Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Self Harm Broken Down

We touched upon Self Harm in our previous post on Tips & Tricks, and expanded upon them on Surviving My Podcast in our discussion with Matt; but so what? What now? It was mentioned that we would bring you another installment of this ever important discussion so here we are...

NOTE: The content of this post may be triggering to some AND does contain explicit and graphic content 18+. This Trigger Warning is being issued because we want it to again be known it is up to you to know your own limits and care for yourselves, please do so.

To carry on the conversation Matt, myself and a couple of my parts had on his podcast this post will contain further depths on the points being made during our chat. There were many who had reached out after we shared our post, but one of the more common questions we received after the episode aired was one of concern. Friends, relatives and loved ones bombarded our inbox --we've now since replied to everyone, but it did take time-- some, as I said, were concerned for the well being of others. There were those messages of course that came from a place of contempt and outright hatred, which we did anticipate and one reason why Jynx vets most/all of our inbox before the rest of us see the messages. (HINT: if you send a distasteful message attempting to intentionally trigger me, it will not work. Sorry move along.)

As I was saying... When I was discussing Stevy specifically, many had asked the differences between our reasons why. Why did Stevy self harm and what did I mean by the differences in our reasoning for causing such chaos? It's a fair question, and one that we can answer. Stevy did want the control, as many people do. That deep need for being able to hold the control over something in life, for Stevy this was pain. There was quite a bit of chaos going on in our life(lives) and she herself, as you may have read at this point, deals with a type of mania that can truly strengthen to a place where she is so beyond control and reality that when she starts to come down she will crave those feelings again and fear them, simultaneously. 

Now, for me I suppose the parallel to control can be made, but it does differ in my mind. Due largely to my thought processes and the way I, myself, experience the world I consciously and of sound mind, chose to harm myself or have others harm me in a negotiated and controlled environment. 

In short, I did this because I wondered if I could actually feel the physical pain and if I would react in an emotional way...As far as I knew I wasn't, yet at times (I was told) tears would be streaming down my face. I always found it odd, but both fortunately and unfortunately--I suppose-- I now know why that was. I was coconscious with a part that was experiencing the fear and pain. I'm not going to delve deep into some of these particular instances as they were of a very personal nature, but I can tell you we were safe and this was a choice I was allowed to make in my life before my DID diagnosis. The reason being, in the end it was beneficial to our wellbeing on both a physical and mental level. Something that, at the time, we couldn't find help with and if we did it was minimal and short lived at best.

I am a believer of trying anything at least once and not limiting myself. Luckily parts of me also held these ideals and so we found some acceptable forms of help despite the short comings we encountered in the mental health field, as you probably know, this is one of the biggest reasons for our Living with DID Talks and now the Living DID Course.

You may have seen some of our posts and discussions with people who are apart of the BDSM community. Though, many find this triggering the opposite is true, and there are just as many who find comfort within this community based in negotiation and consent. For trauma survivors these are two things taken from us so why wouldn't this community be one of safety and comfort? I'm not here to coax you one way or another merely pointing out theres major overlap and it is easy to see why.

Moving on... 


I cannot list all the reasons why some self harm and others do not. As I stated above, Stevy did so because she experiences the world in such an abstract out of control way she wanted that control in life...It does go beyond that for her though. She is a protector and when she is 'up' in that mental mania, of sorts, it's when she is most effective and protective. She is an example of one of my parts that protected us (mostly during sleep) but she also protected others in a major way. When she saw something wrong she spoke up and intervened in some extreme ways. I am now more aware of these instances after discussions I've had with friends who are still apart of our life and via therapy. My life is making more and more sense despite the timelines being tricky and the fogginess my memories still hold, but more things are coming together.

While why is one of the most important questions you can ask someone, it is not the end all be all. It is a starting point, if you ask why, I'd like to warn you that you may need to be prepared for answers you either will not like or that cannot fully be explained. 

"I would know!"

I really would like you to hear me on this... The "I would know," mentality really is not going to serve you or anyone else in this instance. If someone who is self harming does not want anyone to know, you really aren't likely to notice. Stevy is again a perfect example of this. She cut the bottoms of my feet, my palms and even my mouth. This is not exclusive to her/us, but is something people who self harm do when they aren't wanting help but to remain hidden. A quick sidenote for those that will be bothered by my discussing this...I am not condoning it, nor am I offering up ways for your loved ones to hide it better. They already know. They will be the ones messaging me in anger for my pointing it out, you don't need to.

