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Self Harm If you or someone you know is struggling with self harm and needs advice or alternatives, we're here to help.

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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
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Exclamation Scars and relapse... - October 8th 2015, 09:43 PM

This thread has been labeled as triggering, particularly on the subject of self harm, by the original poster or by a Moderator. The contents of this thread might therefore not be suitable for certain sensitive users. Please take this into consideration before continuing to read.

Before I start - I hope I've put the correct warning to this? (SH) does mean self harm right? If NOT, I am extremely sorry and advice you not to ready if you are strongly triggered.

I've been a self harmer for around 3 years (although I've been clean for about 4 months now with a few slips here and there) I've settled into college and I love what I'm doing, it really helps. But yet, there is a girl with scars down her arms, and sometimes I go into like a flashback mode, and just crave the feeling, my heart races and I kinda get a sicky feeling in my throat and sweat up for a few minutes or so, and knowing there are like sharp pen knives about isn't always easy.

But because I do equine studies - mucking out horses stables makes you really hot and the uniform is a thick sweater with a polo shirt, but I keep a long sleeve tee 0r thermal underneath in case any rises up my arms. So, I was tying my hair up alone and I went into froze mode at the fact my sleeves slip up my wrists and my scars are visible, this makes me wonder has anyone seen them and I just feel really ugly about them.

Even though I'm going clean,(because my bf literally forced me into it being clean), I'm not ready to come out to people that I'm covered in scars from shoulder to wrist... mostly because I do have slips, and there obvious slips and I don't want my scars showing and then relapsing and people wondering why I've suddenly 'stopped' showing my arms, I'm no where near that comfort zone. And thankful its winter which gives me extra months.

So the girl in particular started watching 'self harm videos' you know where people write songs, and do their stories and things like that, I just had to turn away and plaster with all my strength a smile across my face, she kept staring at me, and that's why I'm referring back to when I noticed my sleeves when tying back my hair - have they seen them

I keep wanting to put the blade to my skin and just feel it all again, seen as though I feel absolutely nothing and I feel incomplete without my raw cuts. But I'm scared it will spiral where i'll start taking doses of medication again(I self harmed this way to) and I can't quite decide, whether to feel a kick off some meds or just cut:/

Lastly, I'm always gonna be worried about coming out - because if I ever did make it the point of having my scars visible while I'm at college I'm afraid for the girl who's an ex self harmer in case mine trigger her into it, there's quite a few down her arms, but not nearly as many as mine - but that doesn't mean her problems were any little than mine, they could be ongoing for all I know...

Its just a vicious cycle, I want the cuts more than anything, but I also want to just please those who put this pressure on me to stay clean... urghh.
   
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Re: Scars and relapse... - October 9th 2015, 03:52 AM

Hey, i feel the struggle fam, it's the same way, but unlike i, you have been doing good-good. What i have noticed though in myself as you have is that you simply want to just please other people-same. I know they say that to find happiness is to start in yourself, but for people who want to please to be pleased, cannot do that-and if i'm taking your view completely wrong, i am so sorry, but bear with me because we can spread the word, one person like one domino can impact so many others, and one positive domino, well, can impact the others, it just starts with one, like the journey of our lives, begin with one step, but to pause my tangent, i was trying to share with what i've been doing, i smiled at people walking by, i held open doors and smiled, i waved to people, and even strangers (especially after that awkward eye contact lol), and smiled, i did this for about a week but ya know, staying strong isn't the easiest thing to do as it is to say, so the next week i tried again, i tallied up my smiles i said i hi and made small talk to even strangers who just looked down and sometimes yes, even the most littlest things you think are just pointless, it could mean so much to another, i think everyone can relate to that statement. i, personally, started with the special needs kids, the kids with down syndrome and autism and schizophrenia and extreme anxiety, and i made small talk, i actually found myself genuinely caring, i used to just do it as a chore, a chore that i seemed almost socially obliged to do but never really truly cared. and my goal was simple-make them smile, maybe even a laugh, but it's that twinkle in the eye, the look in the eyes that maybe they don't experience often from people, it's a small step but i've noticed at my high school that it's spreading...just like a domino...influences around maybe your domino but sometimes, we just have to be that bitch domino that just decided not to fall and completely ended the ultimate fall out-literally. Don't get me wrong and i don't mean to seem cliche to statements we hear so many times that it's annoying because i know that feeling also, but i'm going to say it anyways-i truly believe in you, i am just one stranger, just some person that just so happened to come across your path, but hell-pretend i'm smiling at you
count your smiles, not your scars, look for twinkles instead of wrists or thighs or hips or any other place that people relieve their pain to, and be a domino-start a movement, or end a movement, you have the power to make a difference in other peoples lives and then ultimately, yourself
i believe in you,
~eggo my eggo
   
