1.800.DON'T.CUT (366-8288) recorded information
"Self-inflicted violence (SIV) is a common means of managing the after-effects of traumatic experiences. Intentional physical wounding of the body serves to temporarily manage many of the emotional struggles that stem from historical unhealed trauma. Most people living with self-injury have experienced abuse of some form and have found SIV helpful in dealing with overwhelming feelings, psychic stress, flashbacks and triggers of abuse memories, and other repercussions common to trauma survivors. Once understood in this context, SIV can be healed by acknowledging the needs it serves for the person living with it and by addressing the trauma from which it springs.
"The process of healing SIV can be simply described-it is the process of healing the pain that brought about the need for SIV in the first place".What is at the core of the healing process?" People living with SIV need "intimate connection" with their own historical realities, including the invalidations, abuses, and shaming in their pasts, in the presence of a compassionate person who is there to validate their truth and soothe the pain of awareness and grief. People who confront the roots of their pain, and identify the patterns of survival used to manage it, build a relationship with themselves that is based on dignity and self-compassion." (Ruta Mazelis, "Demystifying Self-Inflicted Violence: Lessons Learned from the Past Dozen Years," The Cutting Edge (Spring 2002):1-3."
"How can I help a friend with this?
Ask about it. If your friend is
hurting herself, she may be glad to have you bring it up so she can talk
about it. If she’s not injuring herself, she’s not going to
start just because you said something about it.
"The effective treatment of self-injury is most often a combination of medication, cognitive/behavioral therapy, and interpersonal therapy, supplemented by other treatment services as needed. Medication is often useful in the management of depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, and the racing thoughts that may accompany self-injury. Cognitive/behavioral therapy helps individuals understand and manage their destructive thoughts and behaviors. Contracts, journals, and behavior logs are useful tools for regaining self-control. Interpersonal therapy assists individuals in gaining insight and skills for the development and maintenance of relationships. Services for eating disorders, alcohol/substance abuse, trauma abuse, and family therapy should be readily available and integrated into treatment, depending on individual needs.
In addition to the above, successful courses of treatment are marked by 1) patients who are actively involved in and committed to their treatment, 2) aftercare plans with support for the patient’s new self-management skills and behaviors, and 3) collaboration with referring and other involved professionals."
http://www.selfharm.net/ or http://www.palace.net/~llama/psych/injury.html
There is no shame here. If you cause physical harm to your body in order to deal with overwhelming feelings, know that you have nothing to be ashamed of. It's likely that you're keeping yourself alive and maintaining psychological integrity with the only tool you have right now. It's a crude and ultimately self-destructive tool, but it works; you get relief from the overwhelming pain/fear/anxiety in your life. The prospect of giving it up may be unthinkable, which makes sense; you may not realize that self-harm isn't the only or even best coping method around.
Talk with and get support from others who hurt themselves and also those who have loved ones who hurt themselves.
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