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Male SI: A Personal Perspective

By Binary Boy in Op-Ed
Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 09:41:47 PM EST
Tags: etc (all tags)

Waking up groggily you shift in bed, causing electric pain to shoot through your arms. You look down to see bandages, maybe some bloody towels, wrapped around them, and then you remember what you did the night before.

Shame-facedly, you stumble out and begin unraveling your tender arms. Some cuts might open once more and begin tumbling crimson, to which you'll have to attend. You shower gently, trying to dance around the cuts. You may be successful, depending on how bad your night was. Then it's time to get dressed, and wear long sleeves like you always do.

I write this because this is often how I wake up. Sometimes it is much worse, and sometimes the process is much easier than this, but it's something I'd like to bring to your attention. It's called Self-Injury, and it's a very real condition, and yes, men have it too.

There are many sites that go deep into self-injury and it's causes, but it is my wish to give you not only a more personal reflection, but also to talk about the bothers of being a male with such a problem.

To give the reader a basic idea, self-injurers mostly cut and burn portions of their body as a habitual act. They do not do it for sexual gratification or decoration. It is an impulse that, once they have traveled that route, they have a hard time coping without. The motivators in order to incite such an act are varied, but generally it comes from either frustration, stress, or depression. In most cases, there isn't cause for concern, and it is actually a crude method of survival, in that, by finding a route they can get by in the world, they have kept themselves relatively stable in between times of cutting/burning.

This can be seen as a weakness by some, but one could also argue that every person has some sort of addiction or way of coping with their everyday or harsh stresses, and this is just another. The time for concern comes when the self-injurer finds themself doing it too often or too harshly. (ie If one cannot handle a joking insult from a friend, running off to cut an inch deep into their arm, then they have a much more serious problem.) Sometimes it is an attention getting device, as if to say, "Hey, I have a problem, someone help me for I am too frightened to ask for it.", but there are a more concerning number, who are ashamed of the way they have to cope and hide their healing wounds and scars.

To give you some background, let me tell you how this relates to me. It started when I was about 13. I would chew aluminum soda cans down to a flat ridged surface when nervous. Then I would eventually notice them tearing on the sides. One day, in extreme desperation, I tore a piece off and kept dragging it across my underarm over and over. It was simple because it left rather thin and humane slits up my arm. The next day, I felt great, better than I had in a long time, except for the extreme embarassment of my arms. Right then I started wearing only long sleeves, and I have ever since. It escalated over time. I've burned, slashed, and cut rather deep at one point. (Thankfully, I've yet to have stitches) My arms have, at points, looked similar to this. (Warning: Pic is a little graphic so, be wary.) That's not my arm, I can't imagine why anyone would want to photograph that, it's not something I'm proud of. Here is the problem though: stopping.

It is generally believed there is more women who have SI than men, and though this may be the case, there are still a viable number of males who submit to this urge. The general notion is that men in crisis tend to hurt others and women tend to inflict injury upon themselves, be it psychological or physical. This generalization may be true in some cases, but obviously it is no where near there rule.

There is a set of "societal beliefs" which imply that a male should be able to handle his problems as well as other's and females are only allowed to be in crisis. Fair or not, this is a base belief system that many have, and it leads to interesting conclusions. I have been through both male and female therapists to try and stop my urges, but no one seems to have any real answers for me, and the reason: I am a man.

The males I have encountered have nothing in their life or their training to prepare them with a male who's not just suffering from sexual problems or feelings of inadequacy (the typical male complaints), and the female therapists I have spoken with are so taken aback by me being a male with this issue, that they never see beyond that problem and get into the source of the issue itself. Surely, I am not the only one with the problem, and surely everything learned from the female perspective cannot be null and void because the recipient of treatment has male genitalia?

Doing a search on google for Self-Injury, you will see an entry for "Women and SI" specifically. Also, if you go to one of the many other pages on there, most of them will mention it from a female perspective, which, though not useless, does not make for warm invitation for help. The few sites from a male perspective are either down completely or come from those not wishing to have a discussion on how to stop. (excerpt from a Forum: "Yeah, this weekend I cut myself up, I love it, it makes me feel better")

More than anything, I would just like an honest discussion from others who feel the same, or have similar problems. Those who would understand, and maybe have stopped, to have their thoughts and feelings on it. I also would like to see a therapist who could put aside sexual differences for once and just treat someone as a patient with a problem. I am not looking for it to be a national issue, I realize this is just my "pet problem" and that most simply won't care, but what little reaching out I could do, I have done, now it's up to you, the reader, to discuss with me.


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Had you heard of SI before this?
o Yes, but I also have it. 9%
o Yes, but I do not cut. 58%
o No, I wasn't aware it was a condition but I am a cutter. 3%
o No, and I am not one either. 29%

Votes: 229
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Google
o sites
o into
o this
o entry
o Also by Binary Boy

Display: Sort:
Male SI: A Personal Perspective | 190 comments (178 topical, 12 editorial, 0 hidden)
-1, See a psychiatrist (3.09 / 21) (#10)
by brunes69 on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 08:01:33 PM EST

People with problems like this should be seeing a professional, not talking to "IANAP (I Am Not A Psychiatrist), but..." K5ers. Any adice we give is just as likely to make the problem worse as it is to improve it.

I am dead serious. The statement "In most cases, there isn't cause for concern" made in the article is wrong. Dead wrong. Please seek professional advice, this behavior is not normal. If you are unable to afford a psychiatrist, see a community health centre/school guidance office/your work's human resources department, they can refer you to free services.

Please everyone, in the intrest of those concerned vote -1 and encourage professtional help.

---There is no Spoon---
Yes (5.00 / 2) (#12)
by Binary Boy on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 08:05:40 PM EST

I have seen them. Note the third to last paragraph. I said therapist, but I've seen therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists. My reasons for coming to k5 are posted here in earlier posts.

[ Parent ]
No matter your reasons (1.00 / 1) (#14)
by brunes69 on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 08:07:54 PM EST

This is not the place. I am not trying to be jack-offish here, I am trying to help.

---There is no Spoon---
[ Parent ]

I'm sure you're not (5.00 / 2) (#15)
by Binary Boy on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 08:11:05 PM EST

and I'm not using this as a "last resort plea for help" sort of thing. Just a discussion of the issues, a sharing of stories. That's all I expect. I'm still going to try other avenues. I don't take this site seriously enough to consider it a complete help or anything, but I don't take it as useless either. It's a discussion site, and I desired to discuss. What more reason do I need?

[ Parent ]
Friends (5.00 / 1) (#61)
by dkrstic79 on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 11:56:13 PM EST

I had friends that did this, but then again this was during the war so their reasons might be different then yours (four years of siege, constant bombardment might make you to do things like this). Thank you for brining this topic since I thought they were just doing it to bring attention to themselves, you explained it somewhat. Thanks I guess :)

[ Parent ]
do you really want to stop... (none / 0) (#163)
by trane on Thu Apr 04, 2002 at 02:22:15 AM EST

you seem to me to have more of an issue with male/female equality than with cutting yourself, maybe that's the real source of your unhappiness. But I could be projecting...

"better to go through life with a scarred-up body, than a scarred-up soul" - martin luther king

[ Parent ]
Normal (5.00 / 5) (#16)
by alpinist on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 08:11:39 PM EST

I'm going to come across like a politically correct grammar nazi by saying this, but I just wanted to mention it.

Saying to a person that his "behavior is not normal" is counterproductive if your intent is to illustrate a person's need for professional treatment. It really only serves to isolate people who may feel very dubious about bringing up the problem at all. Personally, I would say that self-injury is an unhealthy coping mechanism and he should indeed find a professional who is versed in this area.

[ Parent ]
can you reeeaaa... reeeeaaaaddd? (4.80 / 5) (#52)
by Ender Ryan on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 11:29:22 PM EST

If you can, please do so. He clearly stated that he has seen professionals and they have not been helpful in the least, more than partly because the professionals were clueless when it came to a male with the problem.

Also, from the tone of the article, he not only is interested in other opinions/advice, he is inviting discussion, for both the disease and the issue of specifically men with the disease.

Exposing vast conspiracies! Experts at everything even outside our expertise! Liberators of the world from the oppression of the evil USian Empire!

We are Kuro5hin!

[ Parent ]

Been listening (3.00 / 2) (#80)
by drone on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 01:29:37 AM EST

Been watching the unique, quality of discussion on k5 for months; this is my first post. And surprised now by the excellent topic--amazed by the number of reactionary posters. I can only reckon those who claim that they wish this topic to stop are actually deriving some benefit themselves from the thrashing about--"pouring salt onto wounds," if you will. ;}

Having been (probably I still am) SI, I can relate to the shame of having this supposed weakness and the insight of having a coping-mechanism that seems to work without logic. Perhaps the strong (sometimes insulting) reactions the crowd, bunnyvomit, et al, have to discussing SI is a sort of admission to our being morbidly afraid of seeking help from others for ourselves. Whatever... Here's my stuff:

When in my early twenties, I found myself drawn to being solitary in the woods nearby home. I sought a way of surviving without anybody. If I could just be an animal or primitive man, I thought--there was so much psychic pain to deal with for me, especially at that time. I always carried a knife then. There were times when just being with the earth and trees was enough. Other times it wasn't, and yet there I felt freedom to let go. I found myself beginning to cut. Freaked out but not dissatisfied when I returned to being with humanity soon after, I realized an ironic sense of well-being come from this.

That was the beginning and it always stays with me, but the form SI takes changes over time, I think.

[ Parent ]
My entire Girl Scout Troop (4.70 / 10) (#11)
by cyclopatra on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 08:04:26 PM EST

...or most of it, was very into SI for a while. OK, I know this sounds strange, but it's true. There were four of us sitting around one day talking, and somebody brought it up, and it turned out we all did it. Sometimes it was more scarification related, ie, we carved symbols or words into our flesh, but we all also wore jeans all the time to hide the random cuts on our ankles.

I had a penchant for cutting my hands, which is harder to hide, but I had a feisty cat at the time who took a lot of blame for the wounds. I also used incense sticks to burn up and down the insides of my arms. The marks always looked really pretty to me at the time, and the pain was..well, exciting, and it made me feel sort of badass to be sitting there inflicting wounds without flinching.

Unfortunately, I'm a chick, so I don't know too much about the male side of it. I have known a couple of guys who cut themselves, but never well enough to get into a discussion on the topic. I also don't have much advice to offer about stopping; my SI was stopped when my mom saw some obviously self-inflicted wounds and freaked out. After that, if I wore jeans or long sleeves around her, she'd make me roll them up and explain any cuts. Breaking the cycle seemed to work for me, though - once I got out of the habit of cutting myself, I didn't fall back into it once the inspections stopped.

All your .sigs are belong to us.
remove mypants to email

See I don't understand that (4.33 / 3) (#13)
by Binary Boy on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 08:07:35 PM EST

the whole being "into" SI. It's a weird culture that I really want nothing to do with. If I felt whole enough to live without it, I would. I wouldn't choose it for myself. When the night's aren't so bad, sometimes my cats take the blame, but often there's burns and wounds much too big for a cat.

[ Parent ]
Feeling whole? (1.00 / 1) (#93)
by BunnyVomit on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 02:36:29 AM EST

If it makes it feel whole, then why are you worried, huh? Maybe because its an addiction like any other. Sometimes I drink a beer to get psyched before a concert. Sometimes I drink a beer when I'm on top of the world. Sometimes I drink a bear when I'm down. Sometimes I do crack to get psyched before a concert, etc., etc.
Join the Bunny Cabal or it means you enjoy watching 7th heaven.
[ Parent ]
Not to be impolite (1.86 / 37) (#17)
by BunnyVomit on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 08:21:01 PM EST

but I'm sick of all thie Waaa... look at me, I can't take being alive. Give me attention, I'm crazy. This is BS. There are a FEW legit cases, but most of this is pure BS from teenagers seeking attention. Grow up and realize very few people in this world care about you. In fact, most people would just assume step on your face as help you up.

