How do I stop cutting?
How do I stop cutting
Hi there, you are very welcome to Ask Alex.
Thank you for getting in touch. We understand that it’s not always easy to share our worries and concerns, but we also know how important it is to talk about how we are feeling.
We are concerned to hear you are self-harming. This is not an easy thing to be going through. You have asked how you can stop cutting, which suggests that you are looking for help, which is a very brave step. Sometimes people use self-harm as a way of coping with challenges in their life. Cutting can often feel like a way of releasing difficult emotions, but it can be challenging to stop. It may be helpful to think about what can trigger the self-harm, and to think about how you feel before, during and after you cut yourself. Being able to understand your patterns of self-harm, and being aware of the triggers, may help you to avoid them in the future.
Delaying self-harm can also be a beneficial technique, for example following the 15-minute rule, whereby you wait 15 minutes before you cut yourself, then extend it by another 15 minutes. You can continue repeating this until the urge has passed.
Distracting yourself from the urge to self-harm can be another helpful technique. You could try holding and squeezing an ice cube for a few minutes, as the change in temperature encourages the mind to focus on something else. Grounding techniques are also a way of helping us focus. You could try the Five Senses Technique, where in moments of distress you focus on 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can taste and 1 thing you can smell. You can find more useful techniques on the SpunOut Website: spunout.ie/mental-health/self-harm/sh-dealing-with-urges-to-self-harm and the Jigsaw Website: jigsaw.ie/self-harm/.
You have a right to be happy and feel safe, and you have the right to be listened to and be heard. Have you ever considered speaking to a trusted adult in your life about harming yourself? This adult could be a parent, guardian, teacher, friend, or school counsellor. It is important for your mental well-being that you get the help and support that you deserve and, even though it can be very difficult, it can be helpful to talk about it. Your GP is also there to help, can refer you to other support services who could help.
You do not have to go through this alone. There are organisations that can offer help and support to you. One such organisation, which we have already mentioned, is: www.jigsaw.ie. This website may help you understand what is going on for you. You can look through their information and they may offer you direction in how to avail of supports. Pieta House also offer support to people who self-harm. They can be contacted by phone on 1800 247 247, by texting HELP to 51444 or you can visit their website: www.pieta.ie.
If you are finding it hard to talk to those in your life whom you are close to, you are very welcome to chat with the Childline Team by phone on 1800 66 66 66 or through our web chat on www.childline.ie. Childline services are free and confidential, and are available 24 hours, 7 days a week.
Thank you for reaching out to us.