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Unstrung Harp

How do you experience your urges?

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Are they always there, like a fly buzzing around that you can brush off, or do they go away when you’re well? What emotion brings them up? For me it’s a lot of things - anger, stress, anxiety, emotional pain. Can you always tell the difference between SI urges and more suicidal self-destructive urges? They used to be clearly different for me, but that all got a bit confused in my head when I had the episode that landed me in the hospital, so now I’m not always sure. I almost never act on mine, I think because they didn’t hit me til I was 30 (thanks Paxil). I think it might have been different if they came when I was 16, and I would have got involved in the whole behavioral feedback loop. As it is, they’re mostly upsetting, stressful thoughts for me, that are either in the foreground or the background depending on how I’m feeling.

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when i'm well i get very few urges. the inconvenience of caring for the wound outweighs the "benefit", if you will. at a more baseline level for me, which tends to the mildly depressed side of things, i don't get much benefit from SH, so even if i do it, i just regret it and find it a bother. so, i'm pretty able to reason them away. at a low mood, SH feels better and i don't have to energy to fight the urge, so i do it more often.

then i have what i guess i can only describe as compulsive urges. i feel like i must SH. like it's completely inevitable, and the only thing that will change how i'm feeling. i can't reason those away. sometimes i can sit still and wait them out, but i start moving i usually end up SHing. i find my body and brain disconnect during these compulsions, and i'll be mentally screaming at myself to stop, but my body doesn't listen. they appear more in low moods randomly, or are triggered by external events when i'm well. 

acute emotional pain makes me want to SH, particularly if i feel hurt or ignored. i also have a compulsion to SH when my brain gets cloudy from overworking -- i have this idea that it'll clear my head so i can continue working (spoiler alert: that never works).

i haven't had suicidal urges in a few years, but when i did, they did not have to do with my typical forms of SH. to be more blunt, i didn't want to kill myself via slitting my wrists. likewise, my SH urges never had anything to do with offing myself. it was always about calming anxiety, getting some endorphins, externalizing internal pain, or punishing myself.

i'm sorry you're being bothered by these thoughts. they're a bitch, for sure.

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Urges for SI never correlated with any type of suicidal type urges for me. Totally different things. 

Stress would bring it on, particularly stress that didn’t seem to have a purpose or foreseeable end. SI was a means to an end... I needed to quiet the screaming voices in my head. And unfortunately it did the trick. 

And amazingly, the trauma-related stress I’ve been through the last couple of years didn’t trigger it... perhaps because I was dealing with the aftermath of an event happening, not enduring it happening, if that makes sense. 

Self harmed a lot as a youth and young teen, although in different ways, and it was in response to anxiety, when I felt cornered or trapped. Drugs and alcohol tamped that down for a long time. 

I feel more in control of my life than I ever, ever have, so I’m hoping not to go down that slippery slope again. 

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Thank you for your perspectives @echolocation and @Rabbit37. Because I never thankfully got caught up in the feedback loop of acting on the urges, mostly beyond some minor scratching myself up, it has never brought me relief in any way, so the idea that if I did it it would bring relief is only an abstraction for me. So it's more about just tolerating the discomfort of the urges for me. And sometimes the visualizing of what I want to do feels kind of violent itself, like I'm graphically visualizing myself doing it, and that feels painful on its own, if that makes sense. Mostly, it's just intrusive thoughts that come and go at will, and probably serve as some kind of barometer of how I'm doing emotionally. I still blame the Paxil.

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For me they are like a fly buzzing around. I can brush them off (at least I can now, with practice) though some times they keep coming back persistently. They are mostly a response to anxiety, stress, and tension, especially like @Rabbit37, stress that doesn't seem to have more direct solutions. I've described them as a sort of barometer for my stress levels. I get fewer urges when I'm doing better, but still get them semiregularly. I SHed for about 2 years and it's been about 12 since I stopped. It's a bit frustrating that the urges haven't tapered off more, but they are manageable and I don't worry about my ability to avoid acting on them. For me they are very distinct from SU thoughts and feelings and I don't classify mine as intrusive thoughts. It just doesn't feel like the right label for the way I experience them.

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I think it was always a way of taking out my self-loathing on myself. Take that you piece of shit! It still crosses my mind sometimes but I haven't acted on these thoughts for a long time. There is this need to let out all the crap that's building up inside you in some way, though I don't want to encourage anyone to do it because it doesn't really work. I honestly didn't know that other people cut themselves when I was young and started doing it. Don't mean to sound like the 'original hipster' who was doing it before it became mainstream or anything like that. Confused the fuck out of poor young me and I struggled to explain it. Poor young me thought it might be about control. Nobody can hurt me as much as I hurt myself, and if I'm capable of doing that then it won't be so difficult to cut my wrists. I was listening to a lot of Radiohead at the time. I still listen to a lot of Radiohead, though as I said, I haven't self harmed for a long time. But not exactly a happy ending, I've just found other ways to destroy myself. 

God I hate coming out with such miserable shit. A part of me is saying "Don't be so dramatic you miserable twat!" I want to make a joke out of it (it's good for morale!) though it's true sometimes.

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@Fluent In Silence sorry, not meaning to break into a somber conversation, but read your signature (I usually don’t read them), lol, maybe it’s sertraline, I get it. Yeah I’m that old. 

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On 7/9/2019 at 5:43 PM, Ion said:

For me they are like a fly buzzing around. I can brush them off (at least I can now, with practice) though some times they keep coming back persistently. They are mostly a response to anxiety, stress, and tension, especially like @Rabbit37, stress that doesn't seem to have more direct solutions. I've described them as a sort of barometer for my stress levels. I get fewer urges when I'm doing better, but still get them semiregularly.

 

2 hours ago, Fluent In Silence said:

I think it was always a way of taking out my self-loathing on myself. Take that you piece of shit!

These are the responses that ring most true for me. It's initially a stress/anxiety response, I think, but then also a way of kicking myself for being stressed/anxious (because I should never be stressed, worried, anxious, upset. etc.).

Suicidal urges are different for me, though often occur simultaneously. SH is about surviving the stress/anxiety/tension and slowing my brain down. SI is about giving up, escape, etc.

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