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Help, what can I do to stop these self harm urges when I’m on my own?



Well-known member
Mar 8, 2018
I need help. I’m seeing a counsellor and trying things to help my PTSD/Anxiety and Depression. Things hit a climax this week and I’ve self harmed 5 times tonight. I need help. What can I do to stop these urges when I’m on my own? I can’t rationalise or see timings till my next counselling session, it’s always around 7 days away which at the moment seems months away
Last edited by a moderator:


Well-known member
Jan 5, 2011
I used to self harm and its addictive. The more you do the more it feels like the only solution. I found that Mindfulness helped me to escape the roundabout. Have you ever heard of it? Its not meditation and its not ignoring or distraction. You feel the urge and acknowledge it, then gently bring your mind back to something else. YOu have to keep on doing this over and over again to retrain your brain. I personally think of a fire and imagine myself writing down the urge on an imaginary piece of paper, scrunching it up and throwing it onto the fire.

Your brain is in a rut so you weaken that rut and make a new one with more positive images. After you acknnowledge the urge, and throw it away, you think or do something positive and pleasurable. I used chocolate - just one piece to slowly look at, feel it, smell it, and then lastly taste it. You put it in your mouth and don't chew it but let it melt slowly. Keep concentrating on the flavour and sensations. When your mind wanders (which it will), you gently bring it back to the chocolate and the sensations it gives you. The key is to do it slowly.

Another one is a shower but watching the sparkles of water falling the sensations the sound, the warmth on your skin etc. Take it slowly. You can come up with your own pleasure that fits you. Its a bit of work but really worth it.

When the urge is really strong, square breathing can help. That is where you breathe in for count of 3, hold for count of 3, exhale for 3 and hold for 3. Keep this up and don't let the urge overtake you. You will find you are very tense probably and the square breathing really helps.


My darling Mandy used to self-harm and though it's difficult to cope with, it's not impossible to get out of it. Snap a rubber band on your wrist. This isn't the best technique but it's better than SH.

Suggestions: Write down any negative feelings and then rip the paper up. Pet or cuddle with a dog or cat. Wrap yourself in a warm blanket. Massage your neck, hands, and feet. Listen to calming music. Distract yourself holding an ice cube in the crook of your arm or leg. Chew something with a very strong taste, like chili peppers, peppermint, or a grapefruit peel.

Talk to someone. If you don't have a professional to talk to, call a friend on the phone or meet them in person. Tell them what you want to do and why and I realise that SH is a private thing, but it's worth reaching out to a friend and asking them to be with you. Or just have them distract you from the self-harm.

Mind Infoline – Information on self-harm and a helpline to call in the UK at 0300 123 3393 or text 86463. (Mind)

Another tip here is if you're too nervous to talk in person, consider starting off the conversation with an email, text, or letter (although it's important to eventually follow-up with a face-to-face conversation). Don't feel pressured into sharing things you're not ready to talk about. You don't have to show the person your injuries or answer any questions you don't feel comfortable answering.
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