Saturday, October 16, 2010

Why People Cut

I hate to put myself in this category, but there you go. Since I have little experience in this, I thought I would try to learn some information about it. One woman that I know personally who cuts herself said that she uses a rubberband that she snaps so that she can still feel the pain without actually cutting herself. I might try that, but for me it might actually be the markings that I am going for. Since I have no signs of pregnancy, either on my body or in the house, maybe sometimes I feel like if I have some marking on my body it will be a reminder of the pain I feel for Toby.

And then somedays, that's not it at all. Some days I just feel terribly numb and want to feel something.

On other days, I am overwhelmed and want to feel in control and that is something that I have complete control over.

Other days, I keep seeing images in my mind that I can't get out and the pain of cutting helps erase them.

There is no one answer. But this article might be helpful for some...

Taken from: http://helpguide.org/mental/self_injury.htm
Cutting and Self-Harm: Self-Injury Help, Support, and Treatment

Whether you’re dealing with a past trauma or facing overwhelming issues in everyday life, you may have turned to cutting yourself or other self-harm as a way to cope with your problems. Whatever the reason, there is help—and hope—available. Cutting and other self-injury may make you feel briefly like you’re better able to handle life again, but then the pain returns without any permanent recovery.

You can end this dangerous cycle by learning safer, more healing ways to deal with your problems. There are professionals who can provide treatment, and ways you can help yourself. You have the power to find healthier ways to manage your pain.


Understanding cutting and self-harm

Cutting and self-harm are often ways to express deep distress and cope with painful memories. And although you may want to stop, you may not know how to begin. Understanding why you self-harm can be a vital first step toward your recovery. If you can figure out what function your self-injury serves, you can learn other ways to get those needs met—which in turn can reduce your desire to hurt yourself. Once you better understand why you self-harm, you can learn ways to stop self-harming, and find resources that can support you through this struggle.

Myths and facts about cutting and self-harm

Because cutting and other means of self-harm tend to be taboo subjects, the people around you—and possibly even you—may harbor serious misconceptions about your motivations and state of mind.
Myth: Self-harm is a suicidal act.
  • Fact: Although people do die from self-harm, these instances are accidental; in general, self-harmers do not want to die. In fact, self-injury may be a way of coping, of regaining control of pain—in order to go on living.
Myth: People who self-injure are crazy.
  • Fact: Those who self-harm are usually dealing with trauma, not mental health problems. There are exceptions, but by and large, you are probably trying to cope with problems in the only way you know how.
Myth: Injuring yourself is a cry for attention.
  • Fact: Friends, family, and even healthcare professionals may think that if you hurt yourself, you are seeking attention, but the painful truth is that people who self-harm generally try to hide what they are doing—rather than draw attention to it—because they feel ashamed and afraid.

Self-harm and your emotions

You may find yourself more likely to self-harm after an overwhelming or distressing experience, or series of experiences. It’s possible that you never learned how to identify or express difficult feelings in a healthy way. Understanding your emotions and how they may make you want to self-harm can be another important step toward recovery.

Emotional reasons behind cutting and self-harm

When emotions feel out of hand and you can’t cope with your pain, you may turn to cutting yourself or other self-harm. Self-harm may be how you:
  • Regulate strong emotions. If you are experiencing high stress, self-harm can—temporarily—calm your nerves.
  • Distract yourself from emotional pain. You may feel emotionally “numbed” by past traumas and need a way to force yourself into feeling something.
  • Express things that cannot be put into words. Self-harm may be the only way you know how to display anger or deep sadness.
  • Exert a sense of control over your body.  You may imagine that hurting yourself will prevent something worse from happening.
  • Self-punish or express self-hate. You may have a childhood history of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse and erroneously blame yourself for it. Self-harm can be a way to punish yourself.
  • Self-soothe. You may not know any other means to calm intense emotions.

Common emotional traits of self-injurers

Although everyone’s story is unique, if you cut or self-harm, chances are you have certain emotional issues in common with other self-harmers.
  • Magical thinking. You may believe that your physical wounds prove your emotional pain is real, or that if you harm yourself, no greater harm will come to you.
  • Growing up in a family where emotions weren’t allowed. You may have been discouraged from expressions of anger while growing up, and as a result be unsure what to do with strong feelings.
  • Other emotional problems. You may have co-existing problems with obsessive-compulsive disorder, substance abuse, depression, or an eating disorder—all conditions primarily about control.
  • Limited support. You may have a limited social support network, perhaps due to family breakdown or shame about your self-harm.

In Your Own Words

It can be difficult to understand the motivations behind cutting and self-harm, even when it’s your own. But a clearer picture may develop when you hear the common explanations people give for self-injury:
  • “It expresses emotional pain or feelings that I’m unable to put into words. It puts a punctuation mark on what I’m feeling on the inside!”
  • “It’s a way to have control over my body because I can’t control anything else in my life.”
  • “I usually feel like I have a black hole in the pit of my stomach, at least if I feel pain it’s better than feeling nothing.”
  • “I feel relieved and less anxious after I cut. The emotional pain slowly slips away into the physical pain.”

2 comments:

Peter said...

I see it as another coping mechanism, liking mowing yards, smoking more, or (i don't know), drinking? it's not as 'harmful' as becoming an alcoholic for instance but ti does make me worry because accidents happen.

Rebecca said...

Whenever I hear the phrase "accidents happen" I am immediately taken to the song from "Thomas and Friends" and all of the amateur videos that people post on You Tube.