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terrydrives1979

What Stops You From Self Harming ?

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I quit a couple of years ago - the NHS have a bare-below-the-elbow rule now, where the staff have to wear short sleeves, and when that came in I was still self-harming on my arms. I switched to thighs, I thought I'd get away with that, but an Occupational Health doctor insisted I strip to my underwear*, on the basis that if I was harming at all then I wasn't stable enough to finish med school. So I quit cutting then, although I started struggling quite immediately without that coping mechanism or any suggestion of how to replace it, and ended up on Quetiapine. Actually, I think Quetiapine is the best thing since sliced bread, so maybe it wasn't such a bad thing.

*If any doctors are reading this, you may wish to think more carefully than that doctor did about the reasons the patient is presenting. My self-harm links to the PTSD I have from repeatedly being raped; locking me in an examination room and stripping me to my underwear was probably not going to help the therapeutic relationship much! Chaperone, chaperone, chaperone.

After a gap of a couple of years I've restarted cutting on my thighs, because I can't cope without SI at the moment, and I don't think the OH doctor I'm under at the moment would care about my cutting. He's aware of the burn before Christmas (that was supposed to be a mild just-to-take-the-pressure-off burn and ended up being 4th degree and needing a LOT of attention,) and he's just told me to go steady and look after myself - at the moment work is inconceivable so we'll see what happens when we get to that point,

I'm quite deeply entrenched in an episode of self-harm at the moment, but the main reason I stop for any period of time is if I'm with other people or in someone else's home, who would be upset know I'd done that. For example, I often stay with friends for a few days at a time, and the hostess would be heartbroken if I cut myself in her home. She knows I'm bottling it up and I'll 'catch up' when I get home and cut as much as I would have under her roof, but she can live with that more easily. The other thing that stops me is being in hospital, because I can't get clean blades, and I try really hard to keep my cuts infection-free because of my SLE.

Edited by Chocolate Heartache

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i have three friends that know about my cutting. and we're so close i feel too guilty not to tell them every time i cut. Knowing how it hurts and disappoints them is enough to keep me from doing it 90% of the time. Being terrified i will mess up and need stitches again covers the last 10%.

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I've managed to still go to ballet and hide my SI from other people there, but for the big 2-yearly performance the school does, I've had to stop, let any scars heal up and resist tampering with them so I can smother them with concealer and have nobody notice them. Ballet is the only thing stopping me; I know and will struggle to resist relapse after the shows, but I feel quite proud for not self harming for 1 month without relapsing.

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I feel quite proud for not self harming for 1 month without relapsing

As well you should! Good for you.

I wonder what it is about the performances that helps you not self harm... any way to capitalize on that and make other events on the calendar that would have similar stopping power?

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I find that as long as I don't have to expose my arm to anybody, I'm fine and I can SI more; one of the reasons I stopped was because the costume I have to wear is short sleeved and I wouldn't feel comfortable exposing scars which are not as healed. I can't think of any other events in which I would be required to not SI after the shows have ended; but hopefully something will come up which requires me to stop SI.

I feel quite proud for not self harming for 1 month without relapsing

As well you should! Good for you.

I wonder what it is about the performances that helps you not self harm... any way to capitalize on that and make other events on the calendar that would have similar stopping power?

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I've heard the '15 minute rule' talked about a bit over these forums and it really does work, if I have something to distract myself with. I might be sitting on the computer thinking, I'm going to SI now, after some negative thoughts/something that would trigger me to, and then I think, well I'll wait a bit. So then I preoccupy myself so much on the computer and keep saying to myself: wait a bit, wait a bit more and then the feeling usually passes. It's not a foolproof method though and doesn't always work, unfortunately, but it has stopped me on some occasions :)

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I find that as long as I don't have to expose my arm to anybody, I'm fine and I can SI more;

How about a self-imposed rule of having to wear short sleeves until the urges get less strong?

Just a thought.

The "15 minute" rule works really well for some people too.

If 15 minutes is too long, starting with 5 works really well.

I also use that trick to motivate myself to do things I otherwise don't want to do. If I totally do it for 5 minutes and still hate it, I can stop after 5.

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