Self-harming, or cutting, serves many purposes. If you talk to eight different cutters, you will most likely get eight different reasons why they cut. It is as much individual as is the individual who engages in the practice.
Take me, for example. I used to cut on a regular basis. In fact, I attended the S.A.F.E. Program (Self Abuse Finally Ends) in Chicago several years ago to help me stop. I cut for several reasons. I hated myself, felt numb, invisible, was angry, felt soooo much pain and cutting relieved it, was intensely sad, and intensely anxious. I did not yet know any other coping skills, and cutting filled all those holes for me. Oddly, I usually didn’t feel any pain when I was in the actual act of cutting. I felt pain as it healed. Either way, the point was relief, which was greatly achieved with the act of harming myself.
There are other ways of self-harm besides cutting, some much more extreme and dangerous. I used to get more of a rush and release from burning myself than cutting—but, after years of self-abuse and scars up and down my arms and legs, I finally had enough.
- Other types of self-harm include:
–Branding, burning self with a hot object
–Friction burn – rubbing a pencil eraser on your skin
Picking at skin or re-opening wounds (dermatillomania) – an impulse control disorder characterized by the repeated urge to pick at one’s own skin, often to the extent that damage is caused which relieves stress or is gratifying.
- Many compulsive skin picking causes are emotional or mental. Emotional trauma can lead to feelings of helplessness When a child is being traumatized and bullied, he or she loses the feeling of being in control of their environment
–Hitting (with hammer or other object)
–Head-banging (more often seen with autism or severe mental retardation)
–Multiple piercing or tattooing – may also be a type of self-injury, especially if pain or stress relief is a factor
–Drinking harmful chemicals
Well, sorry for such a serious and, um, kind of depressing topic of conversation so early in the day. But it’s very real, you know? It happens more and more. Some people think that anorexia nervosa and bulimia are types of self injury but this is a falsehood. Anorexia and bulimia are stubborn, dangerous disorders and illnesses. They couldn’t be further from self injury.
Anyway, a small announcement. I’m chucking the plan for the rest of the month. That carefully detailed plan where I was going to write a certain topic for each day until the end of May? Yeah, that. 😉 You’ll just have to wait and see, and be surprised.
Love, me. Mmmwah!