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Re: Scars and relapse... - October 9th 2015, 03:13 PM

I don't like that your bf forced you into being clean. As much as I appreciate the intention, because he loves you and wants you to be safe, that's not how you help someone struggling with self harm. I have struggled with it too in the past and one thing that I found does more harm than good is promising someone you'll never hurt yourself again: if you relapse, not only will you feel bad about yourself because you think you've failed, you also think you've let someone else down, so you feel twice as guilty - I'm kinda making an assumption here, that you promised your bf you won't harm yourself again; if that's not the case, then I'm sorry. I hope he's helping you through this, because self harm is psychologically addictive and it's really really hard to get over an addiction by yourself.
Anyway, I know coming out as a self harmer is scary, because you never know how others are going to react to it, but it can make your life a lot easier. I've come to terms with it by now, because I have been clean for two years and I have no problem sayingwhere my scars come from (at least most of the time), but it can be harder if you're still recovering, so I understand that you don't want to open up about it yet. I wouldn't stress too much about people seeing your scars, mostly because you owe no one an explanation, at least in my opinion: if someone asks, you are allowed to tell them you don't want to talk about it, because it is literally none of their business.
As for the girl: I'm not the type of person that encourages lying, but I think in this particular situation, it could be a good idea. I knew a girl who was so disgusted by blood/cuts/etc that even just mentioning them would make her feel uncomfortable. If this girl talks about/shows you stuff that triggers you, you can use this excuse. I know you may want to help her, but you must not sacrifice your safety. Help her as long as you can, but if you get triggered, stop.
As for being triggered and wanting to cut yourself again: I've heard holding an ice cube in your hand helps, I have no idea why, but many many people have told me it's helped them. The best suggestion is to keep yourself busy and distracted: draw stuff, sing along to your favourite songs, write a diary, etc. Self care is really great, like taking a bubble bath or styling your hair for example. These are all things I do when I get the urge to harm myself and they do wonders. I haven't tried the ice cube thing, mostly because I haven't had strong urges in months. Talking to your boyfriend about what's happening is a great idea too, you know? It's good to be around someone who knows about your struggles and genuinely wants you to be fine, and he knows you better than I do, so he may have better suggestions as well.
I don't want to force you into telling people you've self harmed, but I do think it's a good idea. Don't do it if you're not ready, but having people who support you when you're struggling is really helpful, so if you ever find yourself wondering whether or not you should tell someone, I'd go for it.
I hope I've helped you, at least a little bit


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the subtle but persistent feeling of being out of place, as maladapted to your surroundings as a seal on a beach—lumbering, clumsy, easily distracted, huddled in the company of other misfits, unable to recognize the ambient roar of your intended habitat, in which you’d be fluidly, brilliantly, effortlessly at home.
   
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Re: Scars and relapse... - October 9th 2015, 11:14 PM

Hey there.

I'm so sorry you're going through this. Serena and M offered really good advice so I'll try to help out too.

Something in your post stood out to me and I just wanted to say something about it. You wrote this at the end: "I want the cuts more than anything, but I also want to just please those who put this pressure on me to stay clean." Wanting to stay clean for the people around you is a good motivator and you're doing extremely well so far but it has to be important to you rather than simply trying to please everyone else. Recovery has to be a personal decision to stick with it most of the time, you know? Having support can do a whole world of difference, but wanting a positive change and recovery for you is important as well. Would it help to make a list of reasons why you want to recover that are personal reasons important to you? You deserve a whole lot more than self-harm - you deserve to treat yourself nicely. Remind yourself of that little by little. Treat yourself to what makes you feel happy and be kind to yourself.

The way your boyfriend forced you to quit concerns me as well. To me, it shows that he cares and loves you but he doesn't understand self-harm. A lot of people who find out someone they love self-harms, they react in a negative way that doesn't help the person self-harming. While they care for that person, they aren't sure how to handle it because they have little or no experience/understanding on the subject and don't understand how it isn't as simple as quitting. Perhaps you could explain self-harm to your boyfriend. The urges, the feelings and even print out articles on it helping him understand. This way he'll know how to be a more effective support system to you.

Serena is right, opening up about your self-harm is probably a very scary thought for you but having support and help professionally and personally could be a lot of help for you. As for the people at college, you mentioned that a girl there has scars on her arms? She may still be self-harming in places that are not obvious, but having mostly scars on her arms might mean she is attempting to recover. Regardless, since she has experience with self-harm she is more likely to be understanding and supportive which means she could be a good person for you to open up to about this. How about getting to know her and become friends with her first to see if you feel as you can trust her later on? Other than her and others at your college, do you have a way to see a therapist or counselor?

