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mythweaver

how do you classify your SI?

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There might be a thread for this already, but I didn't see a recent one. 

 

Personally I see my SI as a negative coping skill that has become an addiction. I was meeting with a member of my counseling center's Emergency Team this week, and he used to work with heroin addicts. He told me that he saw a lot of parallels in my story, especially my ability to go for long periods of time (months, even) without engaging in self harm. But it only takes one crisis where I break and use SI to open the flood gates so to speak, after that the urges are unmanageable and I start self harming for smaller reasons. And it takes more damage each episode to achieve the same degree of relief. Also the urges can become free-floating, unattached to any particular emotion or situation. The SI becomes it's own thing entirely, and that makes it so much harder to stop. 

 

So do you view your own experiences with SI as an addiction, a compulsion, a habit, a coping skill, or something else entirely?

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I haven't actively self harmed for a few years now (I'm bad at remembering precise timelines), but for me it was definitely a maladjusted coping mechanism.

Edited by MiaB

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Mine was similar to mia's... an attempt to cope that caused more problems than it solved.

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My experience with SI has been a transformation. Currently, and as bad as this may sound, I see SI almost as a positive coping mechanism. Granted, I rarely self harm anymore. As a child through my early teenage years, it was an addiction/habit/compulsion, whichever. It needed to be a daily thing. It basically was a drug addiction, going into the bathrooms of friends just to "use" even if there was no particular trigger. I just liked that I could feel in an otherwise numbed existence. (Although at times, there were triggers and the event would be much more severe; without triggers I enjoyed the control of creating identical, parrallel lines).

 

For whatever reason, I stopped this recurring habit of SI. It evolved into needing a trigger for me to SI, which could be one of the more severe episodes due to impulsiveness and anger over a more controlled environment for an attempt at control and feel feelings within the sadness.

 

The only reason I currently see it as a positive coping mechanism is that whenever I witness a triggering event, I could go ape-shit crazy. It is very possible I will damage property (mine or others--whichever is closest), or cause injury to another or myself (driving wrecklessly; hitting heads against walls). Sometimes it just that I have so much energy in this body, I feel like I'm going to explode or snap or something intolerable. But then I can regain a calmness and focus it all into the SI.

 

I'm almost 100% that's not healthy, but that's my experiences in a nutshell with SI.

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Alice, can you imagine having something other than SI to bring you back to calm? I imagine that there would be something immensely powerful there.

 

For me, SI was a way to help me feel safer in a really unsafe world.

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Go Ask Alice: I understand that you are just reporting your own experiences in response to the original post, but you're tripping dangerously close to glorifying self harm, which is very much not our aim here.  I encourage you to read through our pinned threads, especially our guidelines for posting here, which include this on the purpose of the board

 

 
Since the purpose of the board is to encourage and enable people to stop self harming, it's important that those using the board have this in mind when they post. We recognise that it's often not possible to quit right away. However when someone posts and admits they don't want to stop and don't want to use coping strategies, it creates a culture where it becomes acceptable to self harm in that way.

 

(red is mine)

 

and

 

Our hope is that we can continue to be a safe community for people struggling with quitting and that we can support each other in moving on from self harm.

 

As both Wooster and I implied, SI is essentially a damaging and unhealthy means of coping, and here we prefer to help one another move away from that. As said above, we understand that it's not always possible to quit immediately, but our goal here is to assist in finding safer means of self care and self soothing.

Edited by MiaB
damn internet connection kept eating my full post

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Go Ask Alice: I understand that you are just reporting your own experiences in response to the original post, but you're tripping dangerously close to glorifying self harm, which is very much not our aim here.  I encourage you to read through our pinned threads, especially our guidelines for posting here, which include this on the purpose of the board

 

 

Since the purpose of the board is to encourage and enable people to stop self harming, it's important that those using the board have this in mind when they post. We recognise that it's often not possible to quit right away.

However when someone posts and admits they don't want to stop and don't want to use coping strategies, it creates a culture where it becomes acceptable to self harm in that way.

 

(red is mine)

 

and

 

Our hope is that we can continue to be a safe community for people struggling with quitting and that we can support each other in moving on from self harm.

 

As both Wooster and I implied, SI is essentially a damaging and unhealthy means of coping, and here we prefer to help one another move away from that. As said above, we understand that it's not always possible to quit immediately, but our goal here is to assist in finding safer means of self care and self soothing.

