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"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."
There is no shame to Self Inflicted Injury.
If you cause physical harm to your body in order to deal with overwhelming feelings, know that you have nothing to be ashamed of. It's likely that you're keeping yourself alive and maintaining psychological integrity with the only tool you have right now. It's a crude and ultimately self-destructive tool, but it works; you get relief from the overwhelming pain/fear/anxiety in your life. The prospect of giving it up may be unthinkable, which makes sense; you may not realize that self-harm isn't the only or even best coping method around.
Self-injury involves deliberate harm to oneself without conscious suicidal intent and not for sexual pleasure.
Primarily, it is used as a coping mechanism.
It is sometimes called self-harm, self-abuse, self-mutilation (a term which most self-injurers hate), or self-inflicted violence.
The generally preferred term, however, is self-injury.
Common forms of self-injury include, but are not limited to: cutting, burning, picking at the skin, interfering with wound healing, hitting, and biting.
The person who self-injures is almost never a threat to others; the only person he or she would even think about harming is his or her own self. The internal pain is turned inside out, but never goes any further than the person's own skin.
Self-injury is NOT "attention-seeking."
On the contrary, people who self-injure are often very clever in hiding their wounds, and equally clever at making excuses when their wounds are discovered. (snip) Because of the stigma attached to SI, they may even be ashamed of what they are doing. People who are either "careless" in letting their wounds show or who confide in others about their self-harming behaviors are merely asking for help, probably in the only way they know how.
There are many different reasons why a person might turn to self-harm. Studies have shown that the brain releases endorphins when a person is injured, which may explain the feelings of calmness commonly experienced after self-injury.
Some (S.Iers) are comforted by the sight of their own blood...maybe they weren't allowed to cry when they were younger, and blood has replaced tears for this person, or it is otherwise symbolic somehow of "getting rid of the pain."
For people who are victims or survivors of physical or sexual abuse or molestation, it may be a way to "reclaim" their body, a pain that they can control, or a way to stop flashbacks or keep themselves from dissociating.
It may also be used as a way to release tension when a person feels anxious, angry, scared, stressed out, or any other "negative" emotion.
S.I behavior is in no way related to suicide or failed suicide attempts.
Nonfatal self-inflicted injuries are most common among adolescents and young adults - few studies have investigated these types of injuries among adults aged though 65 years.
Older adults are one of the fastest-growing population groups in the United States.
People who self-injure often say that knowing they can use self-injury to manage intense feelings is the only thing that keeps them from suicide.
Some mental health professionals now recognize that focusing on the elimination of SII at all costs is actually harmful and may even increase suicidal thinking or attempts.
What helps people heal from the need for SII?
People heal from SII in various ways. While some find it useful to focus all their energies on eliminating SII from their lives, others find that the need for SII diminishes as they focus on healing from the traumatic experiences they have survived.
The trauma that leads to self-injury may include profound emotional pain and shame, disconnection from one’s own body, the environment, and the people. The first step to healing is identifying the repercussions of past trauma. As the deep emotional pain is acknowledged and released, and the survivor learns about his/her strengths in survival and gains control over other aspects of his/her life, the use of SII generally abates without specific behavioral intervention.
People who use SII are often helped significantly by talking with others who themselves have healed from the need for SII. Just knowing that others have gotten past the need creates hope for a life without self-injury.
For agencies, mental health providers, and private practitioners, trauma-informed mental health services are the key to helpfully addressing SII. Trauma-informed services understand that a wide variety of psychiatric “symptoms”—including SII—are adaptations to trauma that help profoundly wounded people cope.
What is hurtful to people who live with SII?
Sometimes, the people who care most, and who genuinely want to help, actually can do harm.
Currently, emphasis remains on efforts to stop self-injuring behavior at all costs.
Family, friends, professional and paraprofessional providers often react to self-injury with confusion, anger, fear or disgust. They simply want the behavior to stop—now.
