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Self Injury

Ok before I go on this has nothing to do with Politics but this thread does not belong in health either. I am looking for peoples views on the social and medical acceptance of SI and you lot seem to be sensible enogh to express your views without turning this thread into nonsensical rubbish.

There are ever increasing numbers of people (mainly young teens) turning to self injury as a release from what they percieve as the problems of reality. Now when you hear someone Self Injures many peoples reaction is to think Why are they doing that it's just wrong. But is it? Doesnt the fact that so many people are prone to doing it sometime in thier life suggest that perhaps it is a genuine way for us to cope with stress etc...

Now I will admit its unfortunate they people feel driven to this but I feel that instead of being seen as something taboo that you shouldnt do it should be recognised for what it is, it shouldnt cause people to be ashamed that they do it because of other peope's reactions.

I was just wondering what other thought about this and the nature of SI as there is evidence to suggest SI is a natural instinct to cope with pressures.
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Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Re: Self Injury
    Originally posted by Gavman
    There is evidence to suggest SI is a natural instinct to cope with pressures.
    From my experience, your idea here is pretty sound. I would not have identified it as SI, as such, but when I was significantly younger (between the ages of 9 and 11), I did use to hurt myself. I would sit in my room and pinch myself, or try to administer chinese burns, or hit myself - that kind of thing. It wasn't until I was 15 that it developed to cuts and I began to see it as a problem.

    It is a big worry that people see self-harmers as attention seekers. This, if anything, is the first assumption society ought to attempt to erase. It makes me sick. Most self-harmers do their best to hide what they are doing, which is a direct contradiction to this idea, but it still seems an accepted prejudice.

    The other thing that people should be aware of, coming back to my first point, is that self-harm doesn't have to be deep cuts, or large burns. It can even be something like hitting yourself, that doesn't leave visible marks or scars but is still a way in which someone is inflicting physical pain to try to erase all their mental distress.

    If that is incoherent babble, I apologise.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    If that is incoherent babble, I apologise.

    No not at all it makes sense.

    SI is classed as any form of self inflicted harm for reasons other than as you said attention seeking. And that is my point socially it is frowned upon even though it is a natural part of any being whether they ever resort to it or not and so shouldnt it be recognised as such?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I feel that to say that SI is simply a way of dealing with stress barely touches upon the real crux of the subject, and it doesnt take into account why most people do not self-injure.

    Ill be honest, I have BPD and I SI. Relieving stress doesnt really come into why I do it; stress and internal pain are two different things. In the medical world SI is taken seriously, in my experience at least, provided that it is not isolated- if there is depression prevalent as well, SI is seen as a bona fide medical problem whihc is treated in its own way, normally by medications such as fluoxetine in the initial stage of treatment.

    Given this, SI is seen as more than coping with 'reality'. SI is normally about coping with depression, and it is a way of externalising, and getting rid of, internal pain and suffering. In many cases it is also to do with externalising anger, taking the anger out on the person who deserves it most.

    Unless youve been there its hard to really get across the point IM trying to make, but basically I dont think SI is a normal reaction to the 'presures' or 'reality'. People who injure themselves dont do it because they cant cope with 'reality', its that they cant cope with whats going on inside their heads. And for that it should remain nothing less than a characteristic of mental illness.

    The stigmatism that coems with SI is an entirely different debate though.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by Kermit
    Unless youve been there its hard to really get across the point IM trying to make, but basically I dont think SI is a normal reaction to the 'presures' or 'reality'. People who injure themselves dont do it because they cant cope with 'reality', its that they cant cope with whats going on inside their heads. And for that it should remain nothing less than a characteristic of mental illness.
    And that's another part of the problem - people who haven't been there can't see the appeal. Hell, I can't see the appeal, but I keep doing it. That's the daftest thing I've ever heard, but again it makes sense if you have contextual knowledge of what SI can become in your life. [/uncharacteristic melodrama]
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Re: Self Injury
    Originally posted by Gavman
    There are ever increasing numbers of people (mainly young teens) turning to self injury as a release from what they percieve as the problems of reality. Now when you hear someone Self Injures many peoples reaction is to think Why are they doing that it's just wrong. But is it? Doesnt the fact that so many people are prone to doing it sometime in thier life suggest that perhaps it is a genuine way for us to cope with stress etc...

