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Alice Kirkland Offline
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Question Opinion About My Cigarette Use... - March 23rd 2014, 03:47 AM

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.


Well to start, I've been smoking for almost a year now. I'm a self harmer, and I'm really trying to rehab myself to stop. In reality, I've been self harming for about 2 years now. I was okay with the cutting at first, but later I realized what the cycle was doing to me. I started trying to stop about a year ago. I was slipping up bad, and I didn't know how to help myself anymore. But I started smoking just out of curiosity, and I found that it help to stop the "breakdowns" I'd have before I cut. I was using it as a crutch.

None of my peers smoke like I do, and most of my friends disapprove of my habit. At the moment, I don't really have the motivation to stop. As much as I'd like to get legitimate help, my parents wouldn't support it in the slightest. Why just the other day my father brought up my suicide attempt and said "that he'd hurt me himself if I ever thought about doing something like that again." And no, my dad would not realize that this needs psychiatric help, but instead think that I need to be yelled at and humiliated because,"If I'm crying I'm only trying to get out of getting hit with his belt." And yes his said/done both of those things.

So my question to anyone who bothered to read that whole slew of text is, do you think that the smoking is helping or hurting? And what should I do from this point on seeing as I can't get professional help without seeing repercussions at home?
   
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Re: Opinion About My Cigarette Use... - March 23rd 2014, 04:20 AM

I'm assuming you are still of school age, so do you think that you would be able to talk to a guidance counselor or school nurse at school and explain the situation to them? You can also explain to them what your family has said about what you have been going through before. I know it's not the same as professional help, but maybe they will at least have some suggestions they can offer you. Or, if you're due for a physical, you can bring it up there and maybe they can talk some sense into your parents.

This is a link to a list of alternatives to self harm. Perhaps you can use some of these when you want to self harm or even when you want to smoke, because they are healthier, safer ways to cope.

I can understand why you decided to smoke instead of self harm, but both have their own health risks and aren't really good ways to cope. Perhaps you can find other things to do to express your feelings such as writing, art, music, or exercise?


   
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Re: Opinion About My Cigarette Use... - March 25th 2014, 02:09 AM


Thank you very much for the list, Merpop! I'll be sure to keep it handy. And yes I'm of school age, I was just worried about getting comments about me being too young to have problems by posting my age (I get enough of that at home). I have considered telling a doctor, very much in depth actually, but my parents… they just don't understand that I'd need outside help. Heck if I say something truthful at my physical that my parents don't like, my mom sends me a somewhat nasty look. So, I don't really want to seek outside help while I'm living in my parent's house, I'm worried about the repercussions. Especially since I can't drive yet, so I'm stranded here or stuck walking on foot.

Last edited by Alice Kirkland; March 25th 2014 at 02:52 AM.
   
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Re: Opinion About My Cigarette Use... - March 25th 2014, 04:07 AM

Well, whether or not smoking itself is a bad thing is kind of debatable. Everyone has a different opinion; some people think that cigarettes are okay in moderation and others are completely against them. It's all a matter of personal choice, and if you choose to smoke cigarettes you absolutely deserve the freedom to make that decision. But in your case it sounds like your reasons for making the decision are the problem rather than the decision itself. Smoking cigarettes can definitely be considered an unhealthy or dangerous habit, but your habit of turning towards negative coping mechanisms to deal with your emotions could be just as dangerous.

I've always thought that self harm causes far more emotional damage than physical. When you self harm regularly you're basically programming yourself to turn towards negative or unhealthy habits in order to feel better. If you don't find a positive alternative to hurting yourself then you're more than likely going to continue turning towards negative ones, and eventually the alternatives you choose could be a lot more serious than self harm. Right now you're used to using negative coping mechanisms, so even though you've given up self harm you've chosen another negative way to cope. The only way to end the cycle is to find a positive way to deal with your emotions. If you can find a helpful way to cope that doesn't have any negative effects then you'll have less of a tendency to turn towards the negative ways of coping and you won't be giving up a dangerous habit for an even more dangerous one. Maybe you could try out some new hobbies that interest you and that could take your mind off of your emotions. It's perfectly possible to find relief in healthy ways. You just have to figure out what really works for you. There's a super long list of alternatives here that you might find useful.

