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Thank you for visiting. Content MAY BE TRIGGERING ESPECIALLY FOR THOSE WHO HAVE EXPERIENCED ABUSE, STRUGGLE WITH SELF-INJURY, SUICIDE, DEPRESSION OR AN EATING DISORDER. Contains graphic descriptions of suicidal thoughts, self-injury and emotional, physical and sexual abuse. Do not read further if you are not in a safe place. If you are triggered, please reach out to your support system, a mental health professional or call 911.

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Disclaimer: Although I have worked with persons with mental illness for twenty years, I do not have a Master's Degree or a license. This is not meant to be a substitute for mental health care or treatment. Please obtain professional assistance from the resources listed on the right of the page, if needed. And call 911 if you or someone is in immediate danger.

A key word that you will see:

Fragmentation: a mental process where a person becomes intensely emotionally focused on one aspect of themselves, such as “I am angry” or “no one loves me,” to the point where all thoughts, feelings and behavior demonstrate this emotional state, in which, the person does not or is unable to take into account the reality of their environment, others or themselves and their resources. This is a term that my therapist and I use and is on the continuum of dissociation.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Self-Injury Awareness Day!!

It is funny that I am excited to be able to write this post as self-injury, self-harm, self-injury; whatever, you name it is one of the most misunderstood behaviors associated with mental illness.

I am one of the estimated 5% (not including eating disorders) of Americans who struggle with self-injury. Mine is on a daily basis. Think of Muzak because that is what it is all the time with the volume turned up, at times. It also was part of the factor of my recent psychiatric hospitalization.


 
 
 
This came from Live Journal and it nicely sums up those who self-injure...
 
 
"We are male and female. We are artists, athletes, students, and business owners. We have depression, DID, PTSD, eating disorders, borderline personalities, bipolar disorder, or maybe no formal diagnosis at all. Some of us were abused, some were not. We are straight, bi, and gay. We come from all walks of life and can be any age. We are every single race or religion that you can possibly think of. Our common link is this: We are in pain. We self-injure. And we are not freaks."

Self-injury is an addiction. According to FirstSIGNS, self-injury is defined as...

“Self-injury is any deliberate, non suicidal behaviour that inflicts physical harm on your body and is aimed at relieving emotional distress. Physical pain is often easier to deal with than emotional pain, because it causes 'real' feelings. Injuries can prove to an individual that their emotional pain is real and valid. Self-injurious behaviour may calm or awaken a person. Yet self-injury only provides temporary relief, it does not deal with the underlying issues. Self-injury can become a natural response to the stresses of day to day life and can escalate in frequency and severity.”

Types of self-injury include, but is not limited to cutting, burning, poisoning, bruising, overdosing, carving words or symbols on the skin, breaking of bones, hitting or punching oneself, piercing the skin with sharp objects, head banging, pinching, biting, pulling out hair and interfering with wound.
Personally, I have cut, burned and bruised myself. It is a part of my expression of self-hatred. However, what I experience is that I usually do this to release the tension of intense feelings or agitation. It brings a sense of calm. That is where the addition cycle comes in because it releases endorphins, but then I feel guilty and ashamed…and there the cycle starts. I have hidden the marks even from my husband.


Most people start in adolesence. However, the first instance may occur much earlier. My first instance was when I was four or five. It reached its peak when I was in my mid-twenties and almost forty years later I still struggle. I was able to stop for a few years. When my Grandfather passed away, I started again. At one point, work and therapy became so stressful that I was cutting 4-5 times per day just to get through work.  I'VE BEEN INJURY FREE FOR THREE YEARS!!!


To obtain other information including how to help a loved one please look at the resouces at the end of the video. I hope this article cause you to look at self-injury in a different light and HOPE both for those who do this and for those who don’t.

3 comments:

BPD in OKC said...

Thank you so much for posting that video. I've been looking for a video that explains self-injury well, and that video definitely does. I posted the video in my blog too, and I linked to you.

http://bpdokc.blogspot.com/2009/03/today-is-self-injury-awareness-day.html

Dr. Deb said...

GREAT POST about a very important subject!!!

Marj aka Thriver said...

Thanks so much, CC, for reminding me that it's SIAD. I finally got my computer back from the shop (it got a virus and crashed) so I'm putting up a quick post about it and I'm going to link to your post on mine.

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