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goldskittle

Any other adult cutters out there?

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Been googling how to stop cutting for a while, and it seems like it's all just focused on teens and I've only been doing this for the past year(I'm 21). I went through a lot(really, who hasn't?) as a child/teen and never had anything happen back then, no urges to cut. I wasn't into(still am not) into drinking, drugs, smoking and I guess that's usually the mainstream crutches for people. I don't understand why it has become a habit now, it kind of feels like no matter how much you think you're over childhood traumas things seem to come up once in a blue moon and you start to question your behavior, that maybe you're still just messed up inside and something has to trigger it. I end up cutting whenever my husband and I have really really bad fights, I love him more than anything and I get so overwhelmed when we fight, I end up running off during or after and cutting my legs. I can't take the depression and the emotions and when I cut, the pain numbs my mind so I can empty my thoughts. I try to explain to him that it's my way of coping with our fights, but obviously cutting to cope isn't exactly normal so there has to be more to it. It kills him everytime he finds that I've cut. I always see him stealing glances with a pained expression later on after we've made up. He's torn between getting me help, but the problem is with him in the army if I see anyone here(we are currently stationed overseas) and they diagnose me with depression or anything they will send me back to the states, otherwise I would have no problem going and talking to someone. I hate the fact that I'm scarring my legs, they are faint scars for now but slowly I get worse and worse and cut deeper. I can't wait to be a mother one day and to think about my kids asking about the scars, I can't imagine having to explain something like that...and I would be afraid of them trying it out for themselves one day if they knew mommy used to do it...I wish I could understand just why I do it. It's so stupid, I shouldn't have any reason to. Is it really just my past demons coming out? Would love to hear anyone's advice/experiences/thoughts/anything really.

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I also started cutting as an adult - I think I was around 20 when I did it for the first time (I am 23 now) though as a child I did do some of the more compulsive stuff like skin picking and hair pulling. I once asked my therapist how it was that I could start cutting when I didn't really know anyone who did it, and had never done it before, and she said that it's not really uncommon for people to "invent" cutting for themselves.

I don't know how to explain to you why it started happening for you at that specific time - but it seems like there are some clear triggers that you need to manage.

I am not sure where you are, or what language or financial barriers might exist, but is there a way for you to see a counselor who isn't associated with the army, who will not be obligated to tell the army what you are going through?

You might also potentially try to work through a self-help workbook to learn different skills for coping with stressful events like fights with your husband. Dialectical Behaviour Therapy can be very helpful for learning coping skills and there is a nice green workbook that I have and did use on my own for a while when I was between therapists. It's not as good as seeing someone face to face, but if that is truly not an option for you, the workbook option is also a possibility.

You may also want to check out the threads we have here on alternatives to self-harming - lots of the tips I have found to be quite valuable in my own attempt to stop.

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Wow you're quick

I'm in South Korea currently, got here 2 months ago. I actually hadn't cut for a few months before that but it's come back. I know I have a big issue with leaving my job, and having to sell my car...I lost a lot of self worth. I have to wonder if that is part of the issue. I really doubt there is anywhere I could go outside of the army. Even the on base hospitals have a lot of Koreans working there that are hard to understand and don't speak English perfectly.

I read into a few alternatives, as soon as these fresh cuts clear up enough I'm going to try writing my husbands name or maybe just doodling a cute animal(I'm a huge sucker for cute animals) on my legs where I cut. If I can remember where I left a rubber band at I'm going to put it on my wrist and try that method. I think that if I give my husband the items I usually use and ask him to hide them, that should help.

Then I need to tackle the trigger, which is our bad fights. However, my husband has some demons of his own. He does have a bit of an anger problem(nothing serious or dramatic, no beating/abusing) no matter how much I try to get him to communicate with me when there's stress/unhappiness going on with him and he doesn't talk to me about it and eventually little things I do end up triggering him to blow up at me, and my tendency not to cope well with fighting with him...me getting upset just makes it worse and everything kind of snowballs from a small thing to something bigger. He's supposed to be moved out of his section, due to discrimination on his chiefs part, This should make him a lot happier and hopefully no big fights will come up for a while. So in the mean time I need to start looking for ways to cope better when we fight. I'll look into your suggestions. There is a library on post, perhaps I can find a self help book there. Thank you for the reply and the advice

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I did cut as a teen, but I had no memory of that (dissociative) until I started again thirty years later. So that might be considered adult onset in that it was a different part of us that started cutting at 42, two years ago.

