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Thoughts of cutting


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For 12 years I hadn't cut myself, a few mos ago I did slip during a very difficult time I was going through, but the cut wasn't nearly as bad as the ones I used to make.  I am fine and actually happy all day long but then at night when lying in bed to go to sleep I get the desire to cut myself.  Many times I am able to pray until I go to sleep when this happens, or talk myself out of it.  I just don't understand why after so long of not having these thoughts and urges why they are coming to me nightly and it frightens me to have these thoughts as I don't want to act on them (but I do in a way as well).  It seems like the desire is getting stronger too.  Has anyone else gone a significant time without self harming or the desire to but then the urge came back?  Do you think something triggered you wanting to cut again?  What do you do to deal with the persistent urge to cut?

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Yes, this has happened to me.  I stopped cutting in my early 20's, and now at 34 I'm dealing with it again. I cut twice in May and urges are sometimes coming back now. I think for me the trigger was starting therapy and facing/admitting some trauma in my past. It has been helpful for me to forgive myself for slipping up. Just because I cut again, it doesn't mean I'm back at the beginning and it doesn't take away all of the years of not cutting. 

Dealing with urges isn't easy. For me it is helpful to try recognize that if I want to cut, I'm probably feeling some emotion, like shame or anger or fear. Cutting is very soothing to me. So if I want to cut, I tell myself it is ok to want to feel better. It is ok to want to be soothed.  My therapist suggested I make a list of other soothing activities. I look at this list to remind myself of alternatives. Recently the best one has been coloring in a coloring book. 

It is great that prayer is helpful to you. It sounds like a wonderful tool for you. Also the fact that you are able to talk yourself out of cutting a lot. That shows so much strength.

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I know at night I tend to think about my shortcomings and last night I felt rejected by my husband and I guess I was hurt.  I like what you said about recognizing you're having an emotion and also writing a list of other soothing ideas (going to try this).  Coloring in a coloring book is a great idea.  I had thought that part of my life was behind me.  I have a DBT workbook maybe I'll start working with that again.  Thanks so much for taking the time to post and sharing your wonderful insights.

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Flutterby- That's really good that you were able to identify that you felt rejected by your husband and it caused you to feel hurt. (Not good that you felt it, I mean, just wise of you to be able to acknowledge it).  It is a terrible feeling when we sense rejection from partners. It sounds like a very good strategy to pick up the DBT workbook again.

I know what you mean about thinking that that part of your life was behind you. I'm thinking of you and wishing you wellness!

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I am 52 years old and have just started self harm.  At first it was cutting but so many "professionals" told me it was only superficial, so I decided to burn myself as it leaves a more "vivid" scar.  "Yeah, "superficial" this!"

I get mad, get drunk and then I cut or burn.  I know that I should probably be in the hospital but it's not a good time as I have to pack up and sell/toss/donate my belongings as I will be eventually losing my childhood home and will have to live in an apartment.  My friend is dying from cancer so when he's gone I think I'll check myself into the psych ward.  At least now I know how to plan for it (food and water for the cat, lights on timers, mail on hold so my brother isn't too inconvenienced) I'm applying for Social Security but my attorney isn't sounding very enthusiastic so we'll just have to see.

Let's all share a big, group 'ugh'.

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Superficial isn't meant as a judgment that one isn't serious about self harm. It means that a cut can heal without stitches

Please be very careful with burns, Barbz. They can get infected very easily and are high maintenance wounds.

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I started to have urges after more than 10 years a few months ago, but I was able to hold back by increasing contact with my therapist. we worked on techniques to help me avoid SI, like leaving the apartment or avoiding objects that I find triggering. are you seeing a therapist or psychiatrist who you can talk to about this?

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I've been having urges lately to self-harm for the purpose of soothing or feeling something during depression. The last time I regularly self-harmed was when I was in my late teens and I am now in my late twenties. Over the past several years I've self-harmed in isolated incidents fueled by drugs or alcohol. But now I'm sober and wanting to do this! It's frightening me because I thought I was done with this and I've been working so hard because I'm going to school to be a social worker. I can't imagine how I'm fit to help anyone else when I can't help myself from my own self-destructiveness. I think coloring is an excellent idea. I've heard of using a marker to draw the lines on my skin instead of using a tool that would do actual damage. Right now I'm using this message board as a distraction. The more distractions you have as tools, the easier it is to avoid, I think. I also think have time free from self-harm adds to the likelihood of being able to refrain from it. It takes building up that time, though, and is much more difficult when starting to quit again.

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I am 52 years old and have just started self harm.  At first it was cutting but so many "professionals" told me it was only superficial, so I decided to burn myself as it leaves a more "vivid" scar.  "Yeah, "superficial" this!"

I know this is a late reply, but oh well. My choice was burning but like Wooster said before me, be careful. They are indeed very, very high maintenance wounds and it's easier than you would think to give yourself third degree burn because a deep burn destroys the nerves and you can't feel it the more you work into an existing wound (I would burn over the same areas repeatedly). The problem also is that they can take months to heal, even to simply scab over. 

Unless you have the right treatment, infection is also inevitable. I eventually had to seek treatment for my most serious wound, which should have been grafted early on but wasn't by my own stubborn stupidity. The other burns were a constant at home battle with infection off and on while they healed. Infection also makes for nasty scarring. Big puffy discoloured areas of skin that cannot be hidden with anything besides surgery I'd image. 

If you are getting into burning, don't, but if you can't help it, you need to know how to treat any infection early and keep your wounds covered, clean and all your supplies need to be sterile. Letting an infection progress on to things like gangrene is not actually all that hard to do. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I started to have urges after more than 10 years a few months ago, but I was able to hold back by increasing contact with my therapist. we worked on techniques to help me avoid SI, like leaving the apartment or avoiding objects that I find triggering. are you seeing a therapist or psychiatrist who you can talk to about this?

I have a Case Manager that I talked to about it with and I see my pdoc next week. Good ideas leaving home for a bit and removing objects that are triggers, thank you.  My case manager actually wants me to do something called wellness recovery action plan....something I've done before and actually taught as well, but it's 3 days a week and I just don't have time for it, plus I'd rather do a DBT program instead. I think that would be more helpful.

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