How to Stop Hurting Yourself

ErinSelf-Injury25 Comments

cutting, self harm, stop hurting yourself, self injuryMost Google searches leading to this blog involve the words, “hurt myself.” So many people are looking for help in stopping self-harm, stopping cutting, bruising or any other kind of self-hurting.

Self-harm is something I know a lot about. I could write hundreds of posts on the topic (and I probably will), but for now, I have two pieces of advice that are my secrets to stopping self-harm.

1) LET YOURSELF FEEL

No feeling is wrong. Absolutely every single emotion you have is legitimate and allowed. Read that sentence again: Absolutely every emotion you have is legitimate and allowed. Sometimes we don’t understand our feelings, where they’re coming from or why, but that shouldn’t stand in our way of permitting ourselves to feel exactly how we’re feeling. Let yourself feel and identify the feeling if you can. Say to yourself, “I feel _______.”

2) EXPRESS YOUR FEELINGS

You can’t skip this step. This is the answer to stopping self-harm: Allow yourself to express your emotions in a way that doesn’t involve hurting yourself.

Here are some ideas:

Talk to someone, cry, scream, whimper, holler, write, play music, run, dance, or tear up pieces of paper. Go out into a field and throw rocks at the sky. Don’t just punch your pillow, pummel it. Run faster than you’ve ever run before. Use the energy created by your feelings and do something with it.

A lot of the feelings I first expressed through cutting were related to my memories of violence. I felt hurt and damaged and I wanted to damage something to communicate my pain. So I damaged myself.

But, do you know what? You can damage things other than yourself. Never damage another living thing and try not to damage property that isn’t yours, but if you want to destroy something, IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE YOU.

Emotions don’t always feel nice and pretty and socially acceptable. I used to cut because I didn’t want to be nice or pretty or socially acceptable. I wanted the whole fucking world to know just how terrible I felt.

Hurting myself didn’t help me feel better. It hurt me! And there is enough hurt without me hurting myself extra. You can’t get better if you hurt yourself.

Writing and making art works a MILLION times better for me than cutting ever did. Remember my drawing from my last hospital stay? It showed black swirls of monstrous arms attacking me. Drawing that helped me feel SO MUCH BETTER. And I showed it to people, I said, “THIS is how bad I’m feeling.” No, it’s not art for a museum. It’s art for me. And it worked.

Go ahead, be destructive if it doesn’t hurt anyone. Let yourself feel and then express those feelings in a healthy way. Never pretend to feel something that you don’t feel. Be honest about what’s in your heart and it will heal you, I promise.

ErinHow to Stop Hurting Yourself

25 Comments on “How to Stop Hurting Yourself”

  1. Wendy

    Thanks for the reminders Erin. This is where I am at right now after 13+ years of avoiding self harm. I think this hospitalization and the reminder of my “other” diagnosis “BPD” which I thought I had outgrown, was brought up. This sent me reeling. and I am trying to remind myself that I am not my diagnosis.
    Be strong and carry on I guess.

    Wendy

      1. Erin

        Erin, your words are very profound. Funny that we share the same name. I love your style by the way. I’m hurting and struggling a lot. I’m battling an ed, along with depression and lots of other things. Your posts help me a lot and encourage me to realize that certain things are okay. Thank you for being lovely.

        1. Erin

          Hi Erin,

          Thank YOU for the lovely comment! I’m struggling tonight, a lot, and in return, your comment helps me feel better. I’m so glad my writing is helping you. I’m currently in the middle of writing the third issue of my Letter to my Younger Self zine, and this issue is addressed to my eating disordered self. I still struggle with those thoughts but I’ve gotten through the worst of my ED and it feels so much better on this side. Anyway, keep your eye out for it! And thank you again for your comment. You have the world’s best name ever. ;)

          <3 Erin

  2. Morgan

    Hello Erin. I am so thankful to have found your blog. I searched “why do I hurt myself?” earlier today because I harmed my self again yesterday. I had only ever harmed myself once before about a year ago. I didn’t want to but, I just did it. It was very comforting to find posts that explain exactly what i’m feeling and that there are other people who can feel out of control or unworthy. I would of course never wish for anyone to feel this way but it is comforting nonetheless. I still feel mortified that I have mental illness and it’s very difficult to have people know about it but I that’s the cure I suppose. Awareness. Support. Strength. I will continue reading your posts and cheering you on and thank you for expressing everything that so many of us cannot. Thank you.

    1. daisiesandbruises

      Hi Morgan!

      Thank you for your kind words on my blog! I’m sorry to hear that you’ve suffered from self-injury too. It is such a difficult journey but it’s totally worth it. When we stick together it can be 1000 times easier.

      Take care and I hope you keep reading. Please let me know if there are any topics you’d like to hear more about!

