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Harm reduction


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I'm just going to stick my nose into this thread for a bit and ask that people avoid graphic details of SI methods.  They can be triggering and we don't want to give people new ideas unless they serious are less harmful.  

 

One thing that I've heard repeated a lot is to wear a rubber band around your wrist and snap it when the urge hits.  I don't SI but I imagine it would have to be a fat fucking rubber band to do any good.

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Have you looked through this list here for suggestions? I know that some of it is distractions, but there are harm reduction strategies in it as well.

 

It must be frustrating that your pdoc would suggest it as an option without defining it and explaining alternatives. Some of them are different for different people. For example some folks find drawing on themselves with red marker helpful, while others find it triggering. If you're like me and use a non-traditional method then it really does nothing at all. It's also why I'm not totally up on my alternate activities.

 

I tend to SI when I'm scared so if I can do something to counter the fear then it'll help. Sometimes I take a cold-water-only shower. It gives me a headache and then I have to spend a while getting warm again. If you SI for a different reason then you'll want to find ways to address that. 

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One example I know of is instead of cutting, use a push pin. Poking, while still having risks of infection, is unlikely to lead to a situation where one accidentally cuts deeper than intended, causing permanent injury or death.

 

 

The general idea of harm reduction is that until or unless you are ready to commit to using non-harm methods to manage urges and emotions, decrease the risk of death, disability, and permanent damage by doing something different and smaller.

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I have browsed through that thread and the thing is I am trying to use non-harming methods I just haven't found one that works yet.

What I think he was getting at is that cutting carries less of a risk that venipuncture.

I don't want to start cutting again, I don't want to do any of the things I did as a teen.

I just want to stop and to be healthy.

For me right now self harm is just as much a compulsion (OCD) as it is anxiety management.

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There are some good apps for iPhone that I found helpful in controlling the urge. It depends on your reasons and all that stuff, and if you can redirect your attention elsewhere. They have some really fun ones too like trying to come up with 5 songs with the word 'baby' in the title--It kinda helps distract from the urge--if you're able to be distracted.

 

When I was first 'coming out' about my SI, my shrink (I don't know if you call them Pdoc or what) said to try to replace sharp, pointy, etc objects with 'safe' ones. I didn't physically make a list and go round up the stuff and hide it--I just would take a second look at whatever it was, and replace it with something else--like the rubber tip of a pencil. That way I could simulate the motion of SI without causing injury--but that was after downgrading my 'safe' implements from the 'very sharp things' to 'kinda sharp' to 'fairly blunt' to 'really?why am i bothering?'. It was really hard--I imagined it was like smokers weaning down off of cigs.The urge was there and I wasn't totally satisfied with the outcome after an episode--but tolerating the less-than-good outcome made it easier over time to downgrade to less dangerous tools. I hope that made some kind of sense? I was trying not to be triggering or encourage SI, just detail how I did kinda a stepdown thing to replace sharps with rubbery and useless. I still employ the destraction tricks though.

 

It's a hard hard battle and I'm struggling with it everyday still. I hope you can find peace with it yourself.

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My therapist and I did harm reduction but it wasn't like I used something else, instead I caped out at what was occurring in that exact time, and then we began to reduce the usage until we recently got rid of the tools. When I began to engage in other injurious behaviours, it was written out in a contract (my choice) that I would not engage in different activities. Because I know I will try to get away with it, I literally spelled it out for myself what I was not able to do until I had contacted a list of 5 people (3 friends, distress line and then my therapist). For me it worked, because I could not imagine doing away with it altogether. 

 

That being said I think regardless there needs to be alternatives in place - you can't fully quit something without having a safer alternative....instead of SI I chose to have a hot bath or go for a run depending on why I feel the urge...I think that's important to discuss with your pdoc too

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