Have you ever wanted to quit and you promised yourself that you wouldn’t do it anymore, and the fact that you knew
you couldn’t made the urges worse?
Last night I decided I wanted to finally close this chapter of my life and open a new one. The thing is promising myself to stop indefinitely only adds pressure. If making a promise to yourself works then great but if you are like me then maybe this isn’t the way to go about it.
So maybe you are thinking now, well how am I supposed to stop if I don’t promise myself not to do it anymore?
What I would suggest is to recognize it as a goal
you are working towards.
More importantly you need to be ready
to work towards this goal. Everyone started to SI for a reason, so just ending the actual act of SI is not the solution, the underlining issues need to be addressed too.
Before you decide to stop:
a support system so make sure there is someone you can go to/call when you are having urges
to have an understanding of your SI and the underlining issues that caused you to engage in SI (it would be ideal to have professional help, ie counselor, therapist, psychologist etc.)
You need to want
You need to do it for yourself
Ok so now you feel ready to stop, now what?
The quitting process:
Set small, reasonable goals for yourself. You would like to stop so this would be your long term goal.
The process of quitting is what is known in psychology as ‘extinction.’ Extinction is process that slowly eliminates/lessens the learnt behavior (SI)
This process can be taken slowly and at your individual pace. It is important to remember that slipping up is part of the process.
I’ve seen many posts here of people who tried to quit and slipped up, including myself, and thought that they had failed and were back to square one. This is not the case at all. Quitting SI is usually not done by going ‘cold turkey’. The idea is to lessen the behavior over time.
This is why I believe setting small goals is the better way to go about this. Setting small goals can help to lessen that feeling of being trapped/obligated to remain SI free. It is also less overwhelming to deal with smaller goals then to just decide to stop forever.
Suggestions for stopping (what you can do after you decide to stop):
This is for the journaling type and if you need structure (alternative suggestion below)
First I would suggest getting a notebook or journal of some sort.
Before you start this process tell a friend or whomever is a part of your support system, that you are trying to quit and that you may need their support along the way. Know how you can reach them and at what times you can reach them.
Ok, so its day one and you decide to give this a go. Write down the date and write down your reasons for wanting to stop.
So now if you are ready, set a small goal for yourself. It could be an hour, a day, a week, whatever you feel comfortable with. It’s good to start off with a small amount of time at first.
Once you reach your first goal, you are on your way into recovery. Over time try to slowly increase the amount of time you set for your short term goals. If you need to set the same goal as the one before, that’s fine. Work at a pace that you are comfortable with, don’t try to rush it or make short term goals that you might not be ready for. Think of this process as an extended version of the 15min rule. The idea being to keep setting an amount of time you wont SI but slowly increasing the set times.
What to do along the way:
Write down the date and your goals as you go along. If you don’t reach one of your goals, write that down, and write down why you think you needed to go back to SI.
For the times you remain SI free, take notice of the benefits that comes along with having not done it. No matter how small of a difference it makes, write it down. It could be that you didn’t have to wear jeans in the heat, or that you spent that time doing something else that you enjoyed. This list will grow as you continue along in this process. Look back at your list when you are having urges and look back at why you want to stop. You might want to keep a separate section for this list or even carry it around with you if you need to.
Sample Short term goal tracker
Date/goal interval --------------------------1/7-1/8 (1day) ----- date/1 week
Reached goal --------------------------------X-----------------------------
Didn’t reach goal ---------------------------------------------------X-------
Amount of time if didn’t reach goal--------------------------------3days------
(^I tried to include it as a chart but it didn’t come out, make columns of the goal interval you are setting)
List consecutive amount of time SI free(combine consecutive goals reached): 2day, 1week, 1month, 3weeks, 5weeks, etc.
If your consecutive amount of time free of SI is consistently decreasing take some time to evaluate what is going on that’s distracting you from your long term goal. Look at the reasons you wrote to why you didn’t reach that goal.
Another thing to keep in mind:
If your SI is situational/triggered because something happens then try to ask yourself this, Is this something (the reason/trigger) I'm going to remember in the future, a month, year, 5 years from now? If the answer is no then try to reevaluate if it's something you really want to hurt yourself over. I know most of the things I have SI'ed over I can't even remember, or if I do remember, its because it was over something so ridiculous that looking back I can't believe I let the situation get the best of me. Whether is because you failed a test or made a mistake, try to realize that you never deserve/need to hurt yourself. Even if it's something you will remember the rest of your life, there is no need to make it any harder or painful then need be.
Tip for dealing with the urges right now:
Try to put as much time between your emotions/trigger/urges as possible. Sometimes if you can put if off long enough until you can clearly think about the situation, the urges will have lessened. I find keeping my hands and mind busy helps let the time past, so go grab a rubix cube or anything that will help you past the intense urges.
Alternative suggestion to stopping
If you aren’t the journaling type or want something less structured:
This is also geared towards the people who don’t want to loose their identity with SI
I think for many of us, we desperately want to hold onto the identity we have with SI. At the same time, on some level you recognize that you want to quit, so what do you do?
The way that has been working for me is to almost deny that I’m putting any effort forth towards quitting. In my mind it’s still something that ‘I do/have done’ but just haven’t done in a while.
This is sort of like playing a mind game on yourself. You get fed up with it one day, or for whatever reasons decide you’ve had enough, great… stop there. You aren’t “quitting” but you don’t plan on doing it either, you are just done with it now.
Think: I’m not quitting, I’m just not doing it now.
So how do you quit if you aren’t “quitting?”
What this does is help to eliminate the pressures with quitting. You are in fact stopping, but quitting can be a scary thing for a number of reasons. Changing how you think about it can be very effective, even if it just means not using the word quitting.
Thinking you are just not going to do it now, also helps you keep your identity with it so it doesn’t seem far removed.
Note: This does not include everything you need to know before you decide you want to stop. Please look at the advice articles that have been put up.
Preparing To Stop Self Harming
Seeking Professional Help
Sticking To Stopping
This thread is only my personal advice and suggestions so if this doesn’t work for you, please don’t get discouraged, just keeping searching for what works for you.
*Remember the more that you understand about your SI the better you can fight it, so write away*
I wish you all the best. Take care