I’ve already got plans

*The following post discusses self harm.  If you are feeling unsafe please let someone know.  If you are in immediate danger please go to your nearest Emergency Department.*

Over the last 13 years I have struggled on and off with thoughts of self harm of varying degrees.  These thoughts have ranged from fleeting images to seemingly relentless onslaughts.  For a lot of years I separated those thoughts from my body, choosing to see them as an entity I was too weak to resist.

I have tried different distraction techniques over the years, all with their own rate of success.  I have posted before about living in a triggering world, and the steps that I take to protect myself from it.  These steps help immensely in the long term, however I still struggle with the day to day impulsive triggers.

Since Mr 6 came along I have used him as a reason for refraining from self harm.  I told myself that I couldn’t afford to self harm while being a parent and I used that guilt against myself.  It hasn’t always helped, and I feel weak for being unable to resist.

I have however built on that technique, using it in a more positive way, a way that relies less on other people and more on myself.  I know that it is unfair to subconsciously rely on a child to keep myself safe and it is one of the reasons that I am reluctant to talk about the catalyst for change.  I don’t want Mr 6 to feel that weight, I don’t want him to feel that my happiness rests on his little shoulders.

So I began the delay technique.  For anything else, delay and procrastination would be a disaster but for my self harm thoughts it has been a saviour.  It does sound a little daft, but it works.  I simply tell myself that I am too busy for self harm right now.  I list in my head the things that I have to do that day.  I capitalise on my fear of failure being strong enough to override my self harm thoughts.

Telling myself that I am too busy right now for self harm thoughts helps to stop them in their tracks.  I cut them off before they begin to take hold and I don’t give them  they power that I have in the past.  Using my wise mind, I create logical reasons that I cannot give in to my self harm thoughts.

Like mindfulness this is a technique that I didn’t realise I was doing until I analysed my behaviour more closely.  Once again, I didn’t give myself credit for being able to take back control of my thoughts.  I let my mind talk me into being a failure when the it couldn’t be further from the truth.  Who knew that procrastination could serve such a useful purpose!?

Have you used delaying tactics to stop yourself engaging in negative behaviour?


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