General Question

aviona's avatar

What are some things to replace cutting?

Asked by aviona (3240 points ) April 29th, 2009

I used to cut. It’s been quite some time (at least 3 years) since I’ve done it. And I have to say I’m proud of myself for having the self-control to stop. It’s not easy. And, lately, I’ve been feeling to urge to do it again when I’m upset (I’ve resisted).

I’m wondering if anyone has found any good replacement form of release. For example, some smokers will hold a pen in their hand and put it to their mouth to help them quit. So, any less destructive suggestions?

I already exercise on a pretty regular basis, but that just doesn’t seem to cut it… (hah, no pun intended)

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28 Answers

SpatzieLover's avatar

Asking here is a good start to realizing you need to replace a bad habit with a good one. GOOD for YOU!

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

What the heck is “cutting”?

casheroo's avatar

A rubber band around your wrist, and snap it when you feel the need to cut. Also, get yourself into therapy.

aviona's avatar

@casheroo I see 2 therapists and a psychiatrist already. Should have mentioned that.

And the problem with the rubber band is that it is self harm in and of itself…

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

@asmonet Sad that it happens so often there’s a term for it. That song is coming back to my head again…. “this world is not my home, I’m just a passin through”.

asmonet's avatar

I have never cut, so I don’t think I can add to the discussion. But I wish you well, and I’m glad you’re actively working towards your health.

Have you asked you therapists about coping strategies? Are they aware of your old behaviors? Do they know you’ve been thinking about it recently? I suspect they’d be more qualified to offer suggestions.

asmonet's avatar

@NaturalMineralWater: At least it’s gotten enough attention to be named and people have been helped because of awareness.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Every time you get the urge to do it but manage to stop yourself from following through, reward yourself. Don’t only tell yourself “good job”, but treat yourself with something. “I did good, so I think I’ll get some ice cream” (or any other treat you like). Doesn’t have to be food, either. Just anything you enjoy. Replace the negative urge with a positive one.

Dog's avatar

Great job on 3 years.

Are you dealing with just stress or a feeling that you have no control?

Be sure to examine what has changed recently in your life. Maybe you are taking on too much commitment.

I agree with @asmonet that your therapist needs to be aware of your recent feelings and is far more qualified to answer your question.

Stay strong!

Judi's avatar

I don’t know if I recommend it or not, but my son used to cut (before emo was vogue.). He said that getting tattoos sort of took the place of cutting for him. I don’t like the tattoos either, but I would rather have the tattoos than the cutting scars.

oratio's avatar

Are there environments, situations that you can think of, where you have never felt the urge to cut yourself? Special people you had around you or environments like going to clubs, reading in a library, playing in a soccer team or working somewhere?

Identifying things like that and seeking them out again, maybe can help put things in balance or your mind in another place.

YARNLADY's avatar

EFT It really works.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Have you tried tapping?

(I’m not sure if it’s the same as EFT or not) I hear it works well. They use it for stroke victims and dementia patients for anxiety. (I was shown how to do this for my aunt at the nursing home)

casheroo's avatar

@aviona I used to cut and have trichotillomania…every doctor I saw would recommend the rubber band. It’s not self harm. It helps you cope.

Kelly27's avatar

Try putting your hands in ice for a few minutes.

YARNLADY's avatar

@SpatzieLover yes, tapping is EFT, but I use a modified version

3or4monsters's avatar

You say you exercise. Do you lift weights?

fireside's avatar

I believe that we are all made of Mind, Body and Spirit.
Exercising the Body seems to have worked for a while, but it sounds like something more is still going on. Maybe it is time to involve the mind and spirit. Continue to see your therapists and tell them of the changes. Analyze what has changed in your life that is bringing back these feelings. Find some inspirational quotes, carry them with you and read them when you feel the urge. Memorize them, search out new ones, use them as a form of prayer. Try Yoga and meditate. I don’t know what that must be like, but I hope you find a way. I looked for some quotes to get you started:

“133. There are two ways of healing sickness, material means and spiritual means. The first is by the treatment of physicians; the second consisteth in prayers offered by the spiritual ones to God and in turning to Him. Both means should be used and practised.” Abdu’l-Baha

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” Galatians 5:22

“My fault, my failure, is not in the passions I have, but in my lack of control of them.” Jack Kerouac

“Self-discipline is an act of cultivation. It require you to connect today’s actions to tomorrow’s results. There’s a season for sowing a season for reaping. Self-discipline helps you know which is which.” Gary Ryan Blair

