Mike Ehrmantrout: Men Self-Harm Too. Here’s My Story Of Self-Harm

 

A secret is usually not healthy. But keeping a secret about your self-harm can be downright deadly. Today’s the day I tell my story of self-harm.

A Safety Pin Isn’t Always Safe

When I was 9 years old, I accompanied my single mom to the supermarket. After doing our shopping, we started toward the car with our groceries. My mom opened the trunk and we put the sacks inside. When she closed the trunk, all hell broke loose.

Somehow, I’d gotten my right thumb caught in the trunk lid as it slammed down. The pain was unbearable and, of course, I began to scream bloody murder as my mom frantically tried to find the key. When she finally opened the trunk, obviously my thumb was somewhat mutilated. It might have even been severed, but there was an air pocket between the edge of the trunk lid and the car body that somehow kept my thumb from being cut off.

Click   HERE  to complete this article.

Self-Injury/Cutting: Part 2

 

Taken from the  Mayo Clinic  which is located   HERE.

PREPARING FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT

Your first appointment may be with your family doctor, another primary care doctor, a school nurse or a counselor. But because self-injury often requires specialized mental health care, you may be referred to a mental health provider for evaluation and treatment.

What you can do
To help prepare for your appointment:

  • Make a list of symptoms you’ve had, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for the appointment.
  • Note your key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
  • Make a list of all medications, vitamins, herbs or supplements that you’re taking.
  • Take a family member or friend along, if possible, for support and to help you remember information.
  • Be ready to provide accurate, thorough and honest information about your situation and your self-injuring behavior.

Prepare a list of questions to make the most of your time with your doctor. Some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What treatments are available? Which do you recommend for me?
  • What side effects are possible with that treatment?
  • What are the alternatives to the primary approach that you’re suggesting?
  • Are there medications that might help? Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you’re prescribing?
  • What should I do if I have an urge to self-injure between therapy sessions?
  • What else can I do to help myself?
  • How can I (or those around me) recognize that things may be getting worse?
  • Can you suggest any resources that would help me learn more about my condition and its treatment?

Don’t hesitate to ask questions any time you don’t understand something.

What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions about your self-injuring and emotional state, such as:

  • When did you first begin harming yourself?
  • What methods do you use to harm yourself?
  • How often do you cut or injure yourself in other ways?
  • What feelings and thoughts do you have before, during and after self-injury?
  • What seems to trigger your self-injury?
  • What makes you feel better or worse?
  • Do you have social networks or relationships?
  • What emotional issues are you facing?
  • How do you feel about your future?
  • Have you had previous treatment for self-injury?
  • Do you have suicidal thoughts when you’re feeling down?
  • Do you drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes or use street drugs?

TESTS AND DIAGNOSIS

Although some people may ask for help, sometimes self-injury is discovered by family members or friends. Or a doctor doing a routine medical exam may notice signs, such as scars or fresh injuries.

There’s no specific diagnostic test for self-injury. Diagnosis is based on a physical and mental evaluation. A diagnosis may require evaluation by a mental health provider with experience in treating self-injury. A mental health provider may also evaluate you for other mental illnesses that may be linked to self-injury, such as depression or personality disorders. If that’s the case, evaluation may include additional tools, such as questionnaires or psychological tests.

TREATMENTS AND DRUGS

There’s no one best way to treat self-injuring behavior, but the first step is to tell someone so you can get help. Treatment is based on your specific issues and any related mental health conditions you might have, such as depression.

Treating self-injury behavior can take time, hard work and your own desire to recover. Because self-injury can become a major part of your life and it’s often accompanied by mental disorders, you may need treatment from a mental health professional experienced in self-injury issues.

There are several treatment options for self-injuring behavior.

Psychotherapy
Known as talk therapy or counseling, psychotherapy can help you identify and manage underlying issues that trigger self-injuring behavior. Therapy can also help you learn skills to better manage distress, help regulate your impulsiveness and other emotions, boost your self-image, better your relationships, and improve your problem-solving skills.

Several types of individual psychotherapy may be helpful, such as:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy, which helps you identify unhealthy, negative beliefs and behaviors and replace them with healthy, positive ones.
  • Dialectical behavior therapy, a type of cognitive behavioral therapy that teaches behavioral skills to help you tolerate distress, manage or regulate your emotions, and improve your relationships with others.
  • Psychodynamic psychotherapy, which focuses on identifying past experiences, hidden memories or interpersonal issues at the root of your emotional difficulties through self-examination guided by a therapist.
  • Mindfulness-based therapies, which help you live in the present, appropriately perceive the thoughts and actions of those around you to reduce your anxiety and depression, and improve your general well-being.

In addition to individual therapy sessions, family therapy or group therapy also may be recommended.