A lot of people aren't very understanding when it comes to depression and mental health. Unfortunately it's not something that's very frequently discussed and therefore there are many people who lack knowledge on the subject. Maybe your parents simply don't understand the seriousness of the problems you're facing. It might be useful to meet with a counselor at school and tell them what you're going through, and if they feel you would benefit from seeking professional help then maybe you could include your parents in a meeting and have the counselor explain things to them. If it's coming from another adult they might take the issue more seriously and be more understanding.

You mentioned in your second post that you worry people won't take you seriously because of your age, and I wanted to let you know that you shouldn't worry about that. Everyone has problems, no matter what age they are. If anything people should admire your ability to recognize and identify the problems you're facing. A lot of people, even adults, don't realize that the behavior they're partaking in is harmful. To me the fact that you're able to realize this says a lot about your maturity level. I think that you'll end up finding someone who takes your problems seriously. You just have to be willing to talk about them first.

I hope this helped a little and that you're able to get the help that you need. Feel free to message me if you're ever in need of someone to talk to. Good luck and take care


   
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Re: Opinion About My Cigarette Use... - March 25th 2014, 12:14 PM

I think the smoking is a lot better than the cutting. I smoke and cut as well. So I understand the relief of both. But you should really try to quit both but so it one at at time so you don't go completely crazy!! message me if you ever need anything!
   
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Re: Opinion About My Cigarette Use... - March 26th 2014, 02:31 AM

Smoking is a popular way for people to "self-medicate." This doesn't mean that it is healthy in any way. Yes, cigarettes help to calm you down, but in reality the effects only last for about 15 minutes. There are a lot more negative sides to smoking, which is why there are a lot fewer people doing it nowadays.
I think cutting and smoking are just as harmful as the other, but in different ways. Smoking causes more long-term health problems. But cutting can cause emotional and mental problems.
Doing both aren't healthy ways to cope or manage your emotions. Unhealthy coping mechanisms such as these only cause more problems. You know how hard it is to stop cutting, and quitting smoking can be just as difficult due to the physical addiction.
My best advice is to quit smoking slowly so you reduce withdrawal symptoms. If you can't rely on your parents to help you quit this unhealthy behavior, then try and get support from your friends. They know how bad smoking is for you, so I'm sure they will be happy to help you quit.
Alongside quitting, you should try and find alternatives. Amanda gave you a good link to a list, so I encourage you to look through that and test some out until you find something that works for you. I recommend exercise, doing something creative, and spending more time with friends.


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Re: Opinion About My Cigarette Use... - March 26th 2014, 08:53 PM

Depending on the extent of your cutting and smoking, smoking can in fact be worse for you. The most severe consequences are from long term use, but there are many lesser consequences from early on, like shortness of breath and coughing. The more you get in the habit of smoking, the harder it usually is to quit, so although you have plenty of time to quit before the big illnesses would develop, don't leave to too late, as many have to quit several times. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy smoking, but it does take its toll, and shouldn't be underestimated for how much self-harm its doing (just less visibly).

After 5 years, of at times, very heavy smoking, I found e-cigs were very helpful, and I quit smoking about a year ago and became a 'vaper'. I feel so much better, but get much of the same relief with an e-cig as I did smoking. E-cigs may or may not be totally safe, but the consensus in science is that they are far safer than smoking tobacco. If you can, I recommend looking into them, if you don't think you are going to kick the smoking habit any time soon.

If you do want to quit, some schools do offer help. You could look into if your does. Also, perhaps try and find out if your school has a counselor. If they do, it might be worth seeing them to talk about whats leading you to self harm. You can ask them about their confidentiality policy, so you can avoid mentioning things where they'd have to contact your parents.

Of course, cutting could be more dangerous if you are doing it to a severe extent which puts your life at risk. You also will get scars for life, whilst quitting smoking doesn't leave visual reminders.
   
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Smile Re: Opinion About My Cigarette Use... - March 27th 2014, 02:23 PM


Thank you all very much for your responses! I was unaware that counselors even had a confidentiality policy. I would reconsider that route if the counselor won't report to my parents. I'm glad that I posted this thread, as now I have some alternatives to help myself get out of this hole I've created. Thank you all again, it's very much appreciated.~
   
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