I haven't cut in four months. Triggers are many, but I'm slowly finding healthier (though not exactly healthy) ways of coping. I hate skills based therapy, but having that in groups during partial hospitalization has actually been somewhat helpful.

My best harm reduction alternative is to draw on my body with a ball point pen. It gives me some pain and cutting motion, but it doesn't actually harm me.

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I didn't start as an adult, started when I was 12, but I'm going to be 21 in three months and it's still a problem for me. I'm doing pretty good right now, it's been some months since my last SI but I think about it frequently and get triggered into the thoughts very often. It's like a daily struggle to avoid it. Like you, I never got into drinking, drugs, or smoking as a way to cope, it's always been SI or food or some kind of self-sabotage. I have used a few different SI methods, but cutting was always my "favorite."

I don't think you're "stupid" for doing it. I don't know that there is anyone out there that self-injures that doesn't have a reason, even if they don't understand it themselves. You must have a lot of inner pain that you're dealing with and this is the best way you've found to cope. Childhood traumas are extremely difficult...I still have not properly been able to face my past and deal with it despite the many therapists I've been to. The pain might hide for a while, but it always seems to surface again when I least expect it.

I have a few things that will work for me, though not always 100%. I like to share them in case they may help someone else, but you can always look at the sticky "alternatives" thread in this section of the boards, it has a lot of good ideas.

So what I like to do is the following...

1. Chat with someone. Sometimes a good friend (online, I don't really have anyone IRL) or sometimes a complete stranger. The CB chat can be nice for that. There are probably other online chat rooms for mental illness, too, if you did some googling. I've found that just talking about it can take away some of the urge sometimes.

2. Distraction. I like to do mindless internet games, reading, coloring/drawing, watching a good movie or TV show. Anything that will keep my mind off of SI and won't trigger me (so nothing gorey or depressing.)

3. Screaming. This is a new one, but when I get really intensely upset and all I can think about it SI, I go in my car and just scream until I feel exhausted. Takes away a lot of my energy and gets out a lot of the aggression. I only do it where I can't be heard or noticed, my car is the best place for that. If you can find a private, quiet place, this might be a good option.

4. 5 minute game. You set a timer for five minutes, tell yourself that for those five minutes you will not SI, and you find something else to do. Then once the five minutes are up, you evaluate how you feel and then go for another five. It doesn't always keep you from harming yourself, but it can put distance between the urge and the action. Sometimes after you wait so long, you no longer feel that urge to do it.

Anyway, I hope you will be able to find something that can help you avoid your urges, but it's really a process that takes time. Be kind to yourself and don't beat yourself up if you slip.

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I randomly discovered that drawing on my legs did help, it was one time that I really didn't want to cut and so I stopped and picked up a gel pen instead and started doodling stars and kirby and other random little things. However I didn't think to draw on my legs beforehand to potentially stop myself when I see it. I think it's a good idea. it could be a favorite quote or a name or a cute picture, it should make me think twice about it. plus the action of drawing on my skin is very calming, so I can always just add more when I feel the urge.

humanoid- you are very kind, thank you. I fear that I may never truly get away from it, although I can go a month or so without. My husband keeps saying I need to stop, I don't think he seems to understand that no matter how much better it may get...goodness knows there will be many more bad fights down the road and one of them is going to be bad enough to make me relapse.

Edited by goldskittle

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I used to cut between 20 and 22. I had never even thought about it, despite my depression, until one day when the Ringleader (this voice I hear) started telling me to cut myself.

The biggest techniques I used to reduce my SI were limiting that I could only cut within the home and spending as much time out as I could. I also find expressing my thoughts and feelings creatively can take the edge off any uncomfortable feeling. I use painting, doodling, poetry, and journalling. But anything can be good.

Since giving up, there has been times (particularly when my thought insertion was bad) that I would get intrusive thoughts about SI. Telling myself that it is just an intrusive thought and I don't have to respond to it, whilst going and doing something else to distract myself (which might be doing something creative) helps. Though I do understand that this is not easy when you are in the thick of it.

I hope something from this can help you. Apologies if I am just rambling.

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No need to apologize, every different opinion/experience helps. I enjoy crafts and scrapbooking to use as my creative outlets. I just haven't been in the mood lately, The last couple weeks haven't been too great but I was planning on doing something today now that things are getting better.

I honestly don't really remember when I even started, which is strange being it was only about a year ago. You would think the first time would have some kind of importance.

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I started cutting/SI in early adolescence (12ish) and for quite some time thereafter. Then i stopped around 18. As of a few months ago I've come back into it full force and I can't stop.