Medications
There are no medications that specifically treat self-injuring behavior. However, your doctor may recommend treatment with antidepressants or other psychiatric medications to help treat depression, anxiety or other mental disorders commonly associated with self-injury. Treatment for these disorders may help you feel less compelled to hurt yourself.

Psychiatric hospitalization
If you injure yourself severely or repeatedly, your doctor may recommend that you be admitted to a hospital for psychiatric care. Hospitalization, often short term, can provide a safe environment and more intensive treatment until you get through a crisis. Day treatment programs also may be an option.

LIFESTYLE AND HOME REMEDIES

You can do some things for yourself that will build on your treatment plan. In addition to professional treatment, follow these self-care tips:

  • Stick to your treatment plan, including keeping psychotherapy appointments and taking prescribed medications as directed.
  • Keep your doctor or mental health care provider’s phone number handy, and tell him or her about all incidents related to self-injury.
  • Appoint a trusted family member or friend as the person you’ll immediately contact if you have an urge to self-injure or if self-injuring behavior recurs.
  • Take appropriate care of your wounds if you do injure yourself or seek medical treatment if needed — call your relative or friend for help and support.
  • Don’t share instruments used for self-injury, which raises the risk of infectious disease.
  • Ask your doctor for advice if you have sleep problems, which can significantly affect your behavior.
  • Learn how to include physical activity and relaxation exercises as a regular part of your daily routine.

COPING AND SUPPORT

If you or a loved one needs help in coping, consider the tips below. If there’s a focus on thoughts of suicide, you or your loved one can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24-hour crisis line at 800-273-8255 (800-273-TALK).

Coping tips if you self-injure

  • Recognize the situations or feelings that might trigger your desire to self-injure. Make a plan for other ways to soothe, distract or get support for yourself so you’re ready the next time you feel that urge.
  • Connect with others who can support you so that you don’t feel alone. For example, reach out to a family member or friend, contact a support group or get in touch with your doctor.
  • Learn to express your emotions in positive ways. For example, to help balance your emotions and improve your sense of well-being, become more physically active, practice relaxation techniques, or participate in dance, art or music.
  • Avoid alcohol and illegal drugs. They affect your ability to make good decisions and can put you at risk of self-injuring.
  • Avoid websites that support or glamorize self-injury. Instead, seek out sites that support your recovery efforts.

Coping tips if your loved one self-injures

  • Get informed. Learning more about self-injury can help you understand why it occurs and help you develop a compassionate but firm approach to helping your loved one stop this harmful behavior.
  • Try not to judge or criticize. Criticism, yelling, threats or accusations may increase the risk of self-injuring behavior.
  • Let your loved one know you care no matter what. Remind the person that he or she is not alone and that you are available to talk. Recognize that you may not change the behavior, but you can help the person find resources, identify coping mechanisms and offer support during treatment.
  • Share coping strategy ideas. Your loved one may benefit from hearing strategies you use when feeling distressed. You can also serve as a role model by using appropriate coping strategies.
  • Find support. Consider talking to other people who’ve gone through the same thing you’re going through. Share your own experiences with trusted family members or friends and keep in close touch with the professional taking care of your loved one. Ask your friend or loved one’s doctor or therapist if there are any local support groups for parents, family members or friends of people who self-injure.
  • Take care of yourself, too. Take some time to do the things you enjoy doing, and get adequate rest and physical activity.

PREVENTION

There is no sure way to prevent your loved one’s self-injuring behavior. But reducing the risk of self-injury may include strategies that involve both individuals and communities — for example, parents, schools, medical professionals, supervisors, co-workers and coaches:

  • Identify people most at risk and offer help. For instance, those at risk can be taught resilience and healthy coping skills that they can then draw on during periods of distress.
  • Encourage expansion of social networks. Many people who self-injure feel lonely and disconnected. Forming connections to people who don’t self-injure can improve relationship and communication skills.
  • Raise awareness. Adults, especially those who work with children, should be educated about the warning signs of self-injury and what to do when they suspect it. Documentaries, multimedia-based educational programs and group discussions are helpful strategies.
  • Promote programs that encourage peers to seek help. Peers tend to be loyal to friends even when they know a friend is in crisis. Programs that encourage youths to reach out to adults may chip away at social norms supporting secrecy.
  • Offer education about media influence. News media, music and other highly visible outlets that feature self-injury may nudge vulnerable children and young adults to experiment. Teaching children critical thinking skills about the influences around them might reduce the harmful impact.

Self-Injury/Cutting: Part 1

Taken from the Mayo Clinic  which is located   HERE.

DEFINITION

Self-injury, also called self-harm, is the act of deliberately harming your own body, such as cutting or burning yourself. It’s typically not meant as a suicide attempt. Rather, self-injury is an unhealthy way to cope with emotional pain, intense anger and frustration.

