I feel I need to write this post, not to belabour what I did last night but because this particular version of self-harm is arguably (I would say definitely) the most misunderstood, frightening, shameful etc… act for those who do it and everyone else in the psych world–even the entire world altogether!

However, it needs to be discussed, brought out of the closet, have a big, giant spotlight shone upon it…that is just how I feel as I am a huge, mental illness “Stigma Buster.”

The last time I did a cutting, I was speaking to Merlin #1 about it and I really couldn’t offer up much to say as to “why.”  I always say, every cutter has a story.  They each have their own reasons as to why they do it and it can be extremely complicated.

As I lay in bed last night after doing it (and remember, this was a conscious choice–not like my typical pattern of them being very impulsive) I tried to think about the psychology of what I had done.  Perhaps a decent way to explain it; why I had actually “chosen” to do it.  Or perhaps, that my brain had somehow said: “You need to do this.”  I know, it sounds very strange but welcome to the land of psychology, right?

I thought about the contrast of physical pain and mental pain.  Is there a difference in what one can feel between the two? That would depend upon the individual, yes? I have a very, high, physical pain tolerance so I am pretty sure of the answer to that question as far as I am concerned!

Based upon that, my cutting wasn’t exactly letting the emotional pain “out”  and “making it a physical reality,” as some of the psychology has been noted.  Even some cutters would admit to such as well.  That notion is that it hurts so much inside of you, you need to hurt your physical self.  No, that isn’t quite right in terms of what I did and why.

Yes, I had a “choice.”  I have had that “choice” for a little while now.  Nonetheless, last night I reached a point where I realized the cost was worth it for some balance.  I know, again, this sounds very strange.  Bear with me.

If you are in terrible, physical pain, you may have some options of medications, some kinds of other treatments, to ease it.  What if your mental pain is so severe that you just can not! True, there are coping mechanisms: snapping elastic bands, holding ice cubes tightly, counting numbers back and forth and forth and back…all sorts of things.  I could have done that too? But no.

This is now (finally…thank you if you have made it this far) where I can try and explain why I did what I did.  The “balance” I was trying to achieve can be likened to taking complete control over your own body in a way that is just as powerful as the pain you are experiencing.  In doing so, you negate the pain–almost wipe it away! It may only be a temporary solution but it is still what you feel you need to do.  You feel you need to do it because things are so out of control that you need to somehow manage to gain control. And the only way to do that, is through your own body. It is the only resource that you have, that you can truly take full control of, so you use it.  It may be similar to an Eating Disorder?

Do not get me wrong.  I don’t like cutting.  As I have oft said, I wish I’d never started in the first place! And Stigma Buster that I am, I certainly don’t “advocate” it! However, I do know that what I did last night released a lot of pain and even though I am not thrilled about doing it, it did help.  For the third time, I know, it sounds strange.

I’ll toss in one more thing as well from a scientific point of view.  Cutting releases endorphins.  A temporary euphoria but I really don’t believe people are engaging in cutting to get an endorphin rush.  There are other ways to do that and I think when people do engage in this, they really have a lot more on their minds.

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  1. and physical pain, especially after on and on and on and on mental anguish that you have no way of doing anything about, is so much easier to deal with; almost a relief.

    i don’t cut, never have, but i do understand what prompts it. (that’s why i get on you sometimes about it, as i wish i could do something to ease the underlying impetus – you’re too wonderful a person to be hurting that much). I think i even remember some times as a kid, barking my shin, just to distract my brain from the frustration sometimes.\

    now I just hit my head until the (physical) pain is enuf to be come my primary focus, if only for a few minutes. Like you said, something i caused at least.

    (((PA)))

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  2. and this is a really awesome post btw, and really brave of you to put yourself out there again this way. Kudos. (tho I am sad that your life still puts you in the position to)

    You truly are a Stigma Buster. And this is the clearest you have made it (the condition of ‘cutting’) yet, really well done, truly.

    Thank-you PA. You’re awesome.

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  3. Hi Arkay. I’m not sure what you mean by your first paragraph? Saying that dealing with physical pain on and on is easier than mental pain on and on? Or the reverse?

    Thank you, hon’ for saying I am too wonderful to hurt so much. Well, I think you are too and I think so many of us out there are in loony-land as well! All of us! Everyone I have met certainly is wonderful! However, what can you do? Just keep trying to deal with it.

    Interesting that you recall doing something similar as a kid. Hurting yourself out of frustration is or can be self-harm as well?

    I did the head banging thing as a kid at least once that I can remember but that was more related to the Asperger’s business as I couldn’t communicate. There’s a difference. Perhaps some may not see it but when you tie it to other things… Again, it was a communication issue. I basically was going non-verbal and frustrated and upset I couldn’t “talk.” Plus the context in which it happened. Social cues as well etc…

    I can talk when I cut. I think? Kidding. I don’t go non-verbal or anything.

    Are you serious about your head banging now? Because again, that could definitely be considered a form of self-harm as well. It’s not just limited to cutting.

