Self harm to control dissociation?

that_1_girl

Confident
I don’t know where to post this thread, so feel free to relocate it, mods.
I relapsed yesterday after 29 months and 13 days. I relapsed after my therapist faxed in my referral to shepherd Pratt complex trauma hospital. I’ve been fighting not to relapse for months and yesterday I failed. I did it 3 times yesterday and once so far today. Im not saying this for attention but because secrecy and deception is a big part of my self harm process and I’m trying to counteract that. I really badly need treatment, I have had a great deal of ineffectual of downright harmful therapy and I now have a great team but my trauma symptoms are intense. I am trying to get back out in time to go back to school in the fall but I have my doubts, given how long my referral process is taking and I don’t think I’m even on the waitlist yet. I promised I’d get to treatment alive but I didn’t promise clean.
 

that_1_girl

Confident
I was having severe OSDD-1b plus DP/DR type dissociative symptoms due to underlying CPTSD for months. Since I relapsed yesterday with self harm and started doing it regularly again I have not dissociated that I know of. Is this weird or normal? I am very mad at/disappointed in myself for self harming but if it stops the extreme DP/DR and switching between parts is it maybe a “good” thing —temporarily? Sorry if this is a terrible horrible post and feel free to delete it or do whatever is appropriate. Please don’t kick me out though I really need you guys.
 
I promised I’d get to treatment alive but I didn’t promise clean.
"Clean" is what laundry is. Not people.

There's no doubt that you are currently under a tremendous amount of stress. And your self-harm activities help manage this stress, right? So good job for managing your stress and dissociation.

Pretty soon you'll learn better methods to control your stress and dissociation, and you won't need to SH.
 

Sues

Confident
Hello and welcome! Self-harm is a coping mechanism, and I've used it to deal with the intense feelings and memories and stress that come with the CPTSD and trauma stuff. My therapist and I talked about it, and yeah, it's not the healthiest of coping mechanisms, but it worked for me. I have several. Thanks to therapy, I have several healthy coping mechanisms too. I am now better about going to the healthier ones first, and I'm self-harming less and less. I relapse too. Healing is messy and damn hard, but we do it. We work through it, every little bit of it. And as we do, we slowly get better at managing our feelings, triggers, emotions, stress, etc.

We are going through tremendous amounts of stress, to the point that some of us disassociate (which is also a coping mechanism). Some days we do what we have to in order to get through it. Other days we are better about choosing healthier ways to cope. Please try not to kick yourself about relying on the unhealthy coping mechanisms. You are simply doing what has always worked. In time, with treatment, things slowly get better.
 

Friday

Moderator
Since I relapsed yesterday with self harm and started doing it regularly again I have not dissociated that I know of. Is this weird or normal?
Unless someone is a true masochist, no one uses unhealthy coping mechanisms for fun. They use them because they work.

For some people -like me- pain brings them present.
For some people, pain cause them to dissociate / drift off.
For some people, pain brings a euphoric rush of adrenaline & endorphins.

I would guess you either belong to my peeps who get brought very present with pain, or the second/third, who are numbing existing pain with homemade opiates (endorphins) preventing preventing the need to dissociate & drift off.

Long and short of it = Yep. Very normal.
 

ruborcoraxxx

MyPTSD Pro
Self-harm looks like a weird beast. I, personally, think there is a continuum between self-soothing and self harm… like you can wash yourself to blood, pick pimples and through the discomfort something happens. I tend to self-harm when I feel guilty and the emotions become so overwhelming and panicking I throw my head against walls. Then I sort of "come back," pull myself out of this panic, relief. More of the homemade endorphin type.

Do you think you do something worse than self-harm during dissociation?

The thing that has worked to diminish it for me has been to replace it with self-care stuff. Like, creams, bathing, showers, combing the hair, dyeing the hair, anything of the sort. Using the shower to have very hot then very cold. Use a body scrub. Craving my nails in my palms. In moments it’s really irrepressible, at least do it in the least harmful way in terms of health. So managing it so even if it’s present, then at least it isn’t that bad.

As you want to prevent the dissociation perhaps have a look in grounding methods before you start your therapy. There are a bunch of them you can try.
 

