Self-harm Addiction

Self-harm can take various forms, but some of the more common are cutting, burning, or scratching oneself.

I know not everyone who self-harms considers it an addiction, but in my case it was. I was using it to cope with everyday life, to fill a void, to keep myself busy, and so on. I had no friends, my family knew nothing, and I spent all my spare time locked away with it.

I am definitely in recovery now, but it can still be hard sometimes. Does anyone else struggle with this? How do you explain it to people?
  • 3 Commentsby Likes|Date
  • Honestly, it takes the right listener. Depending on who you tell, their reaction will throw you off and make you feel like a horrible person, often causing a more aggressive self mutilation reaction.

    I often faced this with family. Not to mention when I did talk to certain people, they reported me to higher authorities and I had no choice but to seek mental health/behavioral treatment. I am not saying I didn't need some of the things I learned, but when you have a therapist telling you that your mentality is fine and you need to "pop rubber bands on your wrists" instead of cutting, something just seems drastically wrong. 

    I am currently going through a situation where my old cutting habits lay heavy on my mind. The fact that I have a son and I would never want him to see such things is my biggest reason for not doing it. The other reason, I just have to keep reminding myself that there are other things I can do to help pass the depressing time in my life--play video games, clean, chat with random strangers online... I don't dare tell them my thoughts, but sometimes talking to someone knew can help take the edge off.

    The good thing, usually I can talk to my husband about my thoughts. He cut at one point in his life and has never done it since, but at the same time, he is very understanding of my complication--especially since I never abused drugs to cope. He does find ways to help ease my thought process.

  • It took a long time for me to see mine as an addiction.  I've opened up a small bit to some people, but I'm very careful about it.  When I start to, I make sure they understand I don't want to overwhelm them or make them uncomfortable and I ask them to be honest if they feel that way at any point.  Then I take some time to explain why it is an addiction, and what I'm trying to do to be in recovery and I ask for their help and support.  One person I opened up to, I knew she wouldn't completely understand, but she was a good friend and I wanted to open up about it.  After I did, she has shown nothing but support.  She admits she's doesn't completely understand, but she does understand it's a struggle, it's an addiction for me and she does what she can to support me and asks what she can do to help me work recovery.  One of the reasons I opened up to my best friend about it is because he struggles with an addiction of his own, so I knew he understood, and we support/encourage each other and help each other with our respective recoveries.  I'm very grateful for these two friends.

    I think when opening up about it, you need to take some time.  Explain WHY it's an addiction, or why it's an addiction for YOU.  Unfortunately, not everyone will understand, and some people may respond poorly.  There is a comparison I have found that seems to explain it somewhat well that has helped others understand-  I compare cutting to a soda bottle that has been shaken up.  The more you shake it, the more pressure is built, the closer it is to bursting.  When you start to unscrew the lid, even the smallest amount, some of the pressure is released.  The more you unscrew, the more pressure that is released.  I compare myself to the bottle, filled with pressure.  Every cut is like unscrewing the lid more and more, the more pressure is released.
  • I believe that all addictions are somehow self harming, unless your addiction is to drink water, however I've never experienced the kind of addiction this topic is talking about, or maybe I did, but in another form, when you go to the gym and hit the weights hard, you produce a lot of harm to your muscles, this is were their developing comes from, but it's a non destructive kind of harm and addiction.
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