It is a daily choice to say no to self harm. One day later. One month later. One year later. 10 years later. Every day. Saying NO to self harm. Some days the choice the easy. Some days its very hard. You’ve gotta do it though. Say no to self harm every day. You never lost the choice. Addiction tricks you into thinking you can’t say no. Make that choice today, and tomorrow, and every day after that. I’m here doing it every day too.
This is my second full album review ever! It came out really good! This band really stepped it up since their last release a few years ago. Its really exciting to hear how far they’ve come.
Check it out here.
The latest edition of my column The Eccentric Sheep Musings is about stereotyping and how dumb it is. What you are saying is impossible. Stop saying general statements about large groups. You’re missing out on amazing people because you do this.
((Trying to put together what is my advice for those battling self harm…its hard to put it all together and feel like I covered everything I want to. Here’s the first draft))
What are the tricks to quitting self harm? I don’t know how well the tricks work or if tricks is the right word. I think about self harm every day still and have wished to do it again at every point on the emotional spectrum from happy to angry to sad. I think there is more to staying away from self harm then just finding a replacement.
I self harmed through cutting from about 2000-2004. It started out as a few little cuts and eventually turned into the scars I carry to this day. The urges have never left me completely. That pathway to relief I created in my mind via addiction is still there and calls to me. Its my choice not to take that path even though my mind screams for it at times.
First, you have to remember that choice. The choice to say yes or no to self harm. You’ve always had the choice. You never lost it. In the depths of addiction you were tricked into thinking you lost it so saying no has become incredibly hard. It has become the hardest choice in the world because you have been brainwashed into thinking you can’t say no when you still can say it.
Every single day. Every hour. Every minute. However many times. You have to keep saying no. You have to keep making that deliberate choice to say no to self harm.
You can’t fight it if you don’t even know why you do it. There is a feeling you have before you self harm, and there is a feeling you are wanting and expecting to have after self harm. What are you looking for in self harm? What situations and experiences contribute to this? Where and when did this feeling you are desiring escape from first appear?
You can’t escape pain and the past forever. You have to face it and deal with it. You have to express and work it out instead of escape and avoid it. When you deal with it and face it head on it loses power over you. When you push it to the side and avoid it, the power it has over you remains.
When you have made the choice to fight it and say no and you understand more of where it came from and why you do it, then you can start to look at what alternatives can fill its place. There are different aspects of self harm to find alternatives to. They are the actual habitual action, the pain felt during, and the relief felt after.
What do I mean by habitual action? It’s like when you quit smoking and you don’t know what to do with your hands because you are accustomed to having a cigarette there. This is where I would recommended an action that is not harmful such as drawing, painting or writing on the area where you would usually self harm. This can be turned into something more when one writes encouraging lyrics in the space they would usually self harm. So instead of leaving scars you can leave encouragement for yourself.
Alternatives to the pain can be tricky so they are not my first choice to recommend. I feel that methods such as snapping a rubber band on your wrist and holding ice trigger the same mental pathway using physical pain for emotional relief. For someone who self injures a lot who hurts themselves badly though this could be a viable option over getting stitches frequently. This is not a long term answer though. I think exercise and weight lifting is the only healthy way of inducing some sort of “pain” that releases feel good chemicals in a healthy way in your body. When you work out your push the limits of your body and have levels of discomfort and “feeling the burn” and working muscles until they are sore.
What I mean by alternatives to the relief after is just turning to things that make you happy. Things that distract you in a good way and leave you concentrated on getting some sort of task or mission done. Things that you can turn to to create instead of destroy. Things that you can turn to build up and encourage instead of tear down and discourage. Things that leave you satisfied and full instead of empty and wanting.
I strongly encourage expression in some way of what you are feeling and dealing with when you are wanting to self harm. Working out what you are feeling and getting it out of yourself into some form such as words or images via writing, drawing, or whatever art form you prefer. Do not be intimated by your lack of art skills. Healthy expression is vital to this process. Even just journaling your thoughts is good.
I strongly encourage finding a way to help others in these moments. Depression is very selfish. You stew in a mass of darkness thinking about how awful and worthless you are and forget the world around you. It’s amazing how quickly it can turn around when you turn your attention to others and trying to help someone else and the satisfaction in making someone else’s day better. There is immense joy found in helping those around you.
I always say that if I cannot find my way out of the darkness I will at least help someone else not find it this day. If I feel ignored and alone in depression I will at least make sure someone else does not feel that same way today.
There are the methods that have worked best for me over the battle 14 years long to stay away from self harm as urges rage on and on. This by no means covers everything.
