I don't understand ?

Discussion in 'Self Harm & Substance Abuse' started by Fatman1966, Dec 15, 2006.

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  1. Fatman1966

    Fatman1966 Antiquitie's Friend

    I'm fairly new here, and have never self harmed.

    I have posted in other forum areas and was just looking through some of the posts, you know like you do, looking for a topic that I could identify with, or one where I thought I might be able to offer some sort of comfort or help.

    Then I wander into this section.

    I found it so heart breaking to read, I had to stop after a couple of posts.
    If I could take you all in, give you a big hug and all the support and understanding you need I would, but thats just not possible.

    I have no concept of what it is that drives you to do this, which is odd, being though I have come close to ending my own life.

    PLEASE: Help me understand !

    What it is that drives you to do this.
    What does it mean to you.
    Why does it help.

    It's just such a forgien concept to me that so many young people feel the need to hurt them selves, I need to understand, so even if its in a very very small way, I might be able to help some one, some palce, some day.

    My heart really does go out to you all.
  2. kindtosnails

    kindtosnails Staff Alumni

    Thank you for this, it made me smile, that you'd want to try to understand, or even help...that really is awesome. In answer to your questions, I think its different and individual for everyone, there is no set answer of why we do it, or how it makes us feel, how it "helps", so I guess its good to get some different views on it. Oh, and in response to "so many young people feel the need to hurt them selves", I just wanted to say, not a criticism, but its not just young people, not at all. And sure, the statistics might even say that nearly all self harmers are in a certain age bracket but where do the stats come from? Self injury is even more of a misunderstood and secret thing amongst older people, but what I'm saying is, if no one knows I personally self injure...then how do the stats reflect that? Anyway, haven't got much to say for now, just felt I had to respond to such an amazing post :smile:

    Ps. A secret: Before I started self injuring, I didn't understand it either. Not at all.
  3. Come What(Ever) May

    Come What(Ever) May Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the consideration. Before I say anything else, I have to say DON'T START SHing! It's not worth it. But moving on....I finally found out that I do it sort of as a slap in the face telling myself to get my shit together. I've only ever gone deep enough on a single cut till I feel a breif sharp pain, then I'm done. But as said above, different people, different reasons. But please don't get into it....it's addicting. Before you know it your cutting/burning/whatever even when you don't want/need too.
  4. Fatman1966

    Fatman1966 Antiquitie's Friend

    Thanks for the replies, I'm still pretty much in the dark.

    Want and Need to ?

    You see I am completely lost with that statement, is it a control thing, and if it is, how come it ends up controling you ?

    Why would you want to ?
    Why would you need to ?
    Why would you if didn't want to or need to ?

    Sorry if I'm a bit slow, I just can't build up a picture in my mind or what circumstance would leed to this and how SH could be a release from it.

    I'm not thinking of starting, I just can't imagine the amount of strength and disapline it must take on a personal level, to do that on a daily basis.
  5. kindtosnails

    kindtosnails Staff Alumni

    As I wrote before, its pretty much different for everyone, although obviously there will be some aspects that SIers can relate to in others, but all i can tell you, personally are my experiences, and what I feel or know. So, :

    I'm really not sure what it is that makes the brain take that leap from "I can't handle this" to "I'll hurt myself". I know that sometimes when I do it, its punishment, because I am a bad person. I guess I don't have that sort of punishment from anyone else anymore, so it feels right. I feel more justified in living if I've at least punished myself, caused myself some pain and some damage.

    Sometimes, it feels like control, like you can handle anything as long as you've SI'd. Its a strange logic...I used to have to take relatively small ODs of painkillers just to be able to go to work, every time. And I guess that meant, i wasn't in control, but because I'd done it before so often and I knew what would happen, its like the predictibilty I enjoyed. The familiar symptoms so I knew what was coming next and could focus on that rather than the unpredictibility of what situation might come up at work. It was the same with social situations, if I'm honest. But you're right, it ends up controlling you, but the thing is you don't notice, because you think you want to take the pills or cut, burn etc. You think its a choice. But its like you've kind of re-wired your brain to go..oh a situation that I can't deal with, what do I do? SI. And its the first thing you think of. I guess because you're used to it.

    Once I started all this, it began to take over and there were different reasons why I might SI, it started off as I guess anger, frustration, punishment. Then to gain control, to feel something when you just feel completely numb or not there, or just to plain sabotage myself. But once it takes over, and becomes an addiction, you don't even need a reason anymore. Or a cause. Its on your mind all day long, the stupidest, smallest things trigger you. I would have dreams every night of horrible things I "wanted" to do to myself and I felt that they'd only go away if I carried them out, which i did for the most part. I believed, and I guess always have done, that there was another thing inside me that caused this, and did all this, and that was where the nightmares and images must have come from. I'm not sure what I believe now.

