You shouldn’t need me to tell you this, but this post comes with a massive TRIGGER WARNING as we will be talking about topics of self-harm and the reasons people do it. There is also a lot of personal thoughts and memories from the posts author Nathalia Musa which are also quite triggering. So now you have been warned let’s get on with the post…
There are many ways we can injure ourselves, usually when someone says ‘Self-harm’ they are referring to cutting, but this post features just ten of many methods. Self-destructive behaviour is one of the main criteria for diagnosing Borderline Personality Disorder, but it can also be a condition in your own personality or related to other problems. It is not generalized that people who are injured have BPD. Most self-harmers would never do it for seeking attention, but it is often a cry for help and a way for people to reach out and relieve the emotional pressure within themselves. This is why learning these ten most common methods is important to notice the signs and understand the reason for people doing them.
The cut is what people traditionally think of when someone says “Self-harm”. Cutting is often done as a form of ‘self-punishment’ or as a ‘release’, in most cases it is not a search for attention, as people often assume.
The cut can be shallow, or severe, depending on the cutter’s level of need – personally, I just need to see blood from a cut and I’m satisfied, I don’t need it to be deep and I’ve never needed stitches or hospital treatment for my cuts. , but often a single cut is not enough, I need to cut several times. – Also the cut is not necessarily a suicide attempt, for the most part, cuts to the forearm, thighs or other places where they can be hidden are more common than dangerous wrist cuts.
Cut damage is generally more immediate than in other forms of Self-Mutilation, almost never leaving lasting damage beyond scarring.
Other forms of physical injury are very common in self-harm, this includes self-puncturing, hitting your head, burning yourself, cutting or pulling out hairs/fur and many other things, from mild harmful behaviours like pinching the skin, to more risky things. like jumping from a high place for example.
Sometimes, this type of self-harm methods can result in injuries more serious than cutting, broken bones being a possible outcome, and provoking physical fights with others.
Punching the wall is usually the most outward expression of anger I have, as this is when I try to avoid directing this punch at others or provoking fights. Sitting with my head against the wall is usually related to frustration and inner pain for me. I didn’t break any bones (thankfully), but there were some nasty cuts and bruises. Burning my fingertips, making holes with needles in my body, cutting myself, putting my hand in the doorway and slamming it hard… I have had different types of self-mutilation at different stages of my life, some occurred more in childhood, others more in adolescence and some still occur today, in the beginning of my adult life.
Binge eating, deliberate starvation, vomiting (purgatories or laxatives) or just not wanting/needing to eat a lot as a result of feeling sad or depressed. Food can be used for self-harm and/or regulating emotions.
Stuffing and binge eating can relieve the feeling of emptiness, while purging can be a release from something bad that is inside you. More serious and rarer methods involve things like ingesting non-food products or chemicals.
For me, the desire to eat is totally related to anxiety, sadness and a feeling of emptiness. I’ve suffered this kind of self-harm all my life, I’ve always turned to food as a mood stabilizer, and I’ve always punished myself after that. I generate my pain myself.
Eating disorders are common co-morbid conditions in people with BPD, as has been clarified here on the blog ( Read Here ). It is obvious immediate relief from feeling full, or empty, using food as a method of self-harm is a way to create permanent damage such as anorexia, obesity and many other medical complaints can be related to these conditions.
Even people without mental health issues have a tendency to use alcohol to help them deal with feelings and emotions that are difficult to deal with soberly.
It is certainly a method of self-harm, giving a second look to so many people who drink to excess for fun, just a glass of “Dutch courage”. Hahahaha But the fact is, excessive drinking can lead to immediate damage like fainting and memory loss, or result in long-term damage affecting ulcers or liver failure.
I don’t have a big problem with alcohol in my day-to-day life, I can go weeks, months without touching a drop, but when I’m in the ‘wrong’ frame of mind I’ll just take it out on booze, I drink like a Cowboy. I’ve had to (in a certain carnival of life) be revived on the beach, I often mix alcohol with a drug overdose not necessarily as a suicidal gesture, but at least as an attempt to vent certain feelings and emotions.
Legal drugs, illegal drugs, prescription drugs, “over-the-counter” drugs or other aerosol or gas substances, glue. Everything, absolutely everything!
Drugs modify or generate a series of feelings and emotions that can be very big, it is no secret that they give pleasure, minimize pain (internal and external) and can be addictive.
I’ve used virtually all types of drugs in my life, I’ve also mixed substances. In my teens I snorted cocaine and glue, drank mushroom tea before switching to marijuana. From there I went to party drugs, perfume launches, LSD, ecstasy… I’ve never really been addicted, but the feeling is unique, there’s nothing to compare what you feel at the time, the problem is the after , after I felt much worse than before I started using, drugged I was a goddess after the effect I became a zombie. I stopped just before getting pregnant, although after getting pregnant I smoked and snorted again a few times, I feel ashamed now, maybe for being a mother.
And it’s clear that the short-term and long-term risks of all forms of substance abuse are high, leading to serious illness, addiction, and even brain damage and death.
