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Self-Injury

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I was thinkin that maybe we could start some sort of information thing about cutting... I know that me actually learning about why i cut, and what causes it really helped... i dont know if this is appropriate, but i just thought that for others who are dealing with the same, that maybe something should be started, where others who have cut can relate and help them out, or people who havent but have been touched by it... its kinda a tough situation for some peopel to talk about, but i think its soemthing that is needed to be talked about. Its becoming more and more common... I guess what i want to do, is just leave this open for people to talk, and post links to site, and share information about cutting, and ways to help people stop.
 
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why do people cut?

I am gonna kinda group em, so its easier to read, cause i know its a lot, and for people like me, even a topic i might like is hard to read if its scarily long.... yes... i said scarily... deal with it. :smile:


It can be hard to understand, but people who cut themselves sometimes do it because it actually makes them feel better. They are overflowing with emotions - like sadness, depression, or anger - that they have trouble expressing. You can probably recall a time when you've experienced intense emotions. Maybe a grandparent or a pet that you loved died, or maybe you had a bad argument with a friend. You may remember how your whole body felt different. Your body may have felt tense, as if it were getting ready for action. Maybe you relieved that tension by crying about your loss or by shouting angrily at your friend. These physical actions probably helped you to release the tightness in your body and let it return to a more relaxed state. People who cut themselves are often full of intense emotional pain, but they have difficulty relieving the tension this causes in the usual ways. They may think that they have to be strong, and so they may not allow themselves to cry. They may have been taught as children that expressing emotions is wrong. The tension inside their bodies and their minds becomes almost unbearable, and they find that cutting themselves somehow relieves that tension. It's as if the physical pain releases the emotional pain they've been feeling. It actually calms them, at least for a short time. It helps them feel as if they are in control of their situation and their moods. Some people who have trouble coping with strong emotions feel numb or as if what's happening to them isn't real. Some people say that they feel like they're watching themselves in a TV show or movie. When this feeling of numbness and unreality gets too strong, they may cut themselves as a way of "waking up" from this state. Cutting may make them feel alive and grounded in reality. Cutting isn't the only form of self-injury.
People hurt themselves in other ways like burning themselves, hitting themselves with objects or their fists until they bruise themselves or break their bones, or picking at scabs and preventing sores on their bodies from healing. Cutting and other self-injurious behavior isn't confined to a particular group, either - self-injurers can be male or female, any race, and any age (although most are in their teens, 20s, and 30s and more girls than guys injure themselves). No one knows for sure why some people injure themselves. Research suggests that it could be a combination of several factors. These include low levels of a chemical called serotonin (pronounced: ser-uh-toe-nin) in the brain, which has also been linked to depression and anxiety. Family background may play a role; people who self-abuse may have been discouraged from expressing their feelings as children. A history of physical and sexual abuse may also be associated with self-abuse. Self-abusers don't usually intend to hurt themselves permanently. (In fact, many would say that cutting helps them relieve the depression that might lead to suicide.) Many theorists believe cutting is an addictive behavior and that self-injurers will need to make more and deeper cuts as time goes on to relieve the pain they're feeling. This can lead to serious medical complications.
 
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You may be wondering why your friend's cat has suddenly turned vicious and is "scratching" her all the time. You may have a friend who frequently has cuts on his legs, and when you ask him why, he just mumbles something about getting caught in a sticker bush near his house. Both of these friends may be isolating themselves socially and may wear clothing that covers up their arms and legs, even in hot weather. (Most self-cutters feel ashamed of what they're doing and try to hide it from their friends and families.) You may know someone who has a bad cut and is constantly picking at the scab or playing with it so much that it repeatedly reopens the wound. Everyone gets hurt accidentally from time to time, but you should suspect self-cutting if your child or friend has a continuing pattern of unexplained (or poorly explained) cuts or scratches that never seem to heal. If you see this happening, they need help.

SituationsFamily history of suicide or violence
Sexual or physical abuse
Death of a close friend or family member
Divorce or separation, ending a relationship
Failing academic performance, impending exams, exam results
Job loss, problems at work
Impending legal action
Feeling or being unloved/uncared for


BehaviorsCrying
Fighting
Breaking the law
Impulsiveness
Self-mutilation
Writing about death and suicide
Previous suicidal behavior
Extremes of behavior
Changes in behavior

Physical ChangesLack of energy
Disturbed sleep patterns - sleeping too much or too little
Loss of appetite
Sudden weight gain or loss
Increase in minor illnesses
Change of sexual interest
Sudden change in appearance
Lack of interest in appearance

Thoughts and EmotionsThoughts of suicide
Loneliness - lack of support from family and friends
Rejection, feeling marginalized
Deep sadness or guilt
Unable to see beyond a narrow focus
Daydreaming
Anxiety and stress
Helplessness
Loss of self-worth

Some of this stuff i think is kinda intresting how it ties in... i see it in my friends who cut.
 
