We all react in different ways to different situations. Whichever way works for you is the right way for you as an individual. Dealing with trauma like rape is the same. We all find ways of coping and dealing with the fears, hurt, anger, grief, and all of the other 101 emotional and physical things that dealing with it leaves us to face.
Self harm or self injury is one such way that people use. Drugs, alcohol, eating disorders like annorexia or bulemia and cutting are all part of this.
This section is primarily to deal with cutting. I have had so many mails from people telling me about this being their way of dealing with things. It is not something i have had personal experience of, so i have been guided by what others have told me mainly from the Survive mailing lists, and from private mails from people visiting the Survive site.
If you have anything that you would like to add to this or any other section on Survive please don’t hesitate to mail me and i will add it to the site.
Am I Self Harming?
This may appear to be a strange question. But some people may not be sure that what they are doing actually is this. So, to clarify what is meant by self harm/injury i have broken it down to a few small paragraphs.
If you cause physical harm to yourself so that you are causing tissue damage. Things like bruising, breaking the skin or leaving marks that last for longer than a couple of hours. You don’t cut to kill yourself.
If you cause this harm to yourself when you are trying to deal with unpleasant, difficult or overwhelming emotions, obsessive thoughts, or when you are dissociated.
If you often think about self harm/injury even when you’re feeling calm and not upset/angry/emotional even though you may not be physically thinking about doing it right now.
The first two are indications of self harm/injury, and the last indicates that you may be compulsive.
Many phsychiatrists and phsychologists suggest that this way of dealing with pain and trauma is becuase that somewhere along the line, you didn’t learn good ways of coping with overwhelming feelings. Some doctors had a theory that it was mainly people who had been abused as children who did this, but as time has gone on it has been proved that these people make up only a small section of those who cut.
From talking to people who do cut on a regular basis i have come to realise that the reason they do feel the need to harm themselves is becuase it brings a rapid relief from tension, stress and emotional pain.