    Or maybe more SI cases are reported? I know a lady who was in Denbigh for self-injuring... I suppose it must've seemed crazy back then (in the 1960s/70s) that somebody would inflict injury upon themselves deliberately... but today, it seems better known and slowly, very slowly people are being educated about mental illness... there is less of a stigma attached and people tend to be more open about it.
    Now I will admit its unfortunate they people feel driven to this but I feel that instead of being seen as something taboo that you shouldnt do it should be recognised for what it is, it shouldnt cause people to be ashamed that they do it because of other peope's reactions.

    One thing that pisses me off is how some people perceive it as 'cool' or 'gothic' because some artists in the industrial scene mutilate themselves. I mean, this brings publicity yeah... but it isn't going to remove the stigma of SI as in a twisted sense, it makes it seem fashionable.

    As for people's reactions, my family were very understanding.
    I was just wondering what other thought about this and the nature of SI as there is evidence to suggest SI is a natural instinct to cope with pressures.

    Animals mutilate themselves when under stress... that's a fact.
    Originally posted by piccolo
    It is a big worry that people see self-harmers as attention seekers. This, if anything, is the first assumption society ought to attempt to erase. It makes me sick. Most self-harmers do their best to hide what they are doing, which is a direct contradiction to this idea, but it still seems an accepted prejudice.

    Whilst I agree that most people do it behind closed doors I have seen some do it for attention. For example a girl was just sitting doing it in the common room... I mean that's just disgusting. Not the fact that she's hurting herself, but the fact she was doing it in front of others for attention. Yeah she may have problems, but behaviour like that makes me sick as she could hurt other people vulnerable to mental illness.

    Originally posted by kermit
    Ill be honest, I have BPD and I SI. Relieving stress doesnt really come into why I do it; stress and internal pain are two different things. In the medical world SI is taken seriously, in my experience at least, provided that it is not isolated- if there is depression prevalent as well, SI is seen as a bona fide medical problem whihc is treated in its own way, normally by medications such as fluoxetine in the initial stage of treatment.

    Indeed, they give you medication for it and sometimes help. The problem with (at least in North Wales) adolescent mental health services (let alone adult) is that shey're shit. They put you on prozac, zispin, cipramil... whatever and then leave you, or make you wait months for a councillor. I mean they hand drugs out like they're candy... but not real help.

    I've been in a mental health unit when I was 17 for depression, anxiety and all that, but I was first admitted to the mental health services at the age of about fourteen or fifteen. I had to wait a few months for a councillor... then another couple for a psychologist who put me on prozac. At the age of 16 I attempted suicide and just before my 18th birthday I was considered top of the list for risk and only then did I get the help I needed in a unit. And that took me four months... just for bloody months to get myself a job and get on with my life.

    But the NHS just doesn't seem to have good services available. Wjilst they had anger management, group therapy, dialectical behavioural therapy, cognitive therapy, music therapy and art therapy there I'd never been given the chance for anything but councilling for 3-4 years. I'm so greatful for my supportive family for being there because I never would have made it otherwise.

    Sorry if I'm talking about myself too much, but it's just my experiences and even my doctor says services are awful.
    Given this, SI is seen as more than coping with 'reality'. SI is normally about coping with depression, and it is a way of externalising, and getting rid of, internal pain and suffering. In many cases it is also to do with externalising anger, taking the anger out on the person who deserves it most.

    I always felt numb, so if I could feel physical pain then it kinda reminded me I was alive... does that make sense?

    I think some people confuse SI with masochism, the difference being that masochists derive sexual pleasure from pain and people who SI are sufferers of mental illness which in my opinion is as much of a disability as a person in a wheelchair... greatly ignored by the health services. maybe one day it'll be as big a problem as heart disease.

    (Sorry about my spelling... I'm FREEZING)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I havent heard of animals injuring thmselves under stress, but if people can get depresed then animals can too I suppose.

