SELF HARM PREVENTION BLOCK
An article by Peter Hawes glass artist, small business owner, public speaker, writer, counselor, mental health worker, voice hearer and Ex-Self Harmer.
In my time of emotional distress I used to self-harm because my emotions got way to powerful to handle.
I am doing so much better now and have recovered from my schizophrenia and from self-harming.
A lot of my trouble was emotional distress due to trauma.
But in my deepest darkest hour after an incident with a cigarette I decided I wasn't going to self-harm any more.
Probably also helped my Fiancee told me if I could not self-harm for 5 months she would let me buy a flame working kit. Cause she's tricky like that :-P
But how could I get past myself harm desires and urges?
I had to substitute it as I have done with all my addictions but what with?
Then it came to me and I invented the self-harm prevention block which I will now show you how to make.
An A4 size piece of soft smooth wood. (I used pine not the treated kind the other smoother kind as it satisfied my cravings more.) A Pen Your usually habitual self-harming object (it's important to keep to your rituals only replace yourself with the block so you are cutting the block and not yourself.)
And that's all the stuff you need so let's begin the description of how to make this item.
Step 1) Take your piece of wood and a pen.
Step 2) Place your hand on the block of wood and use a pen to trace round it. Probably use a pen that works cause as you can see I used a different pen to the one in the first picture and the other pen is tossed aside. Might be a good idea to trace the hand or arm you self-harm most on.
Step 3) Lift hand and admire your drawing skills. (Unless as in this case you are distracted by a noise outside and as your drawing you look up and trail off with the pen. As seen in the first finger of this one. But no dramas just fix it up and laugh it off.)
Step 4) Write your name on it and what it is. As seen in this picture I wrote Pete's self-harm prevention block. (You could use anything such as self-harm alternative or something like that. It's about the statement its making as it will help lock into the subconscious that this is an item to help stop self-harming.
Step 5) Every time you feel the urge to self-harm, Write the emotion attached to that feeling in either one of the fingers or on the hand part. (The purpose of this is to help you recognize the strong feelings that lead you to self-harm)
Step 6) after writing the feeling associated with your self-harm urges cut or burn the block and remember that's your arm there cause you traced it. As you can see this has been well used and there is over a year of cut's and cigarette burns there. It's been a year since I stopped self-harming
Step 7) here’s one I prepared earlier.
I always wanted to say that but alas never had my own cooking show. But seriously here's the one that has helped me get through a year without self-harming and believe me it's been a really tough year this year and as you can see I have some re-occurring theme's with my emotions leading me to self-harm u
So That's how the self-harm prevention block is made and used.
However now we are aware of our emotions leading us to self-harm and we are substituting the cutting or burning of ourselves for something else we still need to deal with those powerful emotions so that we rel
I am going to include quite a few ways to deal with extreme emotions and hopefully they will give you a way to discharge that emotional energy. It does help. Usually when I feel like self-harming I now grab my block, Write the emotion attached to the self-harm urge and cut or burn the block then I look at the list I made and pick something to deal with the emotion I just wrote down before I cut. The emotion that leads to my self-harm urges.
Way's to Cope
OK now let's start listing some of those helpful ways to deal with negative emotions
1) The first step should always be to walk away from any situation where you feel emotional out of control.
2) Go to the gym for a workout.
3) Crush some empty cans ( save them up for when your angry then stomp them.)
4) Fill a 1.5 liter bottle with water and kick it round the back yard really lay into it. (A Really Good way to release negative emotions)
5) Scream into a pillow.
6) Punch a pillow repeatable.
7) Skip – I used to have a skipping rope by the door at all times and if I got angry or had any other powerful negative emotion I would skip really fast and it helped a lot and really burnt the emotion off.
8) Do some writing – Where you can write whatever you want and then tear it up, It doesn't matter it's about releasing the emotions.
9) Do some art. - Put your feelings into an art piece as I have done in my now famous feel my pain glass panel and razor blade pendant or my splatter paintings. Splatter painting is a great way to release emotions. Get some paint and a canvas and load a brush with paint and throw the paint or flick it at the canvas and be as furious as you want.
10) Do some house work.
11) Do some gardening – The rough stuff like shoveling dirt and that sort.
12) Talk into a recorder – I when I got angry or felt any other negative emotion I would talk into a Dictaphone and record it as it really helped release the anger and other emotions when I talked it out but if you don't have a Dictaphone talk to yourself or a statue or some other object it's about talking it out.
13) Play a video game – Preferably one that is in the genre of shooter or beat em up's. You need one that’s really going to release that negative emotion.
14) Cold Shower – Use this as a last resort if entering rage or urges or negative emotions are becoming too strong.
15) Put some Music on and Sing Sing Sing at the top of your lungs if you have to.
16) Do some sport like running or boxing if you have a punching bag. If you don't have a punching bag you can make one by stuffing a heap of old cloths and rags in a pillow case and using duct tape all round it to firm it up a bit.
