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Many people can stop - and do - as they find different ways of coping. Some dont. Some cant.
For decades the idea of self-love has ruled the media and
normal poeple's lives. We have images of 'perfect' people
shoved down our throats from the cover of Hello! to pop
music videos. Being beautiful and proud of it has been a
sick virtue for so long. Plastic surgeons make millions
from Joe Blogg's quest to be a bronze adonis or Ms
Average's yearning to be sexy stick insect.
Self-destruction is labelled as 'wrong' or 'sick'. This is
the view of hypocrites and ignorants. It's ok to get
pissed and start a fight on a Saturday night, but not ok
to cut your arm from anger/frustration. It's admirable to
acheive the perfect figure from a £30,000 lipo suction and
chin tuck, but awful to stub a cigarette out on your arm.
Self-adoration/improvement is a denial of who you are and
how you feel. Everyone's trying to fit in with what the
media and the money-makers see as 'the way to look and
behave'. I say 'fuck you' to these supporters of cultural
demi-gods and media sluts. Through self-harm i have found
a means of coping with my pain/insecurities without having
to change who i am for the sake of the moral majority.
I will not feel shame for who i am and neither should
Most people who self-injure tend to be perfectionists, are
unable to handle intense feelings, are unable to express
their emotions verbally, have dislike for themselves and
their bodies, and can experience severe mood swings. They
may turn to self-injury as a way to express their feelings
and emotions, or as a way to punish themselves.
Psychotic Self Injury : Types of Psychotic Self Injury
include the removal or amputation of body parts, such as
eyes, limbs, ears, and genitals. These acts of Self Injury
are usually done in response to visual or audible
hallucinations. This type of Self Injury is severe and is
Organic Self Injury : Organic Self Injury usually stems
from autistic disorders, developmental disabilities, and
other psychologically induced disorders. This type of Self
Injury is always influenced by physical or chemical
problems in the body. Forms of Organic SI include head-
banging and lip-biting.
Typical Self Injury : Typical Self Injury results because
of emotional or psychological reasons not related to
psychotic (hearing voices, seeing things that aren't
there, delusions) or organic (physical) conditions. The
majority of the people who Self Harm fall into this
catergory. This type of Self Harm is used to make yourself
feel better and as a way of coping with your life. The
following are the most common ways people hurt themselves:
Cutting : Cutting, also known as slicing or slashing, is
the most common way people hurt themselves. It is
typically done with a knife, razor blade, piece of glass,
or other sharp objects. Most of the cuts are done on the
arms, legs, wrists, and chest; but other people cut on
other parts of the body such as the stomach, face, neck,
breasts, and genitals. But cutting on the arms and wrist
is the most common because excuses can be made more easily
(for example people can say that they had an accident
Burning : Burning is another common way people hurt
themselves. Usually done with cigarettes, lighters,
matches, kitchen-stove burners, heated objects (branding
irons or hot skillets), and burning objects. Sometimes
people even use flammable substances such as gasoline,
propane, alocohol, and lighter fluid. Similar to cutting,
most people burn themselves on their arms, wrists, legs,
Interference with wound healing : Most people have
unconsciously interfered with the healing of a wound but
it is considered Self Harm when it is done deliberately.
Some people remove stitches prematurely, stick objects
such as needles, pins, etc. into the wound, or do other
things to reopen the wound.
Hitting : Hitting themselves with their fists is another
way that people hurt themselves that is most commonly done
on the head or thighs. Although it may not seem as serious
as cutting or burning it is done for the same reasons and
Extreme nail biting : It is common for most people to bite
their nails. But when it is used as a form of Self Harm it
is more severe and frequent than normal. It can result in
the injury and damage of the fingernails or cuticles.
People can bite their fingernails so much that they draw
Scratching : Another common thing amongst most people
scratching can become a form of Self Injury. People who
use it as a method of Self Injury make it more extreme in
frequency, intensity, and duration. Area's of skin can
become raw or sometimes even bloody. Usually the
scratching is done with the fingernails but sometimes it
is done with a sharp or semisharp object such as a knife,
comb, or pencil. Sometimes it is done unconsciously.
Hair-pulling : Trichotillomania is 'the excessive and
recurrent removal of your own hair resulting in a
noticeable loss of hair,' is the only form of Self Injury
recognized as a psychological disorder by the Diagnostic
and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV).
Usually the hair is removed from the scalp, eyebrows, or
beard, but can be from any part of the body. The bald
spots that result from Trichotillomania are usually
covered with a hat, bandage, or sunglasses.
Breaking of bones : A form of Self Injury that is more
rare than the others, the breaking of bones is a serious
and severe form of Self Injury. Usually, people break
their bones with an instrument such as a hammer, brick, or
other heavy objects. But sometimes people throw themselves
into walls or doors.
Another source of shame is feeling unable to control your
SI behavior. You may feel that hurting yourself means you
are weak. You may have tried to stop SI-ing but found
yourself unable to, which may cause feelings of failure
and regret. If you have talked to anyone about your Self
Injury you may not want to tell them about any new
injuries. You may be embarrassed or ashamed that you hurt
yourself again. You might even berate yourself for SI-ing,
which is a behavior that helps you cope. But scolding or
berating yourself doesn't usually help. Actually it might
even increase your feelings of shame and embarrassment.
The shame is caused by your perceived loss of control or
For some people it is not the act of SI that makes them
feel shame and embarrassment, but their inability to
remember the SI incident. As has been stated earlier many
people who Self Harm are in a dissociative state while
they engage in their behavior. 'Dissociation distorts the
conscience as well as decreased the experience of physical
pain.' Some people dissociate more than others. You may
even dissociate so much that you are unable to remember
hurting yourself. This may cause you to feel shame,
embarrassment, surprise, and confusion. This level of
dissociation is not common but it can cause severe
emotional consequences including large amounts of shame.
After an act of self-injury most people go throught two
distinct stages of emotion. First is the experience of a
great sense of relief. Hurting yourself has dissipated the
large amount of tension that you felt previously. Also,
you may feel a sense of calmness and happiness which has
been produced by the endorphins that were released. These
feelings may continue for some time. Because of this,
immediately after hurting yourself, you probably feel
pretty good. These good feelings are probably part of the
reason that SI is so addicting. Most people would like to
feel that way more often. But most don't go to the lengths
that self-injurers do.
The second emotional state is where many people feel
guilt, regret, shame, and the return of emotions that they
felt before hurting themselves. This often occurs after
the positive feelings have worn off. When you reach this
stage you may even feel worse than you did before hurting
yourself. You may even feel so bad that you want to hurt
yourself again. 'It is precisely this emotional experience
that creates the cylic pattern of SI.'