Suggested Alternatives to Self Harming – Do they work?

self harm

self harm (Photo credit: the|G|™)

I’ve read, I’ve researched, I’ve surfed the internet, I’ve met with counselors …

Several alternatives to the actual act of cutting, burning, etc (for me this also includes punching things like cinder block walls) are offered to create a distraction that is visual or tactile while not harmful. I personally have not found them effective, but am wondering if anyone else has or what suggestions have been successful for you.

Here is  what hasn’t worked for me:

1.  ice

2. drawing in red where I would cut

3. hot and cold water

4. hitting something with less resistance (pillows)

5. working with clay



13 thoughts on “Suggested Alternatives to Self Harming – Do they work?

  1. I’ve tried all of those – and none of them have worked. The only things that I have found to stop (but normally it is only to delay) the harming are – snapping elastic bands on the place I need to cut (sharp pain seems to help) and going for a run, pushing myself so hard until my body is in agony. Hopefully you will reach a point where you can control your urges (when you do, let me know how you got there, lol!) xxxx

  2. I found this website quite useful when I really decided to quite SH last year
    I admit to not keeping to it, but some methods helped at the time. I went for about 8 months without.
    I also found it easier to not self harm altogether than use minor methods such as the elastic band or ice. For me, it seemed like substituting one form of pain for another wasn’t the right thing to do. But I guess everyone is individual.
    Take care!! xoxox

  3. I’ve found making myself leave the house is the only thing. Somewhere with lots of stimulus to distract me. If I can’t leave the house then loud noise, music or tv. If all else fails. Ice kinda helps but not really.

    • Thanks, some of my cutting used to take place at work (actually my worst cutting), but I’m not there any more so that’s a good thing!). Leaving the house is a good idea. Leaving the place where I am when I feel like hurting myself.

  4. Okay although these may seem comical… Just try them…

    Voodoo doll.
    Sit in the backyard (unless that’s where it started, then move to the porch…) – even do gardening while you are there
    Pet the animal(s)
    Do a dot to dot puzzle changing colors each number (sudoko’s, crosswords, etc… any puzzle really)
    Doodle (drawings not the other thing…)
    Plan an extreme holiday – keep the plans some place, where you can check back later when you finally go on holidays – include what roads to take, flights to make, places to bungee jump from, places to fly through canyons in a helicopter at rediculous speeds – where to stay, where to eat…
    Clean and polish all the shoes in the house… Seriously, a lot of frustration can go into polishing. That and the shoes will always be ready for that next event.

    Things that replace the pain with other pain will not help in the long run… Except exercise, the pain of exercise/sport will always be worth it…

    • I like the voodoo doll idea … would it be ok if the voodoo doll was me? I’m a pretty quick study … perhaps I could learn assassin techniques to try on it? Make it life size and become a ninja! I also thought about becoming a jackhammer worker along mountain roads after the move (in less than a week, gulp!) the constant jarring might relieve some stress, as well as working in fairly dangerous rock-sliding environments. Oh, I guess that would be considered risk taking. Never mind. Probably NOT a good job choice at the moment.

  5. This may sound strange but by a Nerve wheel, run it along your skin enough to feel it but not break the skin. I have struggled my self harm for 12 years and this was the only thing that helped, I also tried the ice, rubber band, red marker. etc. Hope this helps a bit, if your still struggling.

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