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    Thread: Tell me about self harm

    1. #1
      Dreaming SpaceCowboyDave's Avatar
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      Tell me about self harm

      Why do people cut/hurt themselves? I get plenty depressed, but I still don't understand the point of it. Does pain not hurt? I am not talking about drinking or smoking or other unhealthy things, I'm talking about deliberately hurting oneself.

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      <s><span class='glow_9ACD32'>DeletePlease</span></s>'s Avatar
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      It does hurt, that's the point. It gets your mind off things - you don't really have to think about whatever it is that's bugging you, if you're mind's focused on that newly acquired gash on your wrist. You also release certain "feel good chemicals" as a result. Exercise is much more effective though.

      An important thing to note is that it isn't for the sake of attention, most people who cut go to great lengths to hide it.
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    3. #3
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      There's many different reasons. I started when I was 7 without even knowing what I was doing. I'd cut my gums where my bottom front teeth came together with my thumb nails. The pain helped me focus in class.
      When I was about 13, I "graduated" to a knife to "retrain" myself. I didn't want to turn out like my parents who constantly bickered etc. I set up detailed guidelines on how many times I'd cut if I broke one of my own rules. Some of the rules included: "Don't cry in front of people; don't upset anyone; don't curse." Upsetting others was a bigger no-no so I'd cut myself (let's say) five times, crying in front of other was 3 slashes, cursing was 2 or 3 unless I said G-damn which was 10 times or more. I've forgotten the exact numbers. It's been a very long time lol

      When I was about 16 or so, I started having problems with rage and anxiety. My brain would never shut up, so I started cutting myself to "ground" my emotions. I'm a very calculated cutter. I clean my tools, myself, make slow and deliberate cuts, then I clean myself, clean my tools then go back to living. The steps alone help to calm me.

      Then I entered adulthood, plagued by unrealistic rules of my own making. I was a doormat with rage issues that couldn't be addressed because I wasn't allowed to upset others OR allowed to cry. I had no emotional tools for coping with stress. Cutting was the only thing that helped.
      And no one knew I was a cutter until I got married the first time. Cutting made him very mad at me so I had to become sneakier.

      I'm 37 years old and I'm still a cutter. But it's a rare occurrence usually. Now-a-days, it's usually to punish myself for something or to calm bad emotions.
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      <span class='glow_9400D3'>saltyseedog</span>'s Avatar
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      I"ve only done it when I was losing my mind. It didn't help very much.
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      Member SeventhCervical's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by saltyseedog View Post
      I"ve only done it when I was losing my mind. It didn't help very much.
      I second this. Sometimes it was simply to look at the blood, though I hoped the pain would just knock me out of my dreamy haze. Not too useful.
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      I got curious once while very drunk. All it did was hurt. And it forced me to wear long sleeve shirts for like a week. I hate long sleeve shirts
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      The reasons will differ depending on the person. I don't claim to know the main reasons for most people, but I can tell you the few reasons that I've had personally, along with what I've witnessed from others. Perhaps that will help to clarify it in your mind. I realise that it must be quite a confusing, nonsensical issue to people who have never felt inclined to do it themselves.

      Like Zhaylin, I found myself naturally self-injuring while I was quite young. The first incident that I can remember was when I was about 9 years old and threw an object at my friend for some reason I don't recall. It hit her eye, she started crying, my mom went to help her, and I locked myself in the washroom and started digging my fingernails into my palms, producing blood. In this case, the reason was that I felt I had done something wrong and deserved punishment.

      To be honest, I'm not completely sure what the entire reason is myself. It is hard to explain, and I happen to have been giving this a lot of thought recently. The punishment reason is still largely the case. If not the entire reason, it's almost certainly the main one. But even that reason is a little more nuanced than I've made it seem, especially in cases where I haven't directly hurt anyone. I'll try my best to explain it but can't make any promises.

      It always happens during times of severe self-loathing. But it is only in the back of my mind that I ever put blame on another person, people or even society. Consciously, though, I tend to put the blame on myself, no matter who is really responsible. But here's what I think happens. In a way, I do it to prove to myself that I have been caused pain by others, that what I'm feeling has impact and is important, that they've hurt me to such an extent they might as well have beaten me. Emotional pain is invisible. A person can hurt me all they want, I naturally suppress it and am left damaged, yet there are no marks to prove that it's there. Cutting myself and viewing the cuts I've made makes me feel whatever emotional pain I think about while I'm performing that particular incision. The pain and the fact that I can see a visible mark there makes me feel like my emotions are validated. It's like I'm transferring the emotional pain onto my physical body, expressing it, so it's there and visible, even though I'm the only one who will see it.

