Self Injury – A Taboo Topic – My personal Experience *possible trigger warning*

Self Injury is defined as the intentional, direct injuring of body tissue most often done without suicidal intentions.  It often includes cutting, self-mutilation, or self harm.  It is an injurious attempt to cope with negative emotions such as extreme anger, anxiety and frustration.  It is repetitive.  Often people who injure themselves are survivors of traumatic events during childhood.

Self injury.  It is a hard topic for people who deal with it, and an even harder topic for people who do not.  It is hard to understand, it is hard to explain.  For the most part, self injury is a taboo topic.

These are my personal experiences.

I was 13 years old the very first time I self injured.  I continued to do so until just 2 weeks before finding out I was pregnant with our first child.  Call it mothers intuition: I have no idea why I was able to stop then, I had tried over and over before but failed.  I have had a handful of “one time slip ups” over the years.  Until February of 2012 when I started self injury all over again and continued to do so for about 7 or 8 weeks. Since then, I have for the most part, been self injury free.

Do I still struggle with the urges?  Yes.  Do I act on them?  No, I try very hard not to.

There is something I want you to know about someone who Self injures:  It is not a cry for attention, it is not a suicide attempt.  In fact, for me, I spent the entire time hiding it.  I hid it from everyone.

For me it was a release, it was control.  I had taken part in different types of self injury, but it always went back to cutting.

I had tried several different methods (all recommended by mental health professionals) to try to stop. Marking myself with red marker – did nothing for me.  Writing when I felt like self injury – I did a lot of this, I wrote and wrote and wrote until I couldn’t anymore.   Elastic bands on my wrist and snapping them when I felt the urge served no purpose for me, just bruised my wrists but I never got the release I was looking for.

Sometimes the frustrations built up inside me were so bad, I would be physically shaking.  I felt like if I did not self injure I was going to physically and mentally blow up. The pressure was extreme. The pent up emotions were raging inside me and I needed to let them out.  And the only way for me to get even minimal release was through self injury.

Sure I had other ways of expressing myself especially through writing.  But the urges were so strong and I was so weak.

In the end I was cutting numerous times each ‘session’ on a near hourly basis.

My then boyfriend – now my husband.  Was the only person other then my Psychiatrist and therapist who knew the extent of how bad it had gotten (only because it was kind of hard to hide it from him).  He was afraid to sleep because he was afraid I would get up and do something.  He was terrified that i was going to end up cutting too deep, or do something even more drastic.  He slept (if you can call it that) with his foot/leg always touching or anchored over mine, so if I got up he would know and would be able to check on me.  He had a key to the bathroom hidden away just in case I would lock myself in there.

I, in turn, had hid things too.  I hid razors, I hid anything I could possibly cut with in places he would not suspect.  I knew it had gotten extremely bad one particular day, I was sitting in a mall bathroom and was cutting.  I began to shake, and cry.

It is hard for someone who has never dealt with self injury within themselves to even begin to understand the release that comes from it.  It is also hard for me to explain where the release comes from.  You probably wouldn’t understand.  Trust me I have tried to explain it.  I have written, I have talked to therapists, psychiatrists, doctors.

Sometimes as I struggle now the urges become so strong and the emotions are so pent up that I feel like the only way to get through it is to partake in more self injurious activities, it feels like that is the only way I will be able to release some of the pent up tension that is building just under the surface.

But I know that their are better coping methods.  And I try each and every one of them until the urge subsides.

For me self injury was something I could control when so many aspects of my life – were uncontrollable.  I felt like I could release the pent up feelings that my emotions were causing.  I could control how often, how many times, what part of my body, how deep, how big, how small.  Control. It was the one thing in my life that was constant and I thought I controlled it.

But the cutting had gotten so bad that it was out of control – I was out of control.  The control that I tried so hard to exercise was completely gone.  Things began getting worst, and fast.  More pronounced, harsher and I was beginning to make mistakes.  I had always cut where I could cover it with clothes.  I began cutting everywhere on my body.  I began cutting deeper.  I have a scar on my arm, it would have needed stitches had I seen a doctor.  That was part of my turning point.  I was unable to stop myself, the control, that I thought I had, was gone.

Although self injury might feel like control, it might feel like release, it is only temporary.  It is an unhealthy coping method.  If you find yourself controlled by your self injury, please seek medical help.  A doctor, therapist or psychiatrist will be able to lead you into some more healthy coping methods.

This is my story – I am not proud of it, but it is a part of who I am.

