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Thread: Depression and self harm

  1. #1

    Default Depression and self harm

    Let me start by saying that this is NOT a cry for help, nor a request for advice. I am fine, and don't need any advice on my personal situation, but I felt like just opening up a little bit anonymously, and talking about something I am learning about myself.

    I am learning that I can enjoy cutting myself.

    You often read stories of self harming, and this type of behaviour seems generally, but of course not always, mostly centred around hormonal teenage behaviour, and more related to females. I know it covers a wider cross section than that, but I think most people's idea of someone cutting themselves would be a teenage girl.

    Not a guy in his mid forties.

    Now I've had bouts of depression for years. Took anti depressants for over a decade. I stopped taking them probably 5 years ago, and I've been good. Admittedly I drink way too much, and I'm a pot smoker, but I've been pretty upbeat for a long time now. I've had some ups and downs, but more ups for sure.

    This week I've crashed. Back into old habits. I feel like shit, tired, moody etc. Blah blah blah. I even tried to pick a fight a few days ago.

    I must think I'm younger than what I am.

    Anyway, the other day at work and I feel like crap. There's the sharp knife on my desk. With no one around, I pressed it into my forearm and lightly drew it across. Not deep, but enough to make it flow.

    Since then, I've done it another 6 times.

    I know it's wrong, I know I shouldn't. I've never understood why or how people could do this. It's whacked out behaviour. Even being depressed myself, I couldn't figure out why people would do this.

    I can now. It's somewhat intoxicating.

  2. #2

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    What my understanding is there is chemicals that are released in the brain as part of the fight or flight response.

    Just because it feels good at times does not mean that it is good for you, if it involves self injurious behavior.

    I see the comment about not wanting advice, however this is a serious situation that you need to contact profession help about.

  3. #3

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    I think the part that should alarm you is that you find it intoxicating. I cut as a kid and really didn't understand why. There was no internet and no one to talk to. It's funny, but I never thought about sharing it, even with my best friend. I'd just be frustrated, especially if someone had bullied me that day. Maybe I did poorly on a test. I'm sure there was some trigger. Eventually I outgrew it.

    I read an article recently that men who suffer from depression, often express it in anger, rather than crying, feeling blue, etc. I often express my depression through anger. I try not to let it show, and I don't want to have any impact on or toward my wife, or others.

    We simply have to learn how to live with depression. Today was a bad day for me. My way of dealing with it was by dusting and vacuuming the house. I had some work to do, sorting out some music lead sheets. Then I did a few other house and music chores and I was feeling better. Finding something constructive to do is a lot better than cutting, and it's productive. I always feel better when I've accomplished something I've been wanting to do.

  4. #4

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    Wombat, thanks for posting. I'm glad you're comfortable here and able to share what's happening with you and how you're feeling.

    There are a lot of reasons that cutting might make you feel good. It releases adrenaline and being harmed is a very strong and acute feeling. It's also something that you have absolute control over because you, and nobody else, is deciding what happens to your body. The fact that going to cutting is something you feel like you need to make yourself happy, however, is a pretty big red flag. It's a self harm behavior and the real risk isn't that you might scar up your arm a little, but that you might make a mistake, even a very tiny one, and cause yourself serious harm or death by hitting the wrong spot.

    I encourage you to seek professional help. There are a lot of really great people on ADISC that can help you talk about your problems and try to come to terms with them, but we're not qualified to treat depression here and I think that's what you need. That said, if you do want to talk, about anything at all, feel free to PM me.