My friend Mary has started this awesome site https://rockonpurpose.live/. She is trying to compile stories of how Christian Rock has inspired fans. Do you have a story with a Christian rock song? You can submit it and have it appear on the website and show the world how awesome Christian rock is!
Here’s my story with Disciple’s song “watch it burn”
I don’t think everyone on earth REALLY understands how important that “How are you?” question can be.
Mental illness is full of lies. It tells you that no one wants to hear anything you have to say. It tells you that you are a burden to everyone around you so just shut up. It tells you to keep it inside and stay quiet when truly you need to speak up and get it out.
So when someone asks a genuine “how are you?” it can become one of the most memorable and amazing gifts someone ever gave you. Not that bullcrap how are you that is empty and means nothing because they just want to hear you say “fine” and move on. A REAL “HOW ARE YOU?”.
It might seem like nothing to someone who doesn’t understand, but for those that need to speak up about the demons within….that little question you ask them can mean everything. Because the voice inside them is telling them over and over to shut up because no one wants to hear from them.
I do this daily bible study, and I see great points in them so I figured I would start doing blogs for them.
1 Kings 22
6 So the king of Israel brought together the prophets—about four hundred men—and asked them, “Shall I go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall I refrain?”
“Go,” they answered, “for the Lord will give it into the king’s hand.”
7 But Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there no longer a prophet of the Lord here whom we can inquire of?”
8 The king of Israel answered Jehoshaphat, “There is still one prophet through whom we can inquire of the Lord, but I hatehim because he never prophesies anything good about me, but always bad. He is Micaiah son of Imlah.”
“The king should not say such a thing,” Jehoshaphat replied.
Going about picking and choosing only the sweet things you desire to hear will only leave you with lies. Truth is truth. Truth does not change. Truth stands forever. Its not always going to be what you want to hear. You’re not always going to hear what you want. You’re not always going to get your way. You aren’t always going to be in the right. If you continually search out only what pleases your ear, you will not always find truth. You will leave yourself vulnerable to lies.
9 So the king of Israel called one of his officials and said, “Bring Micaiah son of Imlah at once.”
10 Dressed in their royal robes, the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah were sitting on their thrones at the threshing floor by the entrance of the gate of Samaria, with all the prophets prophesying before them. 11 Now Zedekiah son of Kenaanah had made iron horns and he declared, “This is what the Lord says: ‘With these you will gore the Arameans until they are destroyed.’”
12 All the other prophets were prophesying the same thing. “Attack Ramoth Gilead and be victorious,” they said, “for the Lord will give it into the king’s hand.”
13 The messenger who had gone to summon Micaiah said to him, “Look, the other prophets without exception are predicting success for the king. Let your word agree with theirs, and speak favorably.”
14 But Micaiah said, “As surely as the Lord lives, I can tell him only what the Lord tells me.”
15 When he arrived, the king asked him, “Micaiah, shall we go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or not?”
“Attack and be victorious,” he answered, “for the Lord will give it into the king’s hand.”
16 The king said to him, “How many times must I make you swear to tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord?”
17 Then Micaiah answered, “I saw all Israel scattered on the hills like sheep without a shepherd, and the Lord said, ‘These people have no master. Let each one go home in peace.’”
18 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Didn’t I tell you that he never prophesies anything good about me, but only bad?”
19 Micaiah continued, “Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne with all the multitudes of heaven standing around him on his right and on his left.20 And the Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there?’
“One suggested this, and another that. 21 Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before the Lord and said, ‘I will entice him.’
22 “‘By what means?’ the Lord asked.
“‘I will go out and be a deceiving spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,’ he said.
“‘You will succeed in enticing him,’ said the Lord. ‘Go and do it.’
23 “So now the Lord has put a deceiving spirit in the mouths of all these prophets of yours. The Lord has decreed disasterfor you.”
24 Then Zedekiah son of Kenaanah went up and slappedMicaiah in the face. “Which way did the spirit from[a] the Lord go when he went from me to speak to you?” he asked.
25 Micaiah replied, “You will find out on the day you go to hidein an inner room.”
26 The king of Israel then ordered, “Take Micaiah and send him back to Amon the ruler of the city and to Joash the king’s son 27 and say, ‘This is what the king says: Put this fellow in prison and give him nothing but bread and water until I return safely.’”
28 Micaiah declared, “If you ever return safely, the Lord has not spoken through me.” Then he added, “Mark my words, all you people!”
Sometimes telling the truth sucks. When people don’t want to hear the truth and all you have is truth it doesn’t always go well. Do not give up on truth, even if you must sacrifice for it.