I am going to tell this story the only way I know how, unfortunately that way means it is going to be rather twisted and jumbled. I need to tell you two separate stories before I can fully explain the main topic: revealing my method for beating self harm and becoming self harm free for... Five years so far? I think. I try not to count, that's part of my method. The "I've been self harm free for 30 days" feeling is great, but the "I broke my streak what's the point now" feeling can be pretty devastating, so I don't count streaks.
First, I'd like to tell you about a Japanese legend. It is said that if you fold a thousand paper cranes, you can make a wish and the wish will come true. But there is actually a scientific basis for these wishes coming true, and it's absolutely shocking how it works! It's basically... meditation. Instead of sitting quietly doing nothing while focusing on your wish, you do a simple (once you've got the hang of it) repetitive motion, and each movement reinforces your total goal. Focusing on your goal like this will literally re-wire your brain (google 'neuroplasticity' I can't go over the entire thing here). For example, say you wanted to wish for £5,000. After five hours of folding paper cranes and thinking about what you need that money for, buying the newest shiny whatever the heck off of TikTok is going to look less appealing.
The second story is the story of how I quit smoking. I started smoking at the age of twelve, yes I was a problem child. Like most people who have been smoking for some time, it's near impossible to just 'stop', but not necessarily because of the nicotine. They do make nicotine gum, but honestly I just went with regular sugar free--it was the need to do something for 3-5 minutes every hour or two, and taking a few minutes to blow bubbles worked for me. Now, we're going to talk about neuroplasticity again, so I hope you googled it earlier. What fires together, wires together. Within two weeks, your brain starts to struggle to distinguish between 'need a cigarette' and 'need some gum'. Eventually, the distinction becomes meaningless.
So, on to the main event. My method for stopping self-harm is a simple, one step process that makes use of both of those concepts. Whenever you want to hurt yourself, fold a paper crane. That's it, mic drop, send tweet. However, there are a couple of things that you need to intentionally not do--when I say that that's the only step, I mean that is the ONLY step, so you need to drop the other 'steps' you've heard elsewhere, like "count how many days you've been SH-free and treat yourself like a failure and a piece of 💩 every time you reset your count". That's just one example, but by far it's the most "popular" extra step. Cease. Your only step is to fold a crane when you feel the urge.
But, you ask, what if that doesn't curb the urge? What if I finish folding my crane and then go back to my SH of choice? This goes against literally everything we've ever been told about how to beat SH, but the answer is, "nothing". If folding a crane doesn't curb the urge, then you are still "feeling the urge", so fold another crane. If the urge is too strong and you leave your folding to go hurt yourself, then perform any necessary first aid, and then fold one more crane to put the incident behind yourself. No beating yourself up, no losing your 30-day chip, nothing. Be at peace, as much as you can, be at peace through this process. It's going to take time to break your mind's dependence on SH, the odds of being able to wake up one day and just go "nah, I'm done" and stop are astronomically not in your favour (although more power to the people who can do it)!
I have not tracked how long I've been "SH-free". The only reason I can narrow it down to a year and maybe month (2015, Jan/Feb) is because I know that the last time I hurt myself was because of stress due to being homeless, and I moved into my current home in late February, 2015. If it hadn't been tied to that notable event, I doubt I'd have a clue when it was. But even taking it at the latest, from 28th February 2015 to 4th April 2022, I dare say that's an impressive stretch. It's far enough that I do describe myself as having 'recovered' from self harm, I don't feel the urge very much at all, not even once a month on average (it got a little tense while splitting from my abusive ex, but I made it through)! You can also tell that I hadn't actually done the maths on how long it's been in the first paragraph. I could edit it, but I'd rather leave it as a window into how little I think of tracking the time.
Good posts end with a powerful closing paragraph, and a thought-provoking final line. This must not be a good post.