*TRIGGER WARNING* Advice on self harm please

Hi guys, I just wanted to get your views on something. I spoke to my Community Psychiatric Nurse yesterday about my self-harm. I’ve been speaking to him for a while about it and he has tried to support me in helping me stop.

A bit of background, I’ve been cutting myself for a while and as much as I’d like to stop, I acknowledge it’s the only thing that really stops (or at least adequately pacifies) the really intrusive suicidal urges I’ve been experiencing as of late. I suffer from depression, was on fluoxetine for a while but have decided to stop taking it because as much as it helped me deal with the intense bouts of sadness, it also made me feel numb, inhuman and a bit like a robot; as much as it helped stabilise the low moods, it completely took away the good ones! My CPN is aware of this decision and supports it - he actually thinks being off drugs can be a good thing as it helps me experience my depression in its rawest form and enables me to understand it a bit more. Anyway, the downside to this is that the intense low moods are back and I use self-harm to cope.

So a few people have become aware of my self harm - my mum saw my scars and it broke her heart. Some colleagues have also seen it and I’ve become so paranoid about what they think of me - some people judge as they just don’t understand; others try and help, thinking they can ‘save’ me and others pity me which is the worst. Because of this, I’ve really been trying to stop as I can see how much it’s hurting/alienating those around me.

Last week was amazing - I love autumn and the weather just put me in such a good mood. I was made permanent at work, I severed ties with a guy who was not any good for me, I reconnected with friends that I thought my depression took from me. Basically, I finally felt I was able to cope. In my moment of euphoria, I decided to make some positive changes, one of which was to throw away all my razor blades, which was unfortunately a very bad idea.

On Sunday, I had quite a bad day and the extreme low mood came back. My depression and I have a love/hate relationship; I hate feeling low, but also feel a sense of gratitude that I’m now able to feel something if that makes sense! The sadness is comfortable, familiar and even reliable. I know when it’s here, it allows me to have a good cry, but it is also very damaging to my body. Typically, I ended up feeling like I had to self harm to cope with the pain I was feeling emotionally. I had an overwhelming feeling of panic when I realised I threw away all my blades. Frantically, I searched the house for something sharp but the only thing that would suffice was a kitchen knife. I cut my thigh very badly and needed stitches, I hate that I had to do it - I never cut that deeply with razor blades so I realise how much the blades actually keep me safe!

Anyway, after my bad episode, I explained everything to my CPN who gave me some seemingly counterintuitive advice. He said that I should always keep a couple of blades close by just in case. According to him, some mental hospitals actually have staff who give patients clean blades so they can self-harm safely and in a controlled environment(!). I don’t know how I feel about this, I am so desperate to stop doing this but now I feel there is no way out and I’ll be self-harming forever if this is the case. Can someone please give me some advice on what to do about this? I hate what I’m doing to my body and I hate what it’s doing to people who care about me.

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  • Hi C7376283, Firstly we want you know that you are not alone in your suffering, and that there will no doubt be folks here who will have experienced the same feelings and coping mechanisms as yourself. Secondly, you will not be judged for what you share or for the actions you've taken to cope. Thank you too, for alerting us with the 'Trigger Warning' in your post title, which shows that you care about how this may affect others.

    I am concerned that your CPN advised you to stop taking your antidepressants, was this also with your GP/psychiatrist's knowledge? There are many types of anti-depressants and if one doesn't suit then another might. Our bodies respond differently to drugs, there's no 'one-size-fits-all'. I would encourage to discuss this with your doctors too. They may also recommend psychological talking therapies alongside drug therapy. Long-term management of MH problems requires a multi-disciplinary team approach.

    I am also concerned and question that you have been advised to keep blades handy just in case. I am not aware that psychiatric hospitals encourage this, but as your CPN says it's a 'safe, controlled environment' which I assume is not the case for you on your own at home. It may help to look at the 'Related Posts' section [top right of screen] at a post by one of our Moderators on 'Advice on supporting self-harmers'. This is drawn from the MIND charity site, which has a lot of very helpful information for you and your supporters about self-harming:

    mind.org.uk/information-sup...

    Also, MIND has a link to Life Signs on First Aid for Self-injury and harm, to keep yourself safe and administer first aid to yourself:

    lifesigns.org.uk/first-aid-...

    NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) NHS Guidelines on management of self-harmers nice.org.uk/guidance/cg16

    Above all please stay safe! Keep these Crisis support helplines handy:

    The Samaritans Tel: 116 123 [24 hours line]

    NHS: 999 [Emergencies]

    NHS 111 [Non-Emergencies]

    NHS Choices nhs.uk/conditions/self-inju...

    Please stay safe! Your life is valuable and important. Remember too that this is an anonymous, online community and the opinions expressed are personal and well meaning, but we are no substitute for professional medical help and advice.

    Keep in touch. We are listening and we care.

  • Thank you for your reply. My GP doesn’t know that I’ve stopped taking them. If I’m being honest, I’ve not been to the GP since August as I’m worried she will advise against it (and rightly so), but you’re right - fluoxetine isn’t for me but who’s to say that another antidepressant won’t be better suited. I’m seriously considering going back on them - even if it means I lose out on the other, more pleasurable emotions. I’m going to make an appointment with my GP ASAP. My CPN didn’t advise me to stop taking them either, I pretty much told him weeks after I stopped and his hands were tied I think. All completely my fault!

    Thank you for the resources and all the help and kindness. I am going to browse through tonight. I’m hoping to recover from this, it’s such an unhealthy coping mechanism and I would advise anyone to not ever start. it’s something I’ve watched spiral out of control before my eyes and there’s nothing that can stop it right now.

    Thank you again x

  • Hiya, firstly, thank you for your articulate, honest and balanced account of your current feelings. I agree with MAS_Nurse and think you should not just stop taking the prescribed medication without speaking to a doctor or, preferably, a psychiatrist. If your current medication is not effective for you then you can discuss alternatives, including combinations. With regard to self-harm, please, it is nothing to be ashamed of and no-one should negatively judge you (although, of course, well intentioned people often make clumsy or tactless remarks - I have lost count of the stupid things I've said - it is a learning process for all of us). I do not know if you have received any counselling but that may help you understand what you are experiencing and provide you with some tools to help you cope. You can overcome this with the right support and I really hope you do. There are more good people out there than bad. Just seek them out. We are all vulnerable in one way or another but we all deserve happiness and so do you. If you persevere, I have no doubt you will find what you are looking for. Take care,

  • Thank you for this. I will try to get better at coping. I’m on a group course for managing my emotions - it’s not therapy, they call it psycho-education which actually works better for me as I don’t yet think I’m able to handle therapy/counselling at the moment. Maybe when I’m a bit stronger and more resilient, I’d revisit the idea. I completely agree with the sentiment that there are more good than bad people out there - I’ve come to realise that recently - it’s what keeps me going! Take care x

  • Hiya, there was just one thing you said which I meant to reply to. You say, 'I’ve become so paranoid about what they think of me'. To quote a doctor in this field, 'Studies show that we consistently overestimate how much, and how badly, others think about us and our failings. An unfortunate consequence of this is that we are far more inhibited and far less spontaneous and joyful than we could be'. Does that ring true? Apparently, the correct response is to be kind and considerate to others, which I'm sure you are anyway (difficult, I know, with some people who you just want to poke in the eye !). Even if you are kind, some people may still judge you negatively, but that is not necessarily a reflection on you - if you are being truly kind and considerate then it is most probably an issue with them. The other thing to consider is that sometimes we all make mistakes and mess up and people will view us negatively as a result - that's normal. Sometimes I think I've subconsciously based myself on Homer Simpson with some of the clumsy remarks I've made. But if you've messed up, people will get over it and so must you. Don't beat yourself up - it's clear you are a nice person and most people will like you. Have faith and take care,

  • Yes, I’m definitely far too inhibited and there’s not much spontaneity in my life unfortunately. I think it stems from the fact that I’m a massive control freak! Thank you for this - I’ll try and be a bit less hard on myself, though it will take a lot of practice.

  • I am very sorry about your situations :( my eldest child, which is 12y.o also harmed herself with a blade on the arrm about 6 months ago and i never understand why, as far as im concerned i have given her everything she needs but it seems its not enough. As i am also hurting, instead of consoling her, i told her if that what she really wants, she's free to do it, if she dies i will give her a funeral, she'll be gone but i will forever miss her... she promise not to do it again, she's also getting regular counselling at school. I still see blades and sharp objects in her room and i never tried to put them away. Though i gave life to her, but her life is not mine. I can only guide her, provide for her.... but decisions are hers.... as for you, i do wish you well. may you never think of it anymore. we cannot go back and re-write the beginning of our life story, but we can start from now and write a brand new ending. Good luck.