While self-injury may bring a momentary sense of calm and a release of tension, it’s usually followed by guilt and shame and the return of painful emotions. And with self-injury comes the possibility of more serious and even fatal self-aggressive actions.

Because self-injury is often done impulsively, it can be considered an impulse-control behavior problem. Self-injury may be linked to a variety of mental disorders, such as depression, eating disorders and borderline personality disorder.

SYMPTOMS

Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Scars, such as from burns or cuts
  • Fresh cuts, scratches, bruises or other wounds
  • Broken bones
  • Keeping sharp objects on hand
  • Wearing long sleeves or long pants, even in hot weather
  • Claiming to have frequent accidents or mishaps
  • Spending a great deal of time alone
  • Pervasive difficulties in interpersonal relationships
  • Persistent questions about personal identity, such as “Who am I?” “What am I doing here?”
  • Behavioral and emotional instability, impulsivity and unpredictability
  • Statements of helplessness, hopelessness or worthlessness

Forms of self-injury
One of the most common forms of self-injury is cutting, which involves making cuts or severe scratches on different parts of your body with a sharp object. Other forms of self-harm include:

  • Burning (with lit matches, cigarettes or hot sharp objects like knives)
  • Carving words or symbols on the skin
  • Breaking bones
  • Hitting or punching
  • Piercing the skin with sharp objects
  • Head banging
  • Biting
  • Pulling out hair
  • Persistently picking at or interfering with wound healing

Most frequently, the arms, legs and front of the torso are the targets of self-injury because these areas can be easily reached and easily hidden under clothing. But any area of the body may be used for self-injury. People who self-injure may use more than one method to harm themselves.

Because self-injury is often an impulsive act, becoming upset can trigger an urge to self-injure. Many people self-injure only a few times and then stop. However, for others, self-injury can become a long-term, repetitive behavior.

Although rare, some young people may self-injure in public or in groups to bond or to show others that they have experienced pain.

When to see a doctor
Getting appropriate treatment can help you learn healthier ways to cope.

  • Reach out for help. If you’re injuring yourself, even in a minor way, or if you have thoughts of harming yourself, reach out for help. Any form of self-injury is a sign of bigger issues that need to be addressed. Talk to someone you trust — such as a friend, loved one, health care provider, religious leader or a school official — who can help you take the first steps to successful treatment. While you may feel ashamed and embarrassed about your behavior, you can find supportive, caring and nonjudgmental help.
  • Emergency help. If you’ve injured yourself severely or believe your injury may be life-threatening, call 911 or your local emergency services provider.

When a friend or loved one self-injures
If you have a friend or loved one who is self-injuring, you may be shocked and scared. Take all talk of self-injury seriously. Although you might feel that you’d be betraying a confidence, self-injury is too big a problem to ignore or to deal with alone. Here are some options for help.

  • Your child. You can start by consulting your pediatrician or family doctor who can provide an initial evaluation or a referral to a mental health specialist. Don’t yell at your child or make threats or accusations, but do express concern.
  • Teenage friend. Suggest that your friend talk to parents, a teacher, a school counselor or another trusted adult.
  • Adult. Gently encourage the person to seek medical and psychological treatment.

CAUSES

There’s no one single or simple cause that leads someone to self-injure. In general, self-injury is usually the result of an inability to cope in healthy ways with psychological pain related to issues of personal identity and having difficulty “finding one’s place” in family and society. The person has a hard time regulating, expressing or understanding emotions. The mix of emotions that triggers self-injury is complex. For instance, there may be feelings of worthlessness, loneliness, panic, anger, guilt, rejection, self-hatred or confused sexuality.

Through self-injury, the person may be trying to:

  • Manage or reduce severe distress or anxiety and provide a sense of relief
  • Provide a distraction from painful emotions through physical pain
  • Feel a sense of control over his or her body, feelings or life situations
  • Feel something, anything, even if it’s physical pain, when feeling emotionally empty
  • Express internal feelings in an external way
  • Communicate depression or distressful feelings to the outside world
  • Be punished for perceived faults

RISK FACTORS

Certain factors may increase the risk of self-injury, including:

  • Being female. Females are at greater risk of self-injuring than males are.
  • Age. Most people who self-injure are teenagers and young adults, although those in other age groups also self-injure. Self-injury often starts in the early teen years, when emotions are more volatile and teens face increasing peer pressure, loneliness, and conflicts with parents or other authority figures.
  • Having friends who self-injure. People who have friends who intentionally harm themselves are more likely to begin self-injuring.
  • Life issues. Some people who injure themselves were neglected, or sexually, physically or emotionally abused, or experienced other traumatic events. They may have grown up and still remain in an unstable family environment, or they may be young people questioning their personal identity or sexuality.
  • Mental health issues. People who self-injure are more likely to be impulsive, explosive and highly self-critical, and be poor problem-solvers. In addition, self-injury is commonly associated with certain mental disorders, such as borderline personality disorder, depression, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder and eating disorders.
  • Excessive alcohol or drug use. People who harm themselves often do so while under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs.

