Self Harm Alternative

Self Harm Alternative

Life with PTSD is complicated for a 24 year old girl. No, I’m not a combat vet. But thanks to a psychopath “boyfriend”, I’ve been through a little bit of everything. Kidnapping, assault, rapes, brainwashing, attempted murder. He made me cut myself and forced me to do drugs. Hurt me lots. Ribs out of place, concussion, bruised from head to toe. Physical, verbal, emotional, sexual abuse; heck I guess neglect could be a thing too, as he would lock me in a room for days on end. This all went on for about two months, before he was arrested.

When I type all that out, it’s kind of surreal… like, I survived all of that?! I feel like a bad ass.

Some days I do, anyways.

But most days I’m consumed with PTSD and depression symptoms. Flashbacks, panic attacks, disociations, being very easily startled and scared of ALL men.

Unfortunately, it has taken my freedom. I can’t go anywhere by myself anymore, let alone work. So it’s no wonder that I get so down on myself.

One of the things I struggle with is self-harm. When my monster would make me cut myself, he would say things like “you’re disgusting”, “you’re lower than dirt”, “the world would be a better place without you”, and “make sure you cut it good, so you bleed a lot”.
It’s hard to admit, but sometimes those things echo in my mind, still. Especially if I mess up, or even if someone is upset around me- then I feel like I NEED to cut myself as punishment. It’s a learned behavior from being with him, I know.

But what can be learned, can be un-learned. So if you have negative thinking patterns, I encourage you to challenge them. It just takes some practice.

Look, I know in the moment it is SO hard to pick up a marker instead, but if you make that choice- you are being COURAGEOUS. You are choosing to defy those thoughts.

See, there are alternatives to self-harm that can be just as satisfying. At first I was trading my blade for a red marker, and driving it up and down my arm (with quite a bit of pressure). When you’re self-harming, you’re normally kind of out of it. So feeling the pressure on my arms and seeing the red of the marker, had the same satisfying effect without the harm of the lasting cuts.

After several times of choosing the marker over the knife, it gets easier.

I actually started doodling on forearms as a self-harm alternative. I used a sharpie. If you’re not feeling creative, you can Google “henna tattoo” and copy one of those designs.

Look, I know in the moment it is SO hard to pick up a marker instead, but if you make that choice- you are being COURAGEOUS. You are choosing to defy those thoughts.
And, once the urges go away, you will be so much more proud of yourself for choosing the marker. So set a sharpie on your desk, for when the next crisis hits, you’ll be ready.
Not only will you be preventing harm to yourself, but you will be creating art, a positive from (what was) a negative.

One last pointer- as a preventative- you can also use temporary tattoos on your skin. I found gorgeous gold & silver tattoos at Walmart. They make me see my arms as pretty, plus I don’t want to cut the tattoos.

Hey, anything that works right?

I hope this helps someone. Be strong, there is always hope <3

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