Self-Harm Part 2: The Next Step


In Self Harm Part 1: My Cutting Story, I talked about my experience with cutting.  I cut as a way to release my pain and temporally solve my problems.  I finally realized it was not a solution, but actually another problem.

Self-harm is never the answer to anything.

If you are currently cutting, please understand that this is not a solution.  It will not take away your pain; it’s only a quick, temporary distraction. I hope that you can decide today that you want to stop.

Now you are ready to take the next step.

Make a plan:

 1. Make a list of ways you can distract and calm yourself                        down when you get an urge to self-harm.

Here are some ideas:

  • Take a few deep breaths, and think positive thoughts
  • Call a friend and talk about random stuff  ( you don’t have to tell them about your cutting)
  • Go for a walk or a bike ride
  • Take a bath/ shower
  • Shoot some hoops/ kick around a soccer ball
  • Put on some upbeat music and dance
  • Watch TV – pick shows that will make you laugh
  • Play video games- great way to keep your hands busy
  • Play with a pet
  • Draw or write
  • Take a pen, write positive words on the area you would cut and read the words and feel good that you did not cut

Use the things that work for you.  Don’t get discouraged if one thing does not work, just try something else.  What works for one person may not work for you.

 2. Remove the Items You Would Use to Self-harm

Don’t keep things near your bed or in your back pack.  The longer it takes you to find an item the more time you have for the urge to pass.

 3. Talk to Someone

Find someone you feel safe confiding in.  It’s helpful to talk things through and get your feelings out. Pick someone you trust, but try not to pick another cutter.  It might encourage you to talk about cutting rather than encourage you to stop, it may be a trigger.

Don’t be discouraged if they are shocked to hear you are cutting at first, it can take people some time to understand.  They may never understand, but can be an ear for you.

 4. Know Your Triggers

Keep a notebook to write in when you have the urge to cut.  What are you thinking about?  What are you feeling?   You can use it to learn your patterns.  What time do you cut and what kinds of things trigger you?  When you start to know your triggers, it can help.  You can stop what you’re doing before the urge gets strong.  Some people find that certain times a day can trigger an urge, so they can plan to distract themselves at that time

 5. Visit Positive Websites

Here are three sites to try-

To Write Love On Her Arms

The Butterfly Project

S.A.F.E. Alternatives

Do not visit sites that encourage self-harm.

 6. Stay Positive and Active

Start doing something that you can enjoy that also keeps you busy.


  • Sports team
  • Guitar lessons
  • Dance classes
  • Start a blog
  • Art lessons
  • Yearbook committee

 7. Keep Track of Your Progress

Find a fun way of counting the days that you don’t cut.


  • Put a new picture up on your wall each day you don’t cut
  • Make a paper chain add a new chain each day
  • Make a big calendar and mark each day with a sticker or heart

I know this seems like kindergarten, but it will be a visual reminder of you not cutting.

Don’t get discouraged if you have an off day.  Look at the progress you have made and keep going.

 8. Call a Hotline

At any time you feel like you cannot handle it on your own, you can call a hotline and speak to someone.  It is always anonymous.

1-800-334-HELP (4357): The Self-Injury Foundation’s 24-hour crisis line

1-800-273-TALK (8255): National Suicide Prevention Hotline ( you can call for self-harm, it does not have to be about suicide)

 9. Love Yourself

I know it seems hard, but you have to treat yourself with respect and love.  They way you treat yourself is very important.

 10. Keep Trying to Stop

It is not easy to stop cutting, but it can be done.  Don’t give up or hate yourself if you have a bad day or week or month.

If you have been trying to stop on your own, but you’re having a hard time, you might need to talk to someone.  Getting professional help to overcome the problem doesn’t mean that someone is weak or crazy.  Self-harming can be a habit that becomes an addiction.  It may not be something you can stop on your own.  Therapists and counselors are trained to help you understand your pain and help you learn to work through it.  They can help you find your inner strength.  Strength that can be used to cope with life’s problems in a healthy way.

No matter what you are going through, make the choice to try and then keep going from there.

You are a survivor!  You are worth it!

– NBL V –



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