Cutting is a serious condition that has causes in stress and psychological disorders. While cutting may start as a way to release pent up emotion and tension, it can quickly become a dangerous, even deadly, activity. If you want to stop cutting yourself, follow these steps but do not try to go it alone.
- Talk to someone. You may think cutting is a temporary or even one time thing but the release can be as addictive as a drug. Before a problem takes hold, you need to talk to someone. This doesn’t mean you need to report your situation to a professional if you aren’t ready but you do need to tell someone. Talk to a friend or an adult you trust and keep talking to them throughout each step of this process.
- Keep a journal. Cutting is a symptom of a larger problem. For some it is an attempt to distract them from something else happening in their life. Before you start trying to analyze your behavior, consider starting with a journal. Get a simple notebook to write in, a safe place to record all your thoughts, feelings and behavior.
- Take note of when you cut yourself. Now that you’ve started journaling, make a note of when you get the urge to cut yourself. Just make an entry in your journal when you feel the urge, what you were doing right before. Writing it down may distract you enough that you do not cut yourself. If it does not and you cut yourself again, make note of how the cutting makes you feel and what happens afterward.
- Find out why you started cutting. If keeping a journal doesn’t distract you enough to stop then it’s time to start figuring out the cause of your cutting. Go back and look at your journal. Do you find trends, something in common that was happening before you felt the urge to cut yourself? Were you bored? Did you have a fight with someone? By looking back at times when you felt the urge you may be able to find out what is causing you to hurt yourself. This process can be emotionally painful so don’t do it alone. Remember step one and keep talking to someone you trust.
- Remove cutting objects from your vicinity. While you are looking for the cause of your behavior, try to keep yourself from further harm. Remove cutting objects from your reach. This means razors, knives, glass, safety pins and any other object you use to mutilate your own body. Get them out of the bathroom, your bedroom, the entire house if you can.
- Try a replacement tactic. Some cutters find that while they are trying to find or fix the cause of their cutting, they need to replace the cutting habit with something less dangerous. One of the side effects of cutting is the rush of adrenaline caused by the pain of cutting. Your replacement activity will need to create that same adrenaline response so try physical activity that is distracting and gets your heart racing.
- Seek professional help. Cutting is a symptom of a problem that may need professional help. Don’t be afraid of therapy. Doctors exist who can help you manage your condition and help you cope with the cause of your cutting.
Cutting yourself is a dangerous and scary behavior. Follow these steps and get help and you will be able to stop cutting yourself.