    But once you're addicted and you get the urge, its all you can think about, I'd do it just to make it go away. Because it drives you insane. And I'd feel like my arm or leg or whatever was itching, and I was bursting and needed to let out whatever it was that was inside. And then I'd need to control it, and for some reason feel like I was in control of everything because I could control the damage I was doing to myself...well I couldn't but I felt I was, and it made me feel powerful, I guess, and powerful to have it all as a secret, a different world where no one I knew was there. And looking after the injuries, I guess in some sick way I liked because I liked the feeling of being cared for, no one else would bother. Which is twisted when you think about it, because I caused the injuries in the first place.

    You think you're in control but you're not at all. It takes over. I didn't really notice what I was doing to start with, and I always thought i was doing it because I wanted to. But I have scars now almost everywhere, bad ones, I've cut deep, I've done damage, my left arm is basically numb, but I won't go and find out what I've done because I can't let anyone know, I've cut and needed stitches so many times and never got them because of the same reasons. What I'm saying is, its in control of you, but the thing is I actually felt like I wanted to do these things, in a way. Why would someone want that?

    Anyway, ramble over. Hope it helped in some small way.
  6. Fatman1966

    Fatman1966 Antiquitie's Friend

    I don't know what to say really.

    I'm stunned, suddenly the whole thing makes so much more sense to me, well not sense, but I have a glimmer of the logic that moves the situation along.

    I would never have connected some thing like a small cut, with so much meaning to the person that was doing it.

    I can't imagine what it was like to put that down in words, but you did a great job. I still don't think I really understand, but at least I have a starting reference point, it's such a much more complex thing than I was giving it credit for.

    The self harm is just the tip of the iceburg ? is that right ?

    Guess I was all too caught up in the act it's self, being a bit of a whimp when it comes to that sort of thing, need to see beyond that.

    Being an ex smoker for 12 years and then started again !!!! Doh, I can understand the addiction side of it, when I stopped I was climbing that walls for a while, it was all I could think about every minute of every hour of every day, so that feeling I can relate to in some way.

    It's not that simple I know but please try and get your arm checked out.
  7. altek001

    altek001 Well-Known Member

    it's been said and it's been said, so what's one more of us saying it:
    different strokes for different folks.

    for me....SI is a distraction from hurtful things that have happened to me. when i cut, i'm focusing on cutting. not whatever the junk it was that made me do it in the first place. i go until it hurts, then i stop and ask myself if i'm finished. if i feel like i've made enough hurt to sate myself, i stop for the day.

    it is amazing isn't it? how so little can mean so much for so many...

    sometimes it's control...some things that i can't control, so at times it's the grip that keeps me spinning off this world, so to speak.

    but then sometimes i think about going to SI and i don't feel worthy to because far more have/had it far worse for far longer than i and i really don't have any room to complain with everything i have (i'm blessed..and i know it..)

    ...but sometimes knowing that just isn't enough comfort. why not?

    ...i don't know.

    hopefully another light shed into your understanding,
    - Henry
  8. Marshmallow

    Marshmallow Staff Alumni

    Firstly i wanna take the time for making this thread, it means alot that you would make the effort to try and understand something that not many people get. So thank you for this.

    I don't think anyone truely understands until they go thru it themselfs. I think everyone has their own opinions of why people do it.

    Emotional pain is a difficult thing to deal with and some people think that if they put them selfs thru physical pain then it will take their mind off the emotional pain their feeling. Emotional pain isn't controllable but physical pain is. I think a main part of it is being able to control it when you feel your out of control emotionally. I mean emotionally we can be all over the place, but i think self harming is seen as a way of trying to gain control if you know what i mean. I think its personally about control.

    Hope that helps a bit.

    Once again thanks for trying to understand.
  9. jane doe

    jane doe Well-Known Member

    i think that i use it as a escape from reality, i do it with very loudly music and it helps me to get my anger or sadness away. but that was at the beggiing, everyone who starts, can´t stop doing it, i´ve reaad that the reason is that when we cut or burn or whatever the body releases endorphins and it make you adict to it. you feel like your arm (or wherever you do it) really needs it and you feel deseperated like a drug addict...sometimes my hands starts shaking and i start crying but no reason. i try (for example) to go to bed the most tired as its possible because that way i won´t wake up to loof for a knife or a needle. but what i feel is dessesperation and i feel there´s nothing i want to do but hurt myself. and when i do it...my life keeps normal, i´m again me and i have control of everything. i go to eat supper or to work...it doesn´t matter because i am again me. it´s hard to explain it and even g¡harder to stop doing it. below the tip of the iceberg you will find all kind of persons...with problems...feeling sad, losing control of their lives.. or putting all the bad feeling away.
    i hope it helps you to understand...thanks for caring.
  10. Ruby

    Ruby Well-Known Member

    I self harm because I'm depressed.
    I cannot stop.
    I don't know why.
    It seems to be turning into an obsession, an infatuation, an addiction.
    I guess I want to stop..
    but the thought of giving it up terrifies me.
    It's my way of coping with all my painful feelings.
  11. Fatman1966

    Fatman1966 Antiquitie's Friend

    This might sound strange or trivialising the subject, but I really don't mean it that way, but that's pretty much like the way I feel about smoking now.