  • Hey, I don’t know your daughter’s personality but when I was that age and self harming, my mum also found out. It hurt so much to see her worry but one thing I wanted her to know but was never able to articulate was that cutting, more than anything, was actually my way of staying alive. Self harming doesn’t always mean a person is suicidal, and in some ways, it shows an active effort for the person to get through life without having to resort to suicide. Well that’s the case for me anyway.

    I at times can isolate myself and internalise my feelings, which is very unhealthy. The last person I want to talk to about my self harm is my mum. It’s so much to put on a person - particularly when they brought you into the world and are so invested in your happiness. Believe it or not, we sometimes try and protect our parents!

    The only advice I can give is to let her know you’re there to talk to, without prying too far. Also may be a good idea to share some resources with her via her school counsellor, maybe ask if you could go to a session with her if you feel you can do so? I’d never let my mum join me at one of my sessions but everyone’s different - she may be more open to it than me!

    I’m sure you want her to be safe, but are worried about pushing her away by trying to get her to stop (unfortunately, I don’t think there’s much you can tell someone to get them to stop - they may just become better at concealing it to stop people from worrying). Hopefully it will get better. Take care of yourself too, I can only imagine how distressing it can be for a parent. x

  • Thank you so much for enlightening me... she doesn't understand it herself, what more me trying to understand her. The school visited us and got an idea about her family life, though my husband is her step dad but she was never treated bad, she was almost 2 when i met my husband, so she practically grew up with him and always been provided for. The biological father doesn't want responsibility and wanted me to abort her, but i didn't. Because I know she deserve to live. I worked hard to support my pregnancy and her early years. It's hard and lots of sacrifices... so if i knew she will not be happy in this world, i could have save her the pain. That's why it was very hard for me to see her so unhappy and troubled... anyways, she only did it just once, and she's being monitored by the school nurse and counsellor, she also have lots of friends though i wish she will limit the social media because its adding on to her insecurity, but otherwise she seems fine, she likes to draw on her wrist, quotes or stars, sometimes fish. at the moment its spiderman stickers from candysticks :)

  • On this site we are not free to name and shame people and I believe that is important, however, if I were allowed to do so I would have something to say to anyone who tells their child to go ahead and self harm, or tells their child they will be given a funeral . My God, I can't imagine what that might do to a child. So it's a good thing I can't say those things because I would very much like to. Pam

  • Im sorry I offended you with my comments about my own child. But I hope you re-read the sentence before and after the words you quoted for better understanding.

    Different views, different situations... My child is highly intelligent, even goes to a top grammar school and she knows what i meant when i used words like that and that's the reality of it. She understands that I dont "sugarcoat" my words and somehow she appreciates that, because its what it is really...

    And for the record, so far she only did it once and promise, not to me, but to herself that she will never do it again, and thats more important. That she see herself not from others point of view but her own.

  • Hi I have to disagee with you as there is a lot which can be done to help people stop cutting. First and foremost is to find out why. Cutting is a way of dealing with emotional pain but as very few people do this they must have other ways and methods of dealing with it instead. It is possible to teach cutters other ways of dealing with their pain. Often too cutting becomes a habit and addictive but any addiction and habit can be broken if the will is there.

    Sorting out and dealing with issues through therapy will sort out the cutting in the end. I understand what you are saying but statistics show that those who cut have a much higher chance of suicide than those who don't. It is often a pre cursor to it and is seen as a red flag. Practise doing something which is much less harmful next time you have the urge to cut and try and get a new habit going instead. It can be done. I know some people have an elastic band on their wrists which they snap instead. Lil x

  • "Self harm in a controlled environment?" Well I have never heard that

    I have self harmed many times and it is such a hard thing to stop. I guess it is finding out the root of what is making us torture ourselves like this and tackling that. Here if you ever want to talk

  • I remember reading an article somewhere online a while back that someone suggested that cutters should be provided with clean blades to make the risk of infection lower as well as at times its impossible to get the individual to stop cutting.

    Ive been cutting for about a year i think cant even remmember to be honest everyday feels like every previous day half the itme, but anyway,yeah cutting is addictive,the urge is always there,even on a good day something will always cause that little spark to ignite and the urge just comes out of no where.