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Ways to cope

  • deep breathing
  • relaxation techniques
  • call a friend, your therapist or a crisis line
  • try not be be alone (visit a friend, go shopping, etc.)
  • take a hot bath
  • listen to music
  • go for a walk
  • write in a journal
  • wear an elastic around wrist and snap it when you have the urge to harm yourself
  • some people find it helpful to draw red lines on themselves with washable markers instead of cutting themselves
  • hold ice cubes in your hands - the cold causes pain in your hands, but it is not dangerous or harmful (some people find it relieves the urge to harm themselves for that moment)
  • punching a bed or a pillow (when nothing but a physical outlet for your anger and frustration will work).
  • scratch draw a picture on a thick piece of wood or use a screw driver and stab at the piece of wood. (can be another physical way to release your emotions without harming yourself.)
  • avoid temptation (i.e. avoiding the area in CVS where the razor blades are kept, etc.)
  • try to find your own creative ways as outlets for emotions.
  • learn to confront others/making your own feelings known instead of keeping them inside
  • go outside and scream and yell
  • take up a sport (a form of exercise can help you release tension, etc.)
  • work with paint, clay, play-doo, etc. (the person who suggested this mentioned that they would make a big sculpture and do whatever they wanted to it. They said it was helpful to calm the urge to self-injure, plus it gave them some idea of what might be underlying the pain.
  • draw a picture of what or who is making you angry
  • instead of harming yourself, try massaging the area you want to harm with massage oils or creams, reminding yourself that you are special and you deserve to treat yourself and your body with love and respect
  • go to church or your place of worship
  • wear a pipe cleaner or something that will fit on the places that you injure. One person did this as a way to remind herself that she could call someone instead of hurting herself and that she had other ways to cope.
  • break the object that you use to self-injure as a way to show that you have control over it.
  • write a letter to the person(s) that have hurt you and express how they made you feel. Theses letters do not have to be in perfect form and you do not have to please anyone but yourself. You do not have to give these letters to the people, but it is a great way to release the feelings that you are carrying within. After you write the letters, you can decide then what to do with them. Some people find destroying the letters help (i.e. tear them up, throw them in a lake, etc.)
  • do some household chores (i.e. cleaning)
  • do some cooking
  • try some sewing, crossstitch, etc.
  • recite a poem, prayer or anything else familiar the comforts you multiple times
  • write down all your positive points and why you do not deserve to be hurt
  • write in your journal why you want to hurt yourself and if you have hurt yourself, write down what caused it to happen so in the future you can prevent it from happenings - or find out what your triggers were
  • Play some kind of musical instrument. Even if you don't really know how to play, picking out tunes is a way to concentrate and help get rid of the urge to harm yourself.
  • yoga
  • allow yourself to cry. Getting the tears out can make you feel better. It allows the inside to release, as opposed to self abuse. Picture your "ickies" pouring out as you cry.
  • Take a shower
  • write down a word best associated with what you are feeling (i.e. horrible, sad, lonely, angry) and continue to write it down, over and over. Sometimes when you do that, the words looks silly etc., and it puts humor or a smile in your life.
  • sing a song on what you are feeling. It's another way to get it outside. Shout if you are made, etc. Let the words just come to you.
  • Scribble on paper. Clutch the pen in your fist. It's a way to diffuse it on to paper. (Get a few sheets so they don't tear.)
  • Take item you are self injurying with and use it against something else. For example, if you are using a razor blade, rip it across a towel. Sometimes seeing what "can" be done to an object can make a person think twice about using it on themselves. Can also give the feeling of "doing it"...the tangible aspect.
  • Make a list of reasons why you are going to stop cutting. Every time you get the urge, read the list to remind yourself why you shouldn't. Also remember to put on that list that you do not deserve to hurt yourself. You are important and special and you do not deserve to be hurt.
  • drip warm milk with red food dye in it down your arm or spot where you want to cut to look like blood (doesnt have to be milk, but is thicker than water)
  • Go to sleep
  • Watch Tv
  • Draw a dollar bill in precise detail.
  • Go to the zoo and rename all the animals.
  • Read the bible
Not all of this stuff will work for everyone, and some you might find actually not help but increase the desire to cut. I dont intend for that to happen, but theres a choice in this. To give in, or try and over come this. Each person has there own things that will set them off, or cool them down... these are just ways that have been known to help.
 
