In order to develop alternatives for self-injury, one must have some sense or idea as to why we do it. Through self-discovery and therapy, we can help ourselves understand or at least realize what it is that may trigger us in to this behavior.
Feelings or underlying feelings play a major role in why we self-injure. Ask yourself: do any of these feelings make me want to hurt myself? anger, sad, lonely, stupid, hurt, happy, nervous, small, afraid, sexy, hopeless, empty, guilty, ashamed, cheated, let down, tricked, crazy, annoyed, embrassed, humilated.
When we are surrounded by our feelings and emotions we can feel, isolated, dissociative and even threatened. We can recognize that a feeling “triggers” us into an unhealthy response, we can then work on an alternative behavior other then self-injury. From our experiences, we go from 0-10 on the feelings scale without anything inbetween. Meaning, we have a feeling and then immediatley go to the self-harm behavior. We’re sure we are not the only ones who do this.
One technique we are trying to use and develop for ourselves is self talk. Recognizing the behavior, understanding the need to injure, but promising ourselves to take five or five minutes before doing anything. Sometimes the extra time out helps us get through the feelings enough to stay safe.
Another technique we use is the safety agreement. This way we have made a promise to ourselves and to our therapist that we will stay safe or call if we need help.. This works for us because we belive in promises and don’t like to break them.
How does a safety contract work? Well, first of all you need to promise yourself you need help. Then call for help and Wait for an answer. Next accept the help that is given you. When all else fails call 911.
You should have at least three resources or contacts near you at all times so that when you are in a crisis situtaion you can call someone to help you, even if that means just talking to you or calling 911 for you. The more resources you have the better chances you have of getting the help you need. And remember, people are human so they may not always be there for you at a given time. Don’t give up — go to your next resource.
But most important: Take care of you!