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Re: INFOBUS: Addressing the stigma of self-injury

@speedofsound - we are especially still in the very early stages of biochemical and brain research to do with self-injury. There is some evidence that self-destructive behaviours have a large chemical and hereditary component which is independent of depression - which may explain the urges and images that occur even when the emotions are not necessarily very strong
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Re: INFOBUS: Addressing the stigma of self-injury

@gail - that is so great you are now able to identify those feelings: anger, regret, shame, desperation, hopelessness. A key to healing from self-injury is precisely that - learning to identify, name, and tolerate emotions. I wonder - how were you able to get to the point where you were able to understand your emotions?
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Re: INFOBUS: Addressing the stigma of self-injury

And for everyone on the forum, I wonder: 

 

How can you become more aware of the feelings that might trigger thoughts of self injury?

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Re: INFOBUS: Addressing the stigma of self-injury

One thing I found really helpful was keeping a journal. At first I wasn't able to intervene before engaging in self harm, but by keeping writing after each time I did I was eventually able to determine patterns of thoughts and feelings that were present when I was self harming, and then I was able to work out ways to counteract those thoughts and feelings before getting to the point of desperation where I'd self harm.

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Re: INFOBUS: Addressing the stigma of self-injury

How can you become more aware of the feelings that might trigger thoughts of self injury?

 


I think for me by - when I am having thoughts of self-injury - removing myself from any situations of being able to self-harm. Like spending an hour or two watching a movie with a friend. Often (but not always) by then the thoughts are at least less strong. I think for me it's only retrospectively that I can be aware of those feelings - or when the feelings are there but I have no avenue to do anything about them. If that makes sense!

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Re: INFOBUS: Addressing the stigma of self-injury

@SarahS - That's a really true point, and a very interesting one. I know that from personal experience, it's very spot-on with some of my issues with self-harm. Although I've struggled with depression also, it wasn't always during those low times that i felt the urge to self harm. I could be having quite a good day, and want to self harm nonetheless... whether it was to bring myself down because i felt i didn't deserve to be happy, because happiness was a genuinely unpleasant emotion for me at times, or even for no tangible reason that i could point to at all, that urge to self destruct has always been there to some degree. Not just in overt self harm behaviours, but in many areas of my life. And i think *that* has confused, upset and frustrated me more than anything. If you're having a bad day and want to hurt yourself, that makes sense in a certain way. If everything is ok, and you still feel a very strong desire to hurt yourself, how does that make sense at all? It can make you feel intensely defective. People often fail to realise that it's not just the scars and opinions of other people that add another dimension of metacognitions to the thoughts of self harmers... feeling as though there's no logical reason to self harm, but wanting to do it anyway, can be as difficult to deal with as the self harm itself. 

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Re: INFOBUS: Addressing the stigma of self-injury

Journaling is definitely one of the methods I suggest to people. Just the initial awareness is a great first step. It is especially important to stay non judgmental as you record your behaviour, even as you continue to self-injure.
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Re: INFOBUS: Addressing the stigma of self-injury

clarey, sounds like you are at a stage that gail was once at. i hope it gives you some reassurance to hear how someone else moved through engaging with self harm into recovery... though of course we all know everyone's journey can be different, but it does sound like a really positive step to be aware of your feelings - even retrospectively.

Online Community Manager

ReachOut.com

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Re: INFOBUS: Addressing the stigma of self-injury

@sophie-RO
it's interesting because 6 months ago or more, I would have thought I was at the well and truly recovered stage myself. I guess life's not that simple and 'recovery' is often a long, very up and down process :-)
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Re: INFOBUS: Addressing the stigma of self-injury

Its an interesting characteristic that we have as human beings - we are constantly striving to understand and come to conclusions about things and in fact, sometimes we prefer to come to a negative conclusion than no conclusion at all! So I definitely understand your frustration in having an urge to self-injure but not understanding why, despite you obviously being a very aware person about the generally understood motivations behind it. Hopefully science will be able to give you (and us!) an answer soon. In the meantime, I hope you can continue to view it nonjudgmentally, despite what much of society (unfortunately) think.