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SI as alternative to suicide?


dedoubt

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I'm not sure if this falls under the auspices of the rules for this forum (re: pro-abstinence rather than harm reduction), so mods, delete away if need be.

However, I had been thinking about posting this earlier today, then read another post in which someone mentioned that her partner told her that SI was preferable to suicide. For me, SI has actually saved me from much greater harm/possibly death, because I was able to relieve that horrible pain immediately without actually suiciding. I won't expound on the ways it has relieved that pain, or how I got that relief, because I don't want to romanticize SI. In a perfect world, we would all be happy and nobody would feel that kind of need. But since we live in this (shit) world, people are going to SI, they are going to do the ultimate SI (suicide), and of course suicide is worse. How about the analogy that it's all very well to tell teenagers that they need to abstain from sex, damn well knowing they won't. In the areas that has good sex education/birth control available to teens, the rates of STDs/pregnancies are lower than in areas where teens are only taught abstinence...

OK, I feel as if that analogy went on a bit too long. All I can say is that I am having a horrendous time of late, and have made the choice that if I am really desperate enough that I am planning to suicide, I will let myself SI. I told my ex-husband that this is my compromise with the world for now. It isn't the best choice, and I am working on learning/relearning better skills, but for now I am still alive.

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OK, I'm going to give you an anaology. If you were to say.... "I was going to kill myself today, so instead I went and cut somebody and it got me through it, so it was alright" would you be okay with this?

Really?

I mean, if we are to apply the same logic to OURSELVES here as we are to other people, then no, SI as an alternative is not alright, it is still a pretty fucking shitty coping skill. Bottom line. Let's not forget that in some states, I believe attempted suicide CAN be prosecuted as attempted murder (though yes, I am aware that it never is).

I'm glad that cutting got you through a shitty period so that you didn't off yourself, but if you ask me, this DOES come perilously close to romanticizing, or being pro SI which this board is not about. Really. The bottom line is, saying one option is worse than the other doesn't make the first option GREAT. Drinking and driving and paralyzing someone isn't that much better than acutally offing them, now is it?

Let's be real here. During that moment, with the blade or whatever in your hand, with the suicidal thoughts, you did have other choices, options, and opportunities available. You may have FELT you couldn't exercise them, and I am very sorry about that, but that does not change the fact that you COULD have exericsed them, freely chosen, at any time.

I say that as a former self harmer who has been suicidal quite recently in fact and did NOT find the need to self harm.

So, I see little to no value in this post. Other than some really sneaky justification going on, and advise others not to use suicidal thoughts as a reason/rationale to self harm. sorry.

Anna

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I'll admit, I've been there, the SI-other-than-suicide. Far be it from me to be in harsh judgement.

However. In this far from perfect world, if you're finding yourself in this position more than once, I would suggest not only seeking some way of dealing with the SI (yeah, I know, easier said than done, coming from the alcoholic smoker...) but dealing with these lapses into suicidal thoughts. SI in and of itself is just plain nasty to deal with, to be suicidal is the be-all end-all of nasty.

That simply has to be addressed. To stand in front of a mirror with a razor deciding which to do is absolutely no way to be. Ever.

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OK, I'm going to give you an anaology. If you were to say.... "I was going to kill myself today, so instead I went and cut somebody and it got me through it, so it was alright" would you be okay with this?

Of course not. However, this being my body, I can choose to abuse it as I see fit. I could smoke three packs a day, or drink a couple fifths of whiskey, for instance. But forcing someone else to smoke or drink is abusive.

I do get that I should cherish myself, and I would love to get to the point that I do. I haven't even gotten to the point of caring whether I cherish myself or not. One leaden foot in front of the other...

The bottom line is, saying one option is worse than the other doesn't make the first option GREAT.

God, it is so far from great, it makes me puke.

During that moment, with the blade or whatever in your hand, with the suicidal thoughts, you did have other choices, options, and opportunities available. You may have FELT you couldn't exercise them, and I am very sorry about that, but that does not change the fact that you COULD have exericsed them, freely chosen, at any time.

