Thursday, March 1, 2007

Today Is Self Injury Awareness Day

Apolgies for not getting this up sooner--busy day.

Thanks to Deb for posting about this earlier in the week as I knew it was in March but had forgotten the exact date. I do this often. My memory is abysmal.

I know it's hard as there are so many "days" commemorating and promoting this and that. Sometimes with the proliferation of these things it tends to take away the meaning. But I think I will take the time to blog about this one and give it a bit of show.

Now although this day is not formally recognized and is still more of a "grass roots" effort, I found through this site that two states in the US have actually proclaimed it an "official" day: Connecticut and New Mexico. The site offers some form letters if you feel like advocating to your local legislature. Granted, it's all done up for MPs in the UK but it will give you a template. It also offers some literature about self injury that is written by LifeSIGNS, the UK charity that well, basically seems to be managing the site.

Now on a more personal note, if you do not already know this, I am a self injurer. I have been and am a cutter. Please see the link entitled Cutting on the right for previous posts if you are interested. I have also engaged in punching walls, head banging. I have done these as a child and an adult--except the cutting, that came later.

I have been debating about disclosing this for a while but since today seems to be all about awareness, then I suppose it seems an appropriate time. I engaged in a cutting about three weeks ago. It has been about two and a half years since I last cut myself. I'm not even sure why I did it. There were no obvious triggers that day. I'm still not sure.

I do know that my last year has been fraught with tremendous difficulty and it is very surprising that I haven't completely fallen over the edge in dealing with some of the things that have hit me. Perhaps some extremely minor trigger that didn't even register just tipped the balance? Again, I am not sure. I don't know if I ever will be.

Perhaps I just need to have a big Bipolar flip out ever two and a half years!

I mentioned this to my therapist and she (rather glibly in my mind) said, "Well, you can flip out here!" But that is not the point. When you reach that level of crisis, that critical mass in your brain, you can't wait for a therapy session. Especially if you don't even see the oncoming onslaught. I was dissociated. Absolutely. The last thing on my mind was calling up someone, anyone and talking. The only thing I wanted to do was hide away from my partner, use the knife and then quickly try and repair the damage I'd done and hide it all (which was impossible--I'd cut too deeply.) However, not enough to require medical attention as in the past.

So on goes the battle, I suppose. But just remember--be kind and gentle and patient with the self injurers you encounter out there. Don't be scared even if sometimes what we do can seem a little difficult to handle. Believe me, it's difficult for us too.


wolfbaby said...

Im sorry that you have to go through that. It takes alot of courage to stand up and talk about the difficult subjects. I think your pretty amazing for do this.

Patient Anonymous said...

Hi wolfbaby, thanks for your comment and compliments.

I don't know if I'm all that "amazing" but I do believe in reducing the stigma. And yes, talking about it openly. It is difficult and a lot of self injurers/harmers spend so much time living in shame with it all and it needn't be that way.

I struggled for a long time (in warmer weather) should I still continue to hide my scar/s or not. The answer is a most defiant, "NO!"

Not that I "hide" my scars in cold weather but you just can't see them because sleeves are longer and all of that automatically because it's cold, right?

Sorry, still waking up here...

anonymous mom said...
in tribute to self harm day, this is a very interesting article i found awhile ago. you may already know about it, i think it's a novel idea.
my bp son also hurts himself, mostly punching concrete walls, head banging, some cutting. i've been learning about it, and it's obvious that he gets some sort of release of the pain when he injures himself...

Patient Anonymous said...

Hi anonymous mom, I hadn't seen that article and it is very interesting although I do know of the techniques employed as "alternatives" used to try and reduce self harm such as the ice cubes and elastic bands. That is the first I've ever heard of supervised self harm being allowed as accepted practice of "Harm Reduction."

Although some may see it as controversial I think it does show an improved level of tolerance and acceptance of the matter. Indeed, quite novel. Thank you very much for bringing it to my attention.

All the best to you and your son. I'm glad you are gaining some insight and understanding. It's good that he has you for support.

Take care,

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

How great that you posted about it too. You are so brave and courageous to share your story.


Patient Anonymous said...

Thanks, Deb. Oh come knew after that emotionally laden comment on your blog that I'd throw something up here on the 1st, didn't you?

And yes, this tends to be the "spew-all" (or most) blog so why not share.

Thanks too for the hugs.