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Peer Talk

I sometimes self-harm to deal with intense emotions. Are there any other coping strategies that might help?

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Sometimes our emotions can get the best of us but it is always good to remember that we are human and we are supposed to have emotions; that is how we deal with the world and everything around us. Having intense emotions can be really hard to deal with because they often feel as though they will never end. Now it’s okay to be feeling those intense feelings but sometimes taking a step back and seeing the bigger picture can be the best thing.

Coping with these feelings is a whole other issue. Sometimes all we want to do is be in our head but there are ways that you can help yourself when you get into these situations. It sounds like you’ve tried a lot of different coping strategies which is great. It shows that you are willing and open to try new skills. A lot of people won’t even do that. It’s important to point out that we at ConnecTeen are volunteers and not at all professionals and there may be many strategies that a therapist or counsellor may be able to help you with. You mentioned that none of the coping strategies help get you out of the emotion but it seems as though the emotions do subside but maybe with other coping strategies they don’t go away as fast as they would if you self-harm. Maybe a combination of really paying attention to what is happening to your body and mind (mindfulness) while reminding yourself that these strong emotions are just temporary would be helpful.

Some other coping methods could include you going to a support group and talking to individuals who are going through the same thing. When someone that you know is having these feelings it is important to know that they may just need to talk about what’s going on in their life and that can make a whole world of difference, but sometimes that might not help completely so just letting them know that you are there for them can help so much.

We’ve also found that a lot of people reach out to us at ConnecTeen when they want to self-harm. That way they are able to really talk about what is going on for them without having to worry about confidentiality or risk having the volunteer know who they are.

We’re not here to judge anyone about the way that they cope with their emotions but we always worry about self-harm. Even though it can often feel like the only way to quickly deal with strong emotions, it always has risk of real harm to your body or even your life. You don’t have to tackle this problem all on your own though. There are lots of people out there who want to help so keep reaching out.

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