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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
Vrambourne Offline
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Cutting myself without knowing why - November 22nd 2011, 01:38 AM

I've been self harming for about 7 years now. I've not talked about it with anyone. Ever. But now I am nearing the end of my teenage years, I feel I need to talk about it, get over it. Move on. For that reason, this post might seem a bit of an outpouring of my life history (at least in this regard). I'll post a too long; did not read at the end.

I can remember very clearly the first time I self-harmed. I was 13 years old, sitting in my room watching a sit-com. I had a craft knife that I'd been using to build a model of Helm's Deep out of styrofoam. I tore into my arm with it while I watched television. I cut myself, to about the depth you might expect of a bramble thorn, about 20 times up and down the back of my wrist (so the hand was palm down). This would be where I would continue to self-harm for the next seven or so years. The area of the cuts was about an inch wide and five inches long, running down my arm. There was no way to hide it. I told people I got caught on a thorn bush during a paper round.

I have absolutely no idea why I cut myself up that day.

I put the craft knife away after I finished the model, back in the garage. I stole a scalpel from school a week later. Thinking it would be good to have a sterile sharp blade if I wanted to do it again. It always looked too sharp though, I never used it. To this day it sits on my windowsill. Unused.

Later that year I was sitting an exam in school and I finished early. Bored, I took the pencil I had been using and carved the word 'Hi' into my arm about a millimetre deep. You could still see the scars when I was 16 or 17.

I have absolutely no idea why I carved hi into my arm that day.

During the summer when I was 14 and 15 years old, I used to walk home through the countryside, a journey of about 6 miles. On the journey there was a village I walked through that had a brick wall running down the length of the high street. It had very rough brick work. I put my arm against it and scraped along the entire length of the wall. When I pulled my arm away, I had an injury about an inch wide and long, and had torn through the top layers of my skin, revealing a soft, white layer. Clear liquid was oozing from it, and it was sticky like a fresh burn. It took a month to heal, and the scar lasted three years.

I have absolutely no idea why I scraped open my arm on a brick wall that day.

Throughout my time at school I would keep on hand a number of very sharp pencils. I had a 0.5mm mechanical pencil, and two or three regular pencils which I kept sharp. From time to time, I would use these pencils to slice open the back of my wrist paper thin cuts. I would watch the blood bead from it. Sometimes I would use the blood to write little notes. like 'boo' or 'hello, I am writing in blood' and other entirely pointless things like that. Usually though, I would just watch the blood collect into a few drops, then wipe them away with a tissue. When I was 14-16 I might do this two or three times a week, but by the time I was 18 I had pretty much stopped, save for one or two times... a month? a quarter? Very rarely.

I have no idea why I used to cut myself open with a pencil on a regular basis. (Well, I used a pencil because I didn't want to cut very deeply... but anyway).

At university I would cut myself from time to time, less than once a month, and I never really thought about it. It would usually be with a pencil, on the back of my wrist.

Then this morning, I took some safety pins out of my first aid kit and proceeded to drive them underneath my skin on my left arm. I did this five or six times.

I don't know why.

I never really thought I had a problem with cutting. I didn't cut myself very deep (I have never cut myself worse than you might get from a bramble bush), never needed stitches, never had an infection and never felt like I was using it as a coping mechanism.

I have had a comfortable life, I have high self-esteem. I am well educated, very clever and well read. I have good friends, wide-ranging hobbies and a loving girlfriend. I don't feel like I should need to keep cutting myself open with sharp things. But I still do. And I don't know why.

I have considered it might be out of boredom, but that doesn't seem likely. I am very rarely bored. I keep a notebook and sketchbook around if I am, and I daydream a lot. I keep myself occupied. I am only bored when deprived of those things, and that is not when I self-harm.

I don't think it's for pain either. I know much safer ways of causing myself pain. I could snap elastic bands on my wrists. I could delve my hand into ice-cold water and hold it there. I could even start punching myself, for while that's not healthy, it has a lower risk of infection and bleeding.