Those who care about a person who self-injures often feel it is their responsibility to keep the person safe, and feel it is their own failure if the person continues to cut or otherwise injure him or herself.
This is a particularly poignant dynamic if the self-injuring person is a child or adolescent.
But interventions such as forced hospitalization, restraint and seclusion, overmedication, and “don’t cut” contracts are coercive and shaming.
These approaches reenact the person’s earlier experiences with loss of power and control and most often resultin re-traumatization.
The use of force is oppositional to healing from SII and is counterproductive in the long run.
Learn from people who themselves have healed from the need for SII.
Help people identify their reasons for using SII as well as to explore alternatives to self-injury that might satisfactorily serve the same purposes for them.
The importance of the relationship cannot be underestimated. Because the experience of trauma is isolating to begin with, and people react so strongly to discovery or disclosures of self-injury, a genuine connection based on mutual respect rather than on power dynamics is invaluable to those who use SII.
EDIT to add: Do eating disorders really go with this?? They both kinda started for me at the same time.
Originally posted by silo13 You see the scars... S.I’ers see beauty marks - their own badge of courage.
Marks where they’ve reclaimed their body and reclaimed their life.
Scars that prove they are alive and want to stay alive.
Battle scars that prove ownership of their own souls!
Funny, tattoos show so little, yet are widely accepted, but you see a scar on someone who self injures and you’re repulsed.
Change your mind - change you ignorance!
Originally posted by silo13
Do you know the harm that's caused by words (like you wrote) when used in reference to SI behavior?
After the trash you posted I was mighty kind in how I worded my reply!
It made me decide to go to university and get a degree in psychology which I did. Unfortunateley it appeared that science didn't have the answers either. I come from a warm nest, no childhood traumas or anything.
symptom substitution: an unconscious psychological process by which a repressed impulse is indirectly manifested through a particular symptom, e.g., anxiety, compulsion, depression, hallucination, obsession.
Symptom substitution is at the core of Freudian psychology... It is based on the Freudian theory that all symptoms of mental illness are simply a reflection of an underlying unconscious conflict. Freud was inspired by the first law of thermodynamics that says that energy cannot be created or destroyed just turned into another form...
...but according to a new article in Clinical Psychology Review there is virtually no evidence for its existence and the concept should be abandoned...
The first conclusion supported by the empirical evidence reviewed above is that clinical concerns regarding the dangers of symptom substitution were greatly exaggerated and are essentially baseless. No clear evidence of symptom substitution could be found. While the scientific method cannot prove that symptom substitution does not exist, the lack of credible evidence for it over more than half a century combined with the motivation by psychoanalytic proponents to find and report such evidence strongly suggests that supportive evidence is unlikely to be forthcoming.
'Whatever Happened to Symptom Substitution?' Tryon, W., Clinical Psychology Review #28, p.967
I doubt that. Many go to great lengths to hide it. If they thought it was “beautiful” why not get creative with it or practice scarification?
Now that I'M able to accept them, YES I find them beautiful. So does my significant other.
At first you attack the OP for DARING to post anything on the topic, then you say discussing it can trigger relapse
Then you go on and on about it and make it sound like a perfectly harmless practice that perfectly sane people engage in and you even say it is a lot less harmful than drinking or smoking. Sounds like a lot of contradictions there.
If it's not so bad then what is the problem with discussing it? Its all good, so why freak out at the op? Silo's extreme and contradicting views makes no sense to me.
Okay so Silo attacks the Op, and then goes on to say later that cutting is not nearly so bad as smoking. The scars aren't a problem, fine. The cutting rarely leads to death or serious injury, fine. The people engaging in it are not psychotic or dysfunctional, fine.
Why attack the OP?
Somehow, human beings can get into a mode where they wreak severe injury upon their body. They are punishing themselves, and some sort of self-vengeance. One might almost think it was a type of demonic control, of sorts.