Why does it make me feel better?

Discussion in 'Self Harm & Substance Abuse' started by LoveEveryoneButMe, Oct 9, 2016.

  1. Recently, my self-abuse has become rampant. I get prescribed anti-anxiety medicine, but I don't like to take it because it makes me sleepy and forgetful and I don't want to become dependent on them because I know they can be dangerous.

    My addiction lies in hurting myself. Whenever I am feeling extremely low (which is often), I hurt myself. Sometimes it's once a day, sometimes it's several times a day. I'm seeing my boyfriend tomorrow evening. We're long distance, so we only get to see each other every 2-3 weeks. He knows that I hurt myself, but he made me promise him, a few days ago, that I'd stop.. but I can't. The entire length of my spine is bruised (am I allowed to say that?), and I'm scared he's going to get mad at me when he sees it. This, in turn, causes more anxiety because I don't know how to cover it up or what to do. I'm so stupid for doing it, but I can't stop.

    I've found that doing what I do releases some sort of chemical in my brain or something. It's more effective than taking my anxiety medicine because, immediately, a flood of calmness comes over me. I want to stop, but I can't. I mean.. do I *actually* want to stop? Intellectually, I know I need to.. but emotionally, I don't want to.

    I used to meditate and do yoga a lot, but I don't have the drive anymore. I currently work as a waitress, so I'm physically active all day. Yesterday, I worked a 14 hour shift, so the last thing I want to do in my free time is engage in any sort of physical activity.

    Advice? Help? What are things you guys do in lieu of harming yourselves?

    Sending love
  2. Frances M

    Frances M Mountain Woman

    Hi, welcome to the forum :)
    I'm so sorry that you are self-harming. I know the feeling, I was 35 and severely burned out, depression, anxiety, ptsd and borderline diagnosed, repressed memories all coming together at the same time. It was more than I could bear. I was actually on 4 different meds, but I started cutting. I felt that rush of adrenaline that put a bandaid on my anxiety and pain, then the endorphin release that made me feel (very) temporarily better...then I felt like crap again. To me, self harm and cutting was really just a crutch to feel better when meds didn't help. I was pretty desperate back then. It's been 13 years and I've had problems now and then, but mostly I take a long thin elastic and put it on my wrist and it really stings when I "flick" it, but leaves no marks.
    My bf also asked me to stop, but I couldn't do it for him, I had to do it for me, because it had become a bad habit, like drinking or doing drugs. I ran to it when I felt anxious or scared. It's hard to stop, but it can be done. I hope that helped a little. xx
  3. GildedFlowers

    GildedFlowers Lost Realist

    Dear the cute kitten selling lemonada,

    There are many points here to address in regards to your question and I will attempt my best in doing so.

    Most anti anxiety medications that are prescribed today are the class known as benzodiazepines. Since the 1980's they have become more prevalent and began to overtake the previous class of anti anxiety medications known as the barbiturates. Some well known barbiturates are Phenobarbital; aka Phenobarb or Phenobarbitone. Another is Secobarbital or Secobarbital sodium and or Seconal.

    Medications have various names do to their chemical structure, class, and the brand of manufacturer. Anyways, anti anxiety medications are also known as minor tranquilizers or simply just tranquilizers as well as anxiolytics. They are also hypnotics or possess hypnotic mechanism of actions. A hypnotic just means it has sleep inducing capacities.

    Any drug that produces changes within the brain which alters the chemical makeup and pathways of the brain itself is a psychoactive substance. These bring about alterations in perception, thought, mood, and emotions. Back to benzodiazepines and barbiturates. One thing I find interesting is how they are labeled minor tranquilizers and antipsychotics are known as major tranquilizers. This is why some are prescribed low doses of antipsychotics such as Seroquel to induce sleep.

    You see the barbiturates are heavily toxic when overdosed upon and there is a very thin line to cross from a normal to a potentially lethal dosage. Many famous actors have passed away from them.. I believe Marilyn Monroe, Jimi Hendrix, and Judy Garland fell victim to them.
    Though, we still use them rarely nowadays for severe cases of epilepsy. Many of them have been removed from the market.