The only person who can make your life better is you. Psycology can't help you, drugs rarely do.
Join the Bunny Cabal or it means you enjoy watching 7th heaven.
thanks (5.00 / 2) (#20)
by Binary Boy on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 08:25:59 PM EST

that's exactly what I expected out of some. And I'm well past teenager years for your information. I'm not begging for help or even looking for it here. Hell, I'm not even asking others to care, just an open and honest discussion about it. Sharing stories. That's really all. But thanks for being a prick, there were better ways to put that.

[ Parent ]
How come? (3.66 / 6) (#27)
by elenchos on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 09:35:09 PM EST

What is the purpose behind an "open an honest" discussion? You clearly don't want to be told that you are a severely fucked up mental case, but that is my honest opinion. I could try to think of some warm and loving way of convincing you to get your freaky ass onto a shrink's couch, but that would be an attempt at manipulation. You are asking for "openness". Frankly, you need a therapist who can successfully get you to quit this weird shit, with no regard as to whether there are "sexual differences" involved. Find somebody who can make you quit and call it good.

So since I don't want to be prick for being open and honest with you about your psychological disease, what do you want to hear? Encouragement? Do you want to be told that cutting yourself is "okay"? Do you want to be told that society should accept you? What?

[ Parent ]

No (none / 0) (#28)
by Binary Boy on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 09:37:40 PM EST

there's a better way to put it than his statement is all I was saying. You can say that I'm a severely fucked up mental case, and I wouldn't argue that actually. You can even say it in those words, but the entire prior post is prick influenced, whereas yours seems more straight-forward and honest. It's about connotation and intonation.

[ Parent ]
Balls. (4.50 / 2) (#32)
by elenchos on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 09:52:05 PM EST

So you parade your disturbing mental illness for the whole world to see, and then sit back an critique everyone's reaction? You expect them to be honest enough for your standards, but to also to put their honest and open responses in a form that is not too offensive to you. Perhaps you should point us to some sort of style and etiqutte guides for how one is expected to react when a mental case comes along and dumps out their personal perversions for everyone to inspect. Next time, you should ask as a pre-condition that everyone agree to keep their feelings of disgust and aversion to themselves, because it displeases you. The fact is, few people will agree to that, and your private problems would remain private.

The real issue seems to be that you need to find a doc that can help you. Maybe an "Ask K5" article as to how to find a good shrink would be in order, although I can think of a thousand better sources for that advice than the kurobots. Whatever. I'm sorry your therapist hasn't helped you. Now go find a better one.

[ Parent ]

No no (none / 0) (#33)
by Binary Boy on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 09:55:36 PM EST

he has a right to say what he feels on the issue, otherwise I wouldn't have posted. I also have a right to call him a prick about it. If you'll note, other than that I did not attack him, nor did I rate him a 0 or 1, which would've been highly unfair of me.

[ Parent ]
Nice attitude towards the mentally ill (4.50 / 2) (#41)
by surlybird on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 10:51:51 PM EST

You have a fucking nerve telling people with mood disorders that they're disgusting, perverted, and disturbing. You can have that ignorant opinion all you want, but in civilised society, what's expected of you is a statement like, "I find this very troubling and disturbing, and I think you should get help." Not stuff like "mental case", "freak", and all the other stuff you spewed out. BinaryBoy, medication and CBT really helped me, and I hope it (or something) will help you. Thanks for bringing this issue to people's attention.

[ Parent ]
Typical condescening manipulation. (4.50 / 2) (#72)
by elenchos on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 12:59:29 AM EST

They guy explicitly asks for the truth and you insist everyone keep humoring him. The fact is that if you go around telling people about this stuff, they will be disgusted. It is weird. It is freaky. What do you think those words mean anyway? If this isn't weird then what is? If a person who compulsively cuts himself isn't a freak, then is there any such thing as a freak at all?

See, if this were to be a civilized discussion, it just wouldn't come up at all like this. There is nothing civilized about a person whose rationality is compromised in this way trying to discuss their illness with dozens of strangers. The sooner that is demonstrated, the sooner he can give up and go find a real doctor to try to help him instead of trying this TV talk show nonsense.

You are the one who needs to change your attitude, and quit encouraging someone who is a nut from making a public spectacle of himself.

[ Parent ]

Personally... (5.00 / 3) (#115)
by dipipanone on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 04:55:50 AM EST

If a person who compulsively cuts himself isn't a freak, then is there any such thing as a freak at all?

Given the number of people posting to this thread who claim some experience of SI, it appears that the phenomenon is a lot more common than I'd ever imagined. In light of that, I'm left wondering just how freakish it actually is?

Personally, people talking about stuff that only hurts themselves and doesn't actually hurt anyone else doesn't really bother me, though I suppose that some people might argue that this kind of thing is upsetting for friends and family. If this story *is* so upsetting to you, can I suggest you might be better off not reading it?

See, if this were to be a civilized discussion, it just wouldn't come up at all like this. There is nothing civilized about a person whose rationality is compromised in this way trying to discuss their illness with dozens of strangers.

According to your definition of 'civilized discussion', perhaps. Personally, I've always found that listening to people's accounts of the various extremes of human experience to be perfectly well within the bounds of civilized discussion, as it tends to be both enlightening and life enriching. The fact that we might be strangers doesn't come into it as far as I can see. Pretty much all discussion on the net takes place with strangers.

Finally, I see no evidence whatsoever from his posts, that Binary Boy's rationality is in any way compromised. The fact that he's using self mutilation to solve a particular set of problems that he's facing indicates a somewhat different style of problem solving to my own, but it certainly doesn't indicate irrationality to me.


Suck my .sig
[ Parent ]
Why can't you accept that people discuss? (none / 0) (#116)
by QuickFox on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 06:23:23 AM EST

This is in part for you (except the complaint about long-winded whining). Also parts of this are for you.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fish.

[ Parent ]
Why can't I say that I find it creepy and weird? (none / 0) (#139)
by elenchos on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 02:01:43 PM EST

I guess that's how we know we're dealing with a mental case, when impossible demands start showing up. It is impolite and uncivilized to drag out a gross private topic into public. The only honest reaction is either to say nothing, or else to call it what it is -- bizzare, abnormal, and disturbing.

The fact is, there is no pleasing irrational people.

[ Parent ]

How else do you fix it? (5.00 / 1) (#156)
by mold on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 08:12:12 PM EST

You can say that it is creepy and weird. No one has said that you could not. I find it a bit creepy myself, but I still find it to be a really interesting topic, that deserves to be discussed - In a public forum, even.

If a topic that people find as "bizzare, abnormal, and disturbing" is left alone and not touched, then it the those that do such will never know that it is "bizzare, abnormal, and disturbing" and will never be able to seek help. As long as something is considered taboo, then it only segregates those that do it from the rest of society; it only does more harm to those individuals.

Also, while these are not direct comparisons, I'm sure that there are people that did, and probably still do, find things such as women's suffrage and homosexuality as "bizzare, abnormal, and disturbing". To each his own.

No, if you really want to help, then get the word out about it. Since you are against it, you can help by spreading out information on help lines, and support groups. Judging by the number of posts by those who do SI, I am sure that there were several K5ers that were helped by this post, and the most negative impact that it may have had is that it may have grossed some people out.

Beware of peanuts! There's a 0.00001% peanut fatality rate in the USA alone! You could be next!
[ Parent ]
It's your problem (5.00 / 2) (#162)
by QuickFox on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 11:18:16 PM EST

Of course you can say what you want. And so can we!

You insist on your right to free speech but deny us our right. Just because you have a problem with the subject you want us to shut up. It's your problem but you want us to solve it.

I can understand that you find the subject disturbing, it's understandable that you're upset. But please note that that's a personal problem that you have. Many people can discuss these things calmly without getting disturbed the way you do. You see, if you know some people with disorders you get hardened, you get strengthened. I understand very well that you do not have this strength, but that's your problem which you must solve.

Even if you have lived a sheltered life and are too sensitive for this sort of thing, still you have no call complaining about your problems here in this discussion and trying to silence us. You should simply keep your problem to yourself. Just go somewhere else. If you really can't deal with it you can discuss it in your diary, but not here. This is not the right place for publishing your sufferings.

In fact, if you think there are many people who are as sensitive as you in this area, who might be interested in seeking a solution together, you might submit an article in the queue about your problem and your feelings.

Whatever you do, you should discuss your problem in your own article or your own diary entry. I'm very sorry if you're suffering but this isn't the place.

Yhbu, hth, hand.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fish.

[ Parent ]
also (none / 0) (#29)
by Binary Boy on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 09:40:22 PM EST

for your info, I have my "freaky ass" on a psych couch currently, it just does nothing for me in this matter except seem to take out more money in co-pays. I've been through several, so I'm not looking at k5 to be the end all be all, or even the solution provider, that would be silly. I am by no means stopping my other attempts and avenues for fixing me.

[ Parent ]
Exactly. (5.00 / 1) (#51)
by BunnyVomit on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 11:27:21 PM EST

Psychology has helped maybe three people in the entire world. (I can say this after taking six psych course and having a mother who has a masters degree in it). The fact is, until you decide to stop being a freak, you'll remain a freak, and no amount of talking is going to change that.
Join the Bunny Cabal or it means you enjoy watching 7th heaven.
[ Parent ]
Pre-Flame clarification (5.00 / 1) (#53)
by BunnyVomit on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 11:30:04 PM EST

Yes, there are unbalanced people out there. There are people who need drugs to stabalize them. This is known as psychiatry. The vast amount of people who goto psychologists, though, are just whiney, self-important people who don't have the balls to face reality and change themselves.
Join the Bunny Cabal or it means you enjoy watching 7th heaven.
[ Parent ]
I'm curious (4.66 / 3) (#66)
by SocratesGhost on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 12:09:30 AM EST

Don't you think going to a psychologist is a form of action, of trying to face change?

We go to school to learn biology, writing, history and philosophy, and yet we consider something like our emotions and psychological states as easy as simple addition, and just as easily manipulated. And yet, if we reflect on this, no one would really think this is the case.

Our mind is a powerful engine. And if the mind is just as fallable as any other part of our system, capable of even tiny defects that cause mild problems, why do you think these obstacles are always surmountable? Can willpower alone mend a broken wrist? Why do we expect that the mind will always so easily fix a problem of the mind?

I have avoided any therapy because I feel that I have the personal resources to manage without it and that I'm better off for having done so, but there are times when I get very very depressed and melancholic... nothing suicidal... but enough that I can see why others would feel that even though they consciously know the answers, they don't have the emotional gumption to make it through.

I am able to kick myself in the butt and channel my anxieties into my work or my writing, but my mom doesn't exercise these outlets, and it has taken a huge toll on her. I've learned from her failure on the proper and rigorous use of self-discipline.

My point is, I don't wholly disagree with you. Self-control and willpower are powerful in affecting personal change, but these qualities aren't in great supply to everyone. What you see as whining, really may be an emotional straight-jacket. Would you deny these people at least the opportunity to straighten out their thinking?

I drank what?

[ Parent ]
ok, here goes (4.00 / 1) (#70)
by BunnyVomit on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 12:37:56 AM EST

That's normal. People sometimes get depressed. People normally get undepressed. I used to really did on psychology but after a bit of observation, I discovered most people who go to psychologists just pay someone to listen to them whine. Its a waste of their time. 99% of people possess the facilities to deal with their emotions. Out of the 1% that don't half need some form of medical attention, the other half need more socialization. They need to get support from family and friends. The problem is that, since the second half goes to a psychologist and not to family and friends, they never learn to give and take. they never learn how to support other people, and thus they become part of the problem.

