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Curious to hear from others like me: Why do you self-harm? (May be a trigger!!)


neveryourstar

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Personally, I cut. (I do also hit myself, pull out my hair and burn myself, but not nearly as often as I cut. Cutting is my main relief.)

 

I cut for a number of reasons all of which are listed below. I'm just curious to see why others cut themselves & what kind of feelings it gives them in that moment.

 

Punishment: If I feel like I've done something wrong, or the feeling of being bad person becomes overwhelming, I'll cut myself. The pain feels good, like I deserve it, and for some reason I've warped myself into thinking if I bleed enough the bad parts of me will flow out with it.

 

To gain a sense of Control in my life: If things seem to be spiraling down, or I'm in a high stress situation, I will turn to cutting because in that moment, because it seems like it's the only way I can feel like I'm in control of the situation & my feelings.

 

To stop feeling disassociated: Sometimes I loose my sense of reality. It feels like I can't feel anything at all, I become emotionless so I'll turn to that razor blade so I can at least feel something because when i disassociate, it honestly feels like I've died. The pain of each cut makes me feel alive again.

 

Distraction: If I am upset, or hurt by something/someone cutting is a way for me to distract myself from those feelings. Instead of focusing my engery on the actual issue, I will cut myself so I think about that instead.

 

Those are the reasons I self harm.

 

What are yours?

 

Also, I want to be clear: I'm not condoning self-harm. I realistically know that there are much better ways of managing the above, however, with that being said, there are millions of people in this world who self-harm everyday, in a number of different ways; I'm just curious what personal reasons for self-harm could be for other people.

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I cut myself because when my emotions are running rampant and I can't gain control of them again cutting seems to be the only way I can manage to stop all the craziness going on in my brain. It brings on a numbness that makes everything seem less insane. It is a terrible terrible coping mechanism but also a very effective one

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  • 2 months later...

I think for me( I cut and stop eating too, but I prefer using a hammer on my feet and hands) it's more a pressure relief. I'm Buddhist. I know how to mitigate emotions. But there is some nameless mania that I can't find the root of, and that sh-t builds like a steam kettle. If I don't release the manic energy I'll find myself rubbing my hands raw like one of those poor wretched bears at a cheap zoo. The shock of pain is a release. Not eating just robs away your energy. I have found for me, five days without food and I'm fine. Seven and I start to fall asleep a lot. Some of this may have to do with the confined space I work in. It's a boat and we stay on it for a month at a time. Foods cook faster in a pressure cooker because the modified atmosphere allows higher temps, right? Well, maybe my obsessive thought patterns are the enclosed space that cause me to boil over. I don't know. Thanks for letting me rant.

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I used to self harm when I was a teenager but not as frequently. It was mostly 2 reasons stated above; self punishment/hatred and the nameless mania Nomadic Cook illustrated. Also attention. It didn't feel effective as such because of having to hide it or explain it, it just felt stressful hiding things from people.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 months later...
  • 1 month later...

When I was a teen, around 10th grade, I cut.

 

For me it was because the emotional pain was so extreme, I wanted the physical pain to somehow overcome the emotional pain.

 

I'm sure if I were to really analyze myself, it would probably be the control others mentioned. I cut at a time my life was completely out of my control. I was tortured by my past and couldn't figure out how to get past the pain.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I never really cut myself very much as a teen, and have only done so a handful of times since then. When I do, I feel so because: (A) I feel emotionally worked into a frenzy and/or (B) I feel angry with myself and feel like I deserve it.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I don't cut. I rip open scabs on my legs. The pain increases adrenaline in my system and helps me temporarily quiet my mind, which never seems to stop moving. I've been doing it so long and so regularly, I know how to take care of the injuries, when it's time to let the old ones heal and start a new batch. I haven't had any problem with infections.

 

I also bicycle frequently and regularly, so it's easy to explain away the injuries, not that they see the light of day very much.

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  • 2 months later...

When I first started cutting in the 8th grade I did so because I didn't know how to handle my emotions. Cutting was also a good way for me to deal with my anger. I let it out on myself so I didn't let it out on anyone else. cutting has also been a good way for me to deal with my anxiety.

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  • 1 month later...

