Saturday, March 11, 2017

Our Top 5 Self Harm Tips & Alternatives

Self harm is a bitch to manage, maintain and --if you're lucky-- overcome. It takes time. It takes work and above all else it takes sheer will. Battling your own mind can be beyond challenging. Many of us do this every single day, but on those sinister little days it can become a moment to moment fight of pain & pleasure or life & death.

Note: Please practice self care if you choose to read this post as some of the imagery and content may be triggering.




If at Any point you find yourself struggling...

-Call a Friend/Confidant
-Art Outlets, use them
-Temperature Play i.e. Ice Cubes are your friends
-Turn on Music or favorite show
-Reach Out




With Dissociative Identity Disorder, self harm can be one of those additional co-morbidities that becomes tricky in a major way. This is another reason we wanted to discuss self injury. I myself have also struggled with this but in a different way than some of my parts and for drastically different reasons. We've had several people reach out the last month or so on what we personally have done over the years in regards to combating our self harm issues so we decided to put this list together for you.

1. Find the Cause & Alter it (Only a little pun intended)
Did something trigger this desire to inflict harm? Punishing thoughts/desires or the need to feel something, anything? Was it seemingly a 'nothing' thing, but in your mind became so profound your swirling the possibilities in your mind? What happened? Figure this out in order to assist you in the future but also so-- when you're ready-- you can get help by alerting someone to what the causes are.

Now, if for example, something like a negative comment brings about these thoughts try to make a trusted confidant aware. Attempt to alter how you hear things, in a sense, choose POSITIVE selective hearing.

Easier said than done I know, but there are varying degrees of this and self harm in general. You and possibly those closest to you, can pin point the causes. If you're convincing yourself that you can't or that it was 'nothing" and shouldn't be a "big deal," well stop right there. Did it negatively impact you? Yes? Then it is a big deal. It is that simple.

An example of this in my life, one of my parts will spiral and begin to lose her shit if someone says, "Be careful." In a rude or joking manner, it makes no difference. It may not even be something you'd be able to see as other parts will fight to take over so she does not. That being said, a few will be on high alert because they'll be awaiting the moment she is able to come in (front, if you prefer) and harm herself.

2. Use Your Unique Artistic Outlets
We can not express how much any and all artistic outlets have been helpful. Every one can create, it's the beauty of art...Yes even you, keep reading. I myself am not particularly artistic but my parts are and I can be when coconscious with them. What my craft tends to be focused on, in my mind, is words. I can lead you down an unimaginable rabbit hole of horrors if you give me any one word.

Paint, draw, write on your skin. There are so many options here that it can become overwhelming, but in those okay moments use them to your advantage to find what suit your individual needs. There are an endless supply of Youtuber's who create "How To" videos, use them! With the assistance of one of my parts and you tube videos I've learned how to crochet. Fold Paper, origami videos exist. Again, endless possibilities!

Stevy is a 15yr old female protector within my system and she has dealt with some severe degrees of self harm. I say "severe" because she hid it so well and at times required medical attention. Other parts within my system weren't even aware, which we've found has occurred in many other DID systems. That being said, Stevy preferred cutting the lines of my feet and hands. In addition to fire and wax play...How she defines it. Stevy is a masochist, which is not as uncommon as you may think. I'd also like to point out it is not a "dirty word." NO WE ARE NOT CONDONING SELF HARM.  She can present as bipolar and deals with extreme highs and lows. To such an extreme degree when she was at a doctor's appointment she was diagnosed bipolar. Which some years later we now know is not accurate and through the years of therapy we know WHY she presents this way. It was her role, we're working on helping her.

I painted this while Coconscious with two other parts.

Toon sketched & colored this design for my Husband.



3. Refocus. Easier said than done...
Seeing our arm bandaged up has been one of those things we've found helpful. We found the illustration (pictured, left) on a google search and wanted to share it with all of you.
In addition to bandages try:
-Drawing/Painting on your desired harm spots (again? We sound like a broken record, but it still is in play)
-Write out numbers or words
-Turn on some music & write the lyrics on paper OR your skin. <This is a biggie many use.
-Find a quote & recite it to yourself

"Normal is Illusion. What is Normal for the Spider is Chaos for the Fly." -Morticia Addam's

Everyone has different ways of handling life, find yours and utilize that without shame! The without shame piece would be key here. Stevy has drawn stitches on my flesh before and I've actually come back to all sorts of odd imagery drawn across my body. She does tend to focus on the palms of my hands and soles of my feet.








4. All About those Lists Baby
I am a lover and connoisseur of words. I find them fascinating the way they can be strung together and manipulated. Spoken word or written it makes no difference to me.

Taking speech first, you can play with sounds and the variations in a single word can drastically be altered given your body language and inflection. I find this fascinating & we've found so many others who do as well. That in of itself some of my parts found beneficial as we tended to be thought quite odd when I was younger. I simply stopped discussing my own thought processes with people. This being one of the main reasons I indulged. I did not feel things properly and so I wondered to what degrees I would be able to feel pain. It wasn't punishment or done out of fear and desperation in my case, but because I couldn't feel anything at all. It interested me at a very young age.

I consistently made others uncomfortable. As you can imagine the parts of me who dealt with the higher extremes of these self harm tendencies and addictions (it very much can be an addiction) were triggered in massive ways because of these judgments.
Lists are your friend. Create them in your head, on paper, using chalks or paints or scraps of magazines and even calculators. Literally anything can be listed, even numbers. 

5. We Can Be Destructive...

Heavily so. Through therapy I've come to know many of my parts; we are working together now which is something that was not easily achieved years ago. Not to say it's simple now, but easier nonetheless. Be destructive. Yes, destructive, but this goes back to finding what works for you and altering it. Instead of focusing the destruction on yourself refocus those thoughts. Do you have paper? Can you get it? Yes, yes you can. Burn it, rip it, write on it and then annihilate it but not yourself.

One of the most important things to keep in mind is self harm can be so many different things, but that can be beneficial. With many differing types and degrees there are so many alternatives. If you are ever in crisis please reach out and find someone or something that helps YOU. You're an individual and your varied struggles need to be catered to your needs and what that means for you.

We hope you found this helpful. We know these posts tend to bring up many of your curiosities so please, as always, don't hesitate to ask. Via email, comment or tweet we're always around and will get back to you when able. Be well and practice self care.

& I'm not ashamed of them.

6 comments:

  1. Great tips!
    when I self harmed my therapist told me to keep an elastic band on my wrist and flick it when I felt I wanted to cut and she also suggested rubbing ice on my wrists too

    - Arora xx

    www.aroraappleby.com

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    1. Thank you for sharing Arora!
      We hope your recovery went/is going excellent.
      Erika

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  2. The stigma really does need to be ended. It'd be so much easier for people to get help! x

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    1. Very much agreed & Thank you for getting in touch.

      -Erika

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  3. Thank you for your courage to share. Your suggestion to skip the cutting and go to straight to bandaging was very interesting. Hope you're well. I've struggled with cutting for over 30 years. I have DID. Take care,
    Erika Zauzig

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    1. Greetings Erika with a K & Co. :)

      You're most welcome, I do hope you found some of it helpful to you and your system.
      As for the bandaging...Some of my parts utilized this technique for many, many years. I have come back to entire boxes of bandaids, gauze, wraps etc littering my body. Upon removing them there weren't any wounds, so as you can imagine, this confused me, BUT now years into therapy I can understand and see how some of my parts found it very helpful over the years and still today.

      Take care,

      -Erika

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