I just can't understand it self-harm.

Discussion in 'Self Harm & Substance Abuse' started by TheBLA, Aug 17, 2012.

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  1. TheBLA

    TheBLA The biggest loser alive.

    I just can't understand self-harming.

    Maybe this thread doesn't belong in this section of the thread at all. I feel like I am walking into the lion's den.
    I just want to start off by saying I don't mean to offend or hurt anyone.

    Things like cutting and self-harm, I just can't seem to wrap my mind around them and why people would do them. Now, I have been suicidal for the last 7 years (joined here August 2005!) and depressed longer than that. But I have never self-harmed nor had the urge to.

    But, it seems to be maybe those who self-harm are probably actually less depressed than myself? Maybe at least they are letting out some steam by doing such acts. Whereas I have just kept bottling up my depression and letting it fester inside of me until just one day, I will finally go out and make that one and hopefully final attempt. I get this feeling that out of all depressed people, those who don't self-harm may actually be at a higher risk for suicide than those who do, as they have one less way to vent? Maybe its just something I'm pulling out of thin air.

    Again, I don't mean to offend anyone who does self-harm. I have faced nothing but scorn, mockery, derision, misunderstanding, etc from so many people who cannot fathom my mental anguish and suffering and tell me to just "get over it". Its so incredibly painful to face this depression not only all alone but adding to that with stigma from those around you who should care for you. So, you have no choice but to go at it alone and put on this mask to show the rest of the world you are alright even though you are tearing up inside. Sometimes, the mask will wear out and people can see the pain on my face and ask me what is wrong. But I have to lie and tell them I am ok. What's the use of telling them I am depressed? It will only make them sad and they can't help me get any better so I just have to keep as quiet about it as I can. At the very least, this permanent depression has given me a new look on others who suffer mentally as I do and I can connect and relate to them on a level I just couldn't beforehand.

    But, I do feel guilty that I still cannot understand the segment of the population who self-harms. I should be able to understand them, I don't want to be like all the other "normal" people who have mocked me over my depression, the uninformed masses who have no idea what its like until you have ridden in our shoes.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 17, 2012
  2. WildCherry

    WildCherry Staff Member ADMIN

    Re: I just can't understand self-harming.

    I don't have personal experience with this, so all I have to go on is what I've been told. But I've had a few people who self-harm tell me they feel it's saved their lives in the past, because it can serve as a release for all the pain... a coping mechanism, a way to replace emotional pain with physical pain. So I get where you're coming from when you say that those who don't self-harm could be at a higher risk for suicide. Every situation is different, and I'm well aware that people self-harm for different reasons. Just wanted to say that I see where you're coming from, and that , in some instances,it could be true.
  3. Sadeyes

    Sadeyes Staff Alumni

    Re: I just can't understand self-harming.

    This does seem to be a genuine inquiry, so I have left it in this section. What we can never forget, is that all peoples' pain is to be honored and there are so many factors which determine how someone will live his/her life. That being said, I have a long history of SH, which I started when I was four (the curse of being advanced for one's age). I will not supply the details as it would violate the guidelines; it felt like my only way to know I was alive. It was a desperate act of a child in an horrific situation. Those who do injure themselves in this way are at great risk for not considering that they have worth (this varies in degrees in each person) because one would never harm something/someone of value. There is much literature about the bio-chemical effects and what it does to a person's perceptions...again, a person needing to depend upon something as costly to one's well being as SH to feel relief is truly heartbreaking...the journey to find a way to be in the world without doing this is wrought with having to accept and integrate what has happened...and the unfair part of all of this, is no one would chose this as their primary form of coping...as I write this, recalling my experiences, I am crying about what I have been through and for others who are going through these horrors as well.
  4. TheBLA

    TheBLA The biggest loser alive.

    Re: I just can't understand self-harming.

    I would also like to add that I do have non-existent self-esteem, that I am the biggest loser alive and every single person on this planet is superior to me in general. I don't actually think I am a horrible person who "deserves to go to hell". I don't have any guilt, where I have hurt people. I have never harmed anyone, committed a crime against anyone, etc. I don't know if this is also a factor of many who have self-harmed themselves.

    I hate myself and have extreme guilt because of the choices I have made in my life, to have made it so miserable and inferior. I suffered much bullying from a young age, likely due to moving around a lot and frequently being the new kid. I believe this in turn then made me bitter and scared and isolated from others, and so I have missed out on so many experiences that everyone else my age has already done. I keep aging physically, but mentally, I am hardly progressing at all, in knowledge and life experiences. Also, because my parents have babied me so much and been over-protective over me.

