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goldskittle

Any other adult cutters out there?

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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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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.

It is. My great-grandpa died of it and now my grandpa (his son) has it, stage 4. I really do need to quit, because it runs in my family, but... :/ Yeah.

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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.

It is. My great-grandpa died of it and now my grandpa (his son) has it, stage 4. I really do need to quit, because it runs in my family, but... :/ Yeah.

Eep.  For what's it worth, I smoked for almost 20 years before I quit.  I took Chantix which pretty much quashed my desire to smoke.  I haven't had any cravings in years and years.

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I've read a study somewhere that the first two days of quitting smoking are physical. After that your body is "weaned" from "needing" to smoke and after that it's all a mental game. Food for thought?

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Well, I think the two days thing more or less refers to the nicotine withdrawal.

 

There's a whole bunch of "behavioral association" stuff that I had to work on... to the point that I had to quit drinking alcohol and coffee in order to successfully quit smoking. 

 

And then there's the "retooling" of how to cope with stress.

 

For me it sure seemed like some of it was physical in the sense that I had to retrain my body to accept different types of stimuli instead of just smoking.

 

But a lot of people would probably classify that as "just a mind game".

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Being a mind game doesn't make it any easier. IME, it can be harder.

Cutting was really, really hard for me to quit. I can still get urges. It's rare but it happens.

I had some brief cutting SH attempts between 11 and 13, really started at 14, and did not manage to actually stop until I was 17. I had one relapse incident some... five/six years ago, for something I couldn't place at the time but years later would realise was rooted in my gender dysphoria being triggered, in fact I think that was around the time the lid blew off on my dissociation from my transgender-related body dysmorphia.

Anyway. Then, at 26, when I was new to CB, I went batshit and into a mixed episode. I cut myself a lot to try and dissociate from my intense and overwhelming emotions (this is typically why I SH) but it didn't work like it used to (probably thanks to the mood episode, epic life drama, and going off Lexapro too fast.)

I stopped, briefly, but quit smoking weed and had a gender dysphoria flare (it's always there but it can be worse at times than others) and went right back to it. Aaaaaand then Depakote saved my, uh, skin. I've fended off urges that arise during unintentional med-non-compliance time periods.

Okay so, as a teen, it took me years to learn how to change my thought patterns around quitting SH and actually manage to employ them. Aaand I think I self medicated a lot of SH triggers with weed for years. So. All in my head? You bet! Easy to quit? Oh fuck no.

Cigarettes, same conclusion. Physical addiction? Not easy, but short and relatively simple. Staying off the smokes? Hardest part of quitting, hands-down, for me. Changing/being aware of habitual asssociations, like Woo said, was huge for me.

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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.

 

I love this!  It's nice to find out that I'm not the only one that kicked the habit for many years (I cut in high school and quit cold turkey when I went to college.)  Now, 25 years later, something happened and I'm in a place in my life where I feel like this is the only way I can deal with it.  It's much better now, much more controlled.  Little tiny cuts in places people (esp my husband) can't see and question.  Mostly the bottoms of my feet.  I only let myself cut one time each time I feel the urge, even though I think about it a lot.  I find that setting rules helps me keep it under control.  Anyway, I just wanted to say I'm sorry that everyone else is dealing with this, but I'm really glad to have found other people that understand what I'm going through.

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I started when I was 13 but still doing it now at 22 and my mam started when she was 27

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I didn't start as an adult but I'm 22 now and its still an issue. I always had some kid of self injurious behavior whether it was cutting,head banging, biting, or just over-eating. I have no idea where or when the ideas were formed...I don't know how I got the idea to start cutting or why, but I started one day. In high school I would cut in waves, there would be a hiatus of a year or two or six months and then the need to cut would come back full force. My cutting tapered off in adulthood which I was really glad about but I relapsed when my other MI issues flared up. I've cut more lately than I have in maybe almost a decade...its back to the level tstarted at. Again, I don't know what started it or what made the idea sound like a good one but I know now why I continue to do it, and that it gets harder as time goes by..it becomes maladaptive muscle memory.

