Monday, October 14, 2013
Self Harm (Part 1)
Why would someone want to hurt themselves?
The first time I ever heard about cutting I was 18. One of my teachers was talking about someone she knew and how they did it to deal with (emotional) pain. I through, Wow, that is crazy!
Within 6 months I too was a “cutter”.
There is a lot of misconceptions about self-harm. At times it is hard for others to understand or grasp why someone would do that.
Imagine if you will, you are physically in pain. What would you do? Take some pain relieving medicine? Possibly go see a doctor. You would want to deal with it. Emotional pain is so different. You can’t take a pill to make it go away.
For me, I was 18 years old and I had so much emotional pain built up and I didn’t know what to do or how to deal with it. I had heard (and it sounded so crazy even when I heard about it for the first time) that cutting takes the emotional pain away. I thought, it was worth a shot. Guess what? Somehow, it actually does work! That little cut releases all the emotional pain temporarily. It temporarily takes it away, which makes it so addictive. Once you've felt that release of pain when you are in pain again it only makes sense to do it again to get rid of that pain.
Reasons why I cut:
1. To deal with the emotional pain
2. To try to get attention (at least the first time- to show that I was emotionally in pain)
3. To have physical evidence of the emotional pain
4. To see the blood
5. Something to control
#2- The first time I cut I was trying to release that emotional pain. Afterward I almost wanted people to ask about it. I was desperate for help, but didn't know how to ask for it.
# 4- might seem odd, but for me it was the one I struggled with the most. I felt alone and empty inside. My life felt like a dream so when I cut, I could see the blood and realize it wasn’t all a dream. There was a song that I liked before I ever started cutting, Iris by Goo Goo Dolls. I remember listening to it once as I cut and realized that it was too similar to how I left and it made me want to keep cutting. I refused to listen to it for years because it made me want to cut every time I heard it. The part, “When everything feels like the movies, yeah you bleed just to know you’re alive” was exactly how I felt. I had to stop listening to it for years because just hearing it made me want to cut.
# 5- Often when cutting to deal with pain, your life is crazy or out of control. For me I felt like I had no control over anything in my life, but cutting I could control something!
I was looking for someone to talk to. I told my best friend, Hayley, who was a great support. The chain of events that happened after I told Hayley is how I ended up in counseling. It was a great thing for me at the time.
I later became friends with someone else who cut and it was great having someone to talk to who completely understood how I felt.
I had been cutting for 6 months before I opened up to my parents (grandparents) about it. My Grandma tried to be as supportive as possible, but still didn't completely understand. My Grandpa (whole different story there) told me I was evil and I had a devil inside me.
1. Let them know you love and care about them
2. Don’t judge them or get angry at them when they do self-harm
3. Encourage (don’t force) counseling/ therapy as a way to deal with the deeper issues. For me, it was dealing with my Grandpa's abuse.
Cutting doesn’t make someone a bad person. I carried around the guilt and shame of cutting for about 5 years. It wasn’t until my counselor told me that it didn’t make me a bad person, it was just my way of dealing with pain. Some people take pills or drugs, or drink alcohol.
The important thing was to learn a different coping method. Something that when I was in emotional pain, or wanted to cut, I could do instead to deal with the pain.
.... More to come! (more links here too)