  5. #5

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    I'm glad you decided to post this information. I want to support you, but I feel I must contradict your self assessment; You are not fine. I worked with a number of youth in drop-ins and discovered there were a number of reasons why people engaged in cutting and self harm. Cutting is a way to deal with deep, emotional pain such as depression. Although it may sound contradictory, hurting yourself makes you feel better. In fact, you may feel like you have no choice. Hurting yourself can seem like the only possible way to cope with feelings like sadness, self-contempt, loneliness, or anger, all of which you have identified in your post. It can be a substitute for feeling real emotions or it can be a way of controlling your body when you feel you can't control anything else.The problem is that the 'intoxicating' feeling you are describing doesn't last long, and the behaviour becomes an addiction, with a need to do it more and more in order to continue escaping your pain. You need to tackle the real causes of cutting if you hope to get better. The problem with cutting is that people always believe they can control the injury, but sometimes they can't and they lose their lives. Again, I hear your words that this is not a cry for help, however, the facts clearly indicate that you are a person in need of help. Please just consider what I'm saying and reach out to a professional or someone you can confide in as soon as possible.
    Last edited by Starrunner; 01-Nov-2015 at 23:08.

  6. #6

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    Self-harm affects people of all ages. Like you I was one of those people who could never understand it - just seemed ridiculous to hurt myself physically 'just because' I was hurting emotionally. I have friends who self-harm but even then, I could never 'get' what would bring them to do it.

    Also like you I, somewhat out of impulse, cut myself one day, and found that it helped to an extent. The first few times it was a combination of novelty and the release of endorphins that made me do it - it was a nice way to express my internal conflict outwardly. Lately it's more of a distraction... My emotions are often so overwhelming that I find it better to make a few cuts to calm myself down/give me something else to focus on. If I'm distraught over something ridiculous, rather than obsessing over that I prefer to have my attention drawn to physical pain/stinging, plus get the benefit of those lovely endorphins. I definitely relate to a lot of what you've written here.

    Cutting's a 'symptom' IMHO - so I won't bother giving you advice on that. You've found another (flawed) coping mechanism for some mental health issues you're having - the important thing isn't to focus on that I think but to try and deal with the emotional/mental issues that are leading you to do it. You've been through the whole rigmarole of finding mental health help and getting on anti-depressants in the past, you can navigate through the system again I'm sure. There's absolutely no shame in needing more support at different times. If you keep feeling this way, then you should of course seek help again. Good luck.

  7. #7

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    As a fellow SI (cutter) I can understand the intoxicating effects. I also understand why it's enjoyable. For me it's an escape, a way to let the emotions I don't want to feel drain out of me. Sometimes it's all emotions. I hope you talk to someone professional or are seeking that help again. I understand the need to do it, but I also understand the frustrations that come along as well. To Write Love on Her Arms "TWLOHA" has a Facebook page. They're an amazing support for cutting, depression, and other things for all ages!

  8. #8

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    Thanks to everybody for their kind words and support. I understand it's an issue in gonna have to address. I did admit it to a couple of friends, and they were very supportive about it. Perhaps not understanding it, but supportive nonetheless. I told them I didn't think it would happen again, and I meant it.

    I haven't done it since my previous post on the subject. Until last night. Last night I got drunk and did it again.

    Problem is that this time I haven't hid it as well as I normally do. This morning I have deep scratches on the top of my lower forearm, and across the top of my chest, and the back of my hand. I can't believe I was so stupid as to do it in such noticeable places. I guess subconsciously I want people to notice. At least I must've last night when I did it. This morning however, I am mortified of people noticing.

    Problem is it's Saturday in Australia, and I play sport, in a team that wears uniforms. The team shirt does nothing to hide the damage I've done, and I have no option but to wear it. And of course the guys I spoke too about it are my teammates, so by this afternoon my situation is going to be in the open again. It's also going to be 37 degrees in West Australia today, and mid to high 30s for the next few, so wearing a jumper, jacket or long sleeves is out.

    Methinks I may have stuffed up this time, lol.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wombat View Post
    Thanks to everybody for their kind words and support. I understand it's an issue in gonna have to address. I did admit it to a couple of friends, and they were very supportive about it. Perhaps not understanding it, but supportive nonetheless. I told them I didn't think it would happen again, and I meant it.

    I haven't done it since my previous post on the subject. Until last night. Last night I got drunk and did it again.