Member
If theres anyone who wants to ask if something they do is uncommon, i will try to shed some light on it, but please know, that most things are not as uncommon as you might think.
 
Member
ufta

Hi,
I got a friend that is really struggling with cutting herself and I'm feeling pretty useless in helping her. She is really in kind of a sticky situation right now as it is with out SI. Her mom is clinicly depressed and her dad... well lets just say he isn't there but she is trying to forgive and have a relationship with him. Her mom doesn't want her to see a counsiler yet and well... yeah... Anyway, I think I might be writing this more just to get it out then anything else. Sorry. I just wish I could be of more help. I'm praying and trying to be as encouraging to her as I can. Is there anything that one struggling with SI might want or need in a friend more than normal? I know that seems like a wierd question but... Well thanks for reading this. Sorry it probably isn't worth much. Thanks also for being willing to open this up.
Nathaniel
 
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CaptSF said:
Hi,
I got a friend that is really struggling with cutting herself and I'm feeling pretty useless in helping her. She is really in kind of a sticky situation right now as it is with out SI. Her mom is clinicly depressed and her dad... well lets just say he isn't there but she is trying to forgive and have a relationship with him. Her mom doesn't want her to see a counsiler yet and well... yeah... Anyway, I think I might be writing this more just to get it out then anything else. Sorry. I just wish I could be of more help. I'm praying and trying to be as encouraging to her as I can. Is there anything that one struggling with SI might want or need in a friend more than normal? I know that seems like a wierd question but... Well thanks for reading this. Sorry it probably isn't worth much. Thanks also for being willing to open this up.
Nathaniel
CaptSF, and sister Reba,

I am grateful to God for both of you. Reba, for writing your thread and CaptSF, for submitting your post. It is worth much. If one brother or sister gets that little nudge from reading your concerns and will take that step and seek specialized help, then lets give God all the glory here, amen? I am not specialized in this area but I know we can pray, pray, and pray constantly for both situations. Prayer is powerful!

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.
Selah stop and meditate on this
Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death. Psalm 68:19,20

I pray that our God has His mighty hand over your friend, CaptSF. Reba, I know you contributed some powerful information here. God has put it into your heart to share, sister. This can make a difference in one's life. God has equipped us all and will send others to help overcome this hard to resist act, this gruesome epidemic, and all struggles we face.

Be encouraged. Ask Jesus to carry you at this time. He has promised He will not leave us nor forsake us. I have made the decision to Trust Him and have Faith in Him!

Your brother in Christ Jesus!
 
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Member
Thank you for sharing this, Reba.
It is something that most of us don't know about, but I pray that you will be used by God even more, to minister to and bless those who struggle with this.
Our God is awesome, and able to deliver all of us from every struggle we face. For any person who reads this who is in a similar situation, I pray that you will lean on Christ and cast your cares on Him, for He cares for you.

Peace,
Eden
 
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thank you reba for sending your help out to those who have struggled with what you have been through. it really is a blessing that you decided to study and figure out a solution to stopping this sickness. God bless!
 
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I have not done what is called cutting actually. What I have done for as long as I can remember is when ever I got a scratch or some sort of scab, I always picked at it until it eventually scared. I am 28 years old and have just recently pretty much quit picking. My whole body has scars because I didn't realize that during these stressful times I should turn to Jesus. I still have stressful times but now I pray and read the word and read books written by christian authors to help. It has help a great deal. Once and a while I do still catch myself picking some but these times are far and few between. :wink:
 
Member
I'm glad that i can be of some help.... as for helping a friend, since i dont actually know the situation, i can only speak of what i know. When i went to Creation 2003, i met a girl named abby there... for some odd reason i broke down into tears and ended up telling her everything that i had gone through, and shes always been there as a support for me.. Shes always been so helpful, but shes also the one who made me tell my parents. For that, even though i was mad at her for a while, i thank her so much for. More, i thank God for having me meet her and having her have the guts to make me tell my parents. She technically didnt make me... it was either i tell, or she tells, and i figured it would be best coming from me. Well, i just want you to know, that if any of yuns are afraid of your friend hating you for telling on you, in the end they will thank you, if the help they get actually helps them and they overcome it... What Abby did, at points i wanted to do, but couldnt. Now, not everyone who cuts will have a mom or dad that will understand or do anything about it, but thats when you can go to a school teacher and ask them what to do, or a counselor or a youth pastor. Keep in mind, no matter what you do, what the SI-er does, is there own choice. Dont feel like you should be blamed if something goes wrong. God wont let anythin bad stay bad... he'll turn it all to good in the end. Always pray about it, dont overlook simple prayer, it works miracles. Hope that helped anyone... and thanks for your replys.
 

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