I'm a recovered cutter, the last time I cut was nearly 13 years ago. I used to do it to deal with stress and chaos, I started in my early-ish teens and found out about it through a friend who did it. She said it helped with her pain, and for me it sort of focused my mind on something else. I didn't feel panic, hurt, pain, anxiety, mania, anger, basically the gamut of negative emotions, all I felt was physical pain. Physical pain was so much easier to deal with then those other feelings, and It was something just for me, like a secret. Whenever I was out in the world and feeling stressed or upset, I would just have to squeeze my arm through the clothes or press against my thigh and feel that pain, and it would over ride everything. Once people found out about in my life I felt horribly disgusting and sick. I felt like I was exposed and thrown into the light against my will, however that was the first step in years of doing this that lead me towards recovery.

 

It was a terrible and desperate way to deal with very real issues. It never solved anything. Occasionally, once in a blue moon, when I am pushed to my limits, I get a flash in my brain that reminds me of when I used to cut. I immediately feel ashamed and redirect my thoughts elsewhere, I have developed other coping tools that actually work and do not harm myself anymore. But it does stay with you, sort of like an addict I guess, you can go your whole life never doing it again but that doesn't mean it doesn't live in a very tiny spot in the back of your subconscious mind.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I cut myself, this is more of a punishment. I often feel that when I have done something that is wrong in my eyes I have to cause myself pain. I also do this to stop me dwelling on more painful memories and as a kind of emotional bye pass

 

I also starve but this is to make me feel better about myself, it dulls everything down like how snow softens everything and I find it easier to continue with this calm.

 

I also asphyxiate myself though not for a high. Again this is a cheat. I don't exactly do it with the intent to kill myself it means my mind only focuses on one thing

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I actually feel like the outcast because I'm the only "cutter" I know who didn't start in their teens.

 

The first time I ever cut myself I was 26 it was because I was suicidal and was putting together my plan. I decided I was going to slit my wrists. I took a box cutter I found in the supply room in my office. I was downplaying my degree of intention to my therapist. And then one day I had the thought "you're so full of it you're not going to do this you probably can't even cut yourself" so I tried in a non-fatal way just to cut my arm near the outer arm by the elbow and it was surprisingly easy. The pain felt really good and seeing the blood did something for me. Next thing I knew I had made five gashes on my arm and several on my thigh.

 

I admitted it to my shrink because I was scared and also felt guilty because he knew I was severely depressed and having suicidal thoughts but trusted me to admit when they became more than fleeting thoughts - which really required a lot of trust from him because if he misjudged how dangerous I was he could have been up s*its creek if come thing happened. So I called him the next day and told him what happened. He had me come in to his office immediately, looked at the cuts, and took me to the hospital.

 

The hospital attending suggested I had borderline personality disorder. He didn't seem to agree entirely. I never got a definitive diagnosis on it so I guess you would say I have "borderline tendencies" so now I cut because:

 

1. I have started having brief moments of dissociation. But I don't know if it's so much dissociation or just an awful panic attack. Either way I occasionally give in to the urge to cut when it happens because it instantly stops it.

 

2. Intense feelings of self loathing that make me want to punish myself.

 

3. sometimes when I start wishing I were dead cutting is like a weird compromise. "You can't kill your self because your family will be devastated but you can secretly attack your body this way"

 

Fortunately I hardly ever do it anymore. I want to go a whole year without making new cuts so I can get a tattoo over the scars (the oldest of which are pretty faint but you can deff still see there's something there, and that its a scar, and that given the scars around it... I dunno to me it obviously looks like SI and I'm ashamed. If I had a tattoo to at least camouflage it I would finally be able to wear short sleeves or shorts.

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I am sorry it found you, even later in life.....it's a damn tricky beast.

Not to say that your doctor isn't very knowledgeable and capable of handling your situation, but have you had your levels checked out? Not just the ol' run of the mill bloodwork, but like your hormones and vitamins and the health of all your organs, like a complete run-through of your entire body? I know that helped me ALOT....it turns out that on top of situational depression as a teenager, I was also dealing with a major imbalance that wasn't being treated, just being made worse by medications I shouldn't of been placed on. Once I got my hormones balanced and all my organs healthy (I had major large intestine issues) and my overall body health to a balanced equilibrium, it made dealing with my life possible again. It was truly amazing just how much of an imbalance coloured my world dark. After I got that fixed, therapy was something that worked, and worked quickly. I was able to work on these "coping skills" they were talking about because I could actually focus myself a bit and apply these skills without getting off track.