    I still have great concerns about labelling it as a stress-coping mechanism, because I do not think it is. Although I suppose it depends on how you define stress- I think stress is having a lot of work to do, or grieving, etc; I dont think depression counts even though sometimes it results from stress.

    The mental health funding in this country is a concern, it always has been- I think the trouble with mental health is that it is expensive, and you dont get "instant results". Especially in the time of waiting list league tables, funding will be concentrated in those areas- you can fix a broken leg and tick it off the list, but how do you fix a broken mind? And what is "fixed" anyway?

    Ive been very lucky with my dealings with the NHS, though. The waiting list at the mental health unit in Newcastle was eighteen months, but the consultant psychologist I saw there rang around every hospital in the North East practically as she felt that the sooner I got help the better it would be; she even said shed queue-jumped me because I was so young. The NHS is good, but it just cant get the funding it needs- even the units for the truly gone are chronically underfunded.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Re: Re: Self Injury
    Originally posted by MoonRat
    I always felt numb, so if I could feel physical pain then it kinda reminded me I was alive... does that make sense?

    It does make sense, and it highlights the problems with talking about SI as a single topic. I understand it perfectly, but I dont see why anyone would do it- I always cut to get myself back to the blank stage, to stop the screaming agony inside, so I wouldnt cut if I was already blank.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    i don't know how common SI is but the reason it is still taboo is because a lot of people don't understand it. i have never been through depression or any mental illness so i would not know how that feels nevermind wanting to inflict pain upon yourself.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I did some really eye-opening study in this while back as part of working fro a drug treatment agency, I'll try and find the book that was really helpful, but basically it interviewd people who DSH and they spoke about problems, tensions, stresses, anger, frustratons all being released as the blood flows: it paints a picture of DSH as self medication in a a way that other people with mental health problems take drugs (dual diagnosis, etc).

    from personal experience of working in a secure unit for young offenders, superficially, i saw two kinds of self harm - one where it was done just because other s had done it, this was a very visual kind of DSH, and self harm perhaps for some of the above reasons - but this was often hidden/concealed very carefully, and was more looked a lot more serious than the first kind.

    I know this is probably simplifying things, and it is only my observations, but there you go.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by hobbs
    from personal experience of working in a secure unit for young offenders, superficially, i saw two kinds of self harm - one where it was done just because other s had done it, this was a very visual kind of DSH, and self harm perhaps for some of the above reasons - but this was often hidden/concealed very carefully, and was more looked a lot more serious than the first kind.

    i have noticed the same things in my experiences.

    there is a disturbing trend for young people to self harm because it's some kind of dark badge of cool. i noticed these people like to talk about it a lot, and hurt themselves in easily seen loactions, usually rolling up sleeves a lot so everyone can see. i have come across these kinds of people a lot in my dealings with leeds mental health.

    they're the type that like to wear their mental illnesses (real or imagined) as a badge of who they are. 'i'm bob, and i'm depressed', they like to proclaim, as if it's something to be proud of.

    and i hate that. i am not depressed and i am not a self harmer. these are just things that happened to me, things that i've been through. they don't define me as a person.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by kaffrin
    there is a disturbing trend for young people to self harm because it's some kind of dark badge of cool. i noticed these people like to talk about it a lot, and hurt themselves in easily seen loactions, usually rolling up sleeves a lot so everyone can see. i have come across these kinds of people a lot in my dealings with leeds mental health.

    And the trouble is that these people distract attention away from those who really need it, I always feel like its taking the piss out of real problems. I despise people who do it because Kurt/Richie/A N Other do it, its a mockery and they should be told to piss off and grow up, IMHO. Itd help the mental health servics no end, though maybe not the profits of Eli Lilly.

    i am not depressed and i am not a self harmer. these are just things that happened to me, things that i've been through. they don't define me as a person.