      Very occasionally I'll wish that particular people did know, and so, in a sense, I see where the attention seekers are coming from. When I get this feeling, it's because I want a person to know that I'm hurting enough to have done this to myself, so that maybe they'll care about me and somehow try to help me. This isn't the primary reason though, and only happens very rarely with particular people. I do think that, for a lot of people, attention is the main reason. And the way to tell whether this is the reason for someone is to look at where they self-injure. If it's somewhere visible, like on the arms or face, they're probably doing it for attention.

      Because I'm trying to get out all of the possible reasons, I'll also mention that there's a feeling of strength and independence I get while self-harming. I often feel as though I'm judged as weak and shy by others, so it feels a bit liberating to cause harm to myself, because I feel as though I must not be weak if I can bear to cause myself to bleed on purpose.

      I've only recently experienced the distraction and endorphins reasons that I've heard others self-injure for. This occurs more frequently while punching myself and causing bruises than with cutting, because I can make myself feel pain throughout my entire body, and it's even difficult to move, as though I've literally been beaten. I concentrate on the pain and it distracts me from whatever I was dealing with before. This reason is mixed with the one I described above.

      I think it's important to realise that the pain from cutting or punching isn't anywhere near unbearable. With punching, at least, the initial feeling is so intense it literally feels good, in a sense, even though it's pain. This doesn't happen to me with cutting, but maybe it does for other people. That's a bit difficult to explain and I suppose is a separate reason that's only been occurring for me recently. You might use people who like spicy food as an analogy (not an analogy, actually, since it's the same thing). There are no receptors in your tongue to detect spiciness like a regular flavour. When you eat something spicy, what's being stimulated to create that spicy 'taste' are mere pain receptors. Not many people know this. In a way, anyone who claims to enjoy eating spicy food is self-harming.

      Anyway, my reasons might be unique or rare but I hope I've provided some insight.
      Last edited by Dianeva; 02-29-2012 at 12:45 AM. Reason: added spiciness analogy to last paragraph

    8. #8
      <span class='glow_9400D3'>saltyseedog</span>'s Avatar
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      y'all are crazy. I love spicy food!!!! and I know exactly how you feel dianeva.
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    9. #9
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      I definitely agree with what Dianeva said about feeling liberated, strong and independent. For me, it's very empowering. It's a controlled pain that's not at all unbearable. When everything else is falling apart and makes no sense, *I* control the pain. And the act helps me exert control over the chaos.

      The sight of my cutting also interests me in a morbid way. I'd a bit stupid, so I always wonder at why the skin bleeds as if a sponge. The skin splits and the blood doesn't pour, it just kind of dapples along until it spills over. Then I wonder what would happen if I cut just a little deeper. That part of the act is more a separate sort of compulsion. The body just fascinates me
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    10. #10
      Perception Quantiq's Avatar
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      Maybe it's because I've never had the type of personality to be susceptible to self-harm for stress relief but I just don't understand. At least for myself, sports, physical activity and exercise are amazing stress relievers. Physical activity gives the same kind of "feeling". There is the release of endorphins to the brain which act as a natural pain reliever, anti-depressant and gives "runner's high" which is an amazing euphoric feeling which makes you feel empowered and liberated; the same feelings you describe. It also improves positive self esteem, sex appeal and body image; key factors associated with self-harm.

      I just don't understand why physical activity wasn't considered an option for stress relief considering the profound benefits.
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    11. #11
      See, for yourself ShadowOfSelf's Avatar
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      This thread again... It's pretty obvious why someone would do it if you actually thought about it.. though you might never know what pushes someone to that extreme, everyone's different and everyone's got problems, some just deal with emotions differently.
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      Quote Originally Posted by Quantiq View Post
      Maybe it's because I've never had the type of personality to be susceptible to self-harm for stress relief but I just don't understand. At least for myself, sports, physical activity and exercise are amazing stress relievers. Physical activity gives the same kind of "feeling". There is the release of endorphins to the brain which act as a natural pain reliever, anti-depressant and gives "runner's high" which is an amazing euphoric feeling which makes you feel empowered and liberated; the same feelings you describe. It also improves positive self esteem, sex appeal and body image; key factors associated with self-harm.