I feel like people percieve "cutting" as a teenager wanting attention. I find this view to be seriously wrong. I don't know *why* exactly I fell back into it but it slows my racing thoughts and I'm compelled to do it. I SI even if I'm feeling okay, not only when I'm sad, indicative that my mind is turning on me. I'm working on resolving this issue.

I've tried alternatives but nothing sufices for me. Hopefully you can find alternatives that will work for you.

I definitely don't think it's a childish thing and there are many adults outhere battling this. I'm curious myself to know.

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It's ironic that self harm is perceived as a teenage thing for attention, when it often runs into adulthood and most self injurers that I know are very private. For many people here, self harm is a way of making sure that their pain is dealt with in isolation. People cut so they don't show how bad they feel to the people around them.

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Let me start with, God I can't believe I have finally come across a site where we can actually talk and say what we feel and not be judged!! I am a Cutter, you ask if there are any adult cutters, well yes, I have been cutting since around 11 or 12, I am now 37, I still cut!!! Not as often but yes I still do it. Somebody once asked me why? When I was younger I couldn't explain why, today it's still a little hard to explain, if you don't understand it. People who don't understand wanna call you crazy, I call them Ignorant!!! I have had a lot of sadness in my life, from childhood till present, each day is a struggle, but when I really want to SI I have to try and keep my hands busy. I keep busy till either the project is done or the mood has passed, if the mood is still heavy on my mind when the project is done, well then......... I do what needs to be done, am I happy about it, no not usually because I realize what I'm doing, when the mood hits and I don't think before hand, I almost "zone out" I don't feel anything, I don't feel pain, I feel clean. Another reason I do what I do, hopefully yous understand it, but, I don't like to hurt others, if someone has hurt me or mad me mad, instead of hurting them back, I Invert, I take the anger that should be towards that person and I SI.

Like I said I have many hobbies and projects to get me thru, because there is a saying that has stuck with me for many many years, "IDLE HANDS ARE A DEVILS PLAYGROUND"

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Good for you for having strategies that work to distract you.

 

I hope you also have support to develop additional strategies to manage the things that  cause you strife so that you feel the urge to self harm less.

 

I initially started self harming when I was around 13 then stopped, then had another small rash when I was 17. Stopped completely until something really overwhelming happened when I was 20. Then used self harm off and on regularly to manage the overwhelming thing until 35.

 

Super happy to say that I have no desire to do that again.

 

I would like to think that I'm "completely done" because I've learned better skills and have a strong commitment to treat myself kindly. But I'm sure there's something out there that could rock my world so much that it would make sense that the desire could come back (sort of like never say never). And I'm also committed to doing what it takes to not go there anymore.

Edited by Wooster

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I'm another who didn't start cutting until my twenties. I think I was 23 or so. I'd done other self-harm things, like hitting, as a kid, but intermittently. I cut almost every day for a year or so, before I began to be able to do it less often. I started using techniques to actively avoid SI after I got into therapy a couple years ago, and it's now been a good couple of months since my last cut, if I'm to guess.

Drawing or writing on myself with markers is one of my favorite alternatives. I use permanent Sharpies, and watching them fade shower after shower satisfies me for a lot of the same reasons watching wounds heal did. I also hide the drawings, so I get almost the same psychological state without the risk of infection.

I write every day in my journal: "today I did/didn't cut." That's my biggest motivator when I need one. When I'm in a rough spot, as I have been lately, I read over those old journals, and the stack of days where I wrote "didn't" instead of "did" makes me feel more confident in myself. Plus, I move past those slip ups faster because I'm not kicking myself for breaking a streak.

For what it's worth, I have no trauma at all in my history. I think individual catalysts can vary greatly, and still be "justified." Your reasons are never dumb or unworthy. What's important is that, however it happened, you have resorted to SI to help yourself. It's easier said than done, I know, but try to remember that stereotypes only flourish in the absence of better knowledge. It's not necessarily our responsibility to educate others, though it would be nice to have that luxury. But likewise, you aren't obligated to take others' lack of better knowledge to heart.

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I cut as a teen, stopped, and restarted as an adult with different triggers. I've been trying yo look up different resources for dealing with myself and am extremely frustrated by all the "self harm help for teens" stuff there is out there. Like they told me here, you're definitely not alone.

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I cut as a teen, stopped, and restarted as an adult with different triggers. I've been trying yo look up different resources for dealing with myself and am extremely frustrated by all the "self harm help for teens" stuff there is out there. Like they told me here, you're definitely not alone.