    Do you ever find yourself thinking that the depression has kind of taken over the personality, and ruined it? That once the depression has gone that therell be nothing left?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ive tried this, only when ive been very very low, i dont make an everyday thing of it, like i said its happen maybe 2 times in my whole life, however i did have a close friend who was going through a stressful patch with her exams and sliced her arms to ribbons, then proceeded to show everyone who would take a glance and go on and on about her terrible life, sorry but to me this screams 'i want attention', another friend of mine did it for a long time, on his thighs and i only found out after knowing him a long time and he dosent speak about it to many people,

    point of this post, not everyone who self harms is genuine
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by Char_Baby
    not everyone who self harms is genuine

    I dont think thats the best way of putting it, generally people seek attention because theyre not getting it. And the *are* SI-ing.

    Though their reasons arent as good as those who hide it, they are still genuine reasons.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by Kermit
    Do you ever find yourself thinking that the depression has kind of taken over the personality, and ruined it? That once the depression has gone that therell be nothing left?

    not sure about this one.

    if you met me on the street, even now, you wouldn't know there was anything wrong with me. even if you'd known me at my happier times, you wouldn't think anything had changed.

    there is a part of my that dies away when i get bad, but it always comes back when i get better. i've been up and down so many times in the last 14 years that i know that however bad it gets, it'll get better again.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Just curious, because when Im having my bad spells it consumes me, and sometimes I do see myself *as* depressed, not suffering from it.

    But then again, I dont tell anyone wholl listen:)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by Kermit
    Just curious, because when Im having my bad spells it consumes me, and sometimes I do see myself *as* depressed, not suffering from it.

    i think it's that my greatest problem has always been anxiety, and the depression was mostly secondary to that. the depression was more a reflection of the situation i was in rather than me myself.

    thinking about it, i can see myself worrying that if my anxiety goes i'll become someone else. but then again, that's the anxiety talking, so you just never know.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I suppose because I've never self-harmed personally, it's a little hard to get my head round the idea of cutting yourself to get over bad things in life or depression, etc but I can see where people are coming from, especially with it becoming so widespread recently.

    I don't think I could self harm, I mean afterwards I'd look at the scars and feel even worse, is this the case? Is this why people fall into a sort of addiction and need to do it again, to get over the 'guilt' of doing so (if that makes sense?) or is it just because it is genuinely a good stress/depression/etc. manager?

    Also, for those who do self harm, have you been to the doctors or counselling? Or just live and cope? I suppose like someone said the general outlook on it has changed, whereas a few decades ago it would have been seen a sign of mental unstability it's now seen as relatively, well, in a sense - normal, or better put, widespread so more socially acceptable.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Speaking for myself, the scars never bothered me, so long as they are hidden they are not an issue.

    Though people do get addicted to SI, its not for that reason. The relief after a session is great because everything that was built up inside has now gone, but it takes more cutting (or whatever) to get the same relief each time. It works in a similar way to drug or drink addiction I expect, though Ive never been addicted to either of those.

    I dont think that it *is* seen as more socially acceptable, but generally mental illness is seen more as an illness than as a freak-show now. When its done for depressive reasons, and not attention-seeking reasons, its still seen as a sign of mental instability, sometimes quite severe mental instability- I was diagnosed with BPD on the strength of it, among other things, I reckon, for instance.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by Kermit
    Speaking for myself, the scars never bothered me, so long as they are hidden they are not an issue.

    Though people do get addicted to SI, its not for that reason. The relief after a session is great because everything that was built up inside has now gone, but it takes more cutting (or whatever) to get the same relief each time. It works in a similar way to drug or drink addiction I expect, though Ive never been addicted to either of those.
    From my p.o.v. the scars are an issue. I don't feel I can wear short-sleeved tops these days. Whether I have open cuts or not, people have been known to comment on the scars and I don't know how to answer "what happened to your arms?", so I avoid the situation.

    But your comment about addiction, Kermit, is very shrewd. I wouldn't say that I am necessarily depressed right now. Not as badly as I have been, although I have my off-days. Yet on these off-days, I turn to self-harm to get myself through it. Even when I'm relatively relaxed sometimes I feel I have to self-harm to get through the day and I will sit in lessons working out how to get away from people so I can. It can run your life, to the point that it's never enough and you need new ways to self-harm, and more pain. Does that make sense?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by piccolo
    From my p.o.v. the scars are an issue. I don't feel I can wear short-sleeved tops these days. Whether I have open cuts or not, people have been known to comment on the scars and I don't know how to answer "what happened to your arms?", so I avoid the situation.

