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Four Ways to Cope With Self-Harm

As someone who struggled with self-harm, and who watched loved ones struggle too, I know know how heartbreaking it can be. So here are four tips for coping with self-harm:

  1. Have a support system.

Support systems can make or break your mental health. Think about it, when you’re having a hard time, you want to talk to someone, to be held, or just sit next to someone in silence. A support system reminds you that you aren’t alone, that you matter in this world.

Create a support system. Stop reading, and write down the names of people you trust, that you can potentially confide in. Message one of them every day to continue that bond, and lean on them.

2. Keep track of your triggers.

What makes you feel bad or worse? For me, it’s conversations or reminders that my abuser exists. Does that sound silly? It shouldn’t, it’s normal! So, write down your triggers, and times you might encounter those triggers.

Next, write down solutions to those triggers, and by solutions, I mean self-care activities and support system. For example, if I know I’m going to see someone who triggers me, I plan something fun and relaxing right after I see them so I can recuperate, as well as have something to look forward to during that visit.

3. Have hotlines saved in your phone

Find the number of a hotline for your country and save it to your phone. List it under the letter “a” so that you can find it as soon as you open your contact information. Some organizations have text lines which is great news for people who have a hard time speaking on the phone (like me).

click this to access a data base with hotlines for different countries

4. Write down a list of coping skills you love!

Coping skills and harm reduction activities can go a long way in preventing self-harm. It can help get the people out of that mindset as well as delay the self-harm long enough that the initial urge passes.

Keep a list of coping skills that you can try when you’re having a hard time! Remember that not everyone coping skill will work for everyone, and if it doesn’t work, don't give up. Try the next one on the list.

Click here to see Cornell Universities’ official list

At the end of the day, what matters most is that you’re trying. Know that your efforts are noticed, that your feelings are valid, and that life will get better.

hold on.

- K

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