Risky Behaviours

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Sometimes your thoughts and feelings from reminders of your trauma can become overwhelming. Risky behaviours can bring on a momentary sense of relief, a sense of calmness when you feel distressed. After, you can then feel regret, guilt, and shame. This can then re-connect with the original negative feelings which motivated the risky behaviours; thus, you are then in a cycle of self-harm which can affect any age and all genders.

 

Thought/memory from the past, leads to I feel bad. This then leads to I do bad stuff which leads to I am bad and the cycle starts again.

 

Taking risks is a typical part of growing up, exploring limits and testing abilities.

 

Some risky behaviours or taking risks are a typical part of growing up. Testing and exploring a person’s own limits of risk and a way in which people push rules and boundaries. It is also a way of expressing themselves. For others, risky behaviours are to try new experiences. We are focusing on risky behaviours because of the impact of trauma.

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Gemma Muscutt - Specialist Self-harm Youth Practitioner

Risky behaviours come in all shapes and sizes and some people are unaware they are putting themselves at risk. One of the biggest risky behaviours I have noticed through my work is Self-harm.  Self-harm can be cutting, head banging, punching walls, restricting food and drink, hair pulling, scratching among many more. Something to remember is self-harm is a coping strategy and although it may not be the healthiest way to manage emotions it is still something young people engage in to try help themselves when they feel they have no other option.

Self-harm is something that is not easy to stop and takes time and persistence to change, somethings that help are distraction techniques. There are many different types of distraction techniques and everyone is an individual with different needs. The idea is to get to know your warning signs, what your body signals to you to show something is about to happen, this can be sweaty palms, racing thoughts, fidgeting, pacing, feeling sick, clenching your body in any way and more.

Next know your triggers and what situations bring on urges to engage in a risky behaviour then use distraction techniques to put time between your thought and action. The idea is the more time you put in-between your thought and actions the less likely you are to engage in anything risky. The main thing to remember is if you try a distraction technique and still engage in a risky behaviour that is ok. This is still an accomplishment as you have started to try and change the cycle you are currently in and this is the first step to taking control back of your mind. Be persistent with yourself, each day is a new start to try again.Closing speech mark

 

 

 

 

 

 

Types of Risky Behaviours

 

Cutting  Punching Walls  Getting into fights  Pullinghair out  Restricting eating  Unprotected sex  Over eating  Restricting alcohol  Burningthemselves  Alcohol  Over exercising  Over-dosing  Sexting  Plucking eyebrowsout  Illegal activities  Drugs  Sex

 

5 myths about self-harm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JaiaC1P16jk

 

13 things people want to know about self-harm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjGZ1jk44Fg

 

A step towards recovery, is a step you must want to take. You can be supported, but ultimately, you must want to develop more helpful ways of coping. Please watch this brave and honest account of how traumatic events promoted famous singer Demi Lovato into an eating disorder and then to an addiction to drugs and alcohol.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZmXF50Yx7I

 

Image of stick figure painting an arrow facing the opposite way to the sign.

Alternative More Helpful Behaviours:

When you sense that your feelings and thoughts are becoming overwhelming, try and find healthier ways to avoid, distract or delay risky behaviours. Some of the following activities may help you, some may not, the process is about testing it out.

REMEMBER DO NOT TRY OR USE ACTIVITIES IF YOU KNOW THEY ARE A TRIGGER FOR YOUR TRAUMA.

 

Understanding how you feel

What are you are feeling in the moment? Track why you are feeling that emotion and then notice your physical response. So, if you feel angry, why is it you feel angry?

 

Who is it you could talk to?

List all the good things about you, all your achievements and ambitions

Write a letter to the people who have hurt you then rip it up!

Make a list of all the things you want to do in your future!

Blow up a balloon, pretend the balloon is the person who has hurt you, what would you like to say to them? Then pop the balloon

POP image

 

Being Compassionate with Yourself

Use aromas that are calming in the bath or showerHave a cuddle with someone you feelsafe withCuddle apet or ateddy bearTakeanapHave a comfortingdrink, hot chocolate,or a milk shakeEat somethingwhich iscomfortingUse a lavender andwheat heat bagand cuddle itUse mindfulnessoryoga

 

 

Distracting Yourself

Watch a film, programme,You-Tube  Doapuzzle  Play a gameon your phoneor computer  Go forawalk  Tidyacupboard  Find a recipeand cooksomething  Phoneortext someone  Readabook  Do some gardeningorhousework  Plan how you wouldlike to change your life and how you can achieve this

 

 

Being Creative

Draw or paint –use different colours and mediumsWrite a story,a poem,or a songKnit orcross stitchMake a collageout of lots of differing materials, textures, and coloursUsephotos of happy times, places, and people, make a collage and write down why these make youhappyWrite a journal/diary entry

 

 

Letting it out Physically

Hit something safe, like your pillow or a punch bag!

Scream, out loud or into a cushion

Tear up something safe – paper, magazine, even kitchen roll

Throw balls of paper into a paper bin or against the wall

Put on your headphones, listen to music, choose upbeat happy music?

Dance or do any exercise – play music out loud at the same time

Put an ice cube on the area you would normally cut

 

Mediation for Self-harm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G78c2SnH1KQ

 

Beach Visualisation

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrxaWcw3i0Y

 

When you are Feeling Safe and Regulated

This is a time when you can focus on thinking about what is working for you, acknowledge your success – you did this!

Reflect on what your cycle of risky behaviours are, map this out in your journal.

Create a conversation with yourself, think about the negative voice then argue back with a positive voice.

‘I can’t cope with the flashbacks; I need to get rid of the pain’.

 

ARGUE WITH THE NEGATIVE VOICE

 

‘You have managed 3 weeks and 2 days without harming, I will go and put on my headphones, my happy music and go for a walk’.

‘I will regret it afterwards.’

 

You are not alone, there are agencies who can support you, visit our directory page.

 

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Thought/memory from the past, leads to I feel bad. This then leads to I do bad stuff which leads to I am bad and the cycle starts again.

Opening speech mark

Next know your triggers and what situations bring on urges to engage in a risky behaviour then use distraction techniques to put time between your thought and action. The idea is the more time you put in-between your thought and actions the less likely you are to engage in anything risky. The main thing to remember is if you try a distraction technique and still engage in a risky behaviour that is ok. This is still an accomplishment as you have started to try and change the cycle you are currently in and this is the first step to taking control back of your mind. Be persistent with yourself, each day is a new start to try again.Closing speech mark