Part Two:
Since a psychologist is payed by you, most won't tell you how it is like a friend or family would. Look at some other posts on this thread. They say similar things. "I used to suffer from MSI but then my $SIGNIFICATPERSON slapped me and told me how it was". Psychologists won't do that, thus they aren't a whole lot of help since they don't ever really tell you anything besides "I'm ok, you're ok"
Join the Bunny Cabal or it means you enjoy watching 7th heaven.
[ Parent ]
more questions (5.00 / 1) (#86)
by SocratesGhost on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 02:03:17 AM EST

i'm not trying to shoot you down or anything, but I don't quite agree and since you're willing to engage in a dialogue, mind if I ask some questions?

what constitutes your observations on people who go to psychologists? Anecdotes from friends? Did you work with your mom (you're the one whose mom received her masters in psych, no?)?

Like I said, I have avoided any form of therapy sessions, so I don't know what goes on in there, but doesn't psychiatry training yield good observation and commentary on behavior? Don't they offer insight into the causes of actions/behaviors/emotions? If the doctor merely agrees with the patient, that seems pretty worthless, but most times people wonder if something's wrong with them. Like you said, people get depressed, people get undepressed. But, people usually don't openly talk about this with their friends (or at least I don't), so it's a big mystery to me if people get as depressed as I do. They psychiatrist, presumably, would be able to let the patient know this, no?

Couldn't the psychiatrist be considered a form of mental "massage"? Even for that 99% that doesn't absolutely need it (which I sort of question considering that about 94.532% of statistics are made up) why would going to a psychologist be any different than going to a spa, except for the mind? Maybe in both circumstances it just makes a person a feel good. The psychologist knows this and so panders to that. Perhaps that is the value in those cases? However, in the case of the current topic, this seems to go beyond the need of a good mind-rub. Maybe this guy doesn't need a surgeon, but a trip to the pharmacist for some mental Ben-Gay couldn't hurt, no? Again, I ask why you would wish to deny this guy this option?

I actually believe that my depression is worse than average, although I don't let that slow me down. Not whining, just letting you know where I'm coming from. Like I said, I don't talk about this. My therapy is to go to gentleman's clubs down in Tijuana, which is where I'm headed right now, so I'll be happy to hear your responses in the morning.

I drank what?

[ Parent ]
Therapy. (5.00 / 2) (#95)
by katie on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 02:47:54 AM EST

Psychiatrists treat patients - usually with drugs. They don't normally engage in therapy sessions. They do gather patient history, but that's to make a diagnosis.

Therapists do the therapy thing. I have a therapist. (Technically. I haven't seen her in 6 months or so.) I have a therapist for a number of reasons. One is that she knows many people who've been through the same medical treatments I'm going through, so on a practical level, she knows what's involved. Because she knows me, she can deal with how those things interact.

Secondly, she's trained to listen. Which is important. If you talk to your friends, they will keep trying to find solutions for you. It is important that you find your own solutions - otherwise you solve superficial problems, not underlying problems. Someone's solution here to self-injury was "just stop doing it". Which will solve the self-injury but not the problem that underlies it. Therapists are trained to let you explore what's actually wrong.

And just talking about things organises your thoughts. The same way talking over code to someone makes you realise "oh hang on, that's what's wrong..", talking about your feelings and thoughts helps you think about them, rather than just experience them.

It's not, however, for everyone. It requires the ability to trust people, and a degree of patience - it doesn't help overnight, and you don't make "breakthroughs". You just gradually understand more and more about what it is that's the problem and how you want to solve it.

[ Parent ]
consider it my "socratic" nature (none / 0) (#102)
by SocratesGhost on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 03:14:57 AM EST

too often, I ask questions to indicate my angle. It's a poor rhetorical device, but all of my questions assume that therapy has merit, and I'm trying to ferret out why BunnyVomit holds that therapy has no value. I've never really understood it, and he seems to have some little background in it.

Is the aversion to therapy the same in Britain as it is in America? It seems that there's a large number of people in the US who have absolutely no faith in the value of psychiatry/psychology/therapy. (I use the terms interchangeably, treating them as matters of degree of specialization)

BTW, I looked up your comment history so I could see who I was talking to; you're now a personal hero of mine for some of the things you wrote.

I drank what?

[ Parent ]
Therapy in the UK (5.00 / 2) (#124)
by katie on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 08:45:57 AM EST

In the UK people get therapy if they have a problem. It doesn't seem to be a habit in the way I get the impression it is in the US.

It's considered very... unusual here. Brits have a funny attitude to mental health. No-one ever talks about having issues and in general the whole topic is just one of those things you Don't Talk About. As a result we end up with a lot of minory things just not getting treated. People think it's normal to be depressed or stressed out and never do anything about it. Because there's no half-way house: you're either "normal" or "crazy-insane".

We have this stereotyped view of a certain kind of American (it's mostly Woody Allen's fault) who has a therapist and tells everyone they meet about their sexual dysfunctions (or whatever) and this is kind of where this reticence about finding properly qualified help comes from. Brits are /terrified/ of opening up and talking about things more serious than their golf handicap.

It's kind of like the difference between dentists and doctors. People go see the doctor at the slightest sniffle, but wait until they're spitting blood and rotted tooth fragments before they'll go to the dentist. I get the impression (some) Americans see therapists the way we see doctors. And we see them as we see dentists...

There is also an aversion based on belief of effectiveness. It's an extremes thing - people think normal is normal and mentally ill is stabbing people on the streets. And they don't see how therapy will help the latter. (It won't).

But there are times when people need to make decisions and don't understand their own reasonings and need to be sure. And it's times like that a therapist can help. It's nothing you couldn't do yourself if you were introspective enough: but I'm not. I think the error is to think that therapists cure anything: they don't, but they help you to understand yourself better sometimes. It depends if you have something you need curing, or if you just need help find your own answer. Therapy doesn't cure depression, but it sometimes helps find the underlying things that are making you unhappy and when you know what they are you can go fix them.


I'm not sure I want to be someone's hero. That's too much responsibility. I'm not ready for that sort of thing...

[ Parent ]
also (none / 0) (#88)
by SocratesGhost on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 02:05:20 AM EST

i'd be interested in seeing how many people listened to their Significant Other as opposed to their therapist. Perhaps the reason so many people were turned around by their SO is because they interface with that person more often, or perhaps because they interface with a therapist not at all?

I drank what?

[ Parent ]
Read, dammit! (none / 0) (#110)
by QuickFox on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 04:28:32 AM EST

The fact that you are a whiner doesn't mean that everybody else is a whiner. RTFA!

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fish.

[ Parent ]
Binary boy, before replying to this... (5.00 / 4) (#30)
by SocratesGhost on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 09:42:05 PM EST

I wouldn't necessarily criticize these people for their views. This is part of that open and honest discussion that you want. Some people will have a strong negative reaction just as these people do.

I have a friend who does this, but not to the degree that you have. I've talked to him about it and found myself really put off by it. I've mellowed since then, but this reaction is to be expected from some.

I hope things are improving for you, friend. I do think this is an important topic, so +1FP.

I drank what?

[ Parent ]
Ok. (4.00 / 5) (#50)
by BunnyVomit on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 11:25:14 PM EST

Here's my pity party.
I'm fat. I have a problem with over eating.
I get out of bed every morning and think "My God, I'm a fat tub of lard."
There is obviously a deep psychological significance to the fact that I'm fat. I would like many people to openly discuss why I'm so self destructive as to over eat. Offer lots of suggestions and social commentary on why I'm fat. Tell me how OK it is that by belly shakes like a bowl full of jelly, after all, I'm me and that's ok.

See, I changed the subject, used your tone of writing, but I changed the subject to something about me. Still sounds like total BS, even though its related to me personally. You know, I read all the books about losing weight, talked to people, listened to people tell me it was ok because it was genetic/psychological/whatever. Just like you are doing. You know what, I'm still fat. After all this talking, you'll still be self destructive. The fact is, things only just recently started changing when I got a visit from the clue fairy and decided to CHANGE THE WAY I BEHAVE AND THINK. Now I make decisions like an adult to eat less and exercise more. Until you quit whining and trying to get people to accept you and your self destructive HABITS, nothing will change. You're going to be a self-mutilizing abnorm until YOU DECIDE TO CHANGE AND ACT ON IT.

Join the Bunny Cabal or it means you enjoy watching 7th heaven.
[ Parent ]
Well thanks (3.00 / 1) (#57)
by Binary Boy on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 11:39:23 PM EST

I'm glad you admit it isn't easy to change something that has been a part of you for so long, otherwise you'd still no longer be fat. Yes, it is a change in yourself, and who are you to tell me how to get there? I still don't see what discussion is going to hurt? If I was feeding some sort of morbid need to dwell (which honestly I'm not, I'm just trying to understand others so that I can understand myself since things have gotten rather intense as of late.) I could see how it would be a detriment, as of now it's not. Sorry you find it such a waste of time.

[ Parent ]
No good title for this. (3.00 / 2) (#58)
by BunnyVomit on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 11:47:25 PM EST

Look. I finally grew my ass up three weeks ago, I'm lost 16 pounds and feel great. You need to do the same thing. Grow the fuck up. There is no discussion that's going to help anyone. The fact is, you need to quit crying in your beer about how sick you are and help yourself. Ignore everyone else and pay attention only to this: The ONLY person who can change is you. You can whine, get attention, waste money on psychologists and continue to prove your waste of air, or you can change and make life better from everyone. Good things have about as much of chance of coming from a discussion on this as they have from coming from a discussion on the size of my big toe.
Join the Bunny Cabal or it means you enjoy watching 7th heaven.
[ Parent ]
great (5.00 / 1) (#60)
by Binary Boy on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 11:50:45 PM EST

I'm pleased for you then that you found it so easy to suddenly "grow up". Congrats. I really don't have much else to say to you on this. I think you believe me to be looking for a miracle cure from this posting, or for whiny attention, I'm not sure, but neither is true, and there's really no way I can convince you otherwise, so you're basically arguing a point I'm not even making.

[ Parent ]
If (3.00 / 1) (#63)
by BunnyVomit on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 12:00:57 AM EST

If you're not looking for a cure or for attention, then why the hell did you post it. Answer, you're looking for one or the other. (The "Open Discussion argument is a lame duck, don't pull that crap, you and I are both too smart for that)

Mental changes don't happen over time, they happen all at once when you decide you want them to happen. Its hard, I'm not going to lie. I was once a freaky-ass loser too, I got depressed over being a fat loser, I slit my wrists, I took 4 bottles of aspirin. You know what, after I pulled all this crap I was still a freaky ass loser, even more so than before I attempted it. The only way you're going to stop being a dumb-ass is to do the following.

Next time you feel like cutting yourself, say this outloud, "If I cut myself, I will be a total fucking moron, there is not one good reason to do it." Then go do something besides cutting yourself. There's your miracle cure. Dont' F*cking Do it! You can talk about it, you can involve yourself in as many open and honest discussion as you want. The fact is, you're going to keep cutting yourself until you stop.
The above was written assuming you want to be cured.
If you just want attention, Cutting doesn't make you cool or different, it does get you attention, but not the kind of attention you want. Think about it, would you want to be around some psycho who cuts himself all the time? Neither would I. People are thinking only bad and/or pitiful things about you when you mutilate yourself.
You want me to tell you that you're a good person? I don't know if you are or not, but the fact is you're doing some stupid-ass stuff.
Join the Bunny Cabal or it means you enjoy watching 7th heaven.
[ Parent ]
Those aren't the only two reasons to do it thanks. (3.00 / 1) (#65)
by Binary Boy on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 12:08:28 AM EST

And I'm not insulting either of our intelligences by giving you the open discussion argument. Here, in all honesty was my intended, and why I hope the story got posted FP. Because I have met many a woman who does this but no men. And the women couldn't give me any info for understanding's sake, the therapists and psychs had no clue what to do, so I went and sought out SI'ers in other places. IRC rooms and the like, and you know what? It's full of those you're describing. I couldn't take the insessant whining and melodrama. I wanted to talk to someone who wanted to share experiences, reasons, something more than stupid *hugz* and postings of "I'm going to do it again tonight...please stop me". Maybe the article couldn't bring that across because there was a lot of personal experience info involved, but the only reason for that is because I don't know enough others personally who do this to give anecdotal info (which is why I included links). So there you have it. Spelled out easily for you.

