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Should I tell someone?


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Hi there,

I'm new, though I have been lurking for a few weeks now. I'm 18 year old student, in her last year of school and recently, it seems I have started cutting. I don't have any reasons of trauma or abuse (which quite frankly, makes me feel worse) and after 4 weeks of daily SI, I have come to admit that I have an addiction. I think I realised this after I tried to stop for the 3rd time.

Anyway, after this evening's session, I noticed that my left arm has dramatically weakened. I haven't been doing anything particularly deep but this effect is worrying to say the least. And it's safe to say that it has confirmed my need to stop. As much as the SI feels good, my fear of (possibly) losing a limb even stronger.

I've tried some of the techniques on this board but the problem is, everytime I say 'that's it Chayne, no more. You won't do it tomorrow', I end up back where I started a day later. It's like groundhog day. I'm thinking I need to break the cycle.. but I don't know how. I thought maybe telling someone (not my parents, I couldn't bear to tell them) or a friend (though I have already admitted to a friend the real reason for the new bandage I am consistently wearing - she replied 'Well, it's okay s'long as you don't commit suicide') or maybe even the school nurse would help to make it more official.

But the thing is, I am ashamed of myself.

What do you think I should do?

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Guest Vapourware

I think it's a good idea to tell someone and work out the reasons behind why you are cutting, so you can work towards stopping. Is there a school counsellor you could talk to about this? School counsellors can be quite helpful and they would keep whatever you tell them confidential.

Also, did you try the alternatives to SI that are pinned on the forum? They might help you when the urge arises. I guess the process of stopping is a gradual one, it's hard to cold-turkey on stopping once the habit has become daily.

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I definitely think that -when you are ready - you should tell somebody you trust. I never ever intended to tell anybody about SI, and I thought this would be easy as I never cut visibly, until one day when I was found out. I was messing about in the frot room, playing with the dog and running around quite a bit, when I fell and my shirt lifted up, only for a second, but long enough for my sister to see my cuts. It took me a week to admit to my family what it was, they were devastated and in no way understood, they were furious and hurt and their reaction was in no way sensitive. Anyway - rambling on about me - my point is you want to be able to tell somebody on your own terms, when you're found out it hurts like hell, especially with the reaction I got.

You dont have to tell your family, not yet, or ever really, as long as things dont get out of hand. Do you have a doctor you trust? School nurse is a good idea, but I know at my school they had a duty of care and not of confidentiality, if they thought I was in danger they would have told my parents.

You seem quite scared, are you afraid it's getting out of hand? Always remember that if you are in danger, go to an emergency room or doctor, don't let shame keep you from safety. And don't feel guilty that you don't have a specific 'reason' for cutting, a lot of people don't, an illness is an illness, whether it is visible or not.

SI is an addiction that develops fast, and with addictions you have to tackle things one day at a time. Don't say to yourself 'I'm never going to cut again', because it's unrealistic, I stopped for 2 years and still could never say that, because I started again very recently. What i do is when i feel the urge, I rate it out of 10, 10 being an unbearable need to cut, then I fund a distraction, reconsider my feelings in half an hour, and If the desire reduces I keep distracting myself. It's not about stopping all together, it's about taking each day as it comes, and reducing the amount you cut.

Sorry I didn't mean to go on this much, anyway, hope some of this makes sense. I really hope you find help and safety - just a message away if you need to talk.

Stay safe.

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I also wanted to add that just because you haven't experienced abuse or trauma, doesn't mean you aren't entitled to feel bad or to struggle. Everyone has their own story and their own pain and that is only human. I am glad you found us. How are yu doing today?

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Absolutely tell someone. If you're worried that you may have damaged something, I would tell a medical person immediately - possibly someone you don't neccessarily have to see again, like a doctor at A&E/an emergency room - and get it checked out. If neccessary you can make up an excuse for how you got the cut, they may not believe you but they may go along with it to avoid scaring you off getting medical attention after a bad cut.

Someone else needs to know because it's important to have a non-cutter's perspective on your problem so you can tell how far you're getting sucked in and help admit to yourself that you have a problem.

Self-harm doesn't have to have a trauma or abuse related origin, and neither does mental illness. I got depressed and started cutting before anything traumatic happened to me - it happens all the time and it doesn't make your problem any less real.

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I think it's a good idea to tell someone and work out the reasons behind why you are cutting, so you can work towards stopping. Is there a school counsellor you could talk to about this? School counsellors can be quite helpful and they would keep whatever you tell them confidential.

Also, did you try the alternatives to SI that are pinned on the forum? They might help you when the urge arises. I guess the process of stopping is a gradual one, it's hard to cold-turkey on stopping once the habit has become daily.