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About bipolarwhisper

Mental health blogger. Bipolar, PTSD, OCD, Anxiety. Lover of butterflies. Risen out of the ashes like a phoenix. Survivor. Contact me at: Email: bipolarwhispers@gmail.com Twitter: @bipolarwhisper
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12 Responses to Self Injury – A Taboo Topic – My personal Experience *possible trigger warning*

  1. blahpolar says:

    I like your husband.

    Like

  2. Writingofpassage says:

    It is an evil presence. *Hugs*

    Liked by 1 person

  3. N3Ma says:

    Thank you so much for this. I have a very close friend who self harms and she has openly told me about it, (very recently) as a result of her telling me, we have grown very close. This article has given me great knowledge in an easy to absorb format. The timing if this post could not have been any better. Thank you again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • bipolarwhisper says:

      You are very welcome. It is such a hard topic to talk about and explain in a way that is not too difficult or too graphic. Without going into any detail or divulging information that the reader may not want to read.

      I am so glad to hear that your friend was able to confide in you about her struggles. To be honest that is the first step in getting help for her. Its a hard thing to have to tell someone. Extremely difficult. You never know how someone could react to something so very personal.

      I hope that in telling you, your friend is able to realize that she is not alone.

      Liked by 1 person

      • N3Ma says:

        It was always obvious from when we first got talking that she self harmed in some way, I made her aware that I had seen the scars by tracing the smaller ones with my finger, but I never commented or asked of their origin. A few months later she asked me why I never asked about them, I simply replied to her saying “if there ever comes a time when you’re ready to tell me about them, then I’m here to listen, and if that time never comes, then that’s fine too” I kind of made out that it wasn’t a big deal to me, even though to her, it is a massive one. Everything you have mentioned is exactly the conversations that we have been having, she expressed concern about telling me, saying that “you can’t un-say things”, again, I offered nothing but reassurance and support. At the point of telling me, I think she was more keen to tell me than I was keen to know, which is the only way I ever wanted the conversation to go. She was in charge if it, she had to be comfortable with it, and there wasn’t to be any pressure me, and as I’ve already mentioned, if that time never came, from my POV, that would have been fine too.

        In a way, the conversation we had has helped me too, and I believe you’ve just seen my post regarding it.

        Again, thank you. You’ve no idea how much you’ve helped me.

        Liked by 1 person

      • bipolarwhisper says:

        You are an amazing friend. You went about it perfectly. I mean that, absolutely perfectly. You gave her the little bit she needed letting her know it was her control, that you were okay either way and that you would do nothing but support her and be there for her. She is very lucky to have you. I mean that from the bottom of my heart.

        Liked by 1 person

      • N3Ma says:

        Thank you, I appreciate it. But being honest, I was worried sick, most people are born with a gene that allows them to think before saying something, that one skipped me at birth. But it worked out, and despite the tears, we are both better for it.

        Ignorantly, before I met my friend, I’ve always seen self harmers as attention seeking people, I’m not proud of the fact that I’ve often said in the past “why the hell would you do that?” Etc,

        I was wrong, so so wrong. Basic awareness is all it took on my part, and when I got to know my friend, she is the least likely person to want attention, especially from self harming.

        Like most things in life though, unless it directly affects us, we don’t always want to know about it. I’m not proud that I was once an ass regarding my attitude to self harm, however, I will certainly raise awareness in the future and advise people to look from a different angle. (Sorry for going on).

        Liked by 1 person

      • bipolarwhisper says:

        A lot of people look at self harm as attention seeking. That was why I stated very early on in the article that it was not. I hid it for 6 years before anyone knew, and only told then because it was extremely hard to hide from my hubby.
        I am glad that you were able to approach it the right way. And don’t apologize for going on, thats what I am here for. You are more then welcome to direct her to my blog/post if you think it will help her.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Miss Misery says:

    I’m glad you found my blog because I was able to read this post. I see a lot of parallels in our stories (I don’t have children though). I used to work in a mall. Looking back on those times is eye opening. While I was experiencing the moment I wasn’t thinking, there was just that one goal of release. I’d walk out of the bathroom and although in a haze, I’d be able to finish the work day.

    I look forward to reading more of your entries.

    Liked by 1 person

    • bipolarwhisper says:

      Thank you for stopping by and reading my post. I agree while experiencing the moment for me the only thing I was thinking about was the release and I was also in a haze once it was over. I wasn’t working at the time but going to college, but those are some very very low times in my life. I look forward to reading more of your blog as well.

      Liked by 1 person

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