic for me.. makes me feel.. less.. dirty :eek: AND being in a hot shower can sometimes ease the urge too.

    Anyway, that's my weird and not-so-wonderful idea. Of course it'd be better to not get in the shower in the first place, but i'm still working on that :D

    Jenny x
  16. briancoombs

    briancoombs Guest

    ive tried just about everything on this page and i still feel like riping my own throat out what comes next
  17. Sorry

    Sorry Guest

    Briancoombs, hi these suggestions don't really work for me either. All i can say is take it a mintue at a time so u prevented ur self harming that minute by posting that message. thats one 1 more minute of succes! and in the end if u do self harm then u can always try again! its not the end of the world altho it is frustrating. Hope i helped
  18. crazy

    crazy Well-Known Member

    i have found that sometimes having a pillow fite with my bed sometimes i will just grab a pillow and start hitting my bed with all my strenthgth over and over and over again. also that can make you so tired that you just want to take a nap or go to bed and if your sleepign you cant do self harm. also a punching bags helps if i feel mad or hurt by soemone i just pretend im beating the crap out of that person. it can help a lot.
  19. ShannanA

    ShannanA New Member

    When I needed to cut, I would usually do it in a private place where I felt comfortable enough to take the time to do it right. One way I avoided cutting was to go outside, somewhere public, or any place where I was out of my comfort zone. It often really helped.

    Another thing: A lot of us have a kind of ritual we go through when cutting. Changing just one little part of this ritual can break us out of the dissociative state we are in when we cut. My ritual was to go in the bathroom and lock the door, take the razor blade out of its container, get everything ready so I could easily clean up the mess, and then cut. I changed it around by not getting things ready before I cut. I would cut and then scramble to find bandages or a towel to clean up, etc. Just this little change made it far easier to avoid cutting.

    Hope some of this helps. Good luck everyone!
  20. Wandering

    Wandering Guest

    One of my releases of emotion is to write poetry. Unfortunately, because of how I'm usually feeling, it turns out pretty dark and depressing, and I always hate explaining myself if anyone else reads it, but strangely enough it makes me feel better to see what I'm feeling written down. Very distinct rhymes, too, does that have anything to do with it? Anyway, this doesn't always work, and even though I think all of these alternative suggestions are good, there are very few that will work for me because of my situation. My parents are the reason I'm driven to hurting myself in the first place, because there are times when I'd rather be in pain than be around them, and the pain they cause in my mind is a monster looking to make it's mark. Anyway, that's why I can't follow these good suggestions - yelling won't work, they'll tell me to shut up; can't go for a run because i'm not let out of the house; breaking stuff will get me in more trouble, etc. Only silent things work. So I write, and I cut. But they find me writing and get mad that I'm not "on task", doing homework or chores or whatever at that time, because I'm so less paranoid about it, but when I cut I'm so freakin aware of where they are and when they so much as twitch because I'll never let them find out, it's like my secret way to release and get back at them. Except, in part of me I know it's bad and I want to stop, or do something else to release instead. Any other suggestions?

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