 

MiaB--

 

I am terribly sorry and it certainly was not my intention. I have read over the guidelines and will certainly keep them in mind when posting about SI and related topics.

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Alice, I hope we've resolved everything via PM.  I am splitting off one of your earlier posts at the suggestion of Rosie, because it poses an interesting question.

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For me it was an attempt to regulate my emotions that ultimately needed to be replaced by something that allowed me to recognize myself as a person worthy of nurturing and actual soothing comfort when i was hurting emotionally.

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Currently, it's a way to slow things down. My head gets spinning and my thoughts race. It's super uncomfortable. My SH seems to slow my thoughts down some. I am trying to stop...and I had for a while, but I'm back at it lately. Working to get back to a place where I can stop again...

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I always self-harmed to prove to myself that I was strong enough to take whatever was thrown at me.

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It is an ungood coping skill and mildly addictive.

...I tend to feel the urge to use it when triggered by interpersonal conflict with those I care about.

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For me, it's usually none of the above...

 

I tend to do it as self-punishment. It's almost like the opposite of coping, in that I'm actively trying to destroy myself.

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SI validates the view that there is a problem and reassures me that if I can harm myself, maybe one day I'll be able to kill myself too even if it is accidental. Since it took a while yl go from superficial cuts to deep cuts, I feel like I can work up to something fatal. That part is very comforting.

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SI for me is a form of self-punishment when I feel I've done something bad/wrong.  I don't cut, I hit myself.  It tends to happen when I'm dwelling on something from the past that I feel I did wrong or badly, particularly related to parenting (I have unreasonably high standards that I hold myself to and really get on myself when I don't meet them) or to behavior that manifested while I was manic/mixed.  Fortunately, the urge to SI has some warning time with it, so I can usually prevent myself from doing it.  It's hard sometimes, though.

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Near as I can tell, my active self harming period (ten years ago or so) was akin in the "why" to why I sometimes revert to it in small, short, rare relapses. It dissociates me from intense emotions. Bipolar moods, depression, anxiety, sensory overload and subsequent meltdown, gender dysphoria, trauma memory loops, etc.

I'm fairly certain it was addictive for me during the worst of it, a period of maybe four years or so, more than ten years ago. I wasn't going off to do it without triggers, mind, but it sorta became a coping mechanism for everything, and I can get obsessive fixations on it sometimes (usually if I'm super stressed plus likely also episodic and then encounter a visual trigger.) I "quit" it ten years ago without any real knowledge of SI in general, or addictions, no therapy, nada. I'm more impressed now than I was then. I quit in very very similar a way that I quit smoking cigarettes six years ago - the mental tricks I learned in stopping SI were applicable to quitting smoking, for me.

It can pop up on me, RARELY, and again it seems to be a way to dissociate and/or distract myself from too-intense emotions/intrusive thoughts. It basically only comes up as an urge when hypomanic, I miss too many meds, worse gender dysphoria than usual, sometimes during an anxiety attack. And I have lots and lots of much better coping mechanisms these days.

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Oh, I do self harm TECHNICALLY when overloaded/in meltdown but I'm not used to thinking of it as self harm. My primary SH was/is cutting, I have a lot of very visible scarring even ten years later. But I do things like bang my head on things, and a few others, with meltdow/overload. I'm still getting used to thinking of myself as autistic. The way to avert meltdown/overload self harming is *different* for me, mostly, than other triggers. Like, clonazepam can help me with meltdowns or panic/anxiety, so that's cross-applicable, but other than that, different.

For the mood/thoughts/feelings stuff, keeping up with my meds, CBT skills, treating episodes as soon as I notice them, etc.

Overload/meltdown, avoid overload! Or do my best. Self-soothing/stimming behaviours on PURPOSE that are not harmful (my face picking goes down if I increase my handflapping on purpose.) Noise cancelling headphones that cost me about $130 or so but make going in public SO MUCH EASIER. Stuff like that.

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I usually SI during dissociative freakouts of one sort or another.

 

A coping mechanism, I guess. Although I've had times (rare, thankfully) where I genuinely did not feel in control of my body, so it seems weird to think of those as a "coping mechanism" rather than a straightforward result of my PTSD. 

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