Sometimes depression involves injury to oneself. Whether it's called self-injury, self-abuse, self-hate, or self-violence it can take many forms: cutting, biting, hitting - there are many ways a person could abuse themselves including eating habits, lack or too much sleep, and even how people talk to themselves.
To make peace with yourself, you may need counseling to help lengthen the time between the impulse to self-injure and actually acting on that impulse. Build in time to sort through emotions about what happened in order to come up with alternatives that leave you feeling good about yourself – not temporary deliberate ways of hurting yourself.*
Cutting, biting and hitting may stop the emotional pain momentarily. For real pain-free healing that lasts, take a look at the three areas of healing from depression: emotional, physical and spiritual.
caused you to be in a
Hanging out by
yourself can be the
scariest part. Not
only do you feel
hopeless, if you
cause harm to yourself, you may not feel safe to be alone - you may not feel emotionally stable enough to hang out with other people either.
What to do? Get help. You don't have to go through the fear by yourself. Find a safe person to talk to. You are not alone. Many people experience the same feelings you do. YOU DO NOT DESERVE HATE. YOU ARE A WORTHY, WORTHWHILE PERSON NO MATTER WHAT ANYBODY SAYS AND NO MATTER HOW ANYONE TREATS YOU!!! There really is a better way to live that is pain-free!
1. Start by saying in the mirror to yourself everyday: "God loves me." At first this may sound stupid, silly, and/or meaningless. Do it anyway. Before long you will come to understand the power of that statement because no matter what happened today or yesterday and no matter how anyone treats you, no one can take this fact away from you: "God loves you." And God loved you yesterday, today and will love you tomorrow too.
2. Wear a special braided chord, ring, or bracelet to remind yourself to wait. Instead of self-abuse, wait and consider what has happened to cause you these feelings. Write about the pain and whirling emotions going on inside. If drawing is more your thing, do that instead. It's important to get the feelings out and start becoming aware of things that trigger the impulse to self-harm.
3. Pray: "God, show me how to love what you have created in me. Show me how to cope and how to live." God will slowly reveal answers.
4. Exercise. Whether you do sit ups, leg lifts, go for a walk, ride a bike, swim, jog, play tennis, or hike - exercising increases your endorphins which will make you feel better. Exercise also helps you recognize your inner strength. Remember: God made you capable.
5. Have instructions. First thing every morning and throughout the day repeat the instructions you will live by for the day. Say these phrases in the mirror until you believe them. More than positive statements, these are truths about you.
"I am a loveable person with likeable qualities."
"I can remove myself from abusive situations."
"I am a capable person."
"I have needs and it is okay for me to take care of my
needs without feeling guilty."
"God loves me."
"God has a plan and a purpose for me."
"God made me special and on purpose."
"I am not responsible for the happiness of others. I can offer help, but it is the responsibility of others to accept the help I offer."
"I can choose NOT to participate."
"God gave me a mouth and will show me the words to say in order to resolve conflict as well as when to keep my mouth shut."
6. No one is perfect. Be gentle to yourself - even if you make mistakes. Treat yourself as well as you would treat a good friend. For example: wear comfortable shoes, take a warm bath, apply hand lotion when you need it, smile at yourself, hug yourself, give yourself plenty of time, have some fun each day, have free time, make yourself a special breakfast...
7. Talk nicely to yourself. Become aware of negative self-talk: "I hate myself." "I'm going to kill myself." "I can't do anything right." "I wish I were dead." "I wish I had never been born."
Replace these negative statements with ones from #5 above.
8. Make healing a daily hobby. Do something everyday in order to make progress at healing from depression and self-injury. You may still have some bad days. That's okay. Know that these will not last. They are temporary and are NOT what is true about you.
Helpful resources for self-injury: