A Different Sort of Addiction

**TRIGGER WARNING FOR SELF INJURY**

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My arms are becoming road maps again.  Little red lines that decorate the tops and my right forearm.  The scars aren’t enough in number these days.  For the first time in my 17 years of dealing with SI, I’ve found myself in the category of wanting the outside to match the inside.  For the first time, the scars are visible unless I wear long sleeves.

In my defence, the latest cut was a direct response to a threat of violence.  I attempted to wound myself to keep someone else from wounding me.  It worked only momentarily, and, in the end, has led to more harm that I probably would have initially received.  In that moment, I was terrified and desperate to save myself from a difficult situation.  The stress was so high, and the emotions were so extreme.  Later, I realised that cutting had numbed it all.

This year has been a struggle in terms of cutting.  It hasn’t been this bad in a while.  Now, though, it’s like the addiction is back.  Mine started when I tried to cover a scar that was put on me through cult activities.  It was a means of control.  If they were going to scar my body, I was going to do it worse.  Logical, right?  Now, I’m feeling that same sense of control again.  Like cutting is the only thing I *can* control, and like it proves to everyone that my body is truly mine.

Yesterday, I almost had a panic attack when I realised the box of plasters was empty.  No plasters means nothing to cover the blood, which means not being able to cut.  The panic only subsided when I found the box I keep for ’emergencies.’  Like the sewing needle I keep in my purse, supplies are hidden everywhere.  Now, I’m back to wearing sleeves that hide my arms, flinching when people touch me, and praying no one will feel cuts or bandages under my shirt.  I’m back to feeling exhilarated,ashamed, in control, and completely helpless over the same action. Cutting is a regular part of my life again, and I need to decide to let that go.  I’m horrified at the activity and terrified at the thought of losing it as my only means of coping and control.

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4 thoughts on “A Different Sort of Addiction

  1. I wish I could write something that would make a difference, that you would read and feel encouraged and repelled to give up self injury for, but I’m not that great of a writer. You might feel that you’ll never be able to give it up, but I promise you that if you really put your mind to it you can beat it. It is really, really difficult; but I’ve managed it, my friend has managed it (and she was really quite bad), and if you just have some faith in yourself you can do it. Self harm is the most addictive, manipulative and horrible thing- you are more than that, prove that you are its boss. Good luck and I am so glad I found your blog, I am also trying to raise awareness of mental health issues through my blog and I’m so glad there are others with the same goal in mind! I look forward to reading more posts in the future, keep fighting.
    http://www.survivingthementalprison.wordpress.com

    • Thanks for the encouragement. Your words are very comforting. Yes, blogs are so important for raising awareness of issues like this. They can be completely anonymous (like mine) or as open as the writer wants to be. It’s a great way to reach even one person who might read a post and find hope.

  2. The word that jumps out at me from your post is “control.” I never physically hurt myself as a kind of self injury. I always thought of my eating disorder as my form of self injury. As a result of years of extreme restriction I am disabled with a long list of physical illnesses. My life is an ongoing battle with chronic pain…and it will only get worse. It was all about control. Eating…or in my case NOT eating…was the ONLY thing in my life that I could control. It was also the perfect way to punish myself…control and suffering in one ugly package. I know these words don’t help. I just hoped that maybe they conveyed some understanding what those overwhelming feelings for control…ANY kind of control…in our life will drive us to. The resulting frustration and stress snowballs and we’re caught like a hamster running in his wheel ~ the wheel won’t stop and we can’t jump off. Eventually we fall off, begin to heal, and then somehow find ourselves back on that wheel again. One of these days maybe we’ll both have the strength to stay off of it!

    • That’s a good simile– hamster on a wheel– it fits quite well. I wish you peace and strength as you go through your healing journey.

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