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I started at 15. I am now 34. I stopped, then started again, stopped again then started up again. (much like my drinking, both are sporadic, impulsive.)

I do feel like a freak sometimes because I feel as if I should have grown out of this long ago. It makes me feel even worse of a failure than I already am as a supposed grown adult woman.

Edited by Teacup

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I cut some in high school, but it didn't really ramp up until I was 21(which is when I also started burning myself). I'm 23 now and have gone over 9 months without SI of any kind. I still fight the urge almost every single day. Part of what helps deter me is knowing how scarred up my legs and arms are and not wanting to add to it any more. Also, honestly, when I really have the urge I'll just sit and chain smoke cigarette after cigarette till it passes.

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Also, honestly, when I really have the urge I'll just sit and chain smoke cigarette after cigarette till it passes.

That is totally awesome that you are able to overcome your SI like that!  But . . . smoking?  Isn't that just replacing one addiction for another?  Bad Hagar!  Bad bad Hagar!  :P

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Very true! It is pretty bad. I rationalize it to myself, though, y'know. 

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I started as a teen (around 15) and continued on into my early adult year (I am 24 now). I have been doing pretty well about not cutting (besides roughly two weeks when I went down on my mood stabalizer). I find your problem a bit familiar because I moved around a decent amount and had to find new doctors every time I ended up someplace new and I couldn't always find the right one very quickly. The thing is cutting is dangerous even if it doesn't seem like you're any lasting damage. Things can get out of hand without you meaning for them to.

 

Figuring out why you feel the urge to cut is helpful (I think there is a pinned list on this board of common reason why). Really the only thing that can stop me is finding something productive to do with my hands, usually something requiring a decent amount of force like manipulating clay. My therapist and I also made a list of things I HAVE to try before I cut (listening to music, contacting a friend, drawing, reading etc.) If I ever find something doesn't work I can take it off the list but I HAVE to replace it with something new. I carry the list with me everywhere.

 

I would continue to ask around on the site for different coping strategies because there is definitely a way to stop cutting, it's just different for everyone.

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Very true! [smoking] is pretty bad. I rationalize it to myself, though, y'know. 

 

For what it's worth, my pdoc told me he'd much rather have me smoking, even chain smoking, than cutting.  Because cutting tends to get worse and worse, and bigger and bigger, and no matter where you're cutting unless you have a VERY good knowledge of anatomy, you can pretty easily hit a vein or an artery in many places and bleed out.  So...  that's pretty much instant-death.  It's Russian roulette, basically.

 

Smoking will kill you, yeah, but it's not going to do it as quickly, and I suppose the idea is that once someone doesn't cut for years, then they can quit smoking as well and not have the urges resurface.

 

I don't know if that's true in my case-- I started smoking to quit cutting, haven't cut since I started smoking, but still have urges to cut now when I'm emotionally overwhelmed 9 years later.  Sigh.  (Although there were at least 5 or so years in there when it never occurred to me.  I should've quit smoking then, damnit.)

 

So I feel like quitting smoking would encourage me to go back to cutting, so even though I want to quit smoking, I don't know how to balance doing that with the knowledge that I do not want to harm myself by starting to cut again.

Edited by saveyoursanity

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Very true! [smoking] is pretty bad. I rationalize it to myself, though, y'know. 

 

For what it's worth, my pdoc told me he'd much rather have me smoking, even chain smoking, than cutting.  Because cutting tends to get worse and worse, and bigger and bigger, and no matter where you're cutting unless you have a VERY good knowledge of anatomy, you can pretty easily hit a vein or an artery in many places and bleed out.  So...  that's pretty much instant-death.  It's Russian roulette, basically.

 

Smoking will kill you, yeah, but it's not going to do it as quickly, and I suppose the idea is that once someone doesn't cut for years, then they can quit smoking as well and not have the urges resurface.

 

That's exactly how I feel. Like you, I don't know if I'll ever really be able to quit, but for now it's serving the purpose of me not engaging in other more harmful behaviors. 

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Sanity, that does shine a different light on the smoking versus SI topic. I've heard others say that, but I've always been puzzled by it. I watched my father die for a decade of lung disease, so even when I was doing self-harm regularly I didn't see it as anywhere close to that. I do kind of see it now, though.

Edited by Oddjob

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Sanity, that does shine a different light on the smoking versus SI topic. I've heard others say that, but I've always been puzzled by it. I watched my father die for a decade of lung disease, so even when I was doing self-harm regularly I didn't see it as anywhere close to that. I do kind of see it now, though.

I tend to agree.  From what I've heard, lung cancer is a horrible way to die.

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