17) Confetti Parade- Save some old news papers and rip them up in big stacks. Go nuts have a confetti parade, You can pick it all up later it doesn't mater.
18) Alternatively roll up one of those saved newspapers and use it as a baton to beat a cardboard box down.
19) Take an old cardboard box and kill it, You can stab it or kick it or destroy it in your own way. I did this once yelling I hate my life and I kill you at the box while stabbing it repeatability after a fight with my brother. It felt so good and I was so relaxed after wards from the release of anger and the negative emotions.
20) Wire – Grab some wire even if it's a coat hanger and being careful of the sharp ends, Twist it, Wring it in your hands and destroy it and bend it. When finished you could always call it an abstract wire sculpture. If you are interested in wire sculpture do a google search on the internet for wire sculpture or wire artists and aim to turn your emotional discomfort into a work of art.
21) Hammer and nails – This one is from my good friend and boss Indigo Daya at Voices Vic. Have a Jar of nails and a hammer and piece of wood and hit nails into it when you are experiencing negative emotions. I tried this and was amazed how much it helped and eventually found myself hitting the nails into the wood in patterns of angry faces or other random pictures. I always seem to turn my anger and other negative emotions into art these days. There's something about the raw power of anger and other negative emotions that I feel I can tap into and use for art.
22) Mantra – A Mantra is a statement that is repeated again and again it's supposed to still the mind. Usually I use something positive. The mantra I usually use and it's a bit long but I say “I'm angry and that’s ok but I will use my anger positively” I just repeat it over and over and over again and usually it gives me some clarity of mind till I can walk away and do some art to help me deal with my negative emotions, But you could make your own mantra something like I'm stressed but I will be ok and just repeat it over and over again.
23) Deep breathing – Doing some deep breathing really helps with emotional discomfort specially if you add some mindfulness to it and count 1 for the in breath and 2 for the out breath, Just be aware of your breathing only your breathing if any thoughts come to your mind just accept that they are a thought or an emotion and let them go and return focus to your breathing continually disregarding everything else by just accepting it is as it is and returning your focus to your breathing. I often shut my eyes when I do this and it really puts me in a meditative state.
24) Puzzle – Do a puzzle to distract you be it a jigsaw puzzle or one of the other ones like a Rubik's cube which is especially helpful when your out down the street and feeling anxious you can just whip out your Rubik's cube and play with it while you walk. I use cards to shuffle and it really helps me with my anxiety and other negative emotions in a shopping environment.
25) Puzzle book – You know like the find a word type ones.
26) Read a good book – Read a fantasy book or another work of fiction to escape your situation or alternatively read a technical book to learn something.
27) Have a nice warm shower or bath and just let all the stress go and seep into the water and visualize it all washing down the drain.
28) Watch a movie or some other TV.
29) Listen to the radio or other music.
30) Dance like no one is watching and usually I find a place where no one is and I just dance the emotion out.
31) Write some poetry about how your feeling - sometimes trying to make the words rhyme can be fun and take your mind of the emotionally disturbing situation.
32) Go for a walk
33) Go for a run
34) Read the article about something that interests you on the internet or in the newspaper.
35) Challenge your negative thoughts and try do some self-talking.
36) Make some positive affirmative statement and repeat them 10 times and example might be I am a wonderful person with many great skills. (It doesn't matter if you believe the statement but research has shown the more times you make a positive statement the more it gets processed by your subconscious and eventually you start to believe it and feel good about yourself.)
37) Soak your feet in a tub of warm water with some Epsom salts or electric soda.
38) Knit or do some other type of needle work like cross stitch
39) Take time out and have a cup of tea and just chill for a bit.
40) Sit down and try write down some solutions to the the problems that are stressing you or causing the negative emotions.
41) Sit down and work out some things to do in your life to make it for the better either adding a hobby or a plan of action for making life better for you.
42) Take up print making. I did some lino and wood cut's and it helped me immensely with my self harm urges. As seen in the picture of a cut I did at the end of this article
43) Visit or ring a friend and spend some time there or organize to do an activity with a friend.
44) Do some sports any kind I used to often play down ball and hit a ball against a wall when I was emotionally distressed or I would play table tennis or something like that.
45) Watch some comedy films or read some joke books.
46) Go to the library and hire some cd's on guided relaxation and listen to them.
47) Go shopping and do some retail therapy even if it's window shopping.
48) Have a list of things to do like fantasy's to work out for example what you would do if you won a million bucks or if you were asked to make a garden for someone what flowers would you put in it and how would you design it that sort of stuff and really try to visualize it. The point of this exercise is to distract you and take your mind off how your feeling.
49) Take the direct approach and write down how your feeling and why and what steps you can take to help you not feel that way next time. Building emotional coping techniques is invaluable for future emotional crisis’s.
50) Work out more ways of coping with emotional distress in the 10 ways below.
So there are some ways to cope with emotions and how to build a self harm prevention block.
I hope this helps some people the way it helped me.
This article can be found on my other website: www.psychpatientnomore.com
For anyone who wants to see more of my business website www.tvboxmcgee.com
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