Thanks for the advice. Tomorrow when I brave going into school, I'll see if the school nurse is around. The thing is, I've been through it a few times in my head, and have not a clue what I should say. :mellow: I have indeed tried some the alternatives - in particular the 'putting it off for half an hour', and the 'draw on your skin' one. It helped while I was at school, out of reach from my.. devices.. but at home, I've proven I have no self control. Every evening I'm back like clockwork.

You seem quite scared, are you afraid it's getting out of hand? Always remember that if you are in danger, go to an emergency room or doctor, don't let shame keep you from safety. And don't feel guilty that you don't have a specific 'reason' for cutting, a lot of people don't, an illness is an illness, whether it is visible or not.

I think that's my fear in a nutshell. I started off with a few grazes, white lines that practically rubbed away and now I've got so many actual cuts, it's hard to distinguish each one. I also want to say, I found your post particularly helpful. You seemed to have seen into the heart of things and hit bullseye with each of your points. I *am* feeling guilty about what I am doing, because I'm sure there are worse off people in the world. I'd like to say thank you for the advice too and your own personal insight, it does make me think how terrible it would be to be 'found' out rather than tell them.

I also wanted to add that just because you haven't experienced abuse or trauma, doesn't mean you aren't entitled to feel bad or to struggle. Everyone has their own story and their own pain and that is only human. I am glad you found us. How are yu doing today?

Thanks tryp, I'll try to keep that in mind. I have to admit it's weird talking to you after coming across quite a few of your posts in my lurking days.

I am.. not great today. I broke my cycle, but in a bad way. Normally it's one session but today I had two. But I'm hoping that since I have to be up tomorrow for school, I won't have time to do a morning thing.

Absolutely tell someone. If you're worried that you may have damaged something, I would tell a medical person immediately - possibly someone you don't neccessarily have to see again, like a doctor at A&E/an emergency room - and get it checked out. If neccessary you can make up an excuse for how you got the cut, they may not believe you but they may go along with it to avoid scaring you off getting medical attention after a bad cut.

Someone else needs to know because it's important to have a non-cutter's perspective on your problem so you can tell how far you're getting sucked in and help admit to yourself that you have a problem.

Self-harm doesn't have to have a trauma or abuse related origin, and neither does mental illness. I got depressed and started cutting before anything traumatic happened to me - it happens all the time and it doesn't make your problem any less real.

That rings true. The thing is, I told someone else (mentioned in my original post) and it didn't seem to be a big deal to her, so I assumed it wasn't. Now it just feel attention seeking, and silly to bring it up with anyone else. If it wasn't for the fact I am worried about the puffiness and weakness in my arm, I probably wouldn't bring it up at all.

And thank you, the end of your post brought tears to my eyes, because I often wonder myself if my problems are real, or important enough to be discussed.

Thank you for all responses. I hate asking for help, so even writing this post was hard for me to do.

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So I tried to tell the school nurse. Set a game plan and everything.. but every single time I went (I went 5 times) she was either busy or not there.

I don't know.. It made me feel like it wasn't "meant to be", so in the end I just went home.

And Twisted, it seems I've already been found out. Today, the head of my sixth took me out of one of my classes to "have a chat". She said that she had noticed my withdrawal recently and that one of my teachers had expressed concern over my arm.

After our chat (which was really just a one-sided, talking at me affair), I returned to my class with a burning shame and tears in my eyes. Needless to say it was not a good day. I am thinking I should just keep it to myself in the future.

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It's really hard when someone finds out and they don't react in the way that you want, but that doesn't mean that you should just shut everyone out. Afterall, you told us, and it doesn't seem like you found our reaction to be so unhelpful.

It's really, really hard to stop on your own. But it never helps when other people don't react supportively. It's a hard balance, but I encourage you to keep trying.

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Often it's a lack of understanding that causes people to react like they do, we all need to work together to fight this stigma surrounding SI and mental illness. I'm really sad that you didn't find the help and comfort you needed at school, but that doesn't mean you wont find it elsewhere.

I can imagine exactly how you felt at the nurse not being available, whenever I seek help and I don't find it, I feel lost and unworthy, like people don't care enough to help, so why bother? But then I found this site, and I can honestly say that I've never been denied the help I need, there is always somebody here to talk to, so I hope you find the support you need in us.

You should never have to fight these battles alone, even though it's hard to find the right people to talk to, mainly because of fear of reaction and shame. Are you in the UK? If so, try giving samaritans a call/email/drop in to a local centre, they may be able to point you in the right direction, and often talking to a stranger outside of your loop helps. I know there are organisations like this globally, so if you don't find what you need on here, give one of them a try, wherever you are in the world.