TruthSeeker

MyPTSD Pro
Self-harm looks like a weird beast. I, personally, think there is a continuum between self-soothing and self harm… like you can wash yourself to blood, pick pimples and through the discomfort something happens. I tend to self-harm when I feel guilty and the emotions become so overwhelming and panicking I throw my head against walls. Then I sort of "come back," pull myself out of this panic, relief. More of the homemade endorphin type.

Do you think you do something worse than self-harm during dissociation?

The thing that has worked to diminish it for me has been to replace it with self-care stuff. Like, creams, bathing, showers, combing the hair, dyeing the hair, anything of the sort. Using the shower to have very hot then very cold. Use a body scrub. Craving my nails in my palms. In moments it’s really irrepressible, at least do it in the least harmful way in terms of health. So managing it so even if it’s present, then at least it isn’t that bad.

As you want to prevent the dissociation perhaps have a look in grounding methods before you start your therapy. There are a bunch of them you can try.
I used to scratch and scratch till I bled...and I have thin skin. I started trying activities that were highly focused....and where dissociation was not a harmful thing like highly focused art, music, dancing, sculpture, and on fewer occasions, cleaning or organizing, etc.....but where it's technically not considered dissociation....so I still got the removal from the emotional pain traded off for feeling away....isolated....but with a purpose....where I still tune out the world but get something accomplished, reduce the stress, and don't feel guilty in the process. Now, I have planned projects that I go to (sculpting is my favorite...and I can express my emotions doing this too)....I often combine soothing music with sculpting or artwork.
 

that_1_girl

Confident
Thank you everyone who responded. I’ll try to respond individually later. I just wanted to say I really appreciate all of you and your support and thoughts on this matter. I was treated for self harm in a very punitive old fashioned way and it just heaped a whole bunch of shame on top of the self harm itself. I really appreciate a different perspective.
 

internal

Sponsor
i get real bad self harm urges. smash my head off of walls. broken my own fingers. put out half a dozen lit cigarettes on my legs. jammed them in there. scratched til i bled. lit pieces of metal on fire and pressed them into me. i do not have any real good advise. i still get these urges and they are often over whelming and intrusive.

i am sorry that you are currently dealing with this. it is very, very difficult. 🫂

when it happens i will go en the freezer and take big ice blocks. and try to "crush" them in my hands. that does bring acute and raw pain. i do it over and over and over again. until the urge goe aaway. (be careful with this that you do not get frost bite.) i have heard from another friend that has it. and they have said that dunking your head in a bucket of cold water. will help as well. taking a pure cold shower.

brain signals go ?????

i also use extremely loud music. i got the extension of chrome that makes it go even louder. that does help. sing along if you have to. the best way of braking a habit like that is my interrupting it.
 

that_1_girl

Confident
i get real bad self harm urges. smash my head off of walls. broken my own fingers. put out half a dozen lit cigarettes on my legs. jammed them in there. scratched til i bled. lit pieces of metal on fire and pressed them into me. i do not have any real good advise. i still get these urges and they are often over whelming and intrusive.

i am sorry that you are currently dealing with this. it is very, very difficult. 🫂

when it happens i will go en the freezer and take big ice blocks. and try to "crush" them in my hands. that does bring acute and raw pain. i do it over and over and over again. until the urge goe aaway. (be careful with this that you do not get frost bite.) i have heard from another friend that has it. and they have said that dunking your head in a bucket of cold water. will help as well. taking a pure cold shower.

brain signals go ?????

i also use extremely loud music. i got the extension of chrome that makes it go even louder. that does help. sing along if you have to. the best way of braking a habit like that is my interrupting it.
Thank you for your straight up honesty. My sister taught me this week about “healthy self harm”. Yeah I stared at her in disbelief too. But she showed me. You pinch the muscle (the thick part) between your thumb and your first finger. Hard. Kind of similar to that acupressure point that is supposed to be helpful for headaches. But harder. This is totally not harmful to your body (no skin or tissue damage) in any kind of way but it hurts like bloody hell. It’s good for immediate grounding if you’re in a triggering situation. I promised I’d try it before I use an unhealthy method. I kept my promise I was good to my word. But for me it doesn’t help nearly as much as actual self harm. But I thought I’d tell you about it because it might be a safe option when you aren’t in actual crisis…idk
 
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