    I don’t head bang now but I’ve also punched things. However, that’s more of an Asperger’s thing as well I believe because at the time, I couldn’t get words out. At least as I can recall. Those incidents happened years ago.

    Hugs back,
    PA

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  4. Oh, Arkay. Thank you. That means a lot. Brave? I have a hard time trying to “apply” that word to myself. I don’t really feel so. Honest? Yes. Brave? I don’t know…

    I’m glad you “enjoyed” this post even though it may not be particularly pleasant but again, this needs to be talked about! I feel very strongly about that as you already know!

    Also thanks for the compliment about this being the “clearest” of my “Stigma Busting” posts re: Cutting and Self-Harm, yet. I think it does carry a certain amount of weight?

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  5. aspietalk

    furtively in the dark, stricken with fear, tears streaming down face, scared it’s the prelude to Doing the Deed (the final one)

    or

    sitting in a room with a lover, tracing fine lines with the keen edge of a blade, to entice the body’s responses.

    two entirely different things. what matters is what you put into it, what you’re getting out of it. cutting, knifeplay, edgeplay, can be kink, can be good, can be bad. the act in itself is neither good nor bad, though.

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  6. Yeah. Just yeah. You summed things up quite well. For me, a lot of it was control. A lot of it was making the emotional pain into something tangible. Some of it was ritual. Some of it was not knowing how to express what I was feeling. Can we say alexithymia?

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  7. It’s the first time I commented here and I must say you share us genuine, and quality information for bloggers! Good job.
    p.s. You have a very good template for your blog. Where did you find it?

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  8. Hi aspietalk. Thanks for your comment. I think your last line sums it up quite nicely. As far as the BDSM, “Safe, Sane and Consensual” as always! Bloodsport doesn’t fall into the category of my kinks. And yes, always a “Safe Word,” too!

    Hi katm. Thank you for saying I summed things up well? Alexithymia indeed! Not to worry. I think you know it buggers me up to no end! If not, you do now.

    However, I think in stating your “variables,” shall we say, it further illustrates the point I said in just how complex and complicated the issue can be. Again, let’s bring it out and talk about it so people can try and understand, here!

    Hi mssmotorrd. Welcome to my blog and thank you for your first comment. Also, thank you for your compliment about my blog content. That means a lot to me.

    As far as my template? It is one available via WordPress.com One of many that they have to offer. I had another one before (Garland–you can see the theme names if you scroll down to the very bottom of the page) but then changed over to this one.

    They vary in terms of Widgets that you can alter etc… Although, one problem with the WordPress.com templates is that they don’t like java. You can purchase a CSS upgrade, however.

    There is also WordPress.org as an option. That requires server hosting whereas the .com versions are free. Unless you have your own server yourself and can work with the .org on your own.

    Does that help?

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  9. Hey, good post, I’m sure that must have been hard to write about ( I always find that kind of thing hard anyway). I get the control thing, I hate how I feel like I never have any control over myself, over what’s happening in my head.

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  10. Hi Hannah. Thank you for your compliment as well. It wasn’t so much hard to write…well, I don’t think so much personally as you know I am a “Stigma Buster!” I think I just wanted to try and get the proper meaning across–really say what I wanted to say in a way that people would hopefully understand.

    I’m sorry about the battles with control. It can be so difficult, can’t it? We just have to keep trying deal with it as best we can.

    I think sometimes we have a better sense of it all and things are going well and then…? Hi, Mr. or Ms. (no gender bias haha) Trigger! Then unfortunately, things go to pot.

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  11. borderlinerelapses

    So ive never posted before. Ive been feeling very alone. and searched, upon finding this site, needing to know someone else out there understands…

    As you said, everyone has many different reasons,
    but the control part… i most def understand.
    When you seem to destroy everything,
    because you can’t find a normal balance
    between extremes in your life,
    it seems we all have that desire or need to
    control it somehow… to numb the pain or destruction..etc.
    whatever drives us to feel we have to take action
    in our own personal way.
    Everyone does, they just aren’t as destructive with it as we are.

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  12. Hi borderlinerelapses. First, let me say that I’m sorry that you are feeling very alone. I know we all do at times. I know I have! I still do now.

    Also, welcome to my blog. If you find in any way that it makes you feel less lonely, please feel free to come and hang out here. I know that it is only the virtual world but it still is a place to communicate with people and I have met so many of them that are so wonderful. So, yes, please hang out here if you would like to. That would be great!

    I’m really glad that what I wrote about the “control issue” resonated with you and you could understand it. I find it so difficult to explain the entire notion of cutting and/or self-harm to people who do not do it. It’s taken me years to even come to some sort of resolution as to even why I do it!

    It was only recently that the idea of attempting to seize some kind of control when everything was so “out of control” came to my mind. I think it makes a lot of sense–at least for me.

    Your last line gives me pause for thought as well–on a personal level. I have often felt so self-destructive.

    Thank you so much for your comment. I think it adds a lot of value to this post.

    Take care,
    PA

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