Friday, March 22, 2013
Is SI a part of my identity?
It is complicated question, and a complicated answer. I’ve been thinking about this a lot today. I met someone online and in the course of introductions I touched on my history of self harm. We were trading diagnoses, a common first step for conversations like ours.
I included self harm in my list. I didn’t put special emphasis on it, but it was there. And the person I was talking to skipped right over it. He talked about ptsd and bipolar, but said nothing about self injury.
SI is never about attention. And it wasn’t in this case either. I was talking to this person online, so he couldn’t see my scars. I can understand it being different when you cannot see them in real life. But for anyone to be close to me, I need to see a reaction. It’s kind of like a litmus test, and it is easy for me to tell in real life because I don’t hide my scars anymore. I’ve accepted myself enough to bare my arms. And my bare arms are also proof that I’m clean. One clear sign of a cutter is wearing long sleeves on warm, or even hot days. Since cutters usually cut their arms, people who know will immediately check your arms to see if you’re clean.
Cutting is a really serious thing. It’s equivalent to bearing my soul. There has to be some reaction. I want to see a caring one! If you tell someone your deepest fears they can’t just sweep it under the rug. If they do, that’s your sign to get out! Because people who care about you will acknowledge your hurt.
Cutters often have no regard for themselves. We’ve learned not to. But secretly, we do want that affirmation. We want what everyone wants-we want someone to care about us more than we care about ourselves.
Monday, March 18, 2013
This is a comment I posted on another blog, where a mom thought it was a big shock that there were “cutters” at her daughter’s school:
Thank you for your excellent comment ! It is so important for people to know what so many of us have gone through. I am sad that there are still parents out there who think their kids are not in “that kind of school”. Like you said, we all had our “drug of choice”, and kids today do as well. I know this is a cliché but parents need to realize this is ‘the new normal’. Normal schools have kids who get bullied and kids who are bullied. Normal schools have kids playing the choking game. Normal schools have cutters, anorexics, bulimics, users, dealers, racists, abusers, and anything else you can think of. These kids were there at my high school 24 years ago. The only difference now is that we hear about everything more because of cellphones, the internet, facebook, twitter-ad infinitum. The worst mistake parents can make is to pretend their kids are safe.Sunday, March 18, 2013
I spent way too much time today searching online for statistics on how many people who self injure relapse after getting clean. I know at some point someone told me it was around 80% but I really have no reason to trust that person. I don’t know where I am with all of this right now. I decided that I wanted to be more involved with the issue of self injury, like being in facebook groups and supporting other cutters on twitter.
And I am doing those things. I honestly went into this with the plan of helping others. But self injury is a cruel mistress, like people say about alcohol. If I settle in to 30 minutes to an hour of tweeting or posting about cutting, it’s like inviting my worst enemy to come sit down on my sofa and have a chat. As I read about it, look up information on it, and just think about it, I am sucked in.
Friday, March 8, 2013 Warning! Possible Trigger!
What a day! I am kicking myself now, because I got caught up in a facebook argument about triggers. Someone posted about 6 pictures of their arms, showing fresh, bloody cuts as well as blood running down her arms. I posted that I was triggered by the pics and asked that they be taken down. After that, the exchange turned into an ugly argument. I was told that there was no possible way that the pictures could trigger me, and that I was not a good group member because I was mean to the girl who put up the pictures.
Like many arguments, this one took on a life of its own. The discussion became Of course that response is absurd. Anything can be a trigger, and no one can tell another person what their triggers are.
I’m too tired now to go through all that happened. But I thought more about SI today than I have in a year. I don’t want to cut, but I am emotionally drained. it’s so easy for someone in recovery to get lost in their own head!
When I was totally exhausted, I left the group and went back my usual group, LOL cats. I’m so glad I did! it was just the thing I needed! Please make sure you always have something good to look at or listen to!
Friday, March 2, 2013
I want to keep this journal but only if it is healthy for me. Anytime I start thinking about cutting too much, I start wanting to do it. The thoughts come, as they have the past few days. Burning my hand was an accident. But it made me start thinking about burning. From there, my mind wandered to other things I might do.
That’s how it starts. “But what if I just made a little cut?” “I could burn where no one could ever see” “I used to bash my hand on the wall. I could do that.” Just like that, years of sobriety unravel.
If I use words associated with other types of addiction, it’s because I believe all addictions are basically the same. For instance, my father got in a huge argument with me about how I was an unfit parent because I was a cutter. He was drunk at the time. Yet he failed to see the irony.
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
I accidentally burned my hand today, when I was ironing my daughter’s dress. My first thought was “wow, that hurts like crazy.” But my next thought was the memory of how I used to boil water, put spoon handles in it, and push them into my arms. Then I thought, “Oh yeah, I can take that.”
Sometimes I think that certain badass quality is part of why I self injured. It was a sort of angry endurance test. When I did it, I was saying, “Oh yeah? you think you can hurt me? I can do this to myself!”
It’s that way with the emotional piece too. You can really scare people with self injury. It’s almost the perfect proof of insanity. Lots of people think you have to be stark raving mad to cut. Of course you don’t, but regular people often think so. And that is a great shield.
Which leads to another form of self harm. When you create a strong enough wall around yourself, it becomes instinctual. You don’t have to think about it anymore. People will not hurt you-they cannot reach you. Years go by, and you become comfortable knowing you will have no more intimate relationships.
Self injury is a very alluring identity. It’s a small club of people who are mysterious and strong in a strange way. When I get tired of being completely alone, I remember this group that I will always belong in.
In that state of mind-which is this state of mind-the desire to cut, or burn, can be quite powerful. It’s like cigarettes. You can quit smoking, but you will always want another cigarette. You will dream of it years later-at least, I do!
I envy people who can cut with no fear of repercussions. I have a very smart 11 year old son who forces me to stay clean, by virtue of his sensitivity. He knows when I do it. And I have to protect him from that. So I won’t cut. My daughter needs my full attention and devotion. So I won’t cut.
But I have learned an inconvenient truth. I am clean and sober. It’s been a year since I cut. I as in NA for a short time. It was long enough for me to see that I am white-knuckling it. I wonder how long it will last?
I figured out that if I use this page to keep a running journal, I will be able to make it work. So if you have come to this page looking for an account of my daily struggles and victories, welcome!
I want this to be an honest account, but this being a public blog, there will most likely be some things I leave out. I will try to say things in terms other who self harm will understand.