    Sometimes personally for me i feel when i cant cut im irritable,my friend that knows that i cut has said for me to throw the blades away numerous times but i would only order more so that is a pointless task i dont have to see a blade to have the urge to cut.

    I started dragging tweezers across my arm before i actually started using blades.

    As lilaclil has said,more then anything you have to look at the reasons why is it that you cut.

    For me it use to be a case of me not really knowing but as time has gone on,i have started to figure out the reasons why and its a reason that i have always had.

    I hate my self,more then i could anyone in the world and always have always will, being Self-consciousness about ones body has always been seen as a female thing,but as a male i have been Self-consciousness about my body for a really long time.

    And i started cutting as punishment because i lost a load of weight,was on cloud 9 then boom started that ride back down put the weight back on that i lost and in my own mind i let my self down and so i started cutting something to take away the thoughts in my head and to live in that moment of concentrating on doing that one thing.

    ive been addicted to exercise,ive been addicted to sex,ive been addicted to food,ive always used food as a drug its a go too comfort when im feeling exciteable i go to food over indulge just pig out,when im sad and feeling low i go to food for comfort and then because i have over indulged my mind is like im screwing my self up even more i got to punish my self i feel like i deserve what i do because ive always been self critical nothing i do is ever good enough in my mind.

    I hate taking compliments becasue i do not know how to take them,i hate having praise and tell people the faults that i see that they don't and yeah its just something that i always have faced since a teenager, but cutting didnt come in until adult hood.

    Personally i would say you need to cut the toxic people out of your life for sure,trying to keep your hands busy and your mind occupied also helps,i work in retail and i wear a thermal jumper under a shirt,so summer time kind of sucks,but no one apart from my friend who lives all the way in spain knows that i cut,i rather look a scrough then having to explain to people all the cuts on my arms.

    Anyway,

    It's difficult to explain how to stop cutting,yes there are all these tips and tricks of using elastic bands and pens etc etc,but finding an outlet for that obvious emotion that's trapped inside needs to be something that needs to be looked into as a whole,i dont think the urge will ever go and i mean ever,its just directing it into something positive and something less damaging,but having a depressed mind trying to do that is no small task not by a long shot.

  • Going to tell you a little story. I was in my mid 20's when I hit rock bottom. I came face to face with myself and decided I had to make a decision - a very important one for me. I had a stark choice. I could either end it all there and then or do my best to have a life which would be a least liveable and bearable.

    I realised that until I made that choice I was going to continue punishing myself to make myself suffer coz I hated myself as I had very bad acne, no friends, no one seemed to like me, everyone else had a great life apart from me and I was such a sad sack. I decided there was no point in that so I might as well kill myself once and for all and be done with it. What was the point in living a life so I could make myself more miserable and keep punishing myself for being this awful person?

    I decided to try everything in life to understand myself and get what I needed and if that failed then I always had the other option. In other words I had nothing to lose. I went to therapy, looked at what I wanted in life and one of these was friends. Now I had never learned how to make friends and was socially very awkward. I set to teaching myself. I watched people and how they interracted for a long time. Then I started practising this myself obviously tuning it into my personality. In doing so I discovered I had a great sense of humour, intelligence, compassion and a few more as well as all my bad points. When I discovered all these great things about myself my confidence increased. The more I did the more my self esteem shot up and the less I hated myself. It's like a domino effect. Along the way I found a couple of passions in life which have been a great comfort. I also made friends. Ok I didn't achieve some big things but I did enough to have a life. I decided that no one else cared about me so I might as well.

    I had been through the system by then and had spent time in a mental hospital in my teens. I realised that essentially like all of us I was on my own in life. My family didn't understand or seem to care, and the NHS had let me down badly. I took full responsibility for my health and well being for the first time. Ok nothing is perfect in life but d.... it I fought so hard for a life that anything is a bonus. After all I could have chosen the other way. I am 80% glad that I didn't as I would have missed some interesting times. I still suffer from depression but don't hate myself. I think I am ok.

    I hope this helps someone else. Lil x

  • Hi Lil ☺ .What you've said rings so true with me.Like you said we are in charge of our own lives ultimately. We have to choose to make improvements in life in order to be Happy.I believe in taking baby steps -like you watching others to learn how to make friends. The more you push yourself , even though it feels uncomfortable, the more confidence you feel.I've struggled with depression most of my life & atm. , I'm feeling better. No.1 for me is caring for my daughter (she's 13 ) so that she doesnt suffer as I did.No.2 is looking after myself & No.3 is caring for my partner who supports us all.Big Hugs to anyone who needs them .