And don't lecture me. Don't insult my intelligence and I won't insult yours. It's not attention getting. If it was attention getting I wouldn't wear long sleeves, and if I did I would occasionally pull them up to let it "slip" absent-mindedly or some stupid gesture of that sort. As it is I'm deathly afraid of anyone knowing or finding out. I am just trying to get by like anyone else. But again, you'd know me better than I would huh?

[ Parent ]

See Previous post. (none / 0) (#67)
by BunnyVomit on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 12:18:09 AM EST

You either want to stop or you don't. If you want help then you need to take my earlier advance. I was fucked up and didn't change until I realized I was fucked up, quit whining, and fixed myself. IF you just wanted an open and honest discussion (which is BS, you don't) then it would have links to third party scientific and psychological articles with information on it. Face it, you want attention or an easy cure. Don't waste K5'ers time with your BS arguements. There is no easy cure, there is a cure though. It just requires you to acknowledge the fact you're a freak and change. Anyways, I'm tired or arguing about this. I'll be back tomorrow night to tell you how it REALLY some more tomorrow.
Join the Bunny Cabal or it means you enjoy watching 7th heaven.
[ Parent ]
Fine (none / 0) (#68)
by Binary Boy on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 12:20:38 AM EST

but I'm done with you, and you're going to say it's because I couldn't face up to the truth or some other BS, but really it's because now we're arguing semantics. You're telling me my intentions and when I give you my real intentions and back them up you brush them aside like debris. So I'm done, I think you obviously don't have a grasp of all situations (there's no you're either this or that), and you think that I'm just a pussy who won't stand up and take control. You're welcome to that opinion, but we're not getting anywhere you and I. So I'm done, malign as you wish.

[ Parent ]
Sheesh... (5.00 / 4) (#114)
by dipipanone on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 04:36:20 AM EST

Look. I finally grew my ass up three weeks ago

So the truth is, all this posturing and pontificating that you're engaging in is really made on the basis of a change in decision that you've made just THREE FUCKING WEEKS AGO?

Anybody can sustain the sort of behaviour change you're talking about for three weeks. Shit, I bet even Binary Boy has been three weeks without cutting. Come back here when you're no longer a 300lb 'abnorm' yourself and *then* you might have earned the right to start telling others about how easy in is to change profoundly ingrained dysfunctional behaviour patterns.

Until that point, I'll continue to read your posts as the fat kid finally getting the chance to diss someone else for the first time in his life.

Suck my .sig
[ Parent ]
Yep (2.33 / 3) (#31)
by DeadBaby on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 09:51:05 PM EST

I couldn't have said it better but I will try anyway.

Other people can never fix a problem that's going on inside your mind. NEVER. They can't even help. They can only push you towards helping yourself. In the end, that's really what it comes down to.

If you don't like waking up covered in blood then stop hurting yourself. It's not a matter of being insenseitive to the problem but the problem AND solution are both totally mental and I think you probably know that. No amount of web sites or books are going to make the actual process of stopping it any easier, they're just crutches.

"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us." - Carl Sagan
[ Parent ]
Blunt, but to the point (3.83 / 6) (#39)
by pietra on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 10:47:21 PM EST

Ordinarily I'd be pretty pissed at someone smacking down what was so obviously a cry for help, but I agree wholeheartedly with Bunny Vomit's assessment. If you really want to educate people about this subject, you should leave the biographical information out, or at least tone it down significantly. Otherwise, the useful content gets drowned out in the whining. I'm sorry that you've got this problem, but the general tone of your article makes *me* want to tell you to grow up and get a clue, and I used to hit myself hard enough to cause bruises or bleeding when I got upset. My boyfriend's approach was simple: he made it really clear that I needed to stop, sans drama or hysterical coddling. He didn't want anyone hitting me, least of all me, and if I couldn't understand that, it wasn't going to work out between us. Period. He also got me to start really talking to him about all the frustration and confusion that was causing me to do this in the first place, instead of taking it out on myself. That made all the difference. I'd recommend that you do the same, pronto. Defensively insisting that your life is so hard, you suffer so much, etc. is missing the point. Yeah, it's hard. Yeah, it sucks. Are you going to do anything about it? If not, then all you're doing by posting stuff like this is reinforcing your own fucked-up behavior, and that's not good for *anyone*, least of all you. That, in a nutshell, is what Bunny Vomit is saying.

[ Parent ]
the personal is relevant (4.00 / 2) (#42)
by surlybird on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 11:06:19 PM EST

The biographical information is important. People read about things like this and need to understand who does these things and why. The whole thrust of the article was that males do it too, and the biographical stuff was support for that. BinaryBoy was looking to make contact with other people who have been through the same thing, and to let people know that it's not just women who have this problem. While I'm glad that you've dealt with your SI, for many people it really doesn't help to be told, "Why, just put your mind to it, and you can stop suffering from a biochemical disorder!" (maybe that's not what you intended, but depressives are thin-skinned, so that's how it sounds.)

[ Parent ]
Yes, but (4.00 / 1) (#48)
by pietra on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 11:22:12 PM EST

The biographical information, while necessary, is excessive. I included my own experience because it's relevant, but I didn't go into detail about, say, the awesome purpling of various bruises. Based on that previous experience, I really don't think that showering someone with affection and attention is the best way to solve a problem like this. It's not that I'm a proponent of "tough love," but I know quite well that this behavior is a combination of a desperate need for attention and a huge amount of self-loathing. Sometimes, being told that you're a whiny bitch makes you realize that to a certain degree, you are. If you're together enough to complain because someone else is pointing out how annoying you sound, you're together enough to get better. Someone who's convinced that they're utterly worthless isn't going to have it in them to protest attacks to that effect. This guy does. Therefore, he needs to get it together while he can.

[ Parent ]
respectfully disagree (5.00 / 1) (#55)
by surlybird on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 11:33:30 PM EST

At the stage where you go looking for help, trying to make contact with others about your problem, being told you're a whiny bitch reinforces your idea that no one wants to hear what you have to say. I don't know where BinaryBoy is right now emotionally, but being defensive doesn't necessarily mean he isn't feeling worthless.

And I'd really like to emphasise that this is a symptom of an illness and not a weakness of character, which seems implied by a lot of these comments. No one wants to be in this situation, believe me.

[ Parent ]
He's going to realize... (4.00 / 1) (#59)
by BunnyVomit on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 11:50:06 PM EST

That no one cares soon enough. The fact is, even if you're trying to be nice, you don't give a damn either. I doubt you have conversations with your RL friends and say stuff like "I'm so worried about this guy on K5, he likes to cut himself." No, you're going to feign caring so you can feel good about yourself and forget about him as soon as you log off. The fact is, until he realizes no one gives a rat's ass about his abnormal habits, he's not likely to change.
Join the Bunny Cabal or it means you enjoy watching 7th heaven.
[ Parent ]
to whom all hearts be open... (4.00 / 1) (#62)
by surlybird on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 11:58:12 PM EST

You know everything about everyone, don't you? Actually, I do care about people online who open up about severe problems they might be having. I've been depressed, done SI, and I do worry about others who've been there. Don't assume everyone is as insensitive as you are.

[ Parent ]
You're full of crap. (3.00 / 1) (#64)
by BunnyVomit on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 12:05:49 AM EST

You may think you are, but you only know these people as text on screen. You care about what they say only as it affects you, your surroundings, or people you know. You have some sliver of emotional recognition since you have gone through something similar, but the fact is that you don't care about this loginname on a person to person level. If he stopped posting, you probably wouldn't notice. By the end of the week, you would not even be thinking about it. On the other hand, if you knew him IRL and he didn't show up at work, you'd ask where he was at about an hour after he was missing, and be seriously worried after the third day.
Join the Bunny Cabal or it means you enjoy watching 7th heaven.
[ Parent ]
That's nonsense (none / 0) (#84)
by wanders on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 01:56:45 AM EST

Granted, we can not know with any certainty who or what we are dealing with if we are confined only to online communication.

However, it's wrong to assume that everyone reacts to this by treating all "text on screen" as impersonal media. Caring online doesn't cost more than a bit of time (a few e-mails/comments now and then to keep in touch) -- nothing like the emotional intensity of the real world.

Reduced emotional intensity does not automatically equal reduced commitment.

[ Parent ]
Point by Point, You are wrong. (none / 0) (#87)
by BunnyVomit on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 02:04:20 AM EST

However, it's wrong to assume that everyone reacts to this by treating all "text on screen" as impersonal media.
It is impersonal media, even moreso than telephone (where you hear a person's voice) or snail mail (where you can touch something tangable).
Caring online doesn't cost more than a bit of time (a few e-mails/comments now and then to keep in touch)
Caring is not easy, taking a few moments to fein caring to ease your conscious(sp?) is.
-- nothing like the emotional intensity of the real world.
You mean, its nothing like really caring. You're not worried or actually concerned about the text on a screen like you be a person in the real world.
Reduced emotional intensity does not automatically equal reduced commitment. It does when we are talking about caring, which, by definition, is emotion.

W's comments in italics, mine in bold for easy reading.
Join the Bunny Cabal or it means you enjoy watching 7th heaven.
[ Parent ]
Am not. (none / 0) (#99)
by wanders on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 03:05:53 AM EST

It is impersonal media, even moreso than telephone (where you hear a person's voice) or snail mail (where you can touch something tangable).

(Mmmm, tangable...) It's immaterial -- not impersonal. TV's impersonal, these are (potentially) personal messages.

As for the rest of your comments, I suspect we agree to a fair degree, but you misunderstand my definition of commitment -- my bad, perhaps. What I meant was that the long-term relation that you dismissed could well be kept up even if the level of caring wasn't the same as "IRL".

W's comments in italics, mine in bold for easy reading.

Ick, it really isn't. :)

[ Parent ]
Not true (none / 0) (#157)
by mold on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 08:36:03 PM EST

Not true at all. I have know people online, and not iRL, that live in NY. The lack of this "text on screen" from them made me extremely worried for them, until I knew that they were okay.

Beware of peanuts! There's a 0.00001% peanut fatality rate in the USA alone! You could be next!
[ Parent ]
After 9/11, that is. (none / 0) (#159)
by mold on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 08:38:56 PM EST

That's what I get for not using preview.

Beware of peanuts! There's a 0.00001% peanut fatality rate in the USA alone! You could be next!
[ Parent ]
Perfect in some cases (none / 0) (#113)
by QuickFox on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 04:34:20 AM EST

Discussion with people who are not too committed may be perfect in some cases. You can get a more relaxed discussion. You may get new ideas.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fish.

[ Parent ]
Thanks, but there's no space. (none / 0) (#94)
by BunnyVomit on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 02:45:35 AM EST

Thanks for translating.
1 minor nit though
There's no space between Bunnt and Vomit. See, "BunnyVomit" and "Bunny Vomit" are different. I'm the mean, bitter BunnyVomit. "Bunny Vomit" is some happy guy who's on during the day. Don't blame him for what I say. Doesn't bother me, but I'm sure he'd appreciate it.
Join the Bunny Cabal or it means you enjoy watching 7th heaven.
[ Parent ]
If he'd said it just once... (5.00 / 1) (#111)
by dipipanone on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 04:28:35 AM EST

Then perhaps I might agree with you. However, if you just take a look up this page and count the number of times BunnyVomit has made exactly the same points in exactly the same arrogant, condescending manner, then you might be led to the conclusion that there's something else going on here.

