Here is where I give you the low down on this interesting disorder/addiction/choice- it's been called many things. Self injury is not inherently an addiction. Self injury is first and foremost a choice you make- it is a coping mechanism for internal pain. There are always other options available, but for whatever reason at that particular time you are choosing self injury. Overtime it can be addictive-like because you become use to using self injury as a way to cope. However, like all addictions, you still have a choice. Every time you pick up that blade...it is a choice you make to use it or not use it.
What is self injury?
physical harm severe enough to cause tissue damage or marks that last for several
hours, done without suicidal intent or intent to attain sexual pleasure.
Although cutting is the most common form of SI, burning and head-banging are also very common. Other forms include biting, skin-picking, hair-pulling, hitting the body with objects or hitting objects with the body, etc.
What self injury is not:
IT IS NOT A SUICIDE ATTEMPT. Self injury is not a form of suicide but rather a life saver. Those that engage in SI choose it instead of death. In my case, I chose it because I knew no other way to release the pain and I did not want to die. Of course this can change rapidly. Eventually, as SI increases in intensity and frequency, one can eventually hit a vein or other vital parts and they can die. Though it can be classified as an accident, many will perceive it as suicide. Also, in my case, cutting can be used as a gateway. Kind of like how pot is an entrance drug to bigger things. The cutting was leading to my suicide slowly.
Self injury only brings temporary relief. The pain will stop when you confront the pain masked by self injury.
Getting help is not a weakness, but a strength. It signals that you realize your human and you can make mistakes and you are allowed to lean on others. That you do not have to be alone in your fight.
Not all doctors/nurses/people in general will know how to react to someone who has been injuring themselves. Be cautious of others feelings as well as your own. Use good judgment when revealing your secret to those not close to you. Help people understand why you are doing SI and that you are not "different" but just someone that needs help.
The physical and emotional scars may never disappear, but never close yourself off... the world needs you and one day you may make a difference in others lives.
Your friends and family are there to support you... let them help, they need to feel needed to.
If you do not feel comfortable with family/friends, there are others who can help you- seek them out.
A small tidbit, from me: For those that think you are controlling self injury, that you are in control...you've got to throw that belief out the window. When an urge comes and you are unable to suppress it or say to yourself that you won't cut...it has controlled you.
Self Injury is a choice we make. As hard as that may be to hear, it is the truth. We all make the choice that first time we are hurting and cut, burn etc. And each subsequent time, it is our choice. I spent a good part of my time not recognizing this fact. And thus, I was entangled with self injury...to break free one of the first steps is to recognize it is your choice, and yours alone.