We chat with a lot of people who are cutting themselves or who 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.
You are more than just a physical body, you have feelings and emotions and a spiritual side to you too. We really need to think about the whole of us and not just how we are feeling right now.
Maybe you don’t want to bother any one with how you are feeling, maybe you think it’s not that big a deal or that 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?
It’s a really good idea to think about why you are cutting. Spend some minutes thinking about what made you self harm 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 any thing 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 feel you need to do it.
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 you believe that Jesus loves you and is deeply interested in you it gives you a different picture of the world around you and of what your life is all about. It gives you a new hope and a new focus outside of yourself.
The more you get to know the real Jesus of the Bible, the more you will want to live to make Him happy.
We often feel vulnerable when things happen around us that we feel are out of our control. But when you realise that even at these times Jesus can help you – it enables you to feel less like things are 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.
If you weren’t feeling so low and depressed who or what would you like to make a difference to?
Your life could help 100s of other people or 100s of animals – why not have it as an aim to try and get well enough to make a difference to these things that you are interested in?
What steps could you begin to take in your life that will get you closer to being able to volunteer, or to try and raise money to help them. You might not be able to do these things now, but it’s really healthy to have something like this as an aim that you are working towards achieving. Having a focus that is outside of yourself is much more powerful than just trying to get better for you.
Many people find that just going somewhere different and seeing some nature helps them to feel different. Fresh air is good for us all, and seeing that there is a natural world out there that is simply 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.
For some people just suddenly stopping self harming can be too big a single step. If that’s you then you might find it helpful to begin by looking for 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