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Swapping 1 'type' of self-harm for another?

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....I was just wondering if anyone else felt like this ever...

I've been self-harming since I was 10, to cope with feelings of grief, responsibility, fear etc when my dad died. Back then when I was young it was cutting, pretty much every day.

That continued for years. Then when I was around 17 a friend suddenly became worried about my spiralling depression and harming behaviour, and threatened me in various ways to force me to stop cutting.

At that point, I made a conscious decision, that if I wasn't able to cope and control my pain through cutting any more, then I was going to cope through starvation - I stopped eating, and that was the seed that began my development of anorexia.

When I hit rock bottom with the anorexia though, I somehow managed to reach for recovery, and so with a lot of help and support have managed to almost entirely get better (I don't think eating disorders ever REALLY go away, but I think I'm as close as it gets).

Since recovering from the eating disorder though, the cutting has come back - I'm back to cutting almost daily again, sometimes multiple times. There are also now added elements of drug abuse too.

AND SO, it seems I have some inherent need to hurt myself: cutting, if I can't cut then starving, if I can't starve then cutting again, or drug abuse...

My question is, does anyone else recognise this? Anyone else seem to always need some kind of harmful coping mechanism?

Love, Chloe.


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I think that it's not uncommon to swap one form of self-harm for another. I've gone back and forth between cutting, skin picking, hair pulling, skin peeling, binge eating - I've been around the block with it too.

Unfortunately it isn't really enough, as you found out, to just address one behaviour - you have to somehow get to the root of what is making you want to harm yourself and work on that in therapy.

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I swap them around as well, between using, burning, starving, purging. I'm currently working on this in therapy, as tryp recommended, and have picked up drinking. It's still always something. So, yes, you are completely normal.

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