Strangely, this topic is probably the most ‘taboo’ when it comes to self-harm. But sex is YES a tool for evil, as much as any other mentioned here. The point is that the impulsive behaviour associated with people with BPD and other mental illnesses tends to a very large (or non-existent) elevation of sexual desire, but this is not easily fulfilled in a monogamous relationship. We often need the “promiscuity” factor that refers to having sex in a risky way. And therein lies the problem.
Many people who have BPD have been sexually abused and their connections to sex are distorted as a result. Not necessarily talking about those who haven’t gone through it can also have blurred associations about the subject.
For me, I used sex (and I still use it) as a way to receive the affection hugs and kisses that I didn’t have in childhood. I submit to being with a guy even without being respected just for the exchange of touches, and not necessarily for the pleasure. When impulsive I already cheated on my boyfriend, had sex in public places and slept with several guys in the same night, but worst of all, due to my recklessness and impulsiveness, condom use was rarely considered.
Thus, sexual promiscuity as a form of self-mutilation carries risks of unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. I’m lucky thank God I’ve never caught any disease, but others haven’t been so lucky… Once again, the short term risks with harmful relationships and sexually transmitted diseases through to the long-term risks of life-threatening sexually transmitted diseases communicable diseases, infertility and pregnancy are the rich.
Another reckless behaviour that many people don’t know about. Many people without mental illness have problems with overspending, but why do so many people have huge amounts of debt?
For me, when I’m down I buy too many clothes and knick-knacks, I don’t have time to read, watch, listen or wear all the stuff I buy because I buy so much. I’ve been very lucky to have never gotten into a big debt, as I’ve never had a credit card, maybe. Again a lot of people struggle with this.
Excessive spending can lead to short-term and long-term financial problems such as gambling, loan sharks or losing assets like home, car, etc.
They include simple things like multiple piercings and tattoos or the most drastic body adaptations. Body Modification can be art, for me just another form of punishment or deliverance.
I have four body piercings, currently, I only use the one on the tongue. I always wanted to get tattoos, and I still do. What always held me back was the fear of not liking or thinking about how I would look when I was old.
The risks of tattoos and piercings may not seem as high compared to other methods mentioned here, short-term risks like infection are more common. But going to the wrong place can add to the risk of dirty needles can put you at risk for infections and illness, in the long run this can affect your ability to get a job which will have a knock-on effect on other areas of your life.
You might think you can’t have enough when it comes to exercise, but you’ve certainly felt the presence of endorphins working in your body when you’ve had a good day of training?
When I was doing RPM at the gym (those bikes you lean on) I would do an hour which is very physically demanding, then I would do another hour of weight training, and because I was so “tall” I would pirouette until I got home, still anxious dripping sweat, exhausted and even feeling nauseous she loved that feeling. Not a single day was missed. I miss you. Like a lot of other things, my body/brain doesn’t handle exercise the way other people do, and I’m not alone in this. The problem comes when it becomes addictive, when it gets out of hand, you can’t eat or sleep without doing your walk, gym or run. You are like this because you need your endorphins.
Exercise, in moderation, is wonderful. But for some people, rush and feelings of pleasure can be so addictive that they lead to dangerous extremes that actually do us more harm than good. It’s all a matter of common sense (which I don’t have).
This form of self-mutilation I believe is unanimous among those who suffer from BPD. This is one of the worst because it causes pain and aggression precisely in the emotional.
Who has never been brooding over negative events, who has never self-sabotaged, who has never insulted themselves?
I always do this, even when unconsciously, I hate loneliness but it gives me false security. I think the insults I get are horrible, but every now and then I use the same ones to offend myself. Negative loves?.. My specialty, I cling to things that make me sick as if there was no other way out in the universe. Obviously, I need psychological support before the trip, but sometimes I dodge, I end up harming myself. How I love to hate myself. How good it is to hurt myself to think I’m horrible, incapable, stupid, ugly, fat, not worthy of life. All this internally.
This brings us problems in all areas of life. For Self Injury affects the root of all other problems. Bringing immediate effect problems. And consequently long-term if not vetoed.
Conclusion: This is far from being an exhaustive list, there are still many types of Self Injury. I just wanted to draw your attention to the fact that self-harm is much more comprehensive than you can imagine or believe. People who self-harm need help and not judgment to overcome and deal with their problems, but the first step is to recognize that you have a problem. Maybe you’re one of the people who find people who cut themselves, use drugs, or have their bodies full of tattoos abhorrent. But you discovered that you are also a self-mutilator! Because you mistreat yourself inside, spend all your money on things you don’t use or always give thanks to God when Friday comes and you can go out for drinks and have that fun with your friends because you need that to not freak out! Review your concepts, no one needs to remain ignorant all their lives! For those who have one or more of the forms of self-harm, seek help, however or wherever. Your body is a gift from nature, take care of it!
This post is by Nathalia Musa who is the author of several BPD books in the French language. Thank you so much for the post Nathalia.