People explain and offer compassion to those suffering with addiction, substance abuse for example, is a big one. Self harm does become an addiction. It offers a release to those practicing it; even if you cannot fathom why or how that could be possible, this is one reason why it becomes so dangerous. Because like with many addictions they tend to escalate and become more chaotic and the consequences more dire. 

Excuses, Excuses!

"I'm clumsy, haha."
"Ugh I know, I'm such an idiot, I was using a carving knife in art class and it slipped..."
"I sprained my ankle again..."
"Dude I don't even know! haha! Stupid right?"

We've used these excuses as to why I was limping, my hand was bandaged or whatever it was that someone noticed as 'off.' It wasn't that people always didn't notice it's that when they did we didn't want them to know so gave them a sound and reasonable explanation. Which is another one of our main points here... If someone doesn't want you to know and does not want your help, you're gonna hate it, but you won't be able to help them...not yet at least.

"So I've read your blog and follow you on twitter...Toon is only a kid what happened to her if you or Stevy were hurt?"

Another fair question we were asked many times, while we've been speaking about this was what happens to other parts when harm is coming to my body. It's a solid question and one I will attempt to explain...

The brain is a powerful thing. It has amazing capabilities, to the degree that most people cannot even begin to fathom. Basic dissociation itself is the perfect example of this. You may drive the same route five days a week to and from work, right? Or maybe you've lived in your neighborhood for, lets say, ten-fifteen years... Right now, what's your answer to the following questions? How many houses are on your block? What colors are they? Would you bet your life on what you know? Moreover, would you bet your life on what information your brain has filtered for you as important information? 

Deep breath. The fact you can't tell me this information doesn't mean you have a dissociative disorder, if you do--ANOTHER DEEP BREATH-- this does not mean you aren't being protective and taking care of each other or yourself. It simply means your brain is structured to filter information in a limitless number of ways. If you sat and thought about it you might be able to list every house on your street and maybe even the color, but this is beyond unlikely. It is your brain processing information into separate files, two categories being: relevant information and irrelevant information. This is one amazing thing all brains do, HOW they do it varies.

Here is an example of my own life for you. When Stevy was self harming, Stevy was the one doing this to herself. She wasn't hurting Toon, or others. Toon is an example of one of my parts that would not have even known about it. It's true I myself had come back to being in hospitals and having my hands/feet etc bandaged, or broken stitched... but that was again an oddity of the brain. My assumption here is that Stevy was consciously protecting Toon and others but not me. There could be endless reasons for this, and here is another example of why... There were times I had no idea that my body was injured and I didn't know until someone had pointed it out to me or until that limb simply didn't work. 

DID is a tricky and dangerous disorder. Dangerous for the person(s) living with it. Very rarely does it become dangerous to other people. Self harm is often an additional factor here.

Productive Destruction! 
In our previous post discussing self harm the final point seemed to be an amusing favorite for people, especially, pertaining to recovery.

We are certainly constructively destructive. <A favorite phrasing to many--you know who you are. ;) So we wanted to again elaborate some and end on a more positive note.

If you've been self harming, I don't care how long, you can retrain your brain. It's a patterns game and restructuring what you're doing-the harm for example- can be trained and phased out. Yes, it takes time... Alcoholics anonymous have a 12 step program. Use whatever steps work for you in recovery from self harm. 
For us it was figuring out why, if there were specific things that triggered those thoughts and then how to counteract them. Then finding the replacements for those behaviors. We chose to. It can certainly be daunting and a major challenge but that doesn't mean that when your brain tells you you're a shitty useless sack of steaming guano that you can't tell yourself to shut the fuck up. I am aware that is difficult but at some point choices are made. Hard unimaginably frightening and tedious choices are made. Make them.

Instead of well it's only one more line, one more cut, one more burn, one more....whatever the case may be. Destroy something (something not someone) else and not yourself. You know that you'll only feel worse after the fact of harming yourself in whatever way you do. Find what works for you. Find the thing, the community, the person that works for you in recovery and stick to it. Whether it finally is permanently or in short bursts until you can permanently stick.

Destroy anything but yourself. I'm not here to tell you, you matter. That's not particularly helpful, it wasn't for us, but I am going to tell you it's your choice. Harming yourself doesn't do a damn thing when you find the better options that are available.  

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