      Be well. You’re worth taking care of!

      Love Erin

  3. Rella

    I have been looking forever for a blog about depression/anxiety. It seems like everyone wants to write about puppies and double rainbows & I can’t relate. I found your blog searching “depression bloggers,” which lead me to one blog, which lead me here.

    I have had random thoughts about ending my life, but I have never had the urge to cut. Maybe it’s because I can’t handle the sight of blood or maybe because I don’t like pain, but cutting is something I can’t really understand. But (& I know this sounds stupid & creepy), I almost envy the cutter. I wish there was something I could do to temporary stop the emotions and stop the pain.

    I’m glad I found your blog & now I am off to read more. :)

    1. daisiesandbruises

      Hi Rella!

      “It seems like everyone wants to write about puppies and double rainbows & I can’t relate.” – That is the best comment ever! You make me laugh. :) I often feel the same way about a lot of content on the Internet! Though I am guilty of talking a lot about puppies. :P

      I’m learning that I can stop my emotions and my pain through meditation and mindfulness, sometimes. Also through sound, like playing a favourite song really loudly. Those things definitely help me more than self-injury ever did; it only ever made my pain more complicated.

      Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting! Be well!

  4. More Than Skin Deep

    I really love your blog & your honesty about your journey, regrets, triumphs! I use to struggle with self-harm, depression and such and have since recovered…I am considering getting a tattoo over one of my arms, but haven’t decided yet for sure ;)
    I’ve started a blog that aims to bring inspiration, and hope to those who are struggling with self-harm, would you ever be interested in doing a guest post? Or could I take a few of your posts & re-blog them? I think they would be a great addition!
    All the best, Val

  5. MrsJohnson

    Thank you for your site. I tried to get on chat with one of those hotlines and thy were all busy and I can’t talk on the phone, it’s too personal to admit my thoughts outloud! But, I’m working on not hating myself. And along the way I’ve started to tell myself I hate my husband when he is the best guy in the world, especially for me. In my episode tonight I ended up pushing him and I feel so terrible. Obviously he didn’t push me back or anything, I think it hurts him more to see me crazy like that. I don’t know how to deal with my emotions other than hurting myself. So thanks for the other options. I like the throwing rocks, I think I’ll try that. Thank you

    1. Erin

      Hi! Thanks for your comment. :) I have a hard time with phone hotlines too. I’m always afraid someone else is listening, or I picture the person on the other end of the line secretly hates me or something. Since I’m a writer, I really like crisis chat options, where I can write to someone and they’ll reply. If you Google it you can find some great resources that way. Keep trying to love yourself. It takes time, for sure. You are awesome! <3 Erin

  6. Jesse

    Hey there. I’m glad I found your blog.I’m a junior in highschool and I’ve been suffering with depression for around 10 years and I’ve suffered with with self harm for 3 years now. I plan on trying to use these methods that you posted on here. I thank God for you.Just reading this post already makes me feel less alone. I plan on reading more of your blog.
    Love,Jesse

  7. Justin

    Hi Erin
    I’m a 21 year old guy and I recently cut badly again. It hard because I feel like as a man I’m not supposed to struggle with this or struggle with emotions that I don’t understand. Thank you for sharing your story and helping me start to understand mine.

  8. Jaykay

    Great post! I don’t cut myself because I don’t have the courage to do so but i often think about hurting myself like to slit my wrist or something like that even though I lack the courage to do so. It’s a tough world …

  9. Iris Black

    Hi Erin, loved this blog and it’s good to see it’s helping so many people. Most people hurt themselves because they hold onto negative feelings and are unable to express themselves and let those feelings out. People do benefit immensely from counseling, and seeking help at the right time is critical.

  10. Broken Arrow

    I am new to self harming and I was truly horrified when it became a part of my life to try and process my husband cheating on me 7 months ago….I found out when my doctor called me telling me I had an sti….we have been together 18 years and married 15, 4 children. Never did I think I would have to live through this and my husbands drunken mid life crisis on his 50th birthday overseas would lead to such disastrous turn in my life. I know he is remorseful….he started self harming in taking up smoking to punish himself, we have worked hard to try and overcome this and regain our trust and faith in ourselves. It stole my beauty and my confidence and left me a shell of a woman who is afraid of everyone and everything….I scratch my skin off and punch myself when I feel out of control and I can’t stop thinking about it….then feel awful and empty and ashamed after. I am left confused and hurting but it makes the inner pain easier to work through. I have fist sized bruises on my thighs and large scratches on my stomach, I have punched myself in the face recently which left a large bruise for 10 days which I made up a lie to cover. I know I need help. I’m trying. I want this to stop. I’m glad to finally be able to tell what is happening to me….I’ve felt so alone.

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