    For ages they were for me, I only wore long-sleeved shirts for ages because of it; Id cut on the upper arm so that they wouldnt be seen when I worse a t-shirt, but t still wasnt really enough.

    But your comment about addiction, Kermit, is very shrewd.

    I do think it is an addiction like any other, depression and inner turmoil is often why people turn to drink and drugs as well. SI isnt so different.

    Does that make sense?

    It does make a lot of sense. Im still tempted on bad days, though because I havent cut for going on 18 months now the pull isnt strong enough to make me dismantle the razor and actually do it. TRhough I know that if I had a razor dismantled and I *had* been cutting recently the pull would have been strong enough.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I dont know if this is gonna make any sense or have any relevance but hey i'll say it anyway. I go through good and bad periods with my self harm. When i'm in a good period i let my arms be seen, the scars are there but they're always gonna be there so why i should i hide them?they're a part of me and i have to get over the fact that there's always gonna be there.would you call this attention seeking? if, however im going through a bad period i'll make sure no one can see the cuts, even the people who know i SI. And if im in between good and bad i hide them. hmmm. I guess Si if different for everyone. Everyone does it for a different reason, whether its for attention or to make themselves feel the pan they deserve or to feel alive. I dont think SI can be given 20 definitions it wholly depends on the individual.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Don't know if I will make much sense out of what I'm about to say, but will give it a shot. When I had started SI-ing, at first, it may have been more out of attention seaking, but after a while, the depression and the emotional and mental pain were consuming me way too much and started cutting more and more just to be able to release the pain, the anxieties, the depression, or whatever I may have been feeling at the time during the cuttings.

    I would say that it can be very addictive, as well, at times, that it can be a very bad obsession. Well, at least for me, at times, it became so very addicted, and such, that I would be sitting, during classes in school and just thinking that I just wanted to get home so that I could SI.

    Ok, just going to stop. Don't think that I'm making much sense at all. Can't really explain how it felt, for me, to go through that period of time and still having a few relapses, and how I felt at those times.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by MySuffice21
    I would say that it can be very addictive, as well, at times, that it can be a very bad obsession. Well, at least for me, at times, it became so very addicted, and such, that I would be sitting, during classes in school and just thinking that I just wanted to get home so that I could SI.
    It does become all-consuming. You end up thinking about doing it and merely "existing" between times. It's as addictive psychologically as drugs and alcohol are chemically.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    hmm. i'm always in two minds when it comes to this subject.
    i went through a time of bulimia and there was an episode where i took a pair of scissors pretty deep into my right arm but at the time i'd never have admitted that to anyone. in time i had to write a personal piece of writing so i wrote about what led up to me stabbing myself but only showed my best friend and my english teacher as that's who i had to do the writing for.

    i think for me it was like i wanted to do something really out of character so i felt like i wasn't me as i felt that i wouldn't generally feel that depressed so if i could pretend it was someone else then maybe i'd be alright and get better.

    i know loads of people who self harm. one girl who used to be bulimic, her 14 year old best friend had died and she was really depressed and in the end she started throwing up. when she stopped doing it she said to me that she was doing it for attention, as a point of debate/arguement with people cos she was so sick of hearing condolences.
    another girl i know cuts her arms and has done for about two years. we used to be really good friends and i can tell ya, there was nothing going on in her life that anyone would think could lead her to do it. i accepted that there were probably things going on with her that i didnt know about so instead of mollycoddling her trying to get her to stop i left her to her own devices.
    what bothered me about it was that she'd sit in school with her sleeves rolled up and everyone knew what she was doing to herself, but everytime someone asked her about it, even her close friends, she'd say that she fell into a bush. she repeated the story so many times i think she started to believe it.
    well, the first girl has recovered 100% and the second girl may still cut her arms but has turned to drug abuse.

    i guess what i'm trying to say is that it's good to admit it and accept peoples' help and advice because alot of people have been through more than you'd expect on a surface level
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Its best to check what dates are on threads as this is around 8/9 years old.
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