One of the things that is difficult for self injurers is identifying their emotions and which emotions trigger the urges.  While I was doing research on how to stop my own destructive behavior, I read an article about HALT.  That stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired.  It was quite interesting, which I will share my opinion of now.

Hungry was the thing that surprised me the most when I read the article about triggers.  I guess it makes sense because when you're hungry, you're irritable and don't think clearly.  For me, the hungry would be the easiest thing to solve.  I do understand that sometimes the urges are overwhelming to the point that you might not be able to identify the feeling that is the underlying cause to the urge.  I know that when I need to eat it's hard for me to focus and I sometimes have temper tantrums.  It was not a pretty sight.

Angry was fairly obvious.  Anger is a violent emotion anyway and for many self injurers we hide our emotions.  Anger is the strongest and since we don't want to hurt anyone else, the anger gets taken out on ourselves. The worst one for me was when the incident happened.  I felt betrayed, which made me enraged and I have a scar on my arm from that day.  Anger was the one that made sense to me.

Lonely.  What can I say about loneliness?  It's my normal state.  I have always been a little bit lonely, which is something that I have written about before.  Self-harm is a vicious cycle that makes you feel better for a second and then the guilt and the isolation comes in.  The self-harm feeds the loneliness.

Tired made sense as well.  We're all irritable and have lower tolerance for problems when we don't get enough sleep. Frustration is the easiest emotion to bubble forth while fighting exhaustion.  As adults we sacrifice sleep to take care of others, worries or entertainment.  Rest is important to a healthy functional life.

When it comes to resisting urges to hurt yourself, it best to be able to identify the emotions/underlying causes.  So next time an urge comes up think HALT.  Then go do something else for 15 minutes because by then the urge should have dissipated.  HALT has helped me a few times.  Being able to understand the emotions and connect them to urges definitely helps.  Maybe this will help those who still suffer from self-harm.


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