  • All of the things we do to ourselves like overeating , drugs , gambling, cutting, so many more, are done for the same reason...TO STOP THE PAIN we are all ready in. It's an exchange of the greater for the lesser. We distract our minds from what is really wrong. To find that original pain and absolve it is a painful process, but when you're on the other side of that fire you will be strong and will not need your secondary pain. therapy works, but you must find a good therapist who understands and doesn't judge. When therapy gets difficult or painful it is probably working. Pam

  • I agree Pam but I also think many self destructive behaviours are about punishing ourselves as well for not being 'good' enough and lack of self worth. x

  • I understand what you're saying , but no matter what our issues are we have to be accountable for our actions .

  • I have limited experience of self harm, I have supported my best friends daughter, occasionally. I wonder why Dave would say stuff like that, I feel he is not good for you, anyone who makes you feel crap walk away from. I am concerned about meds’ too, I do have experience of this, I haven’t taken medication since 1993. I still remember what Prozac did to me, but there are lots more alternatives now, maybe a visit to GP, with a lower dosage tablet, to tide you over, however I do agree with others, you need to find the route for the pain , that causes you to self harm, I have recently had couple sessions of the rapid eye desensitisation treatment, which is helping me to deal with feeling weak, pathetic, by changing those patterns, and gives me really useful tools, I have only had one anxiety attack at the weekend, and was able to get through a traumatic day, sorry I am not articulate, but I wish you well. I love that we can discuss stuff like this in a safe environment x

  • I went through a period of self harm, luckily I managed to stop before it became a longer habit. I found it really hard to give up so I can't imagine how hard it is for you. I think it is about doing it when the time is right. Like you it was my method for keeping myself alive so I knew I had to wait till I was over the crisis point before I tried and then had to commit to it. Until then I just made sure I used clean blades/ treated all cuts etc (which is as advised by MH professionals) When I was ready it was hard and I had to find alternatives but I~ did manage it, and this was without therapy to uncover reasons. I dont think that is always necessary. You just have to find an alternative way to cope in the moment. Have you done any DBT riding the wave etc stuff. Im not sure I would agree with it enough to do the program but bought the manual by Marsha Lindeman and chose the bits I thought might be helpful to me. After a bit of trial and error I managed to learn to get through them. Still have times I want to kill myself but the urge to self harm has practically gone even when I'm desperate. You will find something that works for you as long as you keep trying and are determined. Until then stay safe x

  • Hi...I'm no expert..I've been on anti-depressant for 19 years. Lately due to bad breakup...

    I started smoking..I drank excessively to point of ..well i became an alcoholic...but i maintain jobs etc

    Its hard I feel for you...just know there is light at the end of tunnel..but first you need to accept what is the real cause of your sadness...mines firstly was my brother dying of cancer when I was 21....that began my depression it came and went..depending on the circumstances......but the last 2 years were so hard. I live in Barcelona....when me and my ex broke up i t broke my heart but not only this I had no job...very little money....for months and months I drank...to numb the pain...I just got into deeper depression and obession to be with my ex while she lived her life and maintained she loved me but was with others...that drove me crazy..

    For me,,,over 22months of heart-break..depression I had to really choose life...as many times she said I'm not your girlfriend....and I can do what I want but at the same time told me she loved me....so you can see my reason why I was fucked up...sorry for my English lol

    Look life has its struggles...

    Please keep the faith

    I tried myself to end things...with lots of alcohol...and pills on a few occasions due to my misery...but I'm glad I did not..

    I'm better now...hopefully getting a new job...with better salary

    dating and meeting new people

    Please my advice is....its ok to be sad ...dwell..punch pillows..scream...hit rock bottom...but death is not the answer.

    but...you need to force yourself out..meet your friends do new things.meet new people......I promise you ...things will and can get better..I took up swing dancing once it was great!!! I joined a dating app happn...there is life after bad events...it does take time...but things can and will change..

    If anyone here just needs to chat my whatapp is +34633331299 I will do my best to listen

    I'm Scottish btw..and as I said I live in Barcelona.

    I have been there done that type of thing...there is hope ok?...life is beautiful..you just need to find that one small thing to hold on too.

    You are not alone )))))))))))))

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