COMPLICATIONS

Self-injury can cause a variety of complications, including:

  • Worsening feelings of shame, guilt and low self-esteem
  • Infection, either from wounds or from sharing tools
  • Life-threatening problems, such as blood loss if major blood vessels or arteries are cut
  • Permanent scars or disfigurement
  • Severe, possibly fatal injury, especially if you harm yourself while under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs
  • Worsening of underlying issues and disorders, if not adequately treated

Suicide risk
Although self-injury is not usually a suicide attempt, it can increase the risk of suicide because of the emotional problems that trigger self-injuring. And the pattern of damaging the body in times of distress can make suicide more likely.

If you, your friend or a loved one is having suicidal thoughts or is in emotional distress, get help right away. Take all talk of suicide seriously. Here are some options:

  • Call a suicide hotline number — in the United States, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255) to reach a trained counselor.
  • Seek help from your doctor, a mental health provider or other health care professional.
  • Reach out to family members, friends, teachers or spiritual leaders for support.

If you think your friend or loved one is in immediate danger of attempting suicide or has made a suicide attempt, make sure someone stays with him or her. Call for emergency help or take the person to the hospital, if you can safely do so. If possible, take away any tools used for self-injury.

 

Lesson In Self-Harming: U.K. School Supervised Vulnerable Pupil As She Slashed Herself With Razors

Taken from   the  Mirror News   which is located   HERE.

A vulnerable pupil prone to self-harming was allowed to slash herself with razors while supervised by a teacher.

Staff gave the youngster sterilised blades and took her to a bathroom where she could carry out the ­mutilation in a “safe and controlled manner” before her wounds were cleaned and dressed.

But the policy was ditched after just a few days following an outcry by workers at the special school for pupils with Asperger’s and autism.

Principal Steve Dempsey and headteacher Laura Blair are being investigated by the Teaching Agency over allegations of unacceptable professional conduct.

The procedure sparked fury among mental health charities.

Young Minds said: “This policy could be misinterpreted as encouraging young people to self-harm.

“It’s misguided. It does not address the issues young people who  self-harm are grappling with.

“What schools should be doing is providing supportive environments where young people are encouraged to talk about how they feel and helped to get the right support.”

Several members of staff were understood to have protested against the supervised self-harm policy at Unsted Park School in Godalming, Surrey.

Some complained to Surrey county council’s Local Authority Designated Officer.

A spokesman for Priory Group, which runs Unsted, said: “We are always willing to review cases with the Teaching Agency.

“This was a short-term, local ­procedure introduced by the headteacher and school principal who genuinely believed it was in the best interests of the pupil.

“However, they accept it should not have been implemented without further approvals having been obtained from key stakeholders and senior management.”

The policy was launched in January last year but details of the incident involving the youngster have only now been made public.

Senior staff had ordered teachers to give her the razor blades.

According to the directive they were told to then wait outside the bathroom while the pupil was inside, checking on her every two minutes. The school teaches boys and girls aged seven to 19.

The Teaching Agency was unable to comment on the investigation.

The Department for Education said: “This is a deeply worrying allegation.

“The department commissioned an emergency inspection by Ofsted. It found some failings which we are working to rectify.”

U.K.’s Charlie Webster: My Hell Of Child Sex Abuse, Violence And Self Harming

I originally posted this article in 2011.  Allan

Taken from  News Of The World  which no longer exists.

BRAVE Sky Sports News star Charlie Webster has told how her childhood was ruined by horrifying sexual, physical and mental abuse that led her to self-harm.

Charlie endured YEARS of torture – and has decided to speak out to help fellow “child survivors of abuse” move on with their lives.

Now one of the brightest young stars on TV, the former model, 28, said: “I am now ready to let people know what I went through as a child.

“I witnessed and experienced abuse by more than one person. I was very unhappy, confused and lonely. I became a bit like a zombie. Looking back, the mental abuse can take longer to get over.”

At the launch of the Empowering Women Awards with charity Women’s Aid in London last week, Charlie said:

“I’ve always been very quiet about what happened to me because I’ve been scared and felt people would judge me.

“When it happened to me, I did not know where to turn.”

Charlie, who cannot reveal when or how she was abused for legal reasons, is now one of the best-loved presenters on Sky Sports and Sky Sports News and has also worked for ESPN, ITV4 and Channel 4.