It sounds to me as though the fat boy has found someone that he feels like *he* can legitimately pick on, for once in his life.

Suck my .sig
[ Parent ]
Stop your damn whining (5.00 / 1) (#107)
by QuickFox on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 04:11:24 AM EST

What the hell is wrong with you BunnyVomit? You're whining, whining, whining about Binary Boy's discussion on this problem. Why do you stay here if it bothers you so much? There's a huge number of dieries and articles you could discuss! What compels you to stay here and whine and whine if the subject bothers and disturbs you so much?

There are some people here who want to discuss this subject. Why can't you allow that to happen? Some people want to discuss this, that's life! Deal with it! Mod the story down and then go read some other story!

If something disturbs you so bad, it's your responsibility to deal with it, by reading something else. You can't expect everyone else to solve your problem, by adapting their discussions so they discuss subjects that will not disturb you. The problem is yours. You must solve it.


Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fish.

[ Parent ]
Had a brush with SI (5.00 / 5) (#19)
by sudasana on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 08:25:30 PM EST

But I never, ever realized that it could become a long-term problem. I think the advice of a lot of posters to anyone with this problem is apt: see a professional. But there's also nothing wrong with discussion of this topic. As long as noone tries to offer do-it-yourself home remidies to this or other serious problems.

Just to offer my own personal perspective, I used to cut myself because it was a much more vital feeling than anything else I felt in high school. I guess this would be seen as abnormal by a lot of people; you should have normal feelings, be active in sports or whatever, but I couldn't fool myself into beliving what the crowd of teenagers around me believed. I felt alienated, and to feel anything I dragged a knife across my forearm. Luckily I stopped after a while, finding other substances to kick my emotions and senses into gear, and eventually gave those up too because of their falsity and addictiveness. (Except for alcohol of course, that socially acceptable, mostly scarless SI)

I'll always have the scars, and as a man I can sympathize that we're mostly expected to deal with our own problems and that we're not allowed to show weakness, especially emotional weakness. I know that's a horribly generalistic and traditional-minded view, but I think it still obtains in more places than one would expect.

thank you (5.00 / 1) (#22)
by Binary Boy on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 08:28:53 PM EST

that was exactly the type of story I wanted to hear, and exactly the type of sharing I was looking for.

[ Parent ]
SI vs. Body Mods (4.14 / 7) (#21)
by Damia on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 08:28:39 PM EST

First, I want to say I think is more of a diary entry than anything for front page material, as it is a pretty touchy topic that can get really personal.

Second, one of my best friends in the entire world is a guy who has a problem with self-injury. Not because he's "into" it, but because it's how he deals with stress. He's gone (still goes) to a psychiatrist and a psychologist to deal with depression, stress, and anger management. His most current psychologist is a man who pretty much has decided he cuts himself because he loves his friends and family too much to take it out on them. My friend is a really caring guy, and there is no way he'd ever want to run off a friend because he yelled at them or b*tched at them to relieve stress. So, he cuts. (Or so he tells me.)

Then there are people with a penchant for body modification. Those who get tattoos, piercings, brandings, scarification, etc. I think that has NOTHING to do with SI. It's possible that people with SI might be more inclined to get body mods if it's the need to feel pain/anything, but why do that when it's cheaper and easier to just cut?

Anyway, in the last 5 or so years I've known this guy, he's definitely decreased the frequency of self-injury. I think it's partially because he realizes that people won't hate him if he discusses his problems and anger with people rather than letting it get built up and thus injuring himself.

I wish I could say more, but I only know enough about it from the viewpoint of a close friend. (PS: That picture is pretty close to his upper arm, if you go by number of cuts.)

Thanks (none / 0) (#23)
by Binary Boy on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 08:32:32 PM EST

I am also currently and have been seeing someone for some time, it just seems to get me nowhere. I've switched doctors enough to determine that it's not just one bad doctor, but I also know it can't all be me.

Piercers and tattoo people are a totally different sect, and you're right that they have nothing to do with SI. I personally derive no pleasure during or from pain, it has everything to do with the ease I feel afterwards, though arguably, my shame is also great.

[ Parent ]

Any other diagnoses? (5.00 / 2) (#24)
by Damia on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 08:41:22 PM EST

Have you been diagnosed with anything? Like depression, bi-polar, etc? I know they've been telling him on and off (depending on the doctor) that he's either severely depressed or bi-polar and he's been on sooo many drugs it's not even funny (and too damned expensive). Sometimes they just make him feel worse and it leads to MORE cutting.

Well, anyway, I actually lived with this guy for a while and it's kind of scary to wake up and find a bunch of bloodied towels in the bathroom. But at the same time, I can kind of see why it would make someone feel better. He ALWAYS felt better the next day, except for the shame he felt when he could see how upset we all were that he could've hurt himself like that.

I guess my point is, is that I kind of understand where you're coming from, and I wish I could give you some advice, but they're still working on it with him. Usually when he's in a relationship it'll minimize the frequency of self-injury, so it must be that a girlfriend is a sort of outlet for him, but if THAT gets to be a stress on him then it can defeat the purpose.

There I go rambling again.

[ Parent ]
Relationships slow it down for me too (4.50 / 2) (#25)
by Binary Boy on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 08:49:51 PM EST

but it hasn't ever stopped really. And again, I'm not looking for advice. I have been diagnosed as "depressive" by some but that term gets thrown around so much I really hardly believe it. I think my problem is that I really have no good ways of coping with stress or misfortune. It's really simple, but really hard to figure out how to get out of.

I've had to throw away many a towel on bad nights, and I've had to explain many a stain too. You get all these little tricks you learn. Quick responses to throw off questions and imply that they shouldn't ask anymore. It's an odd existence to be sure.

[ Parent ]

Part of the problem (5.00 / 2) (#106)
by QuickFox on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 03:45:55 AM EST

You get all these little tricks you learn. Quick responses to throw off questions and imply that they shouldn't ask anymore. It's an odd existence to be sure.

Maybe this is part of the problem. Your constant need to hide these things and avert discovery might create a vicious circle of mounting tension, where a tension is reinforced again and again, becoming more and more neurotic.

Suppose you could somehow develop a more relaxed attitude toward the whole thing. Suppose you could talk about it with friends without strong emotions, without making it special. The tensions might lessen and become manageable.

For this to be meaningful you'd need to talk about it in a relaxed way, without too much focus and attention. It must lessen the tension and the attention, not increase it.

Obviously you'd need to do it with friends who don't freak out like BunnyVomit does here.

As you can see I disagree with BunnyVomit's argument that people should shut up about these things and put a lid on them and deal with them without discussing them. (Still I do agree with BunnyVomit on one point: that in the end you'll have to deal with it yourself -- but you said as much yourself, so that's not the issue in this discussion.)

In fact, the kind of relaxed and factual presentation that you give here may be productive, it may be one useful step for developing a more relaxed attitude toward the whole thing. I guess it can help some readers too. A relaxed attitude where you can discuss these things is helpful.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fish.

[ Parent ]
In my case depression was an effect of.. (5.00 / 1) (#132)
by RandomAction on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 11:20:54 AM EST

..a deeper emotional fucked-up-ness. I was diagnosed with depression; the medication really helped, but still didn't address anything fundamental. The pills just got me through. It's when I was diagnosed by a Psychiatrist as having a personality disorder that things really started on an upward trend for me. PD is really just a maladapted set of coping mechanisms, which lead to depression, SI, heavy drinking etc.

[ Parent ]
Oops (5.00 / 1) (#144)
by Damia on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 04:09:22 PM EST

Well, I now figured out how *I* deal with stress. Shortly after I wrote that comment I put myself in the hospital with hypervenitalation and a really not-so-fun panic attack. (Mind you this has never happened before, and why it happened is really quite silly) I think a lot of us feel stuck on a loop that we just don't know how to break out of.

The other responses do have valid points, though. It does come down to you, in the end, and your ability to discuss everything and try to talk your way into a solution--whether it be just figuring out what the core problem is or just talking to get things off your chest.

[ Parent ]
dude, ditch the shame (5.00 / 4) (#69)
by lonemarauder on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 12:27:59 AM EST

I'll admit I don't really know what to think of SI, but in reading your article and some of your posts, I have profound compassion for you. It really tears me up to think that people suffer this way.

The one thing I do know is that you MUST ditch the shame. My faith teaches that shame is an enslaving, evil spiritual force that has no place in a healthy human mind. I am shocked at your accounts, but I don't pity you and I certainly don't think there's any way fault can be applied to you. Find some way to get rid of your self-incrimination because it is NOT deserved.

In fact, it could be the shame itself which is the missing piece of the puzzle. I'm sure this must have occurred to you, but being ashamed of the cuts could be a self-serving mental pathology - that is, you cut yourself to relieve the shame, the cuts then cause more shame, etc.

I used to have a similar problem with panic attacks. The horrible irony of panic attacks is that what you are really scared of is panic attacks. Once you begin to understand that the waves of terror are actually a mental habit, you can begin to overcome it.

I don't know. Get well if you want to, don't if you don't, but don't be ashamed. That is the only real pain you are causing yourself.

[ Parent ]
other avenues (4.71 / 7) (#34)
by sawndust on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 10:13:36 PM EST

I have to say this is a new one for me. It's interesting though, thanks for posting. Keeping shit like this inside probably doesn't help society much in the long run. I think you are right in the assertion that everyone has some level of irrational, soothing behaviour somewhere in their head. You (or some part of you) has chosen cutting yourself. The only advice I could give would be to try to find more productive, socially-acceptable ways to vent. Distance running for instance, or racquetball, something to let the stress out without hurting yourself. I do think you are right to see a psychologist, but you should also take initiative on yourself to fix your problems (as you seem to be doing).

Armchair analysis. (4.80 / 5) (#35)
by derek3000 on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 10:32:10 PM EST

Plenty of people here have offered that body mods are different than SI, and they are right.

People generally get tattoos, piercings, etc. to make their bodies more symbolic and transcendant. Taking a piece of art and making it a part of your body is an attempt to connect your real, physical self to some image or metaphor.

SI, on the other hand, is usually for the opposite reason. Cutters usually do this kind of thing to bring themselves back to reality--to remind them that they still inhabit a physical self.

I can kind of relate to this. I'm not on any medication or anything, but I can see how someone might put the real world in the background. For lack of a better metaphor, a screensaver. I don't like drawing parallels between humanity and technology, but there you go. People have often described being on Valium as 'watching life on the TV'.

Sometimes I still have to remind myself that I am derek3000 and that I look like this, etc. Do you have the same feelings?

Not too political, nothing too clever!--Liars

Often (none / 0) (#36)
by Binary Boy on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 10:39:46 PM EST

viewing life through a television sounds strangely similar to how I've described it right before I get to that point. It is a bit of a reminder, and sometimes used as punishment as well I'd tend to think.

I wonder if all this detatchment is an effect of societal natures or whatnot. I suppose my reminders are just harsh, thanks for that though, I hadn't thought of it much as a grounding experience, more of a punishment/release.

[ Parent ]

Get a diagnosis (none / 0) (#131)
by RandomAction on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 11:11:25 AM EST

By a professional. In the mean time:
Some scant info on personality disorders.

Borderline Personality

List of links

Basic Discription

[ Parent ]
Hey, (none / 0) (#135)
by derek3000 on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 01:06:21 PM EST

I have the utmost faith that this is something you can overcome.

