T, Staff Writer

Recently I’ve started cutting, people tell me it’s because I’m depressed, but I seriously don’t think I am. I just wanna know what’s up with me. I can’t talk to anyone else because I don’t want to ruin what people think of me. I’m terrified of that and if anyone found out, people WOULD look at me differently even though most people say they wouldn’t. I just wanna know how to stop feeling this way besides reaching out.


Needing To Stop

Dear Needing,

As someone who has also self-harmed and has trouble with stopping, I believe I can give you some tips to help. To start, find someone, anyone you trust, whether that be a close friend, family member, or a teacher. You can either tell them in depth what is going on or just the basics. Give them all sharp/harmful objects that are in your possession. If you can not find someone you trust, bury it, lock it up, do something to get it away from your sight and reach. There are many ways to help relieve the feeling of needing to cut. For me, I cycle through a lot to not get bored/desensitized to it. Those things include:

  • Put those thoughts/feelings into words. This can help when reaching out for help from others.
  • Rubber band on your wrist/place your cut. Whenever you get the urge, flick the band on the place. Note if you do this in one place for too long, skin can turn red and in some places may break, so do not use this one too much.
  • Ice. Rub a piece of ice on your skin. The coldness will give you about the same feeling of cutting. If you need to you can add red food coloring, which can look like blood.
  • Dried glue. Take some skin safe glue (I use Elmer’s School Glue) and rub it on your arm/leg/body part and wait for it to dry. Once it is dry, you can pick and scratch at it to peel it off. Waiting for it to dry all0ws for time to calm down and think, while the actual picking helps with the urge.
  • Find a new hobby. I use painting, coloring, crocheting, and baking to busy myself so I do not have the time to stop and self harm. You could be different and find something to help relax and calm your mind.

Other things that can help:

  • Naming and using the emotions you have in the moment (The Change Triangle is a helpful guide)
  • Grounding your feet on the floor
  • Breathing techniques
  • Wrapping a blanket tightly around you
  • Taking a hot shower
  • Getting out into nature

Again these are just tips that have worked for me, something else could work for you. I advise to call or be with someone when the urges get too much for you to handle on your own. For the longest time, I would not stay in my bedroom alone except for to sleep and change clothes because I knew I was not safe enough to trust myself.

As for people thinking it is depression, many things can cause self harming. This include but is not limited to; anxiety disorders, BPD, Emotional distraught/pain, PTSD, trauma, and drug use. I believe that self harming is a way for someone to take control in a way that other people can not. It can also be due to the fact of having no/unhealthy coping skills.

Here are some helplines if you feel like you need more help than just advice:

Suicide- 1(800)273-8255

Self Harm- 1(800)366-8288

Lifeline- 1(800)784-8433

Mental Health- 1(800)442-9673

Please know that you are not alone in your struggles and that there will always be someone that wants to help.