Posts Tagged ‘Self harm’

Scarring

Posted: March 12, 2013 in BPD, self harm
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So as I was talking on twitter about my scarring I thought I’d write something about it in more detail & include some of the thoughts I earlier mentioned on twitter. I have scars, lots of scars from years of self harming. They are pretty severe but it’s often like they are just part of me & I don’t really take much notice of them. But then they are the times I do notice them & they evoke lots of thoughts & feelings. My initial feeling is often one of sadness at how I could do this to myself? My arms are pretty much a total mess, damaged beyond repair. I feel sad at knowing I have to live my entire life with them, you only get one body in this life & I’ve totally fucked mine up. If I had a lesser degree of scarring then perhaps I would have more of an incentive to stop self harming, that incentive being to avoid the severe scarring. But now I often think what is the point in stopping? My arms are already so damaged & scarred that does it really matter if I make them worse? I often get angry with myself for letting my arms get in such a state because there’s no going back now, like I said I’m stuck with them forever. One life, one body. I wish I had never started self harming but at the same time I couldn’t imagine life without it, it’s become part of me & what I do. It’s become normalised into my way of life. I was 13 when I started self harming & how I wish I could somehow go back & give my 13 year old self a good talking to but also a hug. But most importantly I wish I could inform my 13 year old self of what would become of this self harm business over 10 years later & the permanent & severe damage it would cause. The scarring was never so bad until I was much older. It’s like as the mental stuff got worse the cuts got deeper & the scarring got worse. The harder things got & the more I self harmed the greater the need for more severe self harm. I guess it’s like a drug in that your body becomes accustomed to it & you need more of that drug to get the same effect. In the moment when I get the self harming thoughts it’s like it’s the only option at the time. The need to punish myself & create a release is overpowering. But it’s like the last couple of lines to my recent self harm poem “the scarred one” that “when the blood has dried & gone, forever I’ll remain the scarred one”. It’s not such much the act of self harm that is the problem, it’s the scars that remain after. Yet for some reason I never seem to ask myself the question of whether its worth it? Maybe I should start doing that but like I said earlier is it too late now? I think I mustn’t have any respect for my body in order to do this to myself, to inflict such hurt & damage onto myself. Or maybe it’s just that all the things that are mentally wrong with me outweigh the respect I have for my body. After all self harm is a mental thing that just happens to have the physical consequences. It’s a given fact that there’s obviously something very mentally wrong with me in order to do this to myself. But mental states aren’t permanent but the consequences of those mental states are. I have been cursed with the disorder they call bpd. It effects me in so many ways & in ways which have caused this self harm. Bpd is the only disorder that includes self harm in the diagnostic criteria & I often wish I had some other disorder that didn’t cause all this physical scarring. One that I could hide & keep in my head & one that didn’t leave any physical evidence. I know that self harm is not exclusive to bpd but the chances are that without the bpd I probably wouldn’t self harm. I often don’t hold much hope of getting better & recovering but at least there is a chance to recover from these psychological issues. However there is no chance to recover from the physical manifestation of the psychological problems. Lets say for a moment I do recover, I begin to lead a more normal life & I stop self harming, I’ll still have all the scars. They’ll be a constant reminder of all the things I’ve been through. There’s no escaping the scarring & how do I integrate that with leading a normal life? I don’t want to have to hide my arms away for the rest of my life & although part of me is not ashamed I do however fear being judged on the physical remainders of what was once mental distress. People’s attitudes to self harm aren’t great & 20 years down the line will I still be getting judged in a negative way for something that happened so long ago? These scars make me fear the future so much more. I fear that these scars will hold me back, even if its just in my own head. The relief of a cut is so temporary but the consequence of that cut is so permanent. I do have to live with these scars forever& that is a scary thought. It’s easy to say I should never have started self harming but I did & there is no going back now. I guess I’ll have to learn to live with them, accept them & attempt to see them in a more positive way. People often say not to look at them as a reminder of the bad times but rather more positively such as “look what I’ve survived”.

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6 weeks, 3 admissions

Posted: March 10, 2013 in BPD, hospital, self harm
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So I’ve had 3 hospital admissions in the last 6 weeks. I’ve never had such frequent admissions. Its rather on the excessive side for even my own rather excessive standards. Usually they are a good few months apart. However these admissions have been different to my usual admissions being that they were informal rather than me being detained under the mental health act. Things haven’t been great since the beginning of the year. I’ve had desperate feelings of hopelessness & self hate that have become more intense than their usual presence. However I wouldn’t say throughout these past 2 months or so I’ve had a severe acute unwellness that has often caused my previous detentions under the mental health act. I’ve not been majorly unwell but I guess to a certain degree I have been unwell enough to warrant voluntary admissions to hospital. They’ve all occurred after periods of self harm. There’s something about recent times that has caused my self harm to become more frequent. Usually I only engage in quite serious self harm needing hospital treatment every couple of months, sometimes longer but recently it’s been every other week. Back in January one Monday night I self harmed. The police got involved which can make things so much worse. The police took me to A&E where I had over 30 staples put in my arms. I was then assessed by the mental health team who gave me the option of staying the night at my parents or being taken to the police cells to await a mental health act assessment. I chose to go to my parents. The next day I saw my cpn who offered me a voluntary admission. I declined even though I knew it was the right thing to do. I just couldn’t bring myself to agree to go into hospital as I’ve had negative experiences of hospital where I am usually detained under the mental health act. Later that night I self harmed again. I spoke to a nurse on the phone from the out of hours team who persuaded me to take myself to A&E & then go voluntary into hospital. I ended up on ward 18, one of the few wards in my area that I hadn’t previously been on. I didn’t like any of the wards I had previously been on but this ward was much nicer as were the staff. It was a much more bearable place to be & I managed to stay for 6 days before having enough & discharging myself. It was the first positive experience of hospital I’d ever really had & I told my cpn that in the future I’d agree to go in hospital again if needed as long as it was ward 18. About 2 & a half weeks later I self harmed again. The police were involved again & I was arrested under section 136. After treatment for my self harm in A&E I was taken to the 136 suite to be assessed under the mental health act. After the positive experience I agreed to go into hospital as there was a bed available on ward 18 & I avoided being sectioned. This time I’d had enough after 4 days & discharged myself. That was on the Monday & by Sunday I had self harmed again. The police were involved again & I was again arrested under section 136. This time however before A&E I was taken to the police cells & subjected to a strip search. That was a very unpleasant experience. Once at A&E I had 38 stitches before being taken once again to the 136 suite to be assessed under the mental health act. Again there was a bed on ward 18 so I agreed to go in voluntarily & avoided a section. The doctors who assessed me said I should stay longer this time due to all these recent admissions. So I thought that was the plan. On the 5th day I was getting towards feeling I wanted to go home but was prepared to stay as that was what I thought the plan was. However I went into ward round & was told I was getting discharged. This is the only time ever I’ve felt unhappy about being discharged from hospital. Normally it comes as a great relief. Well I guess I was more angry than unhappy. I wasn’t too bothered to be going home but angry I was being discharged if that makes sense. I thought the plan was to stay longer which I was trying to do. Another thing was what the consultant said in ward round. That if needed I could have another “crisis admission” like it was ok to keep having all these frequent admissions instead of me staying longer & attempting to sort things out for myself a bit better. So I came home quite pissed off, I had thoughts of harming myself quite seriously as a way of getting back at them. I knew that was stupid though & I was pretty drained so I never. However now I’ve resorted back to the never wanting to go back into hospital again, or more accurately unwilling to agree to go into hospital again. I don’t see the point in all honesty. I self harmed on the ward in all 3 admissions, although admittedly not as severely as I could do at home. I admit I feel safer on the ward & I take some comfort in that but at the same time I have the same thoughts to hurt myself & I do. Obviously I’m limited as to what I can do with being on the ward but its still possible to self harm to a lesser degree. I’m sure after my 3rd admission to ward 18 the staff are pretty fed up & annoyed at me too because despite agreeing to be there I don’t always work with them. I’m sure they see me as another attention seeking borderline. Oh well I don’t really care because I’m not going back into hospital anyway. This is my promise, I’ll never agree to be admitted to hospital ever again.

