I give up… I’m a liar - Self Harm to deal with panic attacks? Empathy? Advice?


It wasn’t a bad day but I was driving one of my uncles and had a super duper panic attack. Hyperventilating etc for close to an hour. Couldn’t breathe properly.

I’m used to this. It happens daily but this one was harder. And it came with, not flashbacks, but little flashback pop ups.

I cigarette burn when I’m at my wits end.

I had dropped uncle off before having to pick him up again but I was still driving. So I pulled over and tried every breathing exercise I could remember and google. Didn’t work.

💡 All of a sudden a lightbulb went off… maybe burning myself would help? I tried & guess what? IT WORKED.

I was obviously relieved but I’m also not quite happy that that’s the only thing that helps.

Anyone else who this has happened to? Empathy? Advice? Anything :)

Thank you 🙏🏼


Those maladaptive coping skills always work the best for me. I’ve never cigarette burned, but I hurt myself in other ways…immediate relief. Healthy coping skills take a lot longer to work and are more hit and miss…but over time and with practice they get more effective. In the moment it feels like that bad strategy is the ONLY think that’ll work, but it’s not true.

You aren’t alone here. It takes a lot of time and practice (trail, error, and failure) before the good coping skills start to work…but it’s possible. Be kind with yourself. It’s hard work. But 100% doable.


i used to scratch holes in my skin. a rubber band wrapped around my wrist helped me past this compulsion. instead of scratching, i snapped the rubber band. my wrist was bruised and ugly for quite a few weeks, but, coupled with active psychotherapy, it was enough to interrupt the compulsive cycle.


Anyone else who this has happened to?
100%! Been there and cutting and burning and all sorts of other forms of self injury always "worked" best but isn't the best.

Lately been able to find that same release in poetry. There are other forms of healthier release that works just the same if not better. But totally get it. I'm sorry you felt you need to burn yourself! 🫂


My nuclear coping methods are things I try to avoid… because I lived off of them for yeeeeeeeeears… because they work. Full stop.

They ALSO have serious consequences attached. Hence the trying to avoid them. But, yeah. They work. Far better than the smorgasbord of lesser coping mechanisms, singly, or in cocktails crafted to suit. The reason I choose cocktails of healthy coping mechanisms, is because I don’t want the consequences attached to my nuclear coping mechanisms. None of the bad, and nearly all of the good.


Not much advice but I would like to admit that I self harmed last night in my usual old way. T says it’s familiar not comforting. My best response to your post is that regressing to old coping habits is common and takes a long time to overcome. How are you with the self-forgiveness part? That’s one of the consequences of self harm that stinks for me, having to amp up the self forgiveness and self care when the momentum is moving toward falling in the hole. And that’s where I’m at currently: do I want to focus on helping myself up or watching myself slip further down?

I think that old self harm behaviors are supposed to become like an alarm, an indication that the situation went too far or was worse than I thought.

Sending gentle care your way (and mine). You are definitely not alone.


Yeah, causing physical pain to get past the psycho trauma. I know someone that should probably just stay in bed and cry for all the things that have happened to him, but he is an ultra marathoner and he feels best after an event, doesn’t matter where he placed or if he dnf’d, he ran the depression outta here.
I would admit I pull OT like a mad man when I am going through a bad spot,
Lots of ways to give yourself something worse than ptsd that you can control. I like the phrase @Friday used- the nuclear option. That fits.