“Respect your efforts, respect yourself. Self-respect leads to self-discipline. When you have both firmly under your belt, that’s real power.” Clint Eastwood

“Physically you are a human being, but mentally you are incomplete. Given that we have this physical human form, we must safeguard our mental capacity for judgment. For that, we cannot take out insurance; the insurance company is within: self-discipline, self-awareness, and a clear realization of the disadvantages of anger and the positive effects of kindness.” Dalai Lama

“Be patient. The path of self-discipline that leads to God-realization is not an easy path: obstacles and sufferings are on the path; the latter you must bear, and the former overcome—all by His help. His help comes only through concentration. Repetition of God’s name helps concentration.” Swami Ramdas

aviona's avatar

@fireside & @3or4monsters I do yoga and lift weights as well :) thank you for the advice.

@asmonet I guess I should bring up my recent urges with my therapists. They do know about my old habits, so I will have to do it delicately as to not alarm them!

@Judi the same thing happened with me and piercings! I pierced myself a lot and got them done professionally as well. Since the cutting has stopped he piercings have decreased. There is one that I have wanted for a while, though, it’s something to consider. Interesting advice, thank you. And, yes, I’d say tattoos are better than the scars.

@SpatzieLover & @YARNLADY I’ll check that out, looks interesting. Thank you.

@casheroo. I’ll try it (gently!) Thanks :)

& thank you for the support @everyoneeee

tinyfaery's avatar

I used to work with a population of cutters and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy is a great cognitive therapy.

A great trick I learned from my work is to hold an ice cube in your fist until you cannot stand it anymore. The pain will trigger the relaxed feeling you get after cutting with no blood and no scars.

rooeytoo's avatar

I always have faith in the power of a group, are there groups for cutters? There are groups for everything else, I can’t imagine there isn’t one for this. There is always something comforting about being with other people who intimately understand your behavior. And of course the therapy. It almost sounds as if you are over therapied, maybe you should just find one you really trust and who feels like home, and then stick with that one. I agree that acknowledgement is the first step to recovery, so keep on being truthful with yourself that is good.

aviona's avatar

Sounds very effective @tinyfaery thanks!

& thank you @rooeytoo. I have Kaiser, which offers a ton of classes/groups, so maybe they’d have something. I can check it out. I’m more looking for something in the moment to satisfy the urge. But, of course, if I found a group, maybe they would offer suggestions.

helloimcat's avatar

Everyone has given a lot of really great answers… but I just wanted to drop my two cents. I was never a cutter, but I am prone to deep self loathing and addictions I’d rather not have. So for me the best thing to do was to be in a place where people SEE me and I wouldn’t be able to do those things. So- going to the library and sitting in someone’s line of sight; or riding the train with some music for an hour. Just getting out to go and eat and walk around.

susanc's avatar

@aviona“I guess I should bring up my recent urges with my therapists. They do know about my old habits, so I will have to do it delicately as to not alarm them!”
Dear one, they’re tough enough to learn you’re having a hard time.
It’s great that you trusted us. Thank you.

aviona's avatar

@susanc True, true…

You’re welcome. And as always thank you for listening with open ears, minds, and hearts and supporting.

wundayatta's avatar

First of all, I find your resistance so far to be very encouraging. Using your head to control behaviors that attract you is a very important tactic, and a strength of yours. I think you can add to the effectiveness of the technique by boning up on the consequences of cutting. Then, every time you feel the urge, remind yourself of where it ends up. That technique won’t keep you from cutting by itself, but it should help you bolster your will.

I am struggling with a related issue. I have, in the last few months, come to have this incredibly itchy scalp. I’ve got topical drugs to help, but the urge to scratch and scratch until I bleed is very powerful. Only the pain will take away the itching. Recently, I’ve been having more success stopping this mentally. One thing that helps is the knowledge that scratching brings something to the area (prostaglandins?) that makes it itch more. The more I scratch, the more I need to scratch. This helps me in not doing it. I think though, that if there was no one else around, I would probably scratch until I’d scratched through my skull into my brain. (There are actually people who have done that). (Sorry for the yuck).

crazy_twilight_chick's avatar

@aviona: well i don’t know if this will be much help to you but….i used to do that to. i haven’t done it for a while & when i feel the urge to do it i:
1. text my bestfriend and tell her about it.
2. listen to music.
or
3.take a walk and think about why i want to do it. I think about whether its a resonable reason to cut.

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