Just remember that life isn't the same for everyone--this is your life, and it is going to unfold in its own way. Don't worry about any logistical considerations or anything practical right now, or at least don't let them get in the way of whatever you need to do.

Not too political, nothing too clever!--Liars
[ Parent ]

Two thoughts -- (none / 0) (#178)
by Nicht Ausreichend on Thu Apr 04, 2002 at 10:29:53 PM EST

1) A few years ago I went through a period when I often felt as though I were seeing life through a pane of glass or some such thing thing.

That unreal/detached feeling turned out to be one of the typical symptoms of panic disorder. Treatment for panic disorder made a big improvement in my life. Maybe the detached feeling is also related to other treatable conditions.

2) When I've heard about SI before, it was in relation to its victims having been abused in the past. Any correlation there?

Good luck beating this thing.

[ Parent ]
I'm OK, you're OK. (3.85 / 7) (#37)
by erp6502 on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 10:42:21 PM EST

You're Self-Destructive. Who isn't? Everybody I know exhibits at least one obvious symptom of SD.

Consider the particular manifestation you suffer from: SI. Is it particularly worrisome? It sounds like you don't much care for the sight, smell, and squish of blood. Use crazy glue, that's what it's for. Are you suicidal? It doesn't sound like it.that way. Are you mentally impaired? Judging from your post, no: you write more clearly than most of the posters on this forum (for which I thank you).

The thing is, this neurotic process of yours is going to express itself in some fashion. It's a crapshoot guessing what will pop up in its place if you get this particular habit under control.

As for the picture you linked into the article: big deal. I grew up in a house with 20 cats. My hands and arms always looked like that. There are always a few that like to play rough, and I like to play back. I savor the antiseptic bite of alcohol on those thin little scratches, starting as white, icy streaks of pain and blooming into throbbing bloody tracks as you watch. Try not to let the claws too deep, or when you tear the dirty flesh out of your wounds you'll peel back a thin strip for an inch or more before either it breaks or you have the sense to stop.

I don't mean to belittle your concerns, but I'm having a tough time seeing what's so unusual about this "male SI" syndrome. Maybe that means I suffer from it too, but I'm not sensitive enough to tell.

If OTOH you were to get to the roots of SD in general by writing about the nest of lies implicit in the social contract, I'd sit up and pay attentium.

Good point, (5.00 / 2) (#40)
by Binary Boy on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 10:50:15 PM EST

I'm not suicidal, and I don't think I'm mentally impaired. The thing that's worrisome is that some day I may accidentally commit it though. That pic is one of the few examples I could find. My cuts can get much deeper and wider, and I've had burns get infected. I wouldn't mind replacing it with something less harmful, and I do know it will be replaced by SOMEthing more than likely.

[ Parent ]
You are.. (none / 0) (#130)
by RandomAction on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 10:55:35 AM EST

..emotionally fuckedup not crazy.

[ Parent ]
It's pent-up rage (5.00 / 8) (#43)
by surlybird on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 11:17:02 PM EST

"The males I have encountered have nothing in their life or their training to prepare them with a male who's not just suffering from sexual problems or feelings of inadequacy (the typical male complaints), and the female therapists I have spoken with are so taken aback by me being a male with this issue, that they never see beyond that problem and get into the source of the issue itself."

SI, in my experience, is just internalised anger and frustration. If you're full of a powerful emotion like that, and you can't confide in anyone, and you don't want to hurt anyone else, it seems like there's nothing wrong with hurting yourself. People seem to think that women internalise more than men do, which is bullshit. Men are just as limited by a desire not to hurt others, and by an inability to express themselves.

Find a safe way to let out your anger. Break old things you don't want anymore, tear paper, crush boxes. It gets you used to putting your feelings in the outside world, and makes it easier to express things and understand the difference between being mad at yourself and mad at someone else.

Email me if you want to talk.

Felt good? (3.66 / 6) (#44)
by MicroBerto on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 11:18:23 PM EST

The next day, I felt great, better than I had in a long time ...
Why did this feel good??? I'm simply baffled by that? Is it like the same thing as the morning after having an insane workout and being all sore? I'd still have to say that there's more of a sense of accomplishment in the latter, though.

- GAIM: MicroBerto
Bertoline - My comic strip
Good mentally (5.00 / 2) (#47)
by Binary Boy on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 11:21:49 PM EST

not physically, physically it burns for days and days afterwards. It's like an enema I would imagine, and unpleasant experience, but afterwards you feel released if not a little uncomfy with it. Hard to explain I guess.

[ Parent ]
catharsis (5.00 / 2) (#49)
by surlybird on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 11:23:45 PM EST

It's the same kind of release you get when punch your fist into a wall, have a good cry, or throw up after eating something gone bad. It's an expression of all the shit going on inside, even if it's just to yourself. When I used to cut, the cuts would say to me, "There, it's real, it's a real problem and it's really hurting me." Once it's out, it doesn't hurt so much.

[ Parent ]
Hurting yourself (3.00 / 2) (#56)
by BunnyVomit on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 11:33:59 PM EST

Hurting yourself via "Shallow" cuts releases a hormone that acts like a drug to your brain. Of course, most people have enough common sense to realize the pain isn't worth the pleasure. Add that hormone(endorphine, whatever, Its been nearly a year since I read the article) to the "Heh, I have a secret no one knows about" or the "Give me attention, I'm so pitiful, cry for me." and you can figure out why these freaky people cut themselves.
Join the Bunny Cabal or it means you enjoy watching 7th heaven.
[ Parent ]
What is the Motivation? (5.00 / 2) (#45)
by 0xA on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 11:19:41 PM EST

What is it about the cuts that you enjoy?

I have a bit of a similar habit, I like stuff that hurts. I really like being able to dominate pain, more impact or muscle soreness than cuts though. I think it comes from being a jock in my teenage years playing football and rugby. Getting hit and then having to deal with the pain leaves me feeling great.

I don't inflict by hitting myself with something but I will sometimes strech out a workout so I will be left with sore muscles. Any chance I get to play tackle football or rugby with friends I jump at, I can't play in a regular league due to an ankle injury though.

It's not a sexual thing with me either, I'm not sure if it helps me reinforce some "tough guy" self image or if I just associate it with the vitallity that I got from playing sports regualarly in the past though. It is a very powerful feeling though, I am so happy when I'm hurting.

So for you is it about the cuts or about the pain?

Neither (5.00 / 2) (#54)
by Binary Boy on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 11:31:09 PM EST

the pain is passing and it's just like afterbirth, meaningless stuff that goes along with the rest. The cuts I'm actually terribly ashamed of and if something's going to make me stop it's that.

Why? I always assumed it was self-punishment and release, but tonight someone brought up that it might be a grounding mechanism. A way back to reality, which I think also sounds like a possibility. All I know is that after that, I feel great for days, and then, over time I drop, until it happens again. The cycles don't seem to last for any static length of time though.

I'm not trying to prove anything either I think. Sometimes we can be too close to a situation to adequately see it.

[ Parent ]

"Why?" (5.00 / 2) (#92)
by alge on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 02:27:32 AM EST

I've thought of a dozen differerent reasons for why I'm doing this, but none of them seem quite right. (This'll probably be a rant...) It started as a way to get away from the emotional pain. Physical pain is good at that. But now it's different.. sometimes I do it when I'm wildly depressed, sometimes I do it when I feel on top of the world-ish. Sometimes I'm listening to really depressing music, sometimes I'm listening to death-/blackmetal. A few times I've cut myself just to bleed.. I love the feeling of blood trickling down my skin.. I've done it as a way to get psyched before a consert; I've done it as a way to calm down after a night out. Most of the time I have absolutely no idea, though.

vi er ikke lenger elsket her

[ Parent ]
It's actually rather fascinating.. (none / 0) (#129)
by RandomAction on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 10:51:56 AM EST

..that it's even possible to get a razor and cut yourself leaving a 1/4 inch wide scar, it's very engaging it kinda blanks out your mind, you're concentrating purely on the act. Mmm a very Zen state.

I did it quite heavily but, only for a short while. 1 diagnosis later: I've realized that I have a emotional issues which fucked my life which gave me depression. That realization and Venlafaxine, has turned me right around. I haven't done it in a long while and I've grown up a lot. I'm probably happier now than I could've achieved without going through this.

[ Parent ]
you want stories? (4.50 / 12) (#46)
by persimmon on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 11:21:23 PM EST

Here's a story: I was feeling like shit, but I got the balls together to dump the bitch, who blamed me for suicide threats, anorexia, hospitalisation. After blocking bitch's email and icq and having my roommate answer the phone, I sat down with my flimsy serrated knife and turned my ankle into a shallower version of what you have in your photo there.

It fucking hurt, but it was a controllable hurt, and it blocked out other things enough that I could forget them while I was wallowing in pain. So I did it again, and again, when something came up I couldn't handle, though not always a lot, or very deep.

And then when Jane slapped me in the face she said Stop. Now. It's not easy but neither is cutting yourself. You know that. Stop it. You know better.

So I stopped. And it sucked plenty, but there are plenty of other modes of self-abuse. Sometimes now I eat instead.

So there's a fucking story. But then, I'm a girl.
It's funny because it's a blancmange!

Religious literature. (4.85 / 7) (#71)
by cdyer on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 12:48:57 AM EST

Have you read any of the religious literature on the subject? I'm not talking about like Deepak Chopra or anything like that, but there's a long tradition of self-inflicted injury for various religious reasons including penitence, self-control, devotion to God.

There are biographies of numerous Christian saints from the early days of the church, and particularly in those areas which would become Eastern Orthodox, who did this sort of thing. I wish I could think of some of the names right now, but it's been a while since I studied this. Some thought this sort of behaviour was the most pious thing one could do, most notably in the Syriac church, while others thought the intemperate nature of it was an indication that such behaviour was diabolically inspired, as was the case with the Russians (see for example the chapters in the monastery in The Brothers Karamazov.

I believe the chapter of St. John Climacus' Ladder of Divine Ascent about the penitents may be interesting. This book is sort of the foundation of the Christian understanding of Monastic asceticism.

I also highly recommend the novella Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor. She writes from the perspective of a Catholic living in a largely Evangelical American South, so she manages to tie these ancient Catholic traditions, which seem so distant, into a modern (well, post WWII at least) setting. Disturbing, beautiful, and compelling. Also, the one I'm most sure is applicable to your situation. (It involves a man who inflicts wounds on himself). If I remember any of the specifics from my college studies in better detail, I'll be sure to let you know.

It may be interesting to look at some of the older works, to see that people have been dealing with this sort of thing for much longer than modern psychology has been around. Oh yeah, and I apologize for all of this coming from the Christian tradition, but that's what I've studied most in-depth. If anyone knows of anything else, Christian or otherwise along the same lines, please chime in.


So was burning at the stake... (1.00 / 3) (#74)
by BunnyVomit on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 01:04:49 AM EST

Burning people at the stake used to be a tradition too. We realized this was wrong (most of us anyway). Maybe, just maybe, we realized that cutting yourself (And thus defiling God's temple) was wrong as well.
Join the Bunny Cabal or it means you enjoy watching 7th heaven.
[ Parent ]
Please stop being inflammatory. (4.83 / 6) (#105)
by cdyer on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 03:25:36 AM EST

I'm not talking about anything remotely related to burning at the stake. It's a bad analogy. I'm talking about people who decided to live outside the world, and often, even to go beyond the norms of the monastic communities.

No temples were defiled by it either. Monasteries are not consecrated spaces. They often included chapels which would be holy, but those were generally reserved for prayer, not for acts of penitence.

On the other hand, you are probably refering to the human body as the temple of God, aren't you? So never mind that last paragraph. Still why is it wrong? Because it hurts? Exercise hurts. Surgery hurts. Granted, those both have beneficial side effects, but according to Binary Boy, so does SI. But the pain itself cannot be the reason why it is "wrong".