    A normal child is primarily influenced by their parents at a young age and then their peers when they become adolescents. For me, my parents have been my main influence for all my life, I have been isolated from my peers due to bullying during elementary and middle school, and then at high-school and beyond, because I fear them rejecting me first because of already been isolated as a child. I'd rather reject all others first instead. Its a vicious cycle and I have dug myself into a very deep hole which gets deeper and deeper. Hah, I'm surprised I didn't go on my high school prom date with my mom (actually, I didn't go at all). Now for instance, my parents will have to choose who I will marry via an arranged marriage, because I just don't have what it takes to win over a girl myself. I have no pride, no dignity, no independence. This is why I feel that I have to commit suicide, because of how much of a reclusive hermit I have been and that I can never fit into normal society.

    But I don't think I am a "bad" person in the sense of having hurt others. I've always been extremely passive, due to my very soft parents as well, which also in turn had led to more aggressive kids bullying me when I was young. This was especially when I attended schools in poorer, more crime-ridden neighborhoods where I was the straight-laced, puritan child, and the other kids had learned from the "streets". All I had were books to teach me, not my peers nor my surroundings.

    I think that I am "bad" that I am socially awkward, reclusive, withdrawn, different from others, etc. I don't know if this also plays a factor in the fact that I am suicidal but never self-harming.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 17, 2012
  5. truthhurts

    truthhurts Well-Known Member

    Re: I just can't understand self-harming.

    meaningless martyrdom. that's basically the main thing SI is in my opinion, and i don't rly feel like expanding much on that right now. though it's not my original thought, to mention. to explain a bit ->it's martyrdom because after having been hurt/injured it feels as if there's been some sort of a sacrifice, and as if there's some 'salvation', be it forgiveness from yourself or someone else. and it's meaningless because the sacrifice is 'chosen', the person doesn't 'have to' go through it, it's just for their own sick pleasure and/or because they can't keep themselves from it. and it's also meaningless because SI won't make the person feel any better fundamentally, the release/relief is so short-lived that it doesn't rly help anything. it can actually gradually make the person feel worse. and the feeling of 'being forgiven due to having suffered' is, truthfully, fake. SI makes the person have syrreal thoughts that they might not see to be syrreal. if this all makes any sense. [and ps: i don't mean to be offensive, that'd be hypocritical of me, since i happen to be one of these meaningless martyrs.]
  6. MrsStavrogin

    MrsStavrogin Active Member

    Re: I just can't understand self-harming.

    I agree with Sadeyes here, although I would like to add what truthhurts said: it's a form of ''getting rid'' of your problems without actually doing something constructive about it. Plus, it feels good. I don't know if it's because of the chemicals released in the brain or because you are psychologically feeling that somehow you are being cleansed form your ''sins'', but I do know that along with the feeling of pleasure always comes the feeling of utter worthlessness when I do that sh*t to myself. And how could it not feel bad when you're cutting your own flesh like a butcher...
  7. Butterfly

    Butterfly Sim Addict Staff Alumni SF Author SF Supporter

    Re: I just can't understand self-harming.

    I have been an on and off self harmer for about 10 years now and I have experienced different urges towards self harm. When I first self harmed, it was because I was an angry, angsty teen and I thought I deserved punishment. It gave me great pleasure to know that I was being punished. I had no love for myself and I thought I deserved it. Then as my depression grew stronger the feeling I got from SHing was incredible. I was often in deep distress and cutting myself would relieve it. You do get an adrenaline rush from cutting (and similar forms of SH) as it releases endorphines so it does produce chemical changes in your body that if only for a moment, that emotional pain you were feeling was gone. When I SH'ed for this reason it became an addiction, because it was the only way I could get rid of the emotional pain. But then along came the shame and the self hatred and the embarassment of what I had done. I did recover from this type of self injury and I have not had an "addiction" to SH for almost 5 years now :)

    I still self harm every now again using weird, wonderful and imaginative ways. Sometimes it's because I take pleasure in knowing that I am doing damage to myself. But when I am in crisis and real distress, I often don't want to die and certain forms of SH are what keeps me alive. I often think "I don't want to die, if I do this it might harm me but it will not kill me" and that is good enough for me. I know it is destructive thinking but in some very dark times it has indeed kept me alive even though I know it is very foolish and I am playing with fire at times. I also suffer with poor impulse control where I get impulses so strong that I almost feel like I am possessed. I haven't figured out the why for this yet, but I hope to with time.

    I hope this helps you understand why people SH and that there are many different reasons for it and the way it makes someone feel. It is indeed a coping method, a self-destructive one but a coping mechanism all the same.
  8. JustSam

    JustSam Well-Known Member

    Re: I just can't understand self-harming.

    I think that this is a genuine inquiry. And, to be honest, one of the thought processes that led me to cutting was trying to understand why some of my friends did it. It's not normal, it is weird, and I say this knowing full well that means I'm not normal. I had been cutting since I was 12, and am hoping, this October, to make it a whole year without it.

