Alex's Answer

Feeling empty

Your Question

When I don’t self harm I feel empty and like I want to die and I don’t know what to do, do you have any suggestions?

Answer

Hi there, 

You are very welcome to Ask Alex, we’re so happy you’ve reached out for support. You have told us that you find it difficult when you do not self-harm, and have feelings of wanting to die. We are so sorry you are feeling this way, it’s not a nice place to be.  

We are quite worried to hear that you are self-harming and have feelings of wanting to die. Have you spoken to someone about these feelings? A trusted adult like a caregiver, teacher or sports coach could help you in getting the support you deserve. We all need extra support once in a while, it’s important that everyone has the opportunity to ask for help when we need it.  

When people self-harm, they are normally trying to distract themselves from a situation or feeling they are experiencing/or have experienced.  

There are support services available which provide expert guidance and assistance to young people who are going through challenging times and can help you to find healthier ways to cope with your emotions. You may have heard about a support service called Pieta. They specialise in supporting individuals dealing with self-harm and suicidal thoughts. They have experienced professionals who can provide help and guidance to overcome this difficult period in a person’s life. You can find more information on their website: www.pieta.ie. 

It’s important to call 999 or present to A&E if you have imminent thoughts of ending your life.  

Sometimes when people self-harm, it is difficult for them to stop. It’s hard to figure out new coping strategies to put in place. Here are some which may help you in the meantime: 

  1. When you feel like hurting yourself, set a timer to delay it. Try 2-3 minutes at the start and work up. Have an activity that you enjoy ready, something that fully distracts you like art, taking a shower, or maybe going for a walk outside. Once the timer goes off, re-evaluate. Do you still feel the same way as before? Can you put another timer on and try to reduce these feelings? 
  2. Notice when and where you normally desire to hurt yourself, is there a pattern? Is it normally at night in your room or maybe when you come home from school? Once you figure out the pattern, try to put something in place for that time. Maybe organise to call a friend or watch a comfort series on Netflix. Something that will distract you.  
  3. If these are not working, sometimes using different techniques can help you reduce the harm. Instead of what you usually use, try to hold a cube of ice in your hand for a while. It will distract you and hopefully give you the release you need. You can also use a rubber band on your wrist and pull it to give you a sting.  

If you would like to chat about this in more detail, you are very welcome to chat to us through our freephone service on1800 66 66 66or through our webchat service, by clicking on the purple Messenger circle at www.childline.ie. Childline services are free and confidential, and are available 24 hours, 7 days a week.   

Take care of yourself, and know that you do not have to go through this rough time on your own. We are here for you, any time, for any reason,  

Alex  

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