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sudden urge / desire to self harm having never done so before


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Hi sorry if this offends anyone.....

I have a long history of depression/OCD/anxiety issues going back to childhood really. I did once or twice as a teen try cutting myself but never with any serious intent - basically ended up feeling even worse afterwards because I felt I 'couldn't even do THAT properly'.  Thankfully it was never 'serious' (although obviously all SH is) and it never became a routine coping mechanism or a problem for me.

 

Now some 10+ years later and I have recently been going through a rough patch and these last couple of weeks I get a fleeting urge to cut myself and I don't know why.  Is it normal for adults to suddenly want to self-harm?  Part of me feels like I need some kind of 'release' and the pain might do that and another part of me thinks maybe people will take my problems more seriously if I harm?  I am aware how incredibly disgusting that sounds.   In a really perverse way I started reading this forum today almost hoping that it would convince me SH would help - perhaps even get some ideas or tips..... I mean how f-ed up is that?

 

I don't know where the hell this stems from and it is freaking me out a little.  Lately I have been quite depressed and very agitated with it ; trying antidepressants without much success, feel like I have no life etc. Obsessed with death and dying in general, basically all over the place.  

 

Anyone thoughts or advice would be appreciated. 

 

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I don't know if this would pertain to you but maybe getting on an anticonvulsant would work well for you?  I don't think I'd have been as well off had it not been for years of topiramate.

interesting... one dr I talked to mentioned gabapentin or pregabalin for the chronic pain but that idea has not been mentioned again..... 

I didn't realise anticonvulsants were used for MH issues of my kind really..

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Is this a sign of more intense anxiety or depression? I can get negative ideations when my mood is off. Perhaps it is time to see a psych.

 

Therapy with a good therapist can help anxiety and OCD.

 

There are meds for OCD and mood besides antidepressants. Lamictal, for example, is an anticonvulsant that helps many who don't respond much to antidepressants for depression. As already said, topiramate (Topamax) helps some with OCD. Antipsychotics are also used for depression and OCD. Gabapentin, Lyrica and a few other psych meds help with certain forms of chronic pain.

 

A good psychiatrist should be able to help you psych-med-wise, have some knowledge of psych pain mgt meds, and give you a referral to a doc for pain mgt.

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For the rational part of you: Don't do it. Even if you think it's going to help this once, even if it would, it's not worth risking SI becoming a permanent vice. Seriously, I was a freshman in high school and I thought I was just blowing off steam. Cutting/SI is an addiction for life and it's not worth it. At all.

 

For the part of you that just wants to do it already: Try holding ice cubes, handfuls off them. Snapping a rubber band on my arm sometimes works for me when I need to 'feel' like I'm harming myself (which might be your issue if your thoughts are more on the 'impulse' side than just the 'pain' side). Careful if you do the rubber band, though. It's a great trick and doctors often recommend it as a stand-by, but the band can leave little streaks of bruises if you snap too hard/much.

 

Relating: I'm no doctor or anything, and I don't know tons about you, but the way you described your need to hurt yourself reminds me of one of my psychotic days. I've cut for relief, so I understand that, but there are times where I just get this restless feeling and get random impulses to hurt myself. You said something about fleeting urges that seem to come out of nowhere. If your desire to self harm is paired with irrationality or delusional thinking, I'd definitely call up my doc about it.

 

Maybe cutting will make people take your problems more seriously?: Well, maybe, but I wouldn't test that theory. When different individuals find out I've been a cutter, they all have their own sympathetic, supportive reactions, but it's never anything earth shattering. My doctors put the info in their files and monitor me on it, but that's really more annoying than helpful. I can say that the people on this site are going to take your problems seriously, if that does anything for you. I may not know you, but I get where you're coming from. Just hang in there.

^ Thanks for that interesting reply.  I don't think I'm psychotic although I don't know what it means to be so!  I feel fairly rational in my thinking and attached to reality.  I just feel really, really agitated, restless, swinging between feeling quite sad/tearful and then feeling angry.  This kind of strong desire every now and then to cut/hurt or whatever.  It is all a little strange to me, it feels a bit different to the Anxiety and OCD I've experienced before..... perhaps my symptoms have just shifted or maybe my DX needs updating......

 

As for the being taken more seriously thing - well I get what you are saying.  I don't want tea and sympathy from my Dr but I'm under the care of a GP/family doctor not a Pdoc and because of my anxiety when visiting I'm not sure I'm getting across how much I struggle at the moment.  These last few months I've been on 3 different antidepressants and if this latest one doesn't work the Dr wants to try another (possibly an MAOI but she didn't say so I'm second guessing) and I'm just getting a little weary, angry and frustrated that nothing is helping.  

 

This latest med.... I explained I was feeling agitated and asked for an  antidepressant would help me sleep but instead I was prescribed one that isn't really known for being sedating at all and isn't helping my mood yet either.  

 

Is this a sign of more intense anxiety or depression? I can get negative ideations when my mood is off. Perhaps it is time to see a psych.