Sorry I'm rambling again!! Don't ever think you are alone in this, we are all here struggling through, keeping each other going. Remember, it's one step at a time, everything will work out when it needs to, maybe today wasn't your day, and tomorrow might not be either, or the next day, or even the one after that, but it will come, things do get easier, even if they have to get harder first.

Stay safe.

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Have you thought about going to see a therapist outside of the school setting?

I know if it were me, I would feel more comfortable talking to someone who is independent. Twisted Addiction's suggestion of the Samaritans was a good idea, they are open 24/7 and you can talk to them any time. Or there is Mind who might be able to offer counselling, but there is usually a waiting list though far shorter than NHS. But you could call the Samaritans in that time if you ever need to speak to somebody.

Sorry if it was my misinterpretation you being in the UK, but I assume that because you say you are in sixth form - as far as I know a British term. Plus TA also said UK. Please forgive me for being a jerk if you are not in UK.

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It's a hard balance, but I encourage you to keep trying.

You must've been channelling that to me because I tried again. And this time succeeded, somewhat. I confessed to my head of sixth form and she arranged a meeting with a "drop in" nurse. To be honest, she was so patronising, by the end of the day I wished I'd kept my mouth shut. And they are now trying to organise a doctor's appointment for me.

I can imagine exactly how you felt at the nurse not being available, whenever I seek help and I don't find it, I feel lost and unworthy, like people don't care enough to help, so why bother?

That's exactly how I felt. Walking home after that I felt pretty low. But you're right, on here, everyone seems to know just what to say. I feel a bit helpless because I want to help others too, but I don't know how. And thank you for the Samaritans advice. I may try that.

Sorry if it was my misinterpretation you being in the UK, but I assume that because you say you are in sixth form - as far as I know a British term. Plus TA also said UK. Please forgive me for being a jerk if you are not in UK.

No, no, you are totally right, I am in the UK - sorry for not making that clear beforehand. I had thought about it, but had no idea how to go about it, so thank you for the advice. I have never heard of Mind, so perhaps I'll do some research into that. However, I suppose that I am still at the stage where I think going anywhere is a waste of their time. They should spend their time on people with real problems, if you know what I mean. I hate the idea of taking someone's space who needs it more.

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No, no, you are totally right, I am in the UK - sorry for not making that clear beforehand. I had thought about it, but had no idea how to go about it, so thank you for the advice. I have never heard of Mind, so perhaps I'll do some research into that. However, I suppose that I am still at the stage where I think going anywhere is a waste of their time. They should spend their time on people with real problems, if you know what I mean. I hate the idea of taking someone's space who needs it more.

But you obviously have a problem if you are posting here. I know that low self esteem sucks like that. But you are just as much entitled to help as anyone else.

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I felt like that for a long time - the first time I ever went to therapy, I spent the whole appointment crying and apologizing for being there and wasting the therapist's time when she could be working with people who really had problems. I think a lot of us have had those thoughts. But the truth is, if you're suffering, you need and deserve help.

There is no universal scale of whose pain is worse and whose pain deserves help. Pain is pain. It's individual and wholly ours and it deserves attention and help.

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enlightened_plutonium, so many people today have basically said what you and Tryp said, so it must be true. Though I just can't see it like that at all. I don't see my problem as a real problem at all.. or even a problem if I am being completely honest.

After talking to the nurse today, she's referred me to Cahms - whatever that is - and I consented. But not out of thinking it will benefit me, in fact, I feel like I will waste everyone's time. But she threatened to tell my parents if I didn't. I'm not sure how this is supposed to go, but I didn't feel like she was helping at all. I felt like she was trying to make me feel guilty, and doing everything to get her way. I felt like I was being treated like a stubborn 2 years old. And I probably am.

I'm sorry if I sound childish or self centred. I suppose I didn't equate help with feeling backed into a corner. I fully think I need to attempt to help myself before I seek help from elsewhere, but she didn't listen. Just dismissed how I felt and said I obviously couldn't do it.

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I fully think I need to attempt to help myself before I seek help from elsewhere, but she didn't listen. Just dismissed how I felt and said I obviously couldn't do it.

Well, the dismissing you and saying you obviously couldn't do it is wrong, but ...

Why do you absolutely need to help yourself before you seek help from elsewhere? I mean, if you have a problem with a math set, you try working it out and it's not working for you (i.e. you have anxiety and you try cutting but it's not helping) why wouldn't you go to a teacher and ask them for help? (Or a therapist and ask them for help?)

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