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I Started Cutting Again. How Can I Stop?

I used to cut but then I stopped. I was really good for a few months, but lately I’ve felt like cutting againand then tonight I actually did. Now what do I do?
– Lyann

It's tough to find yourself going back to cutting when you worked so hard to overcome your struggle. Falling back into a bad habit is known as a relapse, and relapses are pretty common when people are trying to make a major change. If you relapse, it might seem like you're back where you started. But change is a learning experience, and a relapse is part of learning a new way of doing things.

You can get back on track.

Start by thinking about what triggered the relapse. Think about the emotions or situations that led you to cut. For example, were you feeling misunderstood, lost, alienated, desperate, or angry?

Then remind yourself why you decided to stop cutting before. How did you do it then? Write down what worked for you. Reach out to someone who cares about you. Think about how to express powerful emotions in ways that don't cause harm. Some people turn to painting, dance, athletics, music, poetry, or keeping a journal as ways to get through the pain. Others find they need more support from a counselor or therapist — everyone is different and different people cut for different reasons.

It can also help to remember that you're not really back where you started — this time you've got previous success on your side. You know how it's done and, more important, you have done it. You can find the inner strength to do it again.

*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.

Reviewed by: D'Arcy Lyness, PhD
Date Reviewed: Jul 14, 2015

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