Self harm isn't just cutting

Discussion in 'Self Harm & Substance Abuse' started by howtosavealife, Feb 16, 2016.

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  1. It sounds obvious, and it really is now that I think about it. But I wanted to share some past experiences, what I'm feeling at the moment and hopefully help.

    I used to cut, a lot. I have scars over my arms and legs (most now covered up by tattoos). I stopped as I turned 20 and hadn't thought a lot about self harm. But recent events made me think about how I had hurt myself in the time between stopping cutting and now.

    3 Years ago I lost my Dad. I stopped eating and started exercising a lot. The not-eating, I knew was sort of self harming. The emptiness, the hunger, I felt I deserved that pain. I couldn't help my dad, he wasn't around to eat dinner so why should I eat without him? I would stop eating for 3 or 4 days and then eat something small in a sort of 'reward' for the pain. The exercise- I would run everyday, to the point I felt sick. Nobody else saw the toll it was taking on me physically and mentally until I collapsed at work. But years of hiding my cutting in school helped me hide this as well. I just convinced everyone I was pushing myself too hard. The collapse put things into perspective a bit for me and I started looking after myself more.

    This years been difficult for me and I cant pin why. I've had a lot of guilt and pain thinking about my past but I cant say why it's happening now. I started running again and pushing myself to the limit- to pain again. I've scraped my hand against walls as a release- my current job means I can pretend it was something to do with work so no one questions it.

    In complete honesty, I don't feel depressed. I don't have thoughts about suicide, I havent since I was a teenager. My life isn't bad but the past always seeps its way in and I do get down, but then I go for a run or find a wall and I get the release again. I guess my main point of all of this is to be aware of what you are doing, and others. I didn't realise i was harming myself when I started finding other ways to do it.

    I stopped cutting, I know I'd never go back to that. Will I stop finding other ways to get a release? I'm not sure. As crazy and as stupid as it sounds, I don't know that I want/deserve to.
  2. ThePhantomLady

    ThePhantomLady Safety and Support SF Supporter

    You do deserve to find healthy ways to deal with your impulses. You deserve to treat yourself a lot kinder than this, you're a lovely person so yes, of course you deserve it!!

    I was in DBT therapy some years ago and it helped me get some coping mechanisms... I still selfharm now, but it's a lot less and I almost always start out reaching for the healthy alternatives first.

    Be kind to yourself and reach out for some professional help, please?
  3. just_done

    just_done New Member

    i just had this same conversation with someone earlier today. i never thought of myself as a self-harmer, because I've never cut. but in the course of that conversation, it occurred to me that i have always engaged in behaviors that i knew would cause me huge harm. these don't leave scars but are sometimes cause longer term and deeper pain and injury. i don't know the answer to how to stop these behaviors. they aren't as obvious so you do not always recognize them soon enough to stop yourself. but knowing that you are engaging in them in probably a good first step. and talking with a therapist (or someone) about them to develop strategies to avoid them in the future seems like a great plan. just know that you do deserve to find healthy releases. you are punishing yourself, just as you did when you were cutting.
    Williamstuckinarut likes this.
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