The single most important thing to remember is that you have choices: stopping self-injury can begin now. • Knowledge is power. Gather as much information as possible about your own behaviour. Keep notes of what is going on when you feel the need to harm yourself, so that you can identify, over a period of time, specific thoughts which come up. It's also useful to keep a daily diary of events and feelings, and to record how you cope with or channel powerful emotions of anger, pain or happiness. • Try to talk about your feelings with someone supportive. Even though you may feel you are alone, there are others who can understand your pain and help to boost your strength and courage. Many people find that joining a support group of people with similar problems is an important step towards making themselves feel better, and changing their lives. If there are no appropriate support groups in your area, your local Mind associations may be able to help start one. (See Useful organisations for more information.) • Work on building up your self-esteem. Remember you are not to blame for how you feel; your self-injury is an expression of powerful negative feelings. It's not your fault. Make lists of your feelings, and then write positive statements about yourself, or the world around you. If you can't think of any, ask friends to write things they like about you. Keep these in a place so that they are visible. Make a tape of your own voice saying something affirming or reading your favourite stories or poems. Hearing your own voice can be soothing, or you can ask someone you trust to record their voice reading to you. • Try to find ways to make your life less stressful, give yourself occasional treats, eat healthily, get plenty of sleep and build physical activity into your life, because this is known to boost self-esteem and lift low moods. • Have the telephone numbers of friends, or local and national help lines where you can find them easily, if you need to talk to somebody in a crisis. (See Useful organisations) • Think about your anger and what you do with it. If you weren't busy being angry with yourself, who would you, really be angry with? Write a list of people who have caused you to feel like this. Remind yourself you deserve good things in life, not punishment for what others have done to you. • Line up a set of cushions to represent people who caused you pain. Tell them how they hurt you and that you don't deserve punishment. Kicking or hitting cushions is good. Try to do this with someone else, if possible, so that the experience is shared and you do not hurt yourself. • Creativity is a powerful tool against despair. This doesn't have to be about making something. Whatever lifts you out of your pain and makes you feel good is creative. If you feel like it, try drawing or painting how you feel. Some people draw on themselves, using bright body colours. • If you feel the need to self-harm, focus on staying within safe limits. A supportive GP will give you good advice on minimising and caring for your injuries and help you to find further help.