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(tw) Little rant/ Sh/ Addiction?

DistractionDistraction Posts: 470 Listening Ear
Alcohol, drugs and probably many other things can all fall under self harm

But I mean it in the hurting ones self kind of way, I don't know if I should be writing this here and I'm sorry if this isn't the place for it but I was wondering if self harm is an addiction

I've stopped for some years now and it still nags at me, it's been getting stronger the past few months as well and I've caught myself reaching for stuff, then telling myself to go to bed, that theres no rush, just wait another day but it's hard to ignore, the feeling also happens at work and it takes over my mind, it makes me feel crazy

I feel so angry that I fell into this trap, I had horrid nightmares as a kid, I would try stay awake as long as I could and then I'd harm when I felt like my eyes wouldn't stay open much longer, of course I eventually fell asleep but it gave me a little more time before I woke up in a sweat and unable to move

I don't think I'd have ever started if it wasn't for the nightmares and I'm so pissed that it keeps reappearing and that it takes everything not to do it, it's draining, like if I could just do it a little bit, I'd feel like a much stronger person, focused, present but the logic part of my brain knows it's not a long term solution

I try to see how I'd think/feel after it and I know I'll just always want to do it, it won't just be once (but to be fair, I never really did it that bad), but it's torture going through this right now, so really whats the lesser of two evils you know

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    JustVJustV Community Manager Posts: 5,409 Part of The Furniture
    edited July 8
    Totally fine to talk about this here @Distraction. :) I defo don't know the proper medical answer to this, but you're definitely not the only one to make the connection.

    I guess you could draw some similarities between more classical forms of addiction (drugs, alcohol) and then self-injury or other kinds of self-harm. People tend to engage in them for a sense of relief or to numb their pain, and the compulsive element is there for a lot of people.

    We even use a lot of the same language for self-harm as we do for substance addiction - relapse, recovery, being 'clean', and there are probably more I'm not thinking of. The shame and secrecy.

    I wonder if there's also something about the coping mechanisms we're most familiar with. I'm not sure where the line is with addiction, but it's very natural to automatically reach for the thing that you're used to reaching for when you're hurting. Maybe that's just our brain trying to relieve the discomfort in the way it knows how to. Self-harm might not be the ideal solution but for a lot of people it's better than the alternatives they have available.

    This is a bit different to SH but my version of this tends to be compulsively playing video games or getting takeaway - it's a bit freaky how, before I even know what I'm doing, I start to do both of those things when I feel rubbish and I need to be like "wtf am I doing, this won't help". And I've definitely experienced video game addiction before as a kind of coping mechanism.

    In any case though @Distraction I think there's something really important underneath it all - to a lot of people self-harm feels like an addiction, which might be what matters.

    By the way, thank you for sharing your experience of this in your post. It was a powerful read and I can completely understand how self-harm became a way to cope for you. It also sounds like you understand your mind and how to manage your urges and that's really commendable.

    I do get feeling pissed and angry and a bit crazy for it - you didn't ask for this and it's not your fault, and it's a lot to be saddled with. You mentioned that 'it takes everything not to do it' and I think that's what a lot of people miss about this kind of thing, is that when you struggle with these urges, you actually have really high reserves of willpower and motivation, but it all gets spent on keeping the urges at bay. It's a huge amount to deal with every day. 💚
    The truth resists simplicity.
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