    For me, it can be anything from an impulse cut, to a well thought out night devoted to harming myself. I can do it because I feel absolutely worthless, or because I just need to feel something. I can do it to control something, I can do it to feel out of control, and to be entirely honest, it was so much easier to find than drugs or alcohol at the age that I started. It's just a different, unhealthy, way of dealing. Just as addicting as someone may feel for tobacco, or even a certain train of thought.

    I really don't think I'm of any value. I think I hurt others, much more than help. I believe I'm the only exception to the rule of everyone in the world being worthy of being loved/cared for. And this is how I dealt.

    As for the level of depression/anxiety/suicidal tendencies/what have you, thats tough to really say. In some ways, I think every person has a way of getting whatever shit they need out of they way. Cutting is also a great way of just keeping it bottled up. Or any other self harm. And by great, I do mean it's effective, but not healthy. Anyway, it's hard to judge how people are really feeling.

    I appreciate you asking about it, and admitting to not understanding. I often wish more people would just ask, and it doesn't always have to offend! And the way you approached certainly didn't offend me at all. I hope this was somewhat useful?
  9. Degenerate Escapist

    Degenerate Escapist Well-Known Member

    Re: I just can't understand self-harming.

    I can never properly rationalize why I do it.. I have a violent mind and a lot of restless anger. I want to see myself suffer and I want to release this energy.
  10. carebear32

    carebear32 Well-Known Member

    I've been living in a pattern of SH since I was 17. I do it to "voice" my frustration. I'm not a person who hurts other people so I hurt myself. In the beginning it was to make my inner pain more physical, but the longer I did it the less I felt it. Nower days I don't feel anything at all. Is that normal to have no feelings?
  11. Witty_Sarcasm

    Witty_Sarcasm Eccentric writer, general weirdo, heedless heathen

    I know it's an irrational act, but I don't think about that when I'm doing it. It's almost as if someone else comes and takes over my body. All I know then is I need to be punished and feel pain. I always regret it, but I still can't stop doing it.
  12. GreyCat

    GreyCat Well-Known Member

    I did it from the age of 11 to 19. When I started doing it, I had never seen or heard of anyone else doing it, it just occurred very naturally. I don't believe self harming was much in the media in the late 80's. I used to get into a depressed rage, and take it out on myself. Peculiar to vent my anger on myself. I really got great satisfaction from it. In the end I went too far, and then realised I would have to stop, and I just stopped. I have not had an urge to do it since. As randomly as it appeared, the urge left me.
  13. Degenerate Escapist

    Degenerate Escapist Well-Known Member

    I've experienced a deadness of emotion a few times while cutting. It's neither sadness, nor anger; just a desire to have it happen. Maybe it would be best to make a thread about this and get opinions.
  14. midnightstar

    midnightstar Senior Member

    I sometimes self harm but am really trying hard to stop, it's kind of a way of punishing myself for whatever happens to be in my head at that time (not going into details though)
  15. laddypink

    laddypink Member

    I don't know why I STARTED self-harm but I know that I was having that feeling of knowing that something was going on IN me so I continued et it got bad... Now everytime I do it I hope I could just do nothing at all to stop the bleeding and watch me die in the feeling... of peaceness with nothing running in my head..
  16. Growing Pains

    Growing Pains Well-Known Member

    I don't mean to come across as brash, but how can you possibly understand self harm when those of us that do it don't often understand? I have been participating in multiple forms of self harm since I was eleven. Possibly even younger, I'm not entirely sure as I have a terrible memory. I don't recall why I started, nor do I bother worrying about why. Perhaps that's foolish. Maybe I should worry about why, as maybe it will help me better understand. But how am I to remember "why" when I cannot even recall a large portion of that time of my life. Self harm has, in many sick ways, become an integral part of who I am. It has gotten to a point where I feel like I need to hurt. Like it is what I deserve. The key point is that everyone is different. One cannot accurately say why everyone who self harms does it, because no two people started for the same reason. No two people are going through the same thing. No two people are the same. What I'm getting right now is generalizations. You cannot generalize people who self harm, just as you cannot generalize people with depression. I dissociate when I self harm. I feel like I'm floating above myself, staring down. I don't even feel it while I'm doing it. I see it, but I don't "feel" it. I don't do it because it makes me feel better. Quite the contrary. It makes me feel worse. I actually get dangerously suicidal after having self harmed, not the opposite. Maybe it helps some people avoid an attempt, but I can't say it helps me. Every time I do it, I get closer and closer to doing something impulsive. Maybe I'm a bit of a... "sick puppy" for lack of a better term, but I have a love/hate relationship with self harm. It does everything but make me feel better, and yet I'm addicted to it. I feel like I need to do it. Like I can't stop. Sometimes, I will break down and cry afterwards. Other times, I will shove my face in my pillow and scream. And yet, even still, there have been times when I have seen what I'd done and... I laughed. I understand this about as much as anyone else. If it helps any, usually, when I self harm it's not when I'm depressed. It's when I'm apathetic. When I feel like nothing matters. So, maybe, it comes from a desire to feel something.
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