    Which is strange, because I have never really thought about in that sense before !

    Much of the same principles apply.

    Pleasure and Guilt.
    Reward and Punishment.
    You know its wrong, but you do it anyway.
    Your whole body craves it when you can't get it.
    You want to stop, but that thought of stopping scares you.
    When you tell others you have stopped you carry on secretly.

    Another glimse of what it's like or at least something else I can relate to.

    But when I stopped smoking last time I had nicotine patches, to take the fanges out of the after effects of the addiction, but yet i started again 12 years later, and I have no idea why I allowed that to happen, smoking really is madness when you think about it logicaly, I know this, yet I still carry on ?

    May be we aren't so different after all !
  12. Allo..

    Allo.. Well-Known Member

    Your smoking sounds exactly like SHing for me.. iv never really thought of them the same before.. but the effects and feelings sound so similar..
  13. Raven

    Raven Guest

    I know ever since I was a kid if I got mad at something I would resort to some way of hurting myself be it with biting my arms, hitting myself. I would get mad that I could not accomplish something and take the frustration out on the only thing I could think of at the time. I got really good at wearing long sleeve shirts sometimes to cover the bruises long enough until they would go away. It got better for a number of years but every once in a while I would give myself a good whack if I failed at something. Boss screaming at me at work or just pissed at my co-workers its easy to pick up something sharp and just give a little cut. At the heart of it for me I guess I use it for two things to help take out aggression when I don’t see another easy outlet, or on the very bad nights when I am drunk and depressed about everything it’s a way to wake myself back up to reality.

    To sum it all up to mean it is a way to take control of something that I have no control over.

    I also want to take a moment to thank you for starting this thread, I am sure it will help some people here get things like this off their chest without feeling whiney about it (like me)

  14. Come What(Ever) May

    Come What(Ever) May Well-Known Member

    Maybe you started up again from the stress of your family and the gay stuff? Maybe getting it out in the open and over with will help you quit again. Think of it like a speech for class (I have to do one tomorrow doh!). Your nervous as hell before afterwards and probably during your speech, but after your done you feel 50 pounds lighter and just sit back in you desk and be like "thank god thats over" and you move on. Hope that helps. If not sorry :( .
  15. TTrocP

    TTrocP Guest

    Sorry I was to lazy to read all of this so i dont know if its already been answered. SH is addictive. People find it works and they start turning to it because they know this. It releases endorphins i think. People start cutting or whatever out of habbit sometimes. Different people have their reasons for SH. Some people cut because the physical pain is better than the emotional pain and it feels like a release. The body actually does get a sort of high from SH my phycototrists said. Some people do it because they hate themselves and do it to punish themselves for being who they are or maybe for something they think they did bad on. Its a very bad habbit that I wish people never would have found. I hope I helped somewhat, Im not completely sober right now so i dont know if all of it made sense
  16. Fatman1966

    Fatman1966 Antiquitie's Friend

    I was under a lot of pressure at work when I started smoking agian, but things have settled back down since then.

    If this thread helps some folks get things off their chests then thats a bonus because when I started it, I really couldn't understand why or what would make someone do that to them selves, or what possible reason you would have to carry on.

    I was thinking, it's just attention seeking, stop it, it hurts, it makes a mess, grow up and get a grip you spoilt little brats.

    Then I read this post


    I know a little blood goes a long way

    Years ago I played rugby for the school, got nose bleed, but just played on, at the end of the match, every one was patting me on the back at the end, and telling how well I had done playing so hard, I didn't really understand why, just walked back to the changing rooms, where the sport teacher took me into his little separate changing room to have a look at my nose, it had just about stopped by then, that's when I looked down at my now red shirt, red shorts and pink legs and immediately fainted right there on the spot, some tough guy I turned out to be ! Thankfully he never let on to the other lads, he just made me a cup of tea.

    But to do that to your self, on purpose, and be able to or need keep on doing it !

    I just couldn't understand what I was reading, I was shocked and in tears by the end of it, there had to be more to than that, surely, it didn't make sense.

    So I ended up asking others to explain and at least new I have the smallest glimmer of why.

    There is so much more to the whole thing than I first thought, so many reasons, some many complex issues, som many things I still don't understand.

    Is SH a symptom or a cause of issues, or both I suppose ?

    If you want to stop, then why is that so hard ? Is it just a chemistry thing ?

    I think smoking releases endorphins in the brain as well, may be we should all try nicotine patches ! :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin:
  17. blackfire

    blackfire Well-Known Member

    self harm is a way to release anger for me. it makes me feel better as strange as it sounds. it is addicting to some people, similar to drugs. people just have to cut or burn themselves to make them feel good inside. it is not the best hing to do, but many don't care. after awhile the pain isn't even noticable. it just becomes part of life for us.
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