I want to show people you can come from anything and make something of yourself even if you are an abuse survivor

It’s been a long, tough journey from her early life as a keen young athlete in Sheffield – where much of her abuse came from a man involved in her sports training. The abuse led to years of self-harm for Charlie. She admitted: “I went through a phase of cutting myself. I’ve still got scars on my wrist.

“I thought I was worthless. I hated myself. You believe what is wrong is your fault.

“But I’ve learnt survival is the most powerful thing ever.”

And Charlie believes there should be no shame in talking about being the victim of abuse. “A lot of people will say: ‘Why didn’t you get out of that situation?’ But if you are abused, bullied every day, made to feel you’re nothing you believe you are nothing.”

In the end, despite the abuse, it was sport that helped turn her life around.

“I saw running as an escape. It helped me get over my issues by giving my confidence back,” said Charlie, who after completing a degree in English, used her background in sport to help her break into the world of TV.

“At first I wanted to be an athlete. I never wanted to be on TV.” Now Charlie plans to use her horrific early experiences to help others who’ve been abused. “It’s swept under the carpet in this country,” she said. “But it goes on a lot.

“I want to show people you can come from anything and make something of yourself even if you are an abuse survivor.”

  • Visit womensaid.org.uk for help and support, and details about the Avon and Women’s Aid Empowering Women Awards 2011.

Justin Bieber Fans Tricked Into Cutting Themselves by Cruel Pranksters

Taken from   The Stir  which is located   HERE.

It all started as a 4Chan joke. A user on the online message board/prankster clubhouse announced the following directive: “Tweet a bunch of pics of people cutting themselves and claim we did it because Bieber was smoking weed.” And guess what happened next? Yup, pranksters rushed to Twitter and spread graphic photos under the hashtag #CuttingForBieber.

The fake pressure campaign started trending like mad and even Miley Cyrus commented on the “cutting” hashtag. She retweeted @OfficialCancer, saying, “#cutforbieber? Cutting is NOT something to joke about. There are people who are actually suffering from self-harm, this is so disrespectful.” Maybe she knew it was a hoax? Regardless, haha pranksters. You reeled a celeb into your hoax-of-the-day. Now tell us … what was the point of all that?

I think the worst thing about this prank is that reportedly, some people who weren’t in on the joke actually participated. It’s one thing to taunt fans. There’s a lot of silliness involved in fandom, and if you’re clever, you can find ways to joke about it without seriously hurting anyone. But this? The target wasn’t just over-earnest, self-righteous Bieber fans. It was cutters.

Going after a vulnerable group of people who inflict harm on themselves is cruel. Don’t do that!

Okay, but most of us already know that. And I guess the flip side of this story is that it’s a relief most of us were disgusted by the prank. AND we think cutting yourself for any celeb for any reason is a tragically bad idea. Yes, even for the Biebs.

And speaking of Biebs, Justin hasn’t commented yet on the whole debacle, and I don’t blame him. But I think it would be a good gesture to have your PR people compose a kindly tweet for you, something along the lines of: “I appreciate the fans who care, I’m disappointed in this hoax, don’t hurt yourself for my sake, kids.” Hey Justin, I just wrote a tweet for ya. Hint hint. It would give us all some nice closure.

Self Harm Daughter: A Pastor And Wife Relate Their Traumatic Experience As Parents

 

 

This was taken from a blog maybe two years ago that no longer exists.  The author’s name was not listed and really isn’t necessary. Allan 

 

Oh the pain Where does it come from? Why won’t it go? I don’t know

Such intense agony inside Makes me want to die or hide I just can’t bear it It’s too much

The pain is deep, deep inside No one can see it But I can more than feel it Deep, deep inside

Please leave me alone When will it end? Is there an end? Oh the pain …

This was one of the despairing poems written by our daughter when she  was in her early 20s.

For five or six years she had been suffering from various addictions,  including anorexia, bulimia, self-harm, drug and laxative abuse and  horror movies.

To support these addictions she would shoplift, which meant she was  often arrested by the police. She would also obtain prescriptions,  cannulas, surgical blades and bandages from wherever she could get them,  in order to self-harm. The cutting and scalding of her arms, legs and  abdomen was horrific and the blood-letting was particularly distressing  as we feared for her life when she was at home alone. She has since told  us that when she cut herself, or scalded herself with boiling water,  the emotional pain inside was so great she couldn’t feel the cut or  burn.

Traumatic situations These addictions began in her teens and went on well into her 20s and,  as the years went by, our family had to cope with more and more  traumatic situations on a daily basis.

We had to call ambulances on many occasions and spent hours with her  in A&E where she was patched up and sent home again. There was one  period of six months when we called an ambulance every weekend. It  became ‘normal’ life to us.