 

I also understand why you want to cover your scars, hide it from people. If your still cutting though, it won't help you....I don't know what kind of cutter you are, but I was the kind that ALWAYS cut the in same two spots. If you are like I was, then you are going to end up slicing up your beautiful new tattoo, and then its made doubly worse, and you will feel doubly bad about it later. If you're not like me, then you'll pick a different spot so as not to wreck your new tattoo, but suddenly you'll end up with more tattoos then you had planned because your trying to cover up all these new spots. You'll run out of spots to tattoo.

 

I wanted to cover my scars in the beginning, the first couple years after I had quit. I have a rather large scar on the upper part of my arm, its about the size of a palm. It was also done in a way where it sort of resembles a pot leaf for some reason, or at least that is what people tell me. It had to do with the angles I was slicing at I guess, over time the repetition made a pattern, sort of like leaves. When I first started being confident enough to wear a short sleeve, the first person to notice it asked me if I had gotten a body-scarring done of a pot leaf, they thought it looked cool. It sort of horrified me that someone thought I did this on purpose, like I wanted this thing on my arm.....I could of lied, and told her that it was, but I just looked at her and said "No, I used to cut, its just a coincidence it looks like that." It was about 2 seconds of awkward and then..it was okay. She didn't recoil in horror, she didn't ask me any questions, it was just okay. I was okay.

I don't know why, but that moment really empowered me. It made me sort of feel like I was a survivor, like I looked at my scar sort of like a "battle scar", proof of what I had been through. I didn't feel like I had to apologize or feel like I had to hide it anymore, I had hidden it for so many years...so many years of wearing long sleeves in the middle of summer, it was liberating to just show it.

So now I don't even think of it anymore, it is apart of me and it wasn't something I was going to let change me. When I met a guy, and we had gotten to the point where it was getting physical in our relationship, I would just straight up tell him "Look, I have a couple of scars on my body I am going to explain...." and would just show them, explain my story, and the results were always positive for me. Usually they would kiss the scar, tell me that I am beautiful, and it would never come up again.

Now that it has been 13-ish years since, the scars are quite light now. They are still clearly there, but they are no longer 'glaringly' there. They do fade to some degree. When I look at myself naked in the mirror, I don't even see them anymore, my brain just passes over them. Either I am mentally projecting that I do not care about these scars anymore and thus others don't either, or they truly don't notice them anymore, because when I am out in public now with a tank top or something, I never catch anyone looking at my arm. Before, I always caught someone looking, and I would have to just ignore them and pretend I didn't see them staring. It literally is no longer an issue for me at all anymore, having this scar.

 

Part of healing from this issue is self love, you have to learn to forgive yourself for what you have done and know in your heart that you truly should not be ashamed. People who have never been through this don't really understand the level of shame and embarrassment that goes along with this, we are always very aware of how doing this affects the people around us that we love. You wear that embarrassment and pain on you, even when you don't want to, in the form of your scars. At least that is how I felt about it in the beginning, anyway. If you still want to cover them up so that you can feel comfortable in your own body, then by all means do it. I just want to stress that it is just so important that you do forgive yourself and love yourself even if you cover them up. Sometimes covering them up never really address the underlying issue, and even when they are covered you are still worried someone might see, maybe they can tell, what happens if they can tell? What do I say?........see what I mean?

 

Whatever your path, I hope you are kind to yourself and forgive yourself, it feels wonderful to not carry that shame. I wish that for you

 

Good luck!

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  • 1 month later...

I have never cut myself but i found out that what i do could be considered as self harm. I dig my nails in to my thighs or side and if i'm really bad i scrape and scrape. I also tend to hit or slep myself quite a lot. I hated approaching it but i recently admitted that the physical pain is easier to cope with than the mental anguish. PHysical pain distracts from what really hurts.

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