We chat with a lot of people who are cutting themselves or self harm in different ways. If this is something you are struggling with then you are not alone – many people struggle with this, men, women, young, old, married, unmarried, those who believe in a God and those who don’t. You probably feel you need to hide what you do so nobody will know, but you don’t need to hide it from us – you can tell us the truth about how you feel and what has happened in your life to make you feel this is something you need to do. We want you to know that there is hope, and there are other ways of coping with how you feel now and with feelings that are overwhelming you from the past. Chat with us.

We are all more than just a physical body, we have feelings and emotions and a spiritual side to us. We really need to think about the whole of us and not just how we are feeling right now. Here are some thoughts on cutting and what other options there are, that people have found helpful…

Who have you talked to about cutting?

Maybe you feel that you don’t want to bother any one with how you are feeling, maybe you think it’s silly or people will not take you seriously or think you are just getting things out of proportion. If you are young tell your parents or another older member of the family who you are closer to, or tell someone at school or college. If you are older tell someone whose opinion you respect – a friend, a church pastor, a relative. Have you thought about telling your doctor?

Why do you think you do it?

It’s a really good idea to think things through why you are cutting. Spend some minutes thinking about what made you cut in the first place, why did you start cutting or self harming in some other way. What had happened? Is that thing still happening? Or do you cut for other reasons now? Has self harming become the thing you feel like doing when anything feels out of control – or only if certain, specific things are out of control. The beginning of being able to stop self harming is recognising that it has become addictive, and realising why and when you are feeling you need to do it.

Think about the spiritual you

Do you believe there is a God? Have you ever spent time trying to learn about who Jesus is, what he did and why he did it?

When people believe that Jesus loves them and is interested in them it gives them a bigger picture of the world around them and of what life is all about. It can give you a new hope and a new focus outside of yourself. We often feel vulnerable when things happen around us that we feel are out of our control, but when we realise that even at these times Jesus can help us – it enables us to feel less like everything is all going wrong and out of control. Jesus cares about you – he wants you to know his peace and his acceptance and forgiveness. He wants you to know Him and how much he loves you – Find out about Jesus.

Give yourself a new focus

Think about who or what you would like to make a difference to if you weren’t feeling like you do. Your one life could help the lives of 100s of other people or 100s of animals – have a focus of wanting to make a difference to others, of wanting to make a difference by volunteering, or to try and raise money to help them. You might not be able to cope with doing it now, but have it as an aim, a new focus – something that is outside of yourself is much more powerful than just trying to stop for yourself.

Get outside

Sometimes just going somewhere different and seeing some nature can help us to feel different. The fresh air is good for us, and seeing that there is a natural world out there, getting on with it’s own thing, completely ignorant of all the worries and cares of the world, can be refreshing to see – it can help us to see a bigger picture than the troubles that are right in front of us that feel like they are swamping us and causing us stress.

Try something else

Did you know that for some people just suddenly stopping is too hard, you might need to begin by finding something else to do instead of causing harm. You could use a red pen to draw where it is you want to hurt or try writing down how you are feeling and then tear it up afterwards or doing something creative like drawing, writing poetry or songs to express the intense emotions that are making you feel like self-harming. By developing other ways of expressing these difficult emotions you will start to be able to rely on those rather than self-harming.