I got sick at age 13. Self-injury had taken over due to depression and psychosis. They later put me in a foster home. I continued my self-injury behaviors because it helped me to release my inner torment and allowed me to see myself bleed and suffer externally. On the outside, it didn't hurt. It would last approximately 30-60 minutes and then I'd be suffering all over again.
At age 19, my therapist, Mary, at United Way, took me to a psychiatric emergency room and had me evaluated. I got admitted. All throughout my 20s, I continued to hurt myself, taking out my inner agony on me. I liked the self-harm scars. I referred to them as battle wounds when somebody would inquire. I continued to cut my arms all over and, at times, my knees. Periodically, I would need stitches. I've had several therapists attempt to help me with self-injury, though they all failed. The following story I mailed to HealthyPlace tells what happened later.
"I haven't cut myself all year..."
I'm Janie. I suffer from Major Depression, Schizoaffective Disorder, and Borderline Personality Disorder. I have been a cutter since age 13; that's 30 years ago. I would not injure myself to kill myself, just to take away the agony I felt internally. It would last approximately a half-hour and then I 'd be hurting all over. I liked that anybody could see all my slash marks. They would see all the agony I suffered and not bother me at all. And when I would go to self-injury treatment, the therapists would see them. They would understand I'm suffering. When I was younger I had to cover them up. I didn't want anyone to see the signs of self-mutiliation. As an adult who self-harms, it didn't matter.
Eleven years ago, I got a therapist, who after one year together drew up a self injury contract. By that time, we had developed enough trust and we both hoped I would follow a contract. It told me I couldn't hurt myself anymore, anywhere. I also had to promise that I can't kill myself no matter what; even if something were to happen to my cat (I loved my cat, Baley).
That was the roughest year. The contract also stated that if I wanted to voluntarily enter the psych hospital, I had to have her approval to do that. I had been going to hospital every other month and now I had to check with my therapist before I went in. If she felt I could make it on the outside, I couldn't go to the hospital.
It has been the hardest time I've ever had, but believe it or not, I didn't cut myself all year and never entered the hospital. It shocks me because I used to slash myself up on a daily basis and attempt suicide every other month or so. Now, as a self-harm alternative, I shave the sides of my head when I feel agonized. It gives me a Mohawk, like an Indian going to war, only I am warring with myself. That's cutting treatment that works.
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