For some survivors, things can get so difficult that they consider ending their lives. If this is you: you are not alone. We see the pain you are in you and we want to support you.
If you have taken action to end your life, you should seek emergency medical help by calling 999. If you are worried that you might take that action, you can ask your GP for an emergency appointment or phone 111 out of hours.
Support services you can contact if you are feeling suicidal:
Connect Live at Glasgow and Clyde Rape Crisis by calling 08088 000014 or by using our live chat here.
You can call the Samaritans 24 hours a day on 116 123.
Rape Crisis Scotland is open every day from 6pm to midnight on 08088 010302, or you can text them on 07537 410027.
Some of the survivors we support find it helpful to have a crisis plan in place so that they and the people around them can know what helps when they are in a dark place. There’s an example here. You could try filling in something like this with a worker at the Rosey Project.
Sometimes survivors of sexual violence use self-harm as a way of coping with the intense emotions that they are feeling, for example by cutting or burning themselves. Self-harm is not the same as suicide and people who self-harm do not always want to die. Sometimes people find self-harm quite scary, but it is important to understand that it is always a positive to cope with your feelings: if you are worried about your self-harming, you can think about reducing the harm that it is causing (for example by not doing it when you’ve had a drink, and taking care of any wounds so they don’t get infected); and think about adding to the coping strategies that you have available to you with some of the techniques we go through here.
See how long you can sit with the feelings that you’re having. It might not be very long at first, but that’s OK: the more you practice, the better you get at it, and you learn that you can survive distressing feelings. Introduce delay: tell yourself you can self-harm in fifteen minutes if you still want to.
There might be alternatives you can use that give you the same feeling as self-harm without scarring.
Some examples are:
- Running your wrists under very cold water
- Flicking an elastic band against your wrist
- Hold ice in your mouth or against your skin
- Clap your hands until it stings
- Put PVA glue on your skin then peel it off
- Chew on a piece of ginger root
Use your support networks: Is there anyone you can talk to who might understand?
Illustration credits: https://lindsaybraman.com/
Be kind to yourself: you aren’t a bad person for self-harming, this is something that has helped you survive. But that doesn’t mean you have to stay stuck in survival forever – you can add new coping strategies to your arsenal!
Our survivor of sexual violence talks about her experiences of self harm here:
When I was going through my roughest patches, my main coping mechanism was burning myself. It worked for me as it calmed me down when I was overwhelmed and it made me feel something when I was numb. Also, I could easily blame it on spilling tea on myself or burning myself on the oven which made me feel less guilty about it as I didn’t have to hide it. However, as time went on, I found that it made me resent myself more because I hated having to hurt myself to cope. So, I had to find something else. As it was the adrenaline rush that was making me feel better, I tried using extremely cold water instead. Cold water acts the same as you still get an adrenaline rush from the extreme temperature change, but it’s a lot less painful and you have no marks to hide/lie about. For me, this worked a lot better as it is a technique I can still use today with no personal consequences!