Things to Try to Keep Yourself Safe

Copyright 1997, Mollykat, original location, authors homepage

Keep dangerous things out of your house/apartment/dorm room

For me, this means keeping OTC pain medications out of the house or only having a very small quanity of them in the house. Often this means when I do have to purchase a medication, I have to buy the more expensive name brand (generic/store brands always seem to have larger bottles) and pay a little more. A small price though when you think of it in terms of my safety in a crisis time.

This also means that I keep razor blades out of the house. Sure, there are other things I can use but I know that I am most likely to use a razor blade and not having them in the house means that I have to make the effort to go out and buy them. It is often that very effort that stops me.

Make a tape of music for those bad times

I have a tape of sad music I listen to when I feel depressed or sad. I think the music helps me to realize that I am not the only one to feel this. It doesn’t always work but often after listening I don’t feel quite so empty and alone.

Make a list of friends you can call

I do not do this because I do not have local friends that I can call. But, I know many people who find this list of friends to contact extremely helpful even if they don’t actually call anyone.

Focus on what is real and around you right then

This means to get down to absolute basics. Say to yourself what you see. I.E. The couch is green. The light is on. I can feel my shoe pinching my foot. This can sometimes be enough to ground you.

Make a contract with someone you care about and who cares about you

I have two people that I know I can go to and say “I need to make a contract with you” and they will do it with me. They don’t overreact and they just want me to be safe. Make sure that the person/people you choose to do this with are safe people who will not over-react to the situation and who will not minimize the situation. Make sure they know ahead of time that you may be asking them for this.

Call a crisis line

In my area, we have the Samaritians which you can call. Check your phone book to see if they have a number near you. There may also be other crisis lines listed in the front of the phone book.

Create an internal safe place where you can go

In a time when you feel safe and secure, create a room or a garden or any safe area inside yourself where you can retreat to and get away from external stresses. Add as many details as you can to make it real for you.

Get a warm drink and curl up in a warm place with a stuffie

Buy yourself a special stuffie if you do not already have one. Make yourself some tea or hot chocolate (or even coffeee if the caffeine doesn’t bother you) and curl up under a nice warm comforter or blanket with lots of pillows. Sometimes I put on a movie that isn’t triggery.

Substitute hurting yourself with something else

This is not always easy. In fact this usually is not easy at all. One thing that my counselor suggested is to use a red marker instead of a razor blade. Other suggestions are take a walk and get out of the house. Write, draw or scribble in a journal. Lie on your bed and kick and scream.

Do not go out driving in the car alone

I’ll be honest, this is one of the things that I very much want to do when I am in a self-harming place. But, it isn’t safe to be driving when you are very upset and you can hurt people other than yourself.

Try not to be to hard on yourself for feeling this way

Try not to beat yourself up inside by calling yourself names or expecting yourself to just “not feel this way” or to “snap out of it.” This internal namecalling and self-verbal abuse will only make you feel worse. You are trying to take care of yourself.

Try and focus on getting through this crisis time

How you feel now will not last forever. It is hard to remember that while you are in the midst of these feelings. Just focus on you and what you need to do to get through these feelings as safely as you can. This is really really hard to remember at the times you feel bad so you may want to write it out when you are feeling good and have it someplace you can find.

Remember that you have littles/inner children who may be very scared

Watching someone self harm is a very scary thing to witness and your lils maybe be aware of what you are doing. If you really feel you are going to self-harm, you may need to get them to a safe place. This also applies if you are a parent with external children, you probably should not have them there when you are self harming.

Use a toothbrush instead of a razor

This was a suggestion that someone I know was given by her therapist. It creates a feeling on your skin but isn’t as damaging as a razor blade.

Use a red marker instead of a razor

This was a suggestion that my therapist gave me. This sometimes works especially if you are cutting to see blood. One thing you should be careful about is to only use non-toxic markers in case you somehow break the skin. I guess you should also consider using the washable marker that they make since that will help you clean up if you choose.

Hold ice

This also was a suggestion that someone I know was given by her therapist. This way you feel something, the burning of the cold of the ice. I tried this and it did help some.


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