 

Now when I cut its very strange to me....it used to be for  a clear purpose, it served a concrete purpose. when I was growing up i started cutting because I was too small to have any real power and hurting was all I could do for myself. I hear that cutting is a primitive way of sorting emotions, so at the time cutting was the only coping technique available, which makes sense for a child. I am ashamed to do it now because i should have learned more efficient ways of dealing with myself, I guess in a lot of ways the reason why I cut is not so much about the difficult situations I find myself in, but that its become an ingrained behavior....modus operandi because I am still stunted at 11 years-old. Now I will notice myself cutting when nothing is going on, I just feel a little off. I don't have to be sad or angry anymore, I just have to feel mildly uncomfortable and I won't know any other way of distracting myself. The dopamine feels good, maybe.

 

 I'm hoping that when I learn more coping techniques then the need for cutting will be replaced...that's easy enough. It will be phased out, I hope. The hard part is figuring out how to learn coping as an adult. For the time being though, I make contracts with my therapist, I make sure people know and even though its a bit demeaning having people check my arms and legs it creates accountability. I gave up my razors too. I could turn anything into a weapon if I was desperate enough but I guess my focus isn't so much stopping because I don't know how to do that yet--but I try to make it more difficult. Less convenient. Maybe I can challenge it a bit, if I break the habitual aspect of it then adopting new ways of coping will hopefully be easier! hopefully. that's what I'm thinking at least. It sucks being an adult cutter though. I feel really embarrassed cutting and having an eating disorder; the stereotype is that only theatrical teens do it...but maybe all it means is that we are just not as developed as we should be, our coping skills are still immature. I'm hoping that as soon as whatever is creating the "need" for it goes away, cutting will just be a bad habit I need to overcome like nailbiting, rather than my solution to everything.

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I started cutting 3 years ago...when I was 27...now I'm 30 and and still cutting...i only tried it once as a teen so I am not sure that it counts...i cut because of everything, so I understand doing just for feeling a little off...mine is the worst kept secret...everybody knows, but pretends they don't see...even my husband...i have tried many things to stop, but I always go back...it becomes a habit, like you say...if you find a way that works, let me know...you are definitely not the only adult that does it...

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I started cutting when I was 11-ish and have been on and off through my teens. Mostly high school. I'm 25 now and started cutting again. I had stopped. Like I hadn't cut in at least 2 years; before that I would cut maybe once or twice every year or so. A couple years ago, something happened to me, and I was astonished that I didn't start cutting then. I've had a really rough couple of years, especially this year. It started off bad and it wasn't till a few weeks ago that I once again picked up the razor. I've been cutting a lot recently, more than I did when I was a teen. I'm afraid. No one knows I was/am a cutter. Only my best friend. She doesn't know I started again. I had spoken to her, told her I was getting the urge to cut again; she said I should call her whenever I feel like hurting myself. But I feel stupid and embarrased calling her everytime I feel like cutting; she's busy, she has a life. And then I just keep thinking, "I'm a grown woman. What's wrong with me, I need to stop." And I do need to stop. There are all these cuts on my arm, it's summer, I hate wearing long sleeve shirts, I have job interviews to go to... I can't keep doing this. I really just need to put this out there. At least here, you all know what it's like. To know someone is reading this and understands and doesn't think I'm crazy or trying to get attention (which is what I think people think of cutters).

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I started when I was 13-14 ish, I'm 26 now and it's never really gone away...just floated in and around my life coming up strongly during high emotional periods. I impart that to never really learning how to handle my reactive emotions. It definitely does escalate and "evolve" ... I've sort of figured out what I like best, where I like best and how best to hide it. Not exactly good...I've "logicked" it. I noticed the type of harm also evolves, I did start with cutting but at some point that became not enough. Heh

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Yeah, here. I never got the whole attention thing though, I've always hid what happened, and it was a while before I even mentioned it to the doctors.

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I really don't think that many use it for attention. Unless it's like see this help me with that but That's more of an odd subconscious thing. The few that use it Because it's "in" are very very few.

However that didn't Stop me from feeling like a silly little girl. It's sad that I feel that way. I've been a self Harmer since I was 11 now I'm 21. I still feel that way. I always honestly thought I would grow out of it.

It's funny. I myself do it but still look down on those that have scars. I guess I'm judge jealous that they can show them off Because they are scars not cuts or that they are brave enough to say Hey look on ready for help.

I know I dragged this around and missed the point entirely

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