Self Harm

Posted: March 1, 2013 in BPD, self harm
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So as today is self harm awareness day I thought I’d write something about my own self harm. I started self harming when I was about 13 years old. Up until the age of 13 as far as I can recall I was a pretty average child. Then it was almost like a switch going off in my head, I suddenly became a child with many issues; behavioural, emotional & psychological. That’s how I remember it anyhow, but it probably wasn’t like that at all if I think about it logically. I was probably troubled much before I & others became aware of it. I think the tipping point between being an average child & being an emotionally disturbed child was when I first picked up that sharp object & cut myself. Weirdly I do not recall the first time I ever cut myself. I can’t remember the specific reasons why I decided to hurt myself. I really wish I did but for some reason I don’t remember. It was like one day I was an innocent child & the next I was in a very desperate world where I felt the need to inflict harm upon myself. Things would never be the same again after that moment I first cut myself whenever that was. Of cause it started with a few scratch like cuts, I can’t remember what I first used to cut myself. I remember in my younger teenage years using anything really. A compass, a blade from a razor, glass, anything sharp I could get my hands on. I used to self harm mainly at home hiding in my bedroom but I did self harm at school too. I can’t really remember the frequency of my self harm either. It’s not just on the topic of self harm that I have a poor memory, I have very poor memories of anything that occurred in my childhood before I was about 15 years old. I remember the occasion when my mother found out I self harmed. Maybe I was about 15 years old but I’m not all too sure. I think I had self harmed the night before & I had used toilet tissue to clean the blood from my arm, I had then hid the bloodied tissue in the drawer next to my bed along with some razor blades. The next day my mother went in that drawer & found them. She then obviously put 2 & 2 together & realised I’d been cutting myself. She obviously wasn’t happy & probably not knowing how to respond got mad at me. That just made things worse. I was a very angry teenager & not only did I take that out on myself by cutting myself, I directed a lot of anger towards my parents too. School became aware at some point that I self harmed, I can’t recall how or when. I used to see the school nurse for counselling type sessions & remember discussing it with her. She was very nice & understanding but nothing helped enough for me being able to stop self harming. Once I started self harming at 13 I’ve never been able to stop. I continued self harming all throughout high school. They were never deep cuts & I never got significant scarring from them. Just a few faint lines upon my lower arms. When I moved onto college I still continued to self harm, it wasn’t all too frequent but I still did do it. By this time the cuts had got slightly deeper but still not overly bad. It wasn’t until I moved to university & where i struggled far much more emotionally & psychologically when my self harm got worse. I lasted less than 3 months at university before they asked me to leave due to me being to unwell to study due to repeated self harm amongst other things. I went back home & continued to self harm but it did calm down a bit in the months I was home. It was when I moved back to university the following September when my self harm became significantly worse. Up until this time I’d only had a few A&E admissions due to self harm but suddenly I was cutting deep & having frequent A&E visits for sutures. The first time I did it really bad was when I attempted to cut my wrist, not because I wanted to die but because I dared myself to see if I could do it. It was a very deep cut, one that exposed tendons etc in my wrist. I was exceptionally lucky not to have inflicted permanent damage to the movement within my hand. I went to A&E & was admitted to the plastic surgery unit. I had to have the wound investigated & sutured in theatre. However it still was only done under a local anaesthetic & I was awake throughout. I remember laying on the bed in theatre with silent tears rolling down my cheek. I felt so alone at that moment in time & was really upset that I could do this to myself. I still continued to self harm. Then approached a pivotal time in my life when I did the worst self harm I’ve ever done. There was lots of things going on at the time. The main thing being the attachment I had developed to my cpn & this overwhelming fear of abandonment that seemed to take over me. One night after talking to the crisis team on the phone & being exceptionally triggered by them I took it out very severely on my self. I went to A&E again for what now was a very frequent occurrence. Again I was admitted to the plastic surgery unit. From there I was admitted to psychiatric hospital for the first time, where to cut a long story short I remained for the next 2 years. While in hospital I started to burn myself with cigarettes due to the lack of sharp objects available. Burning is something I’ve never particularly liked doing, it’s always been cutting for me but at the time it was the only option & I still felt this need to hurt myself. Of cause whenever I got my hands on a sharp object I still cut myself, the need has never gone away & just because I was in hospital didn’t stop that need. However while in hospital when I did manage to cut myself it was always superficial & I’d get frustrated that I couldn’t do it properly, after all I’d got so used to inflicting quite serious damage to myself. When I got out of hospital after 2 years I went straight back to what I call “good self harm”. In the 15 months since my discharge from hospital I’ve had many admissions to A&E for self harm. It’s become something I can’t seem to control. After many years of doing it its become the norm of how I deal with things. It’s become so engrained in who I am & how I cope I don’t understand how I’ll ever stop. After years of doing it I have pretty severe scarring to both of my arms. It’s like a constant reminder of all the distress in my life. I often look down at my arms & I feel sad. Why did I do this to myself? How could I do this to myself? The scarring is something I’ll have to live with the rest of my life. As I said earlier I do not recall what lead me to first self harm. I do know why I still do it though, maybe it’s the same reason why I started, I do not know. I just feel the need to punish myself, I feel I am a bad person & I deserve to be damaged. I get angry & I take it out on myself. The deeper the better, the more damage the better. I seem to have this morbid fascination with my own blood too. I love to watch the blood flow from my arm. There’s something exceptionally satisfying with it. A lot of it is driven by this deep self hatred I feel. I feel I cannot escape that & therefore I’ll never escape this self harm. Part of me wants to stop, part of me doesn’t. I admit that quite often I enjoy self harming, I take pleasure from it. Now my arms are so significantly scarred I often think there’s no point in stopping. What’s the point when my arms are already so messed up? There’s no hiding or disguising the scars anymore. The damage is already done. I know this has all been focused on cutting, the form of self harm I prefer but I have also engaged in other forms of self harm. Overdosing, hitting myself & burning. But cutting is what I mostly do, the form I get most release from. I’ll always find one way or another to harm myself. It’s a very sad state of affairs but I just see no escape from it, I’ve been doing it throughout my whole teenage & adult life. I’m not defined by the fact I am a self harmer but it’s very much a part of who I have become

The Scarred One

Posted: February 26, 2013 in BPD, poetry, self harm
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A poem I’ve written about self harm

The ScarredOne

I hurt myself today
Sometimes it’s the only way
It’s not because I want to die
To say I do would be a lie
To punish myself I feel the need
So i cut me open & let me bleed
I drag the blade across my skin
An attempt to release the demons within
An open wound fills up with red
A release of all that remains unsaid
Crimson red, a gentle flow
The red it shines, a powerful glow
Enticing, I fixate & my eyes they glare
At the cause of relief from my inner despair
The cut provides relief like no other
But not for long so I do another
And now an addict to this self harm
Hundreds of scars upon my arm
But once the blood has dried & gone
Forever I’ll remain the scarred one