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Pain relieves my anxiety. Help!

When my anxiety starts becoming overwhelming the only thing I find that causes instant relief is hurting myself. I can't make myself stop and it's getting to a point where I am buying plasters like people buy cigarettes. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Category: Anxiety 5 years ago
georgie1208
Asked 5 years ago

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Strong bodily sensations (particularly new things) will refocus you away from unpleasant emotions. Unfortunately, we quickly develop a tolerance for this and have to go to greater extremes, becoming caught in a vicious cycle of relief-seeking behaviour. Self injury is a concern. As a short-term measure, while you engage with professional help, I would suggest holding an ice cube in your hand and squeezing it as tightly as possible for as long as you can bear it (This really hurts and leaves a red mark afterwards). This won't do anything to break the vicious cycle outlined above, but it does far less damage to you. Other (short-term) coping strategies might include; Putting a finger into a frozen food (like ice cream) for a minute. Biting into a hot pepper or chew a piece of ginger root. Rubbing liniment under your nose. Slapping a tabletop hard. Snapping your wrist with a rubber band. Taking a cold bath. Stomping your feet on the ground. Focusing on how it feels to breathe. Notice the way your chest and stomach move with each breath. Claiming your breath and body parts, like “this is my hand, this is my nose.” Touch those parts and notice how they feel as if you’d never touched them before. Covering your arms with a layer of Elmer’s glue and let it dry (or dry it with a hairdryer if you are impatient), then slowly, gradually picking the glue off your skin. Please note: I am only suggesting these as emergency stop gap measures that reduce harm while you learn how not to let your thoughts and feelings push you around. I would advise ACT, DBT, or another third wave approach.
Kevin Patton
Answered 5 years ago
Kevin Patton

Sounds like Kevin knows what he's talking about there... I cut myself once bad and froze myself in -15 windy ice cold day to stop the emotional pain. The good news: it can be treated, you can get over it.. there is light. Many of us who have gone through severe anxiety (and even when it's light) feel like it will never go away. It can..
Lefebvre
Answered 5 years ago
Lefebvre

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