    So now enters the benzodiazepines, they at one time were thought to have no addiction liability unlike barbiturates, to be non-toxic, to have no withdrawal side effects, and to be completely safe. That mentality did not last for very long. At one time Valium (Diazepam) was handed out to mothers and females suffering from stress and fatigue in drugstores (pharmacies). No prescription, here is your little bag. Mother's little helper.

    We now classify them as a schedule four medication with addictive properties, especially fast acting and short lived benzodiazepines like Xanax (Alprazolam). They technically should only be taken as needed like with Lorazepam (Ativan). Although, long acting, strong, and lengthy half live benzodiazepines such as Klonopin (Clonazepam) are used longer for their ability to stabilize epilepsy and restless leg syndrome. Benzodiazepines should never be taken for more than two weeks straight as tolerance develops quickly and dosages will need to be raised often to maintain a therapeutic benefit to anxiety and insomnia. This is not practical because if you go up to a high enough dose and stop abruptly taking your benzodiazepines. Seizures and severe Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) can develop.

    Where illicit analgesic drugs can have unbearable withdrawals for the first week. Benzodiazepine withdrawal can last for months to years, to never ending at all. So yes, even though a medication is prescribed by a doctor and is lethal does not mean it is safe. But even supplements bought in a store freely can also be unsafe and carry risks as well. I, myself, take one antidepressant and Intuniv for my anxiety and insomnia and feel that it is far safer than a Benzodiazepine. Although, benzodiazepines are good for quick relief when first introducing antidepressants to a patient. Some can be somewhat energizing so you won't feel exhausted constantly. Many you also only need to take once daily.

    Now, onto why does the act of self harm feel so good? Many times those with anxiety and under extreme pressure, often and unfortunately females, will believe there is no one to turn to. That no one will understand or relate to how they feel. Waiting patiently behind a smile and screaming deep within for someone to recognize that they are not well. The way they rub their arm for self comfort. The way they tap their fingers. The tightness in their voice. The redness in their eyes f from all the tears which they continue to shed. The way their graze falters and fails to shine as they once would. Screaming for one to save them from their fears, from others, and from even themselves.

    So she will wait silently as strong as she is. When she self harms the epinephrine coursing through her veins will override her fear of the pain and of losing her life. The thinnest area of skin tend to be in the erogenous zones. This is where nerve endings are many and blood flow expansive. So where a gentle kiss would bring warmth and comfort a cold sharpness can bring a deceitful pleasure. When you hurt yourself there you risk hitting an artery which carries blood away from your heart and so is very dangerous. This most likely only reinforces the action through the rush of adrenaline.

    Once the stinging starts and the pain recognized by the brain through the pathways of nerves. Endorphins will flood your nerve synapses. These endorphins are known as opioid neuropeptides whose main goal is to relieve pain. These peptides are your body's own natural morphine and as such can produce a euphoria and pleasure as other opioids like morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and heroin would produce. They blunt the nerve transmission of pain so you don't feel your actions. This hormone that is released under stress acts on opiate receptors and floods them quickly and abundantly like you took too much morphine. Next the amount of endorphins stabilize and no more is released. Then your synapses upregulate and become less tolerant so they are then less sensitive to these endorphins. You will then withdrawal and feel the pain you have inflicted while your body replenishes its endorphins storages. So next time you will notice you will have to harm deeper and longer and more to feel and illicit the same effect. Until you run out of one area and have to go to the next in a never ending cycle.

    This is why self harming feels pleasurable and why in time you won't be able to feel or know what pleasure was. Only a habit to sustain. Be careful and be safe, get the help you need and so dearly deserve. Don't be afraid to ask for help or for alternatives. You're stronger then you know, I hope your partner can show you how special you are and wants you to quit for the sake of you and not just himself. If he truly cares, he will understand, he will not abandon you. I wish you well.

    Mr. Flowers
  4. Thank you so much for taking time to respond, Mr. Flowers. I appreciate the time it took to type all of that out. I've been trying to do research on my own, too. Fortunately, in my case, I take my anxiety medicine as a last resort. I'm prescribed a very small dose (I know I can't mention the name of it, but it's one of the ones you listed above), and I take only a half of the dose I'm prescribed. I also don't take it every day, only when my anxiety is crippling me to the point I can't function at work. Thank you, again, for your response :)