Perhaps what is wrong about SI is that it looks scary. Obviously this is something Binary Boy and others have dealt with; note the mention of shame when others discover it, and misdirection so they won't. I'll buy that. So what next? People have done this for centuries, sometimes on their own, but often in a structured environment. Mentorship can be a valuable thing. It provides limits, safety mechanisms, and control. There's a sufi saying: "He who has no teacher has Satan as his teacher." These people weren't simply wackos who hurt themselves, though they certainly were a bit eccentric in their values. They practiced this sort of thing as a discipline, and I'm sure learned a lot about it in the process. Obviously, you have to take into account the framework they were working in. If someone writes that a certain practice will lead to demonic possession, you don't have to believe that you will become like Linda Blair in the Exorcist, but there's a good chance that the practice will fuck your ass up in one way or another.

I'm not claiming that because of the religious aspect, these were all Holy Men(TM) worthy of veneration and emulation. But they are people who have dealt with the same problems and had the opportunity, being in an ascetic religious community, to explore the possible outlets for it.

To address your comment more directly, I see no evidence that "we" have "realized" anything about this in the past 2000 years. It was a fringe practice back then; it's a fringe practice now. Sure, now it has a title as a mental disorder, but even among professionals, there's no consensus. Read through the posts: This post, for instance, has a guy going to a therapist whose professional opinion is that this is an expression of his love for friends and family. Some think it's good self-therapy. Obviously other people think it's simply sick and twisted and must stop in all cases immediately. No consensus. We're in the same boat we've always been in.

Oh, and Binary Boy, cheers to you for having the balls to post this and weather the flamestorm. I hope you find what your looking for out of all of this.


[ Parent ]
Tired of arguing, last attempt. (1.50 / 4) (#119)
by BunnyVomit on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 07:19:05 AM EST

Cutting yourself is defiling your body, you are being destructive for no gain except a temporary high. Its wrong, get over it.

What really bugs me is that you are trying to justify cutting yourself. There is no justification for this. He lives in a society that has deemed in unacceptable. He is a deviant. He is, according to most measures, fucked up.

Do not accociate cutting with christianity, That's like me saying most priests used to be power hungry, and then telling some power-hungry deogogan it's ok to abuse a position for his own ends because priests used to be that way.

Join the Bunny Cabal or it means you enjoy watching 7th heaven.
[ Parent ]
holy crap (1.30 / 13) (#73)
by zephc on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 01:03:16 AM EST

a lot of you have some pretty deep head problems! smoke more weed! *grin*

Flamebait... (1.31 / 29) (#75)
by BunnyVomit on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 01:08:54 AM EST

This is probably flamebait.

Maybe you are just incapable of taking care of yourself and need someone to do it for you. Have you looked into hiring a babysitter fulltime to make sure you don't cut yourself. Seriously, maybe all you need is someone looking over your shoulder. That way you'd get the attention you desperately crave, without actually cutting yourself. All you would need is the threat of cutting yourself. There are several fine mental institutions in my area, so I'm sure there are so good ones in your area that could provide a similar service.
Join the Bunny Cabal or it means you enjoy watching 7th heaven.
congrats (2.00 / 2) (#77)
by Binary Boy on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 01:11:53 AM EST

I was trying not to be vindictive in here, only rating comments up and never down, but you're getting a one. Not only was that in terrible taste, but it disregards everything I said earlier. So congrats, you got the rise out of me you wanted and the response you wanted. IHL HAND, I get it.

[ Parent ]
Yes (2.80 / 5) (#96)
by BunnyVomit on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 02:48:21 AM EST

and I am horrified because I base my entire self image on how my comments are rated in a web forum by people I don't know in real life. Oh, the horror.
Join the Bunny Cabal or it means you enjoy watching 7th heaven.
[ Parent ]
I went through a very mild version of this (5.00 / 13) (#76)
by millman on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 01:11:24 AM EST

as a teenager. I used to bite my wrists really hard when I was angry. Drew blood a number of times, but it wasn't very often. Did it to myself a few times a week, fortunatly it almost never left any marks.

I think the simple explanation was frustration with being the typical geek: being an outcast, not even fitting in with the "nerd" social group, zero luck with women, being picked on, all that fun stuff. Plus at the time I wasn't strong enough to hurt many guys anyway.

Also at the time (this is still true to some extent) I was more concerned about hurting other people than hurting myself, be it physically, emotionally, or just letting them down in general. Therefore my own person made the obvious target. I just had no desire to take out anger on other people. I think that's stereotypically a female trait, and perhaps that is what you're getting at with therapists saying you're just whining or just not understanding where you're coming from as a guy.

Anyway, once I got to college I did it less frequently and then stopped around my second year as my life improved. I can't remember the last time I did it, probably about 4 years ago.

Oh, and a quick troll before I go: Bunnyvomit, shut the f*** up and leave this guy alone, you're one of the most bitter, angry people here, I don't know what the hell you think you're doing telling this guy to stop whining when you're far worse than he is.

Ah, that felt great. See, I don't take it out on myself anymore.

In a world full of thieves, the only crime is getting caught.

Ok (2.40 / 5) (#78)
by BunnyVomit on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 01:19:00 AM EST

Clarifications before I shut the fuck up:
I'm telling him out it is sans tact. Maybe he needs to hear it from someone who cares about him in RL, but this is what he need to hear.

Note: My message wasn't stop whining. It was stop whining and change.

I can be rude about this if I want, I went through the same thing (self destructive, cuttings et al) but I realized how fucked up I was and changed. He need to do the same. Talking about it NEVER HELPS, except in the rare instance where someone has the balls to tell you you're fucked up.

Last thing: I don't want to be unfair to the other bunny vomit. Note: I am BunnyVomit (no space in the name, also Cannis), Bunny Vomit (a space in the name) is a different, nice person.
Join the Bunny Cabal or it means you enjoy watching 7th heaven.
[ Parent ]
But talking doesn't hurt either (3.00 / 1) (#79)
by millman on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 01:27:23 AM EST

I actually agree with you that the only thing that will help is YOU deciding to change YOURSELF, but talking doesn't hurt and it can help keep you going in a lot of bad situations. I've seen that with a lot of friends who have gone through various issues, and myself as well. It takes time to work up the energy and guts to stop self destructive behavior. In the interem, talking can be very cathartic.

Yeah I was probably wrong about the nickname thing, I probably have you confused with any number of other people around here, it's late and I need sleep.

In a world full of thieves, the only crime is getting caught.
[ Parent ]

talking hurts... (2.50 / 2) (#83)
by BunnyVomit on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 01:38:51 AM EST

Talking hurts because it delays action while tricking you into thinking that by talking, you are talking action. Talking only helps if its someone kicking your ass by telling you how stupid what you're doing is, or after you have already changed, at which point you are using it as support for not going back.
Join the Bunny Cabal or it means you enjoy watching 7th heaven.
[ Parent ]
Only then? (3.00 / 1) (#100)
by wanders on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 03:10:36 AM EST

There are other ways of manipulating than kicking ass. Some people respond well to a good ass-kicking, other to more subtle methods.
[ Parent ]
I use kicking ass (2.00 / 1) (#101)
by BunnyVomit on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 03:14:42 AM EST

in the metaphorical sense, like a dash of cold water.
I didn't mean to literaly pound him silly.
That said, people in this kind of condition need cold water. That's why psychology normally fails, all they offer is the proverbial herbal tea. If someone is upset, that works well, but this guy clearly needs someone close to him to tell him what a dipshit he's being and that he needs to straighten up and get his shit together. The whole "It's ok" schlock just doesn't work and it never has.
Join the Bunny Cabal or it means you enjoy watching 7th heaven.
[ Parent ]
Psychology != "It's ok" (4.00 / 2) (#104)
by wanders on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 03:25:20 AM EST

I don't see why psychological therapy is (or should have to be) equal to the "It's OK" schlock. In fact, I suspect that a bit of digging would discover a lot of psychological therapy methods designed to be that splash of cold water.1

In any case, I don't believe that what you advertise is for everyone, although it'd probably be a good idea for most individuals to try it out -- in a controlled environment. Self-deprecation (as in "I'm a dipshit") could lead to some rather bad places when combined with self-injury.

1Digging further back through history could, additionally, uncover some "therapy" methods consisting of repeated splashes of cold water...

[ Parent ]
Where does it say "it's ok"? (2.00 / 1) (#108)
by QuickFox on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 04:19:20 AM EST

Psychology therapy can be very harsh and painful. Your notions on psychology therapy are plain wrong.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fish.

[ Parent ]
I think he (Binary Boy) needs some perspective. (3.00 / 1) (#120)
by tekue on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 07:36:27 AM EST

I think that I can agree with what you're saying, BunnyVomit, but I would put that in different wording.

What I think Binary Boy needs is a little perspective, to look at himself and say 'Hey, I'm acting like a dipshit, which in fact I am not. I need to stop. Why am I doing this crap anyway?'. These are the questions he should be asking himself, not 'Am I OK as I am? Am I a decent person? I'm not really crazy, am I?'.

Well, if we define 'crazy' as 'mentaly ill', then yes BB, you are crazy. You need to find the reason and fight it.

My advice would be this: you're a geek, act like a geek. Create a chart, write down every time you cut yourself. Mark the depth/severity of wounds on an axis, mark what day was it, what were you doing that day, what did you eat, what time did you get up. If you find, for example, that you are less likely to cut yourself when you jog or do some push-ups, do more of them -- sport is good. Maybe when you eat sweets you're more likely to do it -- it may be something with your weight you're worried about. Or maybe it's the girls -- have you been with someone lately? Would you like to? Maybe you think you're ugly and are trying to punish yourself.

Maybe there's quite simply nothing happening in your life, so you do it out of boredom, and then you act unsocially because you're afraid people will notice, so it aggravates.

Most people need to gain some distance from their problems to solve them. You've (probably) got the abilities to use one of the more formal (and legal) methods of doing it -- science. Someone else might use psychedelic drugs (I really don't recommend it to anyone of a weak and disturbed mind, but it can help sometimes), or mental guidence (like a guru or psychoterapeutist), or anything else for that matter.

As for quitting the habit, there's a ton of literature on the subject, so I don't think there's need to spurt some of my undereducated knowledge on the subject, but someting like sports or some other hobby would come handy). Change your life and you may change it in more ways then one.

But remember, it's all in your head. Russel Crowe have shown us in "Beatifull Mind", that you can fight a disease with your mind, if it's big enough. Of course it's only a movie, but I think it's true. Now Binary Boy, if you're reading this -- _quit_ reading this, get up, walk out and go for a coffie or some ice-cream. Read a happy, inteligent, beautyfull book (Douglas Adams' "Last Chance To See" or "HHTTG" comes to mind, as does Terry Pratchet's Ringworld series). You probably don't know how good it feels to simply waste some of your time instead of body. :)
Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature. --Tom Robbins
[ Parent ]

ack ack ack ack (4.00 / 1) (#137)
by persimmon on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 01:45:41 PM EST

Russel Crowe have shown us in "Beatifull Mind", that you can fight a disease with your mind, if it's big enough.

Um, did I really just hear you cite a movie as evidence? I was with you up until there, but, um, no. You can't think it away, make it disappear in a pouf of logic, pretend it doesn't exist, give it a nickel and tell it to buy itself a candy bar. It doesn't go away. You can't fight it. It's just there. All you can do is deal with it, try not to trigger it, try to keep it confined with meds. There's no fighting it. It's part of you.