I guess I've never really felt I've had a problem. I don't really feel the need to stop. I don't feel any sense of relief, release or pleasure when I do cut. I just... do it. It's kind of like a horrible version of Everest. I do it because it's there. Because I can. But there is no accomplishment in it. There's nothing. Even the pain it causes is meaningless. I don't like it or dislike it. It's just there.

I guess also I've always practised 'safe' self-harm. The cuts I have are tiny, I could pass them off as thorn scratches if I felt like it. Most people would ignore them (if they looked at them after the swelling has gone down, say, tomorrow). After I do cut myself, I wash the cut. Usually with TCP and cotton wool, but at least with water. Even if I did cut deep, the area that I cut has no major veins or arteries in it. While the possibility for infection is high, the somewhat more dangerous bleeding to death is unlikely to occur. This 'safe' way of doing things made me rather complacent.

If I knew why I did it, what I gained from it, I would find it easier. If I knew it was because I didn't value myself, or it gave me pleasure, or I just like cutting things open, I'd feel happier. But instead, I have no idea why I cut. Just that, from time to time, maybe once every four months or so, I take a nearby sharp item like a pencil or a pin, and scratch open the back of my wrist.

Does anyone else have this feeling of emptiness about their self harm? Does anyone else try and limit the damage they do? Is this serious enough that I should be going to a doctor for help about? A couple of scratches every few months?

It would be nice just to have someone to talk to about it...

tl;dr : I cut myself and have no idea why.

(ps, this is my first post, so please be nice if my forum ettiquette is a little rusty. It's been a while since I was last on a board).
   
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Re: Cutting myself without knowing why - November 22nd 2011, 03:11 AM

Maybe you just like the sight of blood? Ever try a red pen? Just so it looks like a blood line? But, it doesn't injure you? Or, take some red food-coloring/dye and drop it onto your skin. Almost the same thing, but without the risk of scars or the pain. And, you said you believe you didn't do it for the pain. But, I believe you do it because you like the sight of blood. Anyways, try what I suggested. Maybe that would work. And, you can always talk to me. Just add me, and feel free to leave me a message, anytime.


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Re: Cutting myself without knowing why - November 22nd 2011, 08:23 PM

I will admit, I am fascinated by blood. How it feels, how it dries. How it moves, it's colour and reflectivity. But there are easier ways of getting blood. I mean, I could just go to the butchers and ask for some.

But something should be taken into consideration, I bleed very often. I am almost 'meh' with my approach to blood. (I subconsciously scratch at scabs, so I often have one or two open wounds). There have been times I've been bleeding and I haven't noticed, my friend points it out and I just wipe it away with a tissue. While sometimes I will watch, fascinated, at a drop of drying blood - wondering if it will dry or congeal - I will often completely ignore it.

Another thing to add is how rarely I self harm. While when I was younger I might do it every few hours now I barely do it at all. I don't think that before yesterday, I had hurt myself since the spring. Possibly even before that. It's so infrequent I don't think about it. Therefore most methods of simulating blood are a tad hard to do. If I went to buy a red pen, i would probably lose it by the time I needed it. If I coloured some ice cubes and melted them in my hands, I'd probably just defrost them to make room for soemthing in the freezer - or put them in a drink - before I needed them.

And when it comes down to it, the cuts I make on my arm are tiny. The amount of prep it would take to avoid cutting is far more effort than looking after a small cut from infection.

I would rather find the cause of my self-harm, and solve it, than find other ways around it.

But this self-harm feels empty and meaningless. The pain means nothing. There is no elation, there is no sadness. There is just the before and after...
   
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Re: Cutting myself without knowing why - November 23rd 2011, 05:25 PM

Ever talk to someone professional about it? I'm not saying that you need to. But, if you've gone through everything it could be and that isn't it.. then, maybe they can help you find the reason why. If the reason isn't obvious then it has to be something deeper. I would take talking to a professional into concideration. Because, we've both gone through all of the possibilities. And, it has to be something. lol I'm sorry if I'm rambling but, I would love to know why, too. lol


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