Jaime, who is 17 years old, started cutting herself when she was 12. After several hospitalizations and placements in various residential-treatment programs, Jaime was sent to L.A.-based Vista Del Mar, the nation's first residential-treatment program for adolescents who cut themselves. Today, she is back home. Jaime, who has stopped cutting herself, continues to do well, but has to work hard every day to control her urge to self-injure.
Here, Jaime offers these tips to help others overcome the same urge that drove her to self-injure.
- Do something creative with your hands. Try painting, or making a collage. If you're not feeling creative, do some cleaning. Just keep your hands busy.
- Go for a walk. This will enable you to take a break from people and think. But be sure that you are "safe", that is, not carrying anything with you to cut.
- Watch a favorite movie or TV show. For me, something fun or inspirational lessens the need to hurt myself.
- Play with your pets. If you don't have a pet, maybe you should get one!
- Remember: It's alright to cry. Crying doesn't mean you're weak.