"A Beautiful Mind" is a movie, not a documentary. It's based on a true story, but taken by itself it sure as hell ain't.
So There.
[ Parent ]

I think you didn't... (none / 0) (#164)
by tekue on Thu Apr 04, 2002 at 03:23:35 AM EST

...read the next sentence, which was "Of course it's only a movie, but I think it's true.". This would suggest, that I was stating my opinion, not showing evidence.

As for the idea of fighting a mind disease with your mind: I don't think there's no way of curing yourself from mental disseases. You can cure your hand with it, regardless of that the wound you have is a part of you. Mental disease can be beaten by your own brain -- mental drug addiction would be an example of this, if you of course believe mental addiction to be a disease.
Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature. --Tom Robbins
[ Parent ]

The question I hear the most is, 'why?' (4.72 / 11) (#81)
by fifthchild on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 01:34:47 AM EST

My own arms have never looked as bad as the one in the photo linked in the article. But they are a patchwork of thin scar tissue, each one reminding me of a bad thought, bad time or a cop out. A few people have seen my arms. You need to look closely to make the marks out, but once you know what to look for it's obvious what they are. The extent of the damage it apparently quite graphic, but I'm too detached to see it.

The last person who saw them, only a matter of weeks ago, asked the same question that everone else asks. Why do i do it? It's only a very rare thing these days, I actually promised someone that it would never happen again. But why? I've been thinking a lot lately about what the point is. You feel somehow better about things afterwards. I only do it at the lowest of the low, or only did it then. The loudest answer that's been coming from the back of my head is that it makes the emotional pain less when I am in physical pain. And the other answer that I can't help but think is that I do it for the pain I fell I should have. Let me explain. At the low points of my life, I often found myself feeling numb. Times that really should have crushed me didn't as much. It got less and lees to the point of feeling inhuman -- things that should have hurt like hell suddenly didn't hurt at all. So I cut myself to feel the pain I should have.

I hope I've been clear about this, I'm sure someone has a question. Please ask, I've found it helps me a little to talk of it. Part of accepting the problem, I guess.

Too far away to hold.
Painkiller (5.00 / 1) (#85)
by alge on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 02:01:09 AM EST

The loudest answer that's been coming from the back of my head is that it makes the emotional pain less when I am in physical pain.
That's how it started for me - being wildly depressed, not knowing how to get the sad stuff out of my mind - I took out my leatherman and started cutting myself. And it helped. So I came up with the theory that physical pain is the best (mental) painkiller.
Nowadays it has evolved far beyond that, and I don't really have any explanation to why I do it. But I don't have any particulary good reason why not to do it either. *shrug*

vi er ikke lenger elsket her

[ Parent ]
Why not to do it (none / 0) (#98)
by fifthchild on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 03:05:30 AM EST

Some things I've been told: value your body more than that. But I say, it's mine and this is how things work between it and me. Stopping is probably a case of willpower, but I can't really say I'm going to stop until a situation arises in which I could do it again. A real untested virtue.

Too far away to hold.
[ Parent ]
I often ask myself that... (none / 0) (#188)
by coolvibe on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 04:42:19 PM EST

My upper arms look pretty bad. I just hope the scars will disappear over time. The main reason I pick my scabs to become gross open wounds is usually extreme boredom. I have always done that, but sometimes it's pretty bad, and sometimes it's not so bad. RIght now I am in a'bad' period. I have scars on my back and my upper arms. I also bite nails. Maybe I'm addicted to pain. I dunno. I've always had a high treshold. If it'd really hurt maybe I could stop myself.

Maybe I should take up martial arts again, or start some project. I just hope all will turn to normal again, one day. I've read many good advices here. From meditating to keeping yourself busy. I might try 'em all.

Somebody mentioned boddy modding. Yes I am pierced, and I have tattoos in various places. I thought my tattoos and my piercings didn't hurt when they were applied. One of my tattoos goes under my arm near my armpit. Some people might say that's a hurtful place. It didn't hurt (to me).

I'm also thinking about _when_ I stop mutilating myself, to tattoo over the scars. Is this a good idea?

Again, thanks binary boy, for bringing this up. I appreciate it.

Yet another community site: hackerheaven.org. Now in juicy Scoop flavour!
[ Parent ]

Wow (5.00 / 23) (#82)
by Ni on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 01:36:14 AM EST

I've always thought of k5 as one of the most accepting, openminded communities I know of. I've sent links to k5 comments and articles to most of the people I know, and have converted many of them. I've never seen anything on k5 to be ashamed of - until now.

Obviously, many (probably most) of the replies to this article are intelligent and well thought out. This is the k5 I've grown fond of. Some are simply confusing - ie, people telling BinaryBoy that k5 shouldn't be replacing professional help, when he said in the article that he was recieving professional help. (And the yet more confusing, "That doesn't matter, k5 is no place for this discussion" response. Huh? Why ever not? k5 can have an honest discussion about child pornography but not about cutting yourself?)

However, there are some comments here that are simply juvenile. Why would you complain about someone whining and looking for attention in this case? He has self inflicted cuts on his arms - if a need for attention was causing him to do this, would it somehow make it less valid than him doing it out of anger, or sadness, or *gasp* some reason you don't understand?

So I guess I sound a bit vitriolic - and for the most part, it's unjustified. But after so much intelligent conversation here, it seems odd that Binary Boy, who is only hurting himself, sure be the recipiant of such scorn.

I have friends who self injure. I cut myself for around a year, although not severely. And, to combat the attention theory, I didn't tell a soul until several years later. There are no easy explanations for most things in life, more so when psychological ailments are involved. There are no easy answers.

I wish you the best of luck, Binary Boy, and look forward to the day when I can forget I clicked on this article, and return to enjoying the oasis of rationality in desert of the internet that I once believed was k5.


<mrgoat> I can't believe I just got a cyber-handjob from ni.
You're talking about me, aren't you? (3.00 / 2) (#90)
by BunnyVomit on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 02:14:04 AM EST

Ok, I can accept that. I would encourage people to click here before they judge me a jackass though. It goes into the whys and wherefores of why I'm acting like a butt on this topic.

Clarification: Bunny Vomit is a different person from BunnyVomit (note the lack of white space, don't hate him for stuff I say.)
Join the Bunny Cabal or it means you enjoy watching 7th heaven.
[ Parent ]
I lovehate them (3.00 / 1) (#91)
by axxeman on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 02:15:52 AM EST

In their variety. People, I mean.

And if you think this is the worst of it on k5 so far, you either haven't been reading very long or very carefully.

Not yet. Don't come before we have finished humping...
[ Parent ]

In all seriousness (1.66 / 6) (#89)
by eception on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 02:10:42 AM EST

I have acne, and I pop zits all the time. It gives me a deep sense of relief. However, I have not had the emotional problems that you and others exhibit.

Is my incessant zit-popping a form of SI, or just really gross?

I got something similar... (none / 0) (#186)
by coolvibe on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 04:00:06 PM EST

I pick scabs. The wounds left by can be pretty grotesk. They als leave some ugly scars... yet I have no real personality issues or disorders. Except for the fact I have Attention Defecit Disorder. Dunno if that has something to do with it. I'm also pierced and tattooed, and the act of piercing and tattooing is also attractive to me. Am I weird? Well, dunno... maybe.

I'm really happy someone brought this up. I'm not a 'cutter', but I do injure myself. Just symphatising here...

Yet another community site: hackerheaven.org. Now in juicy Scoop flavour!
[ Parent ]

A substitute (4.16 / 6) (#97)
by QuickFox on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 02:55:59 AM EST

Maybe you could use a substitute.

Years ago I couldn't stand the bitter taste of black coffee. Back then, when bad experiences hurt so bad that I almost couldn't deal with them, sometimes I'd make myself a cup of very strong, really bitter black coffee. Drinking this obnoxious liquid helped by distracting me from the hurtful thoughts. It helped me focus on that awful taste, thus focusing on something manageable. This way I could postpone and dilute the hurtful thougts, I could spread them out over time.

Whether this can be useful to you probably depends on how strongly you experience tastes. And of course if you happen to like black coffee you can't use it for this. In that case you'll need to find something else. I would guess that cold coffee with a pinch of salt and maybe some beer would be obnoxious enough to most people.

I have no way of judging whether this is useful in your case, or just irrelevant.

Long walks and jogging can also help disperse hurtful thoughts.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fish.

Understanding SI (4.83 / 6) (#103)
by RadiantMatrix on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 03:17:21 AM EST

I've been seeing a lot of "why's" in the comment queue, and I thought I'd address it from the point of view of someone who, though not a mental health professional, has done vast quantities of research and helped several people who practice SI to stop.

First of all, the vast majority of those who practice SI (SI-ers) do so for one reason: the need for focus. See, depression, stress, and a million other factors trigger what many call a "numb feeling" which is really a disconnection from reality. Most of us have an outmatic coping mechanism -- for many it is that "little voice" that reminds us that our troubles are just a tiny piece of our life.

SI-ers lack that defense mechanism. Instead, they cut or burn. Often the feeling of pain allows them to focus on an experience that is both unarguably real and worse -- if only for a moment -- than emotional pain. However, understanding that of itself will not help someone cease the practice.

As far as professional help goes, I would highly suggest talking to a psychologist about what you feel causes you to cut -- perhaps stress or depression. Learning to deal with the conditions that lead you to SI is a very effective way to stop.

The other things that are effective involve turning the impulse to inflict self-pain to a more productive end. For instance, strenous activity (rock-climbing worked well for a close friend) often triggers the same feelings of focus and clarity that make SI feel so good. A very effective method, if you have the patience, is to study some kind of trance-based meditation. Since the training for meditation neccessarily increases your ability to conciously focus (and unfocus) your mind, meditation study can effectively replace SI.

Above all, though, learn not to be ashamed of SI -- it only leads to a vicious cycle. Not only that, but having close friends who are aware that you self-injure is a great way to get help stopping. They may not understand, but the continual reminder that those friends value you is an excellent help -- cheesy though it sounds.

No amount of genius can overcome a preoccupation with detail.

If an editor is bored... (none / 0) (#118)
by RadiantMatrix on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 06:47:49 AM EST

[s]he could fix my typo that reads "outmatic coping mechanism" -- it should say "automatic" :)

No amount of genius can overcome a preoccupation with detail.

[ Parent ]
Society's fault? (2.20 / 5) (#109)
by xtremex on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 04:20:11 AM EST

I consider myself a student of this fucked-up world. I believe every person, situation or complete "fucked-upedness" of society that I encounter is somethign to learn from. What a horrible society we must live in that causes its members to inflict self-flagellation upon themselves. Many of the ailments of today are creations of the last century.Why? Because each and every decade that passes adds more stress and societal pressure, AND at the same time, leaving us ill-equipped to deal with said pressures. Parental disconcern, societal demands and other such things, it makes me jealous of the Amish at times. They have given the big F-U to the establishment, and couldnt give 2 shits about society. Anyone who does not follow societies collective norms is considered "crazy". I find self-injury very odd, but at the same time, I can completely understand it. Some choose drugs. Some choose violent crime. I personally believe that whatever it takes to get through the day is fine. What I have trouble understanding is why you are bothered by it? Who says it's bad? Society? Keep doing it then! Fuck them. Really. The only time it should become a problem is when it affects your daily functioning. For example, if you cut yourself so bad, you can't go into work the next day, then it might be a problem. Other than that, I believe do whatever you have to do to get by as long as no other person is directly affected. Does heroin make you get through the day w/o blowing your brains out? I congratulate you..why? Because you found your solution. Some people can't get by no matter what. Is it weakness? You bet it is. I am weak. We are all weak. We can't do it alone. Whateverit takes. This is a fucked up world we live in.

why I like K5: (1.50 / 14) (#112)
by auraslip on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 04:29:29 AM EST

Becuase for every dumb asshole, their are 5 people to tell him/her to shut the fuck up, and why he/her needs to shut the