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I'd Like To Understand Self Harm

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
I've been reading several threads on here and livejournal entries over the last month or so from people who are self harming. The Site seems to have a fairly high proportion of people who do this or have done so in the past. I find it difficult to understand and I sometimes feel like I've got to tread carefully in threads, particularly where I'm unfamiliar with peoples' histories, refraining from speaking frankly for fear people may dwell on my comments. I've led a relatively happy existence and I'd avoid pain wherever possible. Perhaps I'm just not cut out to get it. Why do people self harm? What's it like? Do you feel a compulsion to stop if you've done it? What reaction are you looking for and what're the right and wrong things to say as counsellor?

I want to be more informed and understanding of this issue.

If there's another thread along these lines I'm more than happy for you to slate me for not searching and post a link.

Cheers.

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hey,

    I think it's good you're making an effort to understand... I don't know if I can answer your questions though... I've never self harmed (well not completly true... I've hit myself and pulled my hair and dug my nails into my arms before but usually it's when I'm really really angry and trying not to throw stuff and ram my head into a wall in frustration... :confused: )
    I get myself so worked up sometimes. I don't really know how to explain things.

    I think people have diffrent reasons for doing it, but I don't think they can control what they're doing.

    Now someone else give a better answer cos I feel like I'm digging a hole here.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    There was one...a couple months ago...but can't be bothered to find the link, I'm sure someone else will oblige ;)

    I can't explain WHY other than it makes me feel better when I'm angry or upset. And as I usually blame things on myself, I see it as like...I have to punish myself for what I've done, even though I don't always know what it could be. To be honest, I know I should want to stop, but I don't. The only reason I would want to was because of how much my mother disapproves of it, and the reactions of my family to it.

    I'm not looking for a reaction really. I don't tell people I see daily about it because...I dunno. I get called attention seeking when I do, and (you, as a reader of my LJ will know this, I imagine) as recently I got so upset I ended up doing it in public (scratching at my hand...which has now, as I suspected it would, scarred), people in my classes do think I am.

    Oh, and don't tread carefully around people because of self harm. Silly boy :p
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Try The National Self-Harm Network
    Mind
    Need2Know and theSite's content.

    The first two will probably be most directed but I haven't been on for a while and not sure what they're like.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    because they sometimes feel that physical pain is more bareable than emotional. and when they hurt themselves it gives a little release, but the emotional pain always comes back.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    piccolo wrote:
    Try The National Self-Harm Network
    Mind
    Need2Know and theSite's content.

    The first two will probably be most directed but I haven't been on for a while and not sure what they're like.

    The first link is fairly informative, though at the same time not so. It gives a list of misconceptions about self harming but doesn't really offer alternative explanations.

    I had a friend in school who self harmed, cutting himself with razor blades in the bath and also an ex-girlfriend, who when we argued, told me she'd kill herself if we split. Knowing these things about people close to me made me feel uncomfortable and manipulated, under pressure but unable to help.

    Do people self harming intend to have such an impact? Do they consider the positions and feelings of those who know about their actions? I'd guess their own pain and suffering is more likely to be at the forefront of their mind? I just can't get how actually causing yourself physical harm can ever be beneficial or the best action to take at any one time?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Why do people self harm?
    i used to self harm... although i don't do it anymore.
    it's about immediate release. and about turning emotional pain in on yourself by expressing it physically. for me i think it started with a need to punish myself. when i was a kid my dad would use knives on me if i did something wrong. you just get to a point when you want so desperatly to shut off whats going around in your head, and you can't - cutting was a focus - it focused pain. it was a release of feeling. - it's really hard to describe!
    What reaction are you looking for and what're the right and wrong things to say as counsellor?
    none. personally, it's not something that i ever did for anyone to notice. i was ashamed of it. yes, i told a counsellor at my university... worst thing i ever did!
    i think if you tell someone you self harm, may be you're looking for:- understanding, someone to be open and honest with, someone to talk to about how you feel... considering its feelings which are the trigger for self harming. the worst thing a counsellor can say is that you're a danger to other people - as i've had said to me, because i used to self harm and i was excluded from the service. the worst thing is unfounded judgement, but a counsellor shouldn't judge really.
    being able to talk to someone is a relief... and it releases all those feelings and everything... and its a far better way to cope, i think. so, i think all a counsellor needs to do is listen... after all, thats what they are there for! - and people stop self harming when they have a better way to cope - talking to someone is a better way of coping, believe me! :)

    http://vbulletin.thesite.org.uk/showthread.php?t=78248
    Do people self harming intend to have such an impact?
    :no: - most people self harm in secret. i did. and i didn't want anyone to know or notice. when i told the university counsellor... i guess i was looking for support and i wanted not to do it. i don;t think anyone does it for drama- they do it because it's the way they cope- just like anyone who has an eating disoder, or anyone who turns to drink, or sex or 100 other different coping mechanisms.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ginner wrote:
    I had an ex-girlfriend, who when we argued, told me she'd kill herself if we split.

    that's emotional blackmail, and it's a totally different ball game. and it's out of order.

    why would anyone want to stay with someone who they knew was only with them cause they felt too guilty to leave?

    but yeah. self harm. people do it for 101 reasons, and no two explanations of why or how will be the same. a lot of people can't even explain why. i don't think you can understand until you're right there, and even then, you can understand some, but not all.
    ginner wrote:
    Knowing these things about people close to me made me feel uncomfortable and manipulated, under pressure but unable to help.

    i totally understand this too, despite doing it myself way back. i think a part of me always questions people's motives for telling me. it's like, what do you want me to do? why do you want me to know?

    it's like when people say, 'but you, of all people should understand', and it's like why? my experiences are not your experiences are not his or her experiences, and why should i understand you better than anyone else?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I see it as a last resort, when I'm really really upset. But I hardly ever get that low, I usually manage to keep things in perspective. :)
    All the times I've done it I've found it satisfying in a weird way, especially when there's lots of blood. By making myself bleed, it's like I've let the problem out of my system and I feel better.
    But like I said, I hardly ever do it. I don't even think I'll ever do it again.