 

I definitely think it is because I'm going through a difficult patch.  I don't feel really depressed (But I did a depression questionnaire online and scored highly..) - I would say my main issue is agitation and by that I mean feeling restless, irritable and needing to move a lot.  This sense that I can't sit still, concentrate or feel comfortable in my own skin at all. I've had severe social anxiety years ago and rarely left the house; lately I am able to get out to the supermarket or whatever so in that way I'm functioning OK, but at the same time I feel like I'm on the verge of 'snapping' and punching someone in the face or something. Anger and frustration is a big issue for me right now. 

 

My symptoms are not what I would consider classic anxiety - I don't have the racing heart, butterflies in the stomach or feeling like I'm doomed and about to die. 

 

anyway, thanks for the replies.  right now I'm just going to try and distract myself rather than keep indulging this self-harm idea...... I don't understand where it is coming from but I am hoping it is going to pass ?

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Hi crazyguy!

 

I've probably got a different situation to you, because I SI'ed a fair bit as a teenager, in different ways and at different times, both sporadically and as a routine coping mechanism. I still get the urge to do so, although it hasn't been a habit for years, and I am an adult, so I suppose it isn't totally irrelevant. :)
 

 

Is it normal for adults to suddenly want to self-harm? 

I wouldn't call it normal, exactly, but I have heard anecdotally about many people who have self harmed and struggled with wanting to self harm as adults even though they didn't as children/teens. I think there's at least one long thread on this board about self harming as an adult. The reasons why someone would want to self harm are definitely not exclusive to teenagers, so it does make sense. Also, having fleeting urges to self harm can be a symptom of MI and, well, those of us who have long term MI type things often get a bit of variety in symptoms over time. That's not unusual either.

Huh. Short question, long answer. 

 

 

As for why you want to, I can understand both needing some kind of a release and feeling like maybe people would take your problems more seriously. It sounds like you're really suffering and a bit overwhelmed and you're needing to find relief from it. Obviously cutting has a lot of downsides so if you can find something else that might work and isn't harmful, then that would be great, really. There are loads of suggestions pinned at the top of the SI board. :)

 

 

 

part of me thinks maybe people will take my problems more seriously if I harm?  I am aware how incredibly disgusting that sounds.

 

I don't think it sounds disgusting. You are really suffering and you are not getting relief. You really need effective treatment and you're not getting it, plus you feel like you're struggling to communicate effectively with your doctor. So your mind/brain is coming up with these extreme and crazy strategies so you can get the help you really, really need. I suspect it might be the stigma of self harm as attention seeking/manipulative that makes the idea of self harming because of needing to communicate repulsive or frightening. (I have many thoughts and feelings about this, because, well, I've been there.) I've even self harmed in the past because I needed to communicate the distress and despair I was feeling to myself and prove that it was real and tangible, somehow. Having these thoughts does not make you manipulative or a bad person. Just a person who is struggling and in pain and needs more or different help with that.

 

Maybe you could ask if your GP can refer you to an actual psychiatrist who has more training with communicating and treating MI stuff? Or there's always handing over a written or printed sheet or bringing a list of what you need to talk about to an appointment. Crazyboards has helped me when I needed a human being to validate my pain and distress. Writing stuff down in a journal and calmly discussing with a therapist (seriously, it might help if you had some time to just chat about this with a train professional who will be calm and reassuring and won't be shocked or anything).

One last thing: I have found that the confusion over why on earth your mind/brain is throwing up these urges to self harm can be distressing in itself. Like, if there was a therapist you would feel safe discussing this with that might be really helpful but even if you don't (or if you do and you'd like to do a bit of reading) then books, information sheets and articles can be so, so helpful. There are some links here http://www.crazyboards.org/forums/index.php/topic/43581-self-harm-recovery-resources/

and I think this information sheet

http://www.sane.org.uk/uploads/self-harm.pdf

is really excellent for the "why on earth am I even thinking this stuff????" confusion. I still go back to it from time to time anyway!

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So, you said you wanted an anti depressant that also aids in sleep? I'd talk to your Doctor about Trazadone. I used to take it until I was diagnosed with rapid cycling bipolar, where thy put me on a mood suppressant. But I understand the urge your talking about. If you want someone to take you seriously, this isn't the way. Also there are so many other ways to find release without blood! I find screaming (sometimes along with death metal) is helpful for me, but everyone has their own way to do it.

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Do you have a tdoc on your team?

 

Getting skills to manage hard times without making things worse and learning non-pharmaceutical things you can do to regulate your emotions is almost universally helpful.

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Do you have a tdoc on your team?

 

Getting skills to manage hard times without making things worse and learning non-pharmaceutical things you can do to regulate your emotions is almost universally helpful.

Nope, was assessed for CBT recently and they decided they couldn't help as I wasn't suitable..... to be honest  not fussed as I found previously that CBT didn't help long term anyway.  I recently started doing some guided mindfulness meditation online and reading up about ACT therapy......... so trying to self-teach some skills to recognise and manage emotions. 

 

In reply to the previous poster....... I don't think my current dr will go for Trazodone but I guess I can only ask.  This dr seems to avoid anything sedating or potentially dangerous in overdose. 

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That's great... no that you got turned down, but that you're pursuing ACT and mindfulness. Learning how to watch urges without acting on them is a great skill, not just for self harm, but for life.

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