      I just don't understand why physical activity wasn't considered an option for stress relief considering the profound benefits.
      Nobody that I know of is trying to claim that it's a positive thing, a stress reliever that's an alternative to exercise. That is quite laughable and I don't know where you get the idea that people are trying to claim it. It definitely doesn't help in the same sense that exercise or antidepressants might take away depression. When it does help, it's more comparable to the release that creative expression brings, or crying.
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      Quote Originally Posted by Dianeva View Post
      You might use people who like spicy food as an analogy (not an analogy, actually, since it's the same thing). There are no receptors in your tongue to detect spiciness like a regular flavour. When you eat something spicy, what's being stimulated to create that spicy 'taste' are mere pain receptors. Not many people know this. In a way, anyone who claims to enjoy eating spicy food is self-harming.

      Anyway, my reasons might be unique or rare but I hope I've provided some insight.
      Really? So Asian countries who love to eat spicy food must be sick in the mind. Chilli and spices are considered a good seasoning for food if their family is poor. That makes it double the pain doesn't it? :/

      So what happens if you grow used to the spiciness and you don't find it spicy any more?
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    14. #14
      See, for yourself ShadowOfSelf's Avatar
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      Yeh it's spicy because it's actually burning your mouth.

      I guess that must release chemicals/endorphins or something.
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      My wrist's been feeling itchy for a few days. I used to injure myself but not to the extent of bleeding. Like banging head on the table, punching fist against the wall, cutting myself with blunt things like ruler and a blunt scissors. I got out from it when I realised it was plain stupid. In fact there's something pulling me back now from injuring myself, a reason I'm not too clear of myself too.

      I actually kind of like pain, especially if I'm not the one injuring myself, like accidental falling down, happens all the time when I was young. And I would clean my wound too, I tired cleaning it with gushing water at first, then I tried soap, as though I'm trying my limits.
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      Exercise would be great if I could pull myself up out of a pit of despair and self-loathing long enough to think with a clear mind. For me, Self-Injury is sort of primal.
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      I need help, there's nothing I can do to make that imaginary "itch" from my wrist go away. Then slowly the "itch" spread to my arm too. I find myself taking out my scissors, washing it and finally "scratching" my arm with it.
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    18. #18
      See, for yourself ShadowOfSelf's Avatar
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      Go to the docs, sounds like you have a nerve problem. I had pins and needles in my index finger for a few days from leaning my elbow on a desk, once I realized that was the cause I avoided it and it cleared up.
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      Quote Originally Posted by ShadowOfSelf View Post
      Go to the docs, sounds like you have a nerve problem. I had pins and needles in my index finger for a few days from leaning my elbow on a desk, once I realized that was the cause I avoided it and it cleared up.
      It's more like a psychological problem. It's like the itch is sending a signal to my brain telling me to cut it.
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    20. #20
      See, for yourself ShadowOfSelf's Avatar
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      I take it that's self-diagnosed yeah?
      Well I doubt that, if there is no itch then I imagine its your brain pretending there is an itch, so, it's you yourself making a reason or excuse to cut.
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    21. #21
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      If it's a "crawling" like bugs, you should get it looked at anyhow. Like Shadow said, it could very well be something physical.

      I get an itchy spot on my finger that I do cut, but it's limited to the side of that single finger. It's weather related (self-diagnosed). And yeah, I'll scratch that spot with anything I can find- from scissors and combs to the edge of my desk. Cutting is the only thing that offers relief and hubby said it's likely because I'm blocking the receptors by a bigger pain.

      Every now and then I'll get the crawling bugs, itchy sensation, but that usually has a physical reason as well.

      Be careful around your wrist! And look into anything that might be different from a spice to changing laundry detergent. If you're "antzy" and obsessing on the sensation, go for a walk or do something to distract you.
      If it's directly related to a mood and you feel you really do need some help, then find someone to talk to- a friend, a religious leader, a counselor... Raging into a journal can be helpful too
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      Wow, I didn't know cutting oneself was so popular. The thought of doing it has never even crossed my mind.
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      Popular? I think only Zhaylin and I have admitted to doing it on this thread (discluding people who did it once or twice to see what it's like or due to insanity).
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      Quote Originally Posted by dave1701 View Post
      Wow, I didn't know cutting oneself was so popular. The thought of doing it has never even crossed my mind.
      It seems to be much more popular on DreamViews than in the rest of society.

      Anyways I have not, nor will I ever self harm
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    25. #25
      Dreaming SpaceCowboyDave's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Dianeva View Post
      Popular? I think only Zhaylin and I have admitted to doing it on this thread (discluding people who did it once or twice to see what it's like or due to insanity).
      I count 6

      EDIT:

      (discluding people who did it once or twice to see what it's like or due to insanity)
      Oh I see. I was counting those. It just didn't occur to me that folks would purposely cut themselves.
      Last edited by dave1701; 03-02-2012 at 03:12 AM.
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