Hmm, well, there were precious few options, and I tried the ones I felt I could (except calling a help line-- talking to strangers makes me uncontrollably anxious when I am in that state). This most recent instance, it was the day my husband moved out after having gotten drunk, visited an ex, totalled our car, and tried to kill himself (almost successfully) WHILE I was in the hospital. On that day he moved out, he sent me an e-mail detailing that he had, in fact, cheated on me with the ex, and gave me sordid details. Which was when I completely lost it. I tried calling the few friends I could call late at night- no answer. I tried e-mailing people... I took anxiety meds, I took my bedtime meds along with meds to sleep... I smoked cigarettes, ate chocolate... I was hysterical, tearing my hair out, biting myself (which is something I am not aware of until after I come back), couldn't fall asleep, couldn't watch a movie, couldn't go outside for a walk (I live in NH, the amount of preparation time was beyond me), couldn't take a bath because I was worried I might try to drown myself (plus all those meds in me).... I almost called an ambulance, but so much gets horribly fucked in my life if I go back in the hospital again right now. Oh, I probably could have thought of other options, but in that state, it's hard to think at all. :Trigger: So when I found myself getting all my pills out, looking for a bag, etc.... I remembered that it's almost my son's birthday, and I couldn't kill myself. Then I was cutting, then I came back, and went to bed. :Trigger: I felt better the next day.

It's not that I don't try other things first, but that sometimes what is overwhelming me is so HUGE, I can't even begin to find a way to start thinking about the first step, much less a solution.

Other than some really sneaky justification going on

Oh, my justifications aren't sneaky. ;) I think I am being pretty straightforward in saying that SI has helped me not suicide at times, so in those cases, I don't regret it. (those doodling times, where it was just so cooool? yuck)

For the record, I would love to live in a world in which people don't self harm, in any way (razors, whiskey, what have you). In my world, what I am doing to get away from hurting myself is to take my meds, see a DBT therapist every week, take part in a DBT group, and if I can get my gung ho-ing, yoga/regular exercise. I know that everything I do to love myself makes it harder to hurt myself, in any way.

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Oh, I should mention-- my psychiatrist, therapist, med doc, and 1st husband (a good friend) all know about the SI. The more I talk to them about it, the less likely I am to do it. The therapist is new to me, and on my first visit, I didn't try to hide scars on my arms. He very tactfully asked me about my SI, and if it is something I would like to work on now, or later. I said that it is pretty low on my list of concerns at the moment (staying out of the hospital, being able to stay on my two feet & care for my four kids, working, all without hysterically crying constantly are higher on the list). I was impressed with the way he handled it-- very matter-of-fact, no judgement, while making sure that we will work on it at some point.

God, if only I could have the calm, direct manner these therapists trained in DBT have. Ahhh..... One day, I will live a fully mindful life. a Life of peace and serenity, up in an orange tree, with a smile always on my face. Everyone will call me "that crazy orange tree lady" but I won't even know... :)

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I read an article on PTSD once that talked about wartime strategies and peacetime strategies. We develop wartime strategies to get through something traumatic and those strategies did the trick, but they tend to be maladaptive and not much use for the now. The idea is to get to peacetime strategies.

So what skills could you use instead of SI when you feel like SI'ing? It sounds like you're making some positive changes in your life...but there's still what to do in the moment.

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It's still self destructive and for that reason, we don't condone it as a suggested coping strategy. <snip> Like you posted, DBT and therapy skills are a better way of coping.

Yes! I really wasn't trying to suggest that it should be recommended as a coping strategy, but wondering if other people have had similar experiences.

That and the fact that self injury can block out pain, but it actually reduces future tolerance to pain, leading to more self injury, lower pain tolerance and a lower threshold for feeling suicidal in the first place.

I was abused growing up, and my pain threshold is very high, but maybe it is a different kind of pain? I hadn't realized that there was that kind of loop that went on.

I read an article on PTSD once that talked about wartime strategies and peacetime strategies. We develop wartime strategies to get through something traumatic and those strategies did the trick, but they tend to be maladaptive and not much use for the now. The idea is to get to peacetime strategies.

So what skills could you use instead of SI when you feel like SI'ing? It sounds like you're making some positive changes in your life...but there's still what to do in the moment.

I've read similar information about PTSD. It does make sense-- it also makes sense that I SI, considering the multiple causes of my PTSD. And why it comes back when I am under duress... I hadn't SI'd for over five years until two months ago. The trauma hasn't really stopped since then, either, so it's hard to get off this bucking bronco. But I am on my way to slowing it way the F down. Skills in the moment? It kind of depends on the moment. I've described a number of them on one of my previous posts (must get to sleep soon, or I would retype).

When I SI, it is usually after the inital wallop of emotional/psychological pain. After the crying until I puke, tearing my hair out, screaming on the floor agony, I just sort of disappear into myself. Usually I kind of know what I am doing, but it's like watching someone else describe a video of me doing it (does that make sense?). There is the part of my awareness that keeps everything clean, and I don't feel out of control of myself, but more like I'm on autopilot.

Today was one more day that I did not SI. (unless you count shoveling snow for almost two hours SI) Tomorrow I see my DBT therapist again.

Thanks for not totally smacking me down, you all. I really like CB, feel comfortable here, and like that I can get some thoughts out of my head to people that understand what universe I might be living in...

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