    When my sis started doing it though, then I found out what it was like to be on the other side. :(
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Yep I've been there waaayy too many times.

    At my worst it was like...everyday...twice a day even. I'm glad to say its nothing like that now - I haven't done it since the end of Jan, which is a big improvement. I've gotta say though, I've been tempted at times.
    Its hard to say why I did it...I honestly don't know sometimes...there were times when I was really angry at my family, times when I was upset, times when I hated myself, times when I just felt toally numb and empty and times when I just wanted the excitement and thrill of watching blood dripping down my arm.
    At the time, I didn't want to stop. It was like I wanted it to get worse, I wanted to leave really bad scars and to do it all the time. When I stopped (or cut down) I realised that it wasn't the way out and I was just wrapping myself up in my problems. But yeah it helped me deal with the pain a lot. A good distaction.

    If anyones thinking about trying it...well I wouldn't recommend it to say the least. It might seem like a good idea at first, but then you realise what a mess you've got yourself into and by then its hard to turn it around. I caused a lot of unwanted distress with my self harm - I told my best mates cos I thought they had a right to know if something was going on with my life cos I always like to be honest with them. My family found out by accident. With both cases though, I regret them knowing cos I didn't want them to worry about me or be concerned and I felt guilty for upsetting them. Which made things worse.

    I think that most self harmers won't get too sensitive about it, they should be pretty open. They live with it after all. As long as you don't blatently insult them or call them freaks/psychos/whatever, *most* should be OK.
    Personally, I wouldn't want someone offering me emotional support all the time (even though its a nice gesture) cos its bringing stuff up and that...but everyones different. I'm not usually the emtionally-opened-up kind...I deal with things better on my own.
    The worst thing you could say is probably to accuse them of attention seeking. I hate that so much. Even if someone did self harm just for attention, there'd have to se something seriously wrong if they feel the need to go to such measures for it, so even if they are I wouldn't rule them out as fakes.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    There's been plenty of threads on this, if you did a search it'd bring up a lot of results. This isn't a "OMG do a search!!!", more a suggestion, as five years' of posters all say different things so it's good to read as many posts as possible.

    I did it because I wanted to hurt myself because I deserved to be attacked and beaten. I enjoyed attackign myself, and afterwards it was a great release to sit there and watch my blood trickle down my arms and chest. It's an addictive feeling of relaxation after great anger and stress, and it's why people continue to do it.

    SH is an addiction.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hmm.....SI is a coping tool.....some of us were not taught to deal with shit properly. I can only explain it is a boiler....the pressure gets sooo intense and you just have to pull the release. I myself disassociate from reality. The hurt inside is sooo intense and the self hate is sooo immense..that it happens....the emotional release that follows is like nothing else......But this is just for me...the sense of calm that follows is what I need at the time....but the the shame sets in..and the guilt...and everything else that follows. I dont recommend this to anyone as a way of release...I have now learned to deal with the emotions in a positive way.....I still feel triggery at times.....most days I miss it. But then I look at my scars, and remember that it is not a good thing.....that after I dont really feel better.....and no matter how much I carve at the parts of me I hate....when the blood is gone and the cuts are healed...they are still ugly..and now even uglier from scarring. There is not really anything one who has not/does not SI can do to fully understand. But if you know anyone who does it....or has done it....be strength for them...because we are ppl like the rest of you, and are just fighting for an understanding in a world that is so judgemental. Dont scowl at scars....dont turn away from the cuts......As far as tip-toeing around us...please dont. We dont want to be treated like freaks...or like we are fragile.....we want to be normal and excepted like the rest of the world. To be understood..to understand ourselves. I dont really know what else ot say about it.....exept

    PLEASE DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME....lmao

    ta ta for now...Tainted
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    i run a website for people with depression; most of which self harm. you'll find some answers there if u want to. the link is in my sig
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    i used to do it..cut i mean. i dont even remember thinking about doing it id just be sad and id do it and it would kind of relieve my emotional pain and i felt like a weird kind of satisfaction afterwards. ive never been suicidal though. i guess i just did it to relieve some sort of pressure. :chin:
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Tainted, its sounds like you've singled us out as being different to everyone else... it's not "we, as self harmers" - people who self harm are no different than anyone else, and they don't need to be grouped together using a collective "we" - things are different for different people, and everyone is an individual. or at least that is what i think. :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    i first started to sh, when i waas about 13, i used it as a way to cope!! my friends have aske me why i do it sooo many times before!! i really cant give a definate answer, other than if im hurting myself, then it stops me from hurting other people!
    i do it in secret, so im not looking for an impact from other people, i just do it to make my self feel better!
    and yes i agree with kermit, sh is very addictive (just like here!!)
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