dealing with depression: temporary tattoos

Lately I’ve been feeling more depressed than I normally do. Sometimes, unfortunately, that means I want to cut myself. Along with many other people, I sometimes self injure/self harm, and well, to put it simply, it’s not a good coping technique. I’m working on not cutting myself, ever, but the urges to cut come on pretty strong sometimes when I feel depressed or anxious.

In this blog post, I’m going to go over a technique that I sometimes use to stop myself from cutting when I get those urges! I actually had urges to cut and did this instead today, so you get pictures. It also worked today: I didn’t cut. Go me!

It’s super simple, and might seem silly, but I find that this coping technique helps and is much, much healthier (and cuter!) than cutting. Basically, what I do is put temporary tattoos over my skin wherever I want to cut. I like to have temporary tattoos on hand, but if you don’t have any, you can buy them cheaply (and if you struggle with urges to cut sometimes, I recommend that you get some to have on hand, because going out to buy some is not always convenient. Pick some that you find cute, that you wouldn’t want to cut over because they’re too pretty (or totally badass, if that’s your thing).

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Temporary tattoos
  • Cotton balls (you can buy these at lots of stores, like Target or your local pharmacy!)
They look like little clouds!
  • Water in a dish or bowl
  • If you trust yourself to not self harm with them, scissors to cut out the individual temporary tattoos if they come on a sheet.
If it helps you, cut them out when you buy the sheet to save time in a crisis and keep yourself away from scissors!

(sorry about my chipped nail paint)

Here’s what you do, if you aren’t familiar with temporary tattoos or can’t think clearly! You take one individual temporary tattoo (you may have had to cut it out from a sheet first to get one on its own), peel off the clear layer of plastic that comes attached to the front to prevent it from sticking to things. You then place it, tattoo side down, against your skin where you would injure yourself and take a damp cotton ball (dip it in the water and squeeze out excess water above the dish/bowl) and press it on the exposed paper that is on the other side from the tattoo. You want to press it firmly against the temporary tattoo for several seconds, to get it to stick. After you’ve done that, carefully peel off the paper – the temporary tattoo should be stuck to your skin!
I find this coping strategy helpful when I want to self harm for a couple of reasons! First of all, I never want to cut over a temporary tattoo, just like I would never cut over my real tattoos, so if the area is covered with temporary tattoos I won’t cut there. Second, the act of doing something that requires some focus and some of my time helps me to calm down, and often after I’ve done it I don’t feel quite so much like self harming, so it’s easier to stop myself from actually doing it. I try to take deep breaths while doing it if I feel like I need to or if I’m shaky. 
An added bonus to this technique is that it looks really cute and awesome when you’re done! Here’s a picture of how it looked when I was done putting temporary tattoos on myself to calm myself down today:
Finally, here’s an alternative technique that my friend Kate told me about (bonus: it’s cheaper, too!) draw a butterfly over where you want to cut.
I hope that this helps you guys, I know it helped me.
xoxo,
Zelie Pie

4 thoughts on “dealing with depression: temporary tattoos

  1. This is fantastic and i think youre my new best friend! Ive been cutting myself since i was nine and im now 19. Ive suffered with bulimia, anorexia, depression and anxiety and its only my boyfriend who knows i cut. He's been trying lots of different things to help me stop but as you say the urge is so strong sometimes…but this seems like a great and creative idea and im definitely going to try it.Thanks so much

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  2. Oh my gosh, I am SO happy I could help you even a little bit! That sounds awful, I can relate pretty strongly to some of those things you mentioned and I know it sucks, so I'm really glad I could have potentially helped a little

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  3. You have helped! I only found your blog today as i was doing some research, and ive read it beginning to end. you are an inspiration and a god send. Thank you! I'm going to keep reading your blog and was wondering if youre going to post any more about your treatment? Or if not, theres any way you could message me?

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  4. “If you know someone who’s depressed,please resolve never to ask them why.Depression isn’t a straightforward response to a bad situation; depression just is,like the weather.Try to understand the blackness,lethargy,hopelessness, and loneliness they’re going through.Be there for them when they come through the other side. It’s hard to be a friend to someone who’s depressed,but it is one of the kindest,noblest, and best things you will ever do.” – Stephen Fry.@Stacie Hudson.

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