There were many times when we thought we had lost her, especially  when her weight plummeted to well below five stone (70 pounds).  On one  occasion, severe overdosing on anti-depressants landed her on a  life-support machine for two days. The worst time was when we found a  suicide note on her bed. It read: ‘I never committed suicide because I  thought it was selfish to you — to do that to you. But now I realise  that it is selfish for me to stay alive, so thank you for the life I did  enjoy. I love you both and am sorry it had to end like this. Love R x’

Last binge

We immediately phoned the police, her GP, her psychiatrist and anyone  else who might know anything. Half an hour later she walked through the  door having been out to buy food for a last binge before intending to  slit her wrists, overdose and deliberately crash her car to make sure it  happened this time. The note was in her room ready to be put into an  envelope and addressed to us both. The deed was to take place later that  day. We will be forever thankful to God that her mum took something  into her room and found the note before it was too late.

For many years our daughter did not have a life. She tried several  college courses but could never complete them due to ill health and an  inability to make friends. She had no friends. She would sleep for days  at a time and often be up at night because nights were fearful and  accompanied by horrific nightmares. Her screaming would wake everyone in  the house. She was constantly visiting her doctor and often spent time  in hospital or the local psychiatric ward. Once she turned 18, we could  no longer ask the medical professionals anything about her because it  was all ‘confidential’. We were constantly frustrated by not being able  to help her.

Why did it happen?

A commonly-asked question, when talking to friends and family, was:  ‘What caused all this to happen to your daughter?’ We had struggled with  this ourselves, especially as she had come to know the Lord as her  Saviour when she was about 14, and her life now was so inconsistent with  how a Christian should live.

We don’t think it is possible to attribute her addictions to any one  cause. There are several factors that may have contributed to her  problems. She was in and out of hospital in a plaster cast owing to a  dislocated hip for much of her first three years. This may have left her  feeling different from other children. She also experienced much  bullying through her years at school, which left her with low  self-esteem and feelings of worthlessness. Perhaps the most significant  factor was that, at the age of 12, she was seriously sexually abused in  our own home by a workman. This would explain her nightmares, and her  attempts at constantly trying to cleanse herself by means of bulimia and  other forms of self-harm. Mixed in with all this was a satanic  oppression arising from a particular horror movie. So fearful was this  that it led to a ritual self-harm and the use of drink and drugs to try  to escape reality.

Throughout her teenage years and well into her 20s, she was raped on  more than one occasion when out at nightclubs or when with ‘bad’  friends. There was a sense in which she wanted these things to happen to  her, because she so hated herself and felt she needed to be punished.  She had no feelings of self-worth and had also lost any sense of right  and wrong.

Recovery?

During these long and difficult years, we found it impossible to find  the right help for her. She received counselling and therapy from a  number of staff within the local NHS mental health team and often spent  time on various psychiatric wards and in crisis recovery units.

A significant time of recovery was when for several months a  Christian organisation helped her, through Bible verses and prayer, to  see afresh that God loved her and that in Christ she was ‘a new  creation’. This helped to turn her mind-set round and she began to live  free from most of her addictions. She started to go to church again and  looked to God to help her when desires and temptations came. However,  about two years later, she began to relapse into some of her former  addictions. This happened at a time when she was not getting any help or  ongoing support professionally, and she gradually stopped attending  church. Life became so traumatic for her that she attempted suicide on  at least two further occasions. Once again, as parents, we were  frantically trying to find her some help before it was too late.

What can parents do?

We certainly don’t claim to have all the answers. There is no quick  answer and every case is different. We know we made mistakes on many  occasions. We can only speak from our experience and trust that  something we share here might help others.

* It is vitally important for parents to talk together, to ensure  that they have a united approach in dealing with their son or daughter’s  addictions.

* There may be other children in the family who need support. We have  two other children who couldn’t understand what was happening to their  older sister.

* There will be times of acute frustration when whatever you advise  or do seems to have little or no effect. Much patience, understanding  and self-control is needed at those times.

* Addictions are symptomatic of an underlying problem(s) which needs  to be identified and addressed. Our experience was that many times her  wounds were ‘patched up’ and then she was sent home without the  underlying problem being properly addressed.

* We found that, because our daughter’s case was so complex, we could  not address all her addictions at the same time. We tried to deal with  that which seemed to be the most pressing.

* We also found that setting small achievable goals provided a better  incentive towards helping her recovery than something too far-reaching.

* Having found help, follow-up is vital. While some people may fully  recover, many have to learn to cope on a daily basis over a long period  of time, or even for life.

* Most important of all — we must pray. We must pray for the  self-harmer that he/she will recognise his/her need for help. Until that  happens it is very difficult to make any progress. Pray also that the  Lord will open the way for appropriate help. Parents often feel at a  complete loss as to what to do, and sheer frustration because it is so  hard to find the right help. We must cast ourselves on the sovereign  Lord to intervene, for he is able in his infinite wisdom and grace to  bring something beautiful out of a seemingly impossible situation.

Postscript

Our daughter is now 31 and has recently successfully completed six  months in a Christian rehabilitation centre. They have significantly  helped her to address her spiritual, emotional and physical needs and to  apply coping mechanisms. We are so thankful to God for opening up this  opportunity and that she herself chose to go there. Our prayer is that  she may continue to make progress and, in God’s goodness, prove a source  of help to others from her own experience.

Please Don’t Cut: A Song By MikelWJ

This young man has made this song in hopes of making a difference to the many hurting souls who self harm by cutting themselves. I applaud his efforts.  Allan

Self-Harming: It’s A Very Lonely Experience

Imogen Smith with her mother, Jane: ‘For a long time there was very little fun or humour in our home.’ Photograph: Frank Baron for the Guardian

 

Taken from  The Guardian UK   which is located   HERE.

Imogen Smith, 22, has just graduated from university: she is bright and bubbly. But her smile disappears as she shows me a picture of an unhappy-looking, hollow-cheeked girl lying on a hospital bed, her arms streaked with cuts. “That was me a few years ago,” she says.

It’s hard to believe. And what’s even harder to take in is that those gashes were self-inflicted. Imogen cut herself, regularly, over several years. She and her mother, Jane, want to talk openly about it in the hope of helping other families to deal with what is often a hidden problem. Experts say as few as 12% of cases of self-harm receive professional help.

Jane, 54, and her husband Richard, 64, who live in Somerset, realised that their eldest daughter was self-harming when she was in hospital with anorexia. “Self-harming is often associated with an eating disorder – but that’s not something I knew at the time. And one day when we went to visit Imogen, a nurse said: ‘Have you noticed the scratches on her arm?’”

Jane hadn’t – nor did she understand, at first, what the nurse meant. “But next time we went there were many more cuts – and it began to dawn on us what was going on.”

For Imogen, self-harming was a response to feelings of powerlessness. “I felt angry. I felt caged,” she says. “When you’ve got anorexia you want to exercise a lot and you don’t want to eat. In hospital I wasn’t allowed to move at all, and they made me eat. I think part of me just wanted to get back at them for keeping me there.”

Once it became clear that Imogen was doing it, the staff took care to ensure she didn’t have access to anything sharp. After a few weeks, she was discharged from hospital and successfully treated for anorexia at a specialist clinic. But when she eventually came home, five months later, the self-harming resumed.

It’s difficult to convey what motivates an individual to self-harm, says Imogen. “But stress is a big part of it. In the clinic I’d known what each day held, what the parameters were. Going back to my old life, in the middle of my GCSE year, was very stressful.”

Cutting herself brought temporary release from that stress, she says now. “I felt overwhelmed, overloaded, panicky. All these emotions crowded in, and when you make the cuts, it’s as though you don’t have any thoughts in your mind at all.”

Most parents, says Jane, react by denying what’s happening, by expressing outrage and shock, and telling their child not to do it again; what few do is investigate the physiological mechanism involved. Jane did.

“I discovered that self-harming reduces blood pressure and releases endorphins. I don’t condone it, of course, but knowing that helped me at least understand why Imogen would want to do it. But I still had to deal with the terrible reality.”

Imogen’s self-harming affected the whole family. “I don’t want to blame her in any way for this, but I think it’s important to share it so other families understand how much everyone is affected,” says Jane. “What we went through was very tough on our marriage. Imogen was in her late teens when it was going on, and my younger daughters, Harriet and Olivia [now 20 and 17], were in their mid and early teens. It was a time when Richard and I might have had more time to ourselves.

“Instead, we were plunged into constant worry: I’d wake up every morning wondering what the day held, whether Imogen would be going to harm herself, what I could do to make sure that she didn’t.

“Our social life disappeared – some friends understood, but there were those who didn’t, who just thought she was looking for attention, who thought we should tell her to pull herself together to force her to stop. It’s not something you can talk to other people about – it’s a very lonely experience, as a parent, to live through.

“For a long time there was very little humour or fun in our home – it was as though the life was sucked out of us.

“Older members of the family found it especially tough to deal with – my mother was so upset. She’d say: ‘Why is it happening to this generation? I lived through the war and we experienced terrible things, but no one was doing this.’”

Recognising that she was depressed finally started Imogen on the path to recovery. “But it wasn’t an instant thing. Medication made me feel better, but I was still very stressed, and there were still times when I self-harmed. It’s not the sort of thing you can just snap out of overnight.” The attitude of her family, she says, was a crucial part of her recovery. “Once my mum understood what I was going through, she listened to me, she didn’t judge me. You need the people around you to understand why you’re self-harming – if they just berate you, it makes you feel worse than ever and then you’re even more likely to keep doing it.”

Jane, a former headteacher, says the hardest thing for her as a mother was realising that she had to stand by her daughter. “You don’t have the insight to know why your child is self-harming, you can’t begin to know what’s driving her to do it, but you still somehow have to find the strength to stand up for her and genuinely respect her, despite everything. “

 

Jane also became aware, she says, of the danger-points when Imogen was at risk of resorting to self-harm. “I started to recognise when she was getting wound up to the point where she’d do it. I developed tactics that helped deflect it – we’d talk about other things she could do to relieve the stress, like being around other people and not shutting herself off on her own. Sometimes she just needed a big sleep because that reduced her anxiety.”

It’s now more than three years since Imogen self-harmed, and she is about to start a job. So are the bad days behind them? “I was about to say we were back to normal,” says Jane. “But on reflection I think our family life is better than it was, and richer than it was, for having gone through such terrible times.

“I’d never have wished our nightmare on anyone, but working through this means we appreciate everything we’ve got as a family so much more than we did before.”

 

The Parent’s Guide to Self-Harm: What Parents Need to Know by Jane Smith is published by Lion Hudson, £7.99. Further information: www.mind.org.uk

Cheating At Paralympics Could Involve Self-Harm

Taken from Dawn.com  which is located   HERE.

I thought I would share this article as this is a type of self-harm I’ve never even considered.  I don’t believe this is a mental illness and am not trivializing those who suffer with self-harming themselves by sharing the article.  If anything it demonstrates that all of us (even the physically disabled)  are not above cheating.  In that light I find the article very enlightening.  Allan

LONDON: To ensure there is no cheating at the Paralympics, officials will be testing not just for the usual banned drugs, but for a practice called boosting, where wheelchair athletes do things like break a toe to cause a blood pressure spike to enhance performance.

In able-bodied athletes, intense physical exercise automatically raises the heart rate and blood pressure. Athletes with a severe spinal cord injury, however, don’t get that natural boost.

To get a rapid rise in blood pressure, wheelchair-bound athletes may resort to another solution: inducing a state called autonomic dysreflexia. That is a reflex that occurs when the lower part of their body is exposed to painful stimuli, like filling the bladder to capacity, using tight leg straps, or sitting on a sharp object. This elevated blood pressure can cause a heart attack or stroke but since the athletes can’t feel it, some think the risk is worth taking.

Studies have shown athletes with a spinal cord injury who boost can get up to a 10 percent improvement in some races.

”It’s an extreme thing to do and we have to constantly remind athletes it’s very dangerous,” said Craig Spence, a spokesman for the International Paralympic Committee.

The IPC banned the practice in 2004 and says it doesn’t have evidence boosting is widespread. At the Beijing Paralympics, 37 athletes competing in events thought to be at high risk of boosting were tested. None were positive.

According to a report by the World Anti-Doping Agency, about 10 out of 60 athletes surveyed at the Beijing Paralympics admitted having boosted at a major competition.

Spence said there are only about 100 athletes at the upcoming Paralympics who would benefit from boosting, given their disability and their event. ”At the end of the day, it’s only a handful of athletes who are actually self-harming,” he said.

Spence added that the IPC would conduct blanket testing in sports where athletes might be tempted to boost at the upcoming Games and officials would also examine athletes with symptoms of boosting, like having a red face or sweating before the race.

Athletes found to have high blood pressure will be asked to wait about 10 minutes before being tested again. If their second test is the same, they won’t be allowed to race for health reasons.

”There’s a limit to how we can test for this,” Spence said. ”We can’t really ask people to drop their trousers so we can check there’s nothing unusual in there,” he said, noting they have found competitors who stuck pins into their testicles to get the desired effect.

Spence said those suspected of boosting are not penalized in the same way as those caught doping. ”Their punishment is they can’t compete unless they have a doctor’s certificate to explain why their blood pressure is high.”

Some experts have said paralyzed athletes may simply accept the health risks of boosting as a necessary cost of victory. ”These athletes don’t feel the pain of the injury and the pursuit of elite sport is in some ways already unhealthy,” said David James, a senior sports engineer at Sheffield Hallam University.

”We accept harm in all sorts of sports, like boxing,” James said. ”They may think this is just another form of that,” he said.

Others said we shouldn’t expect Paralympic athletes to behave any differently than athletes in any other elite sport.

”To assume people in Paralympic sport won’t engage in whatever way they can to get an advantage is to put them on a pedestal,” said David Howe, a senior lecturer at the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences at Britain’s Loughborough University. ”Just because somebody has an impairment doesn’t mean they’re a virtuous person.”

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