Decades ago I knew a teenage girl who would self harm.
Damn. Yet another lovely human I lost touch with. I wonder whatever happened to her and how her life went and whether she found peace and harmony.
Anyway. Yes, she would self harm by repeatedly rubbing a sharp stone across her arm, normally somewhere near her elbow. The abrasion would cause reasonably superficial bleeding and immediately she would feel an almost orgasmic sense of relief. She once described it as a “letting out” of something which had build-up inside her. Almost like letting out something that had gotten inside that shouldn’t have been there, a foreign body.
In order to facilitate her self harming, she would carry this small stone around in the back pocket of her jeans. This was very important. If she had temporarily misplaced the stone she would panic. Just having it with her made her feel calmer.
There were many reasons from her childhood and a succession of bad experiences (probably including meeting me!) that had turned her into this self-harmer.
I did notice that the results of her self harming would be mainly hidden from the view of the casual observer.
Now, what she did to herself was very mild and nowhere near as extreme as this:
But, I have noticed a common theme. The harming occurs in areas that are mainly clothed or hidden from general view. The girl in the picture has left the area around her belly button free from harm. Thus she can wear clothes that allow this area of her body to show whilst continuing to hide the extreme self-harming episodes.
Also, looking closer you can see that the injuries themselves, whilst collectively producing what looks like an alarming quantity of blood, are again actually quite superficial.
I suppose because I’ve never experienced it, I find it hard to understand the need to self-harm. In contrast I can fully understand the need to harm other people. I would be an evil man should I ever ‘go postal’. But, my body is my temple (Erm?). I would feel no relief or satisfaction from cutting myself or making bits of me bleed.
People involved in the bdsm scene enjoy being dominated and humiliated or using pain as an erotic stimulus, and there are girls that would enjoy being ‘tortured’ by having the injuries pictured inflicted upon them by their ‘master’ or ‘mistress’. Equally there are ‘doms’ who would enjoy inflicting them.
What is interesting about the power of this photo is the reaction different people give. A lot of people, notably men and lesbians, find it highly erotic. A couple of girls in their early twenties thought it was ‘cool’ and ‘kinda horny’. A few (male and female, and generally older) find it ‘scientifically’ curious (“Is it real? It’s not real, surely?”), and slightly more find it ‘shocking’ or ‘disgusting’.
How do you react when looking at the photo? What does it make you feel? What thoughts go through your mind?
The picture actually reminds me of the relief that self-harming brings the person, in my case – me!
I don't expect many people to understand what it's like, many do find it shocking or confronting and treat those who self harm like the girl in the photo like they're freaks. They're not. Mostly they're normal people (males do it too but it's more common in females) with a troubled mind/past.
One thing to consider is the endorphin rush that's possible when we're in pain. This type of harm in the picture is what I used to do, it's more of a blood letting style of self harm. By making a series of cuts while you're in great emotional pain and your mind is racing to the worst possible places, this can ground the person doing the self harm quite quickly.
One shrink I saw some years back actually said she wasn't overly concerned with the fact that I did it because more often than not, self harm can circumvent a suicide attempt.
With my own experiences though, that endorphin rush would calm my mind and settle me again so I could function in more positive way, but for me it went beyond the self harming. I also used to tend to my 'wounds' in a very caring fashion and I believe that was an attempt to mother myself, something that my own mother wasn't overly good at doing.
Bottom line – it's a maladaptive coping mechanism for people who just don't know any better way of coping with whatever it is that's going on around them or in their past. There's so many different forms this can take on too, as you mentioned the girl you knew who used the stone.
Anyway, figured I'd wade in and give my two cents worth because it's something that in my opinion should be better understood.
And in case you're wondering….no, I don't do it any more – I've learnt better coping skills.
It kind of looks like mine… I've been selfharming for over a year now and now, and after a while I found out that I kind of became “addicted”. People are telling me I have to quit but it's not as easy as they may think…
I din't have anyone I can tell everything to, and I have alot of pain heldt inside myself. and that's a great way to get some of the pain out… I think it's FAR from sexy. and the “orgasm” is maybe some happiness. I don't know why but alwayd after I've cutted and cryed out, I always smile. watching the blood run out of my body, feeling how weak a human body is. kind of turns me on, makes me happy… But I still hate the scars it makes… I've mostly done it on my belly, arms and legs… and I've tried alot of different things. But I wish that I could stop
I would be very honoured if you would be willing to write a longer explanation for me to publish as part of an updated article. Maybe make contact with me via email@example.com first. Or at least if you were willing to answer some questions for me, that would be brilliant.
this is me….this is my photo you guys stole my photo :'(
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