The alternatives are Serena listed could be helpful. There is a list of a whole lot of alternatives (here) that you could try out. Some of them might help you when you're having difficult urges to self-harm. Distractions and hobbies are a good way to get through urges too. Have fun things to go to when you're struggling that help occupy you till the urges pass. Exercise and sunlight releases endorphins which is what self-harm does, so going for a quick run while it's light out could help you. Having healthy outlets is important too so that you're able to express your emotions. You can do so via creative writing, art music and many other ways. Even simple journaling could be a good outlet!

4 months regardless of slip-ups is really fantastic. Well done! The year is almost over, what about at the start of 2016, get a calendar and make a mark on each day you go self-harm free? It doesn't have to be obvious in case someone sees it, it can actually be a mini calendar that you can keep somewhere no one looks. Just write a symbol or anything that lets you know you went that day self-harm free. Instead of overwhelming yourself attempting to be self-harm free forever, focus on all the days and urges you got through at the end of the year without self-harming. That matters and contributes.

You may not feel comfortable showing your scars right now and while I don't glamorize scars, I think it would be good to get to a point where you don't feel like you have to hide yourself. To be comfortable wearing what you want regardless of your scars, you know? I understand and realize that isn't easy to do but with time, it might be a good idea to ease into wearing what you feel comfortable in rather than thinking of what will hide scars best. Obviously, you can do this at your own pace but I hope you get to a point where you are comfortable. Remember that while the scars show your struggles, they do not define you. You define you and you seem strong.

You can feel free to reach out here for support/advice and you can also message me anytime, okay? Hope this helped. Stay strong and keep holding on, you can do this.
   
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Re: Scars and relapse... - October 12th 2015, 10:01 AM

Just want to thank you three so much for taking the time to read my post and reply! & even though I don't have the motivation right now to reply to everything said, I honestly appreciate the advice/responses so much.

Unfortunately I've just escalated back to square one, and things are looking up for me atm. If anything I'm helpless and struggling all over again.

Although I didn't make this clear (My boyfriend forces me to stay clean) it's no good trying to get him to understand it in any sort of way. I have been with him upcoming 2yrs and he just doesn't get it, doesn't understand and isn't interested in learning about it. At time's he'll tell me its 'ok' but other times he'll just go into a range, and put himself down which only triggers guilt in me, I explain that it's not 'his fault' that he's well aware of what's happened to me over the few years, but he just expects me to get over everything - I tell him I'm really trying. Also, I already told him before "I can't and refuse to ever promise that I won't harm myself again" Simply because I am well aware of how damaging that would be, and how I already know deep down I can't beat this.

I also muddled the girl up (sorry) The girl with scars wasn't the one playing them triggering videos, it was another girl who was doing it & keeps singing the lyrics to one of them - its very irritating, but I have a slight fear and conscious as to 'why' is she looking at them? I would never wish for anyone to go through this, but its a little strange she only said "I like reading and hearing personal stories" - Perhaps true, but even said I fear in case anything is happening in her life making her look or possibly consider them, yet I couldn't discuss it with her, its just not a position I could keep myself collected in, very selfish I know.

I have gone through with Counselling and seeing a Psychiatrist and Been under the mental health team, but got signed off - it just wasn't something for me, if anything made me worse than I was, but its not like anything has really improved besides the 4 months that's just gone down the drainage system.

As for distractions I find them temporary, They work once - but then already know its to stop me from what I 'REALLY' want to do, and I kind of just cant stand the pressure building up, and I end up slipping (4 months clean for me is, Cutting once or twice in those weeks - but not every day, it just adds up to big slips and then I go a week big slip, few days slip, a week slip, etc.) So nothing even that special tbh.

I don't really plan for anyone to know at college about my self harming - and the issue is - I'm thinking about it that much - it's like I'm causing myself to believe that people 'know' and that there's no hiding, makes me feel so ashamed and disgusting.

Recently I've been able to hold myself in a collected mode, smile and just put on a brave act - make out I'm confident with people, and sometimes, being around the horses helps me to be that way, it just brings my anxiety and sadness out of me, I feel like I belong to something when I'm about the stables even in college on the stable yard, but there comes over whelming waves when I get a moment to myself - I feel my body just crumble and its painful, because everything is a lie, and truth is I want to crawl away in a corner and hide, and not be visible anymore...

Its scary because I'm just falling down in a low zone, and I'm afraid that my lack of motivation is coming back, all I want to do is be alone with myself, be in my bed away and hiding, and more than anything I keep wanting to hurt myself, hurt myself the way I hurt from the things that are tugging my universe into shards of broken pieces, everything is once again reflecting on me, and I can't avoid the reflection, its like this mirror is constantly reminding me, what I really am, not what I pretend to be.
And i just sink into a deepness of feeling nothing, emptiness, everything has just gone.
   
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