    Problem is that this time I haven't hid it as well as I normally do. This morning I have deep scratches on the top of my lower forearm, and across the top of my chest, and the back of my hand. I can't believe I was so stupid as to do it in such noticeable places. I guess subconsciously I want people to notice. At least I must've last night when I did it. This morning however, I am mortified of people noticing.

    Problem is it's Saturday in Australia, and I play sport, in a team that wears uniforms. The team shirt does nothing to hide the damage I've done, and I have no option but to wear it. And of course the guys I spoke too about it are my teammates, so by this afternoon my situation is going to be in the open again. It's also going to be 37 degrees in West Australia today, and mid to high 30s for the next few, so wearing a jumper, jacket or long sleeves is out.

    Methinks I may have stuffed up this time, lol.
    Everyone can slip backwards from time to time. The important thing is to try to resist it in the future. Perhaps not getting as drunk would be a good start. I drank way to much when I was much younger and it almost killed me when I developed a bleeding stomach ulcer. I technically died at a weekend medical office and went through the tunnel of light. I saw my parents at the end of it and then there was this rushing sound and I was back in the wheel chair they were wheeling me out with, to go to the hospital. Now, I never have more than one drink in a 24 hour period.

    I wrote a story for this site back in 2008 called "Going Home" about a 16 year old kid who was a cutter. That was when we had kids as young as 13 on this site. You'd be surprised how many of those kids said they were cutters. Because I was one when I was a kid, they got to my heart, because I knew the pain they were feeling that led them to cutting. The physical pain tries to replace the emotional pain, but it never works. I've learned that I had to do positive things in my life to make myself feel better.

    I'm a musician, so I love playing piano. I can replace depression with beauty, especially if I'm playing someone like Chopin. I enjoy writing because I can construct an incredible world where vampires or ghosts exist. I can make my characters triumphant, like Mikey in "Going Home". Rugby sounds like a cool thing to do. When we cut, we wear those badges, not of shame, but of pain, and there's a big difference. Enjoy your game and especially being with your friends. They'll understand and they'll care about you. I always had a good friend who understood. We're all in this rat race together, and you'd be surprised how many others hurt. They just deal with it differently.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wombat View Post
    Thanks to everybody for their kind words and support. I understand it's an issue in gonna have to address. I did admit it to a couple of friends, and they were very supportive about it. Perhaps not understanding it, but supportive nonetheless. I told them I didn't think it would happen again, and I meant it.

    I haven't done it since my previous post on the subject. Until last night. Last night I got drunk and did it again.

    Problem is that this time I haven't hid it as well as I normally do. This morning I have deep scratches on the top of my lower forearm, and across the top of my chest, and the back of my hand. I can't believe I was so stupid as to do it in such noticeable places. I guess subconsciously I want people to notice. At least I must've last night when I did it. This morning however, I am mortified of people noticing.

    Problem is it's Saturday in Australia, and I play sport, in a team that wears uniforms. The team shirt does nothing to hide the damage I've done, and I have no option but to wear it. And of course the guys I spoke too about it are my teammates, so by this afternoon my situation is going to be in the open again. It's also going to be 37 degrees in West Australia today, and mid to high 30s for the next few, so wearing a jumper, jacket or long sleeves is out.

    Methinks I may have stuffed up this time, lol.
    While I can't offer Dogboy's near-death experience as insight, I can offer some of the science via Wikipedia and point out that getting very drunk isn't just further lowering inhibitions, it's actually a difference in character. If you get really drunk, you can get violent or act strangely, the brain may not perceive things right or may not make the proper connections. If you have a vulnerability to depression and cut as a response, heavy amounts of alcohol could very easily make you go to that behavior while nullifying all the other thoughts you'd normally have to temper yourself.

    All of which is to say, what's done is done, but going forward you should try to take better care of yourself and get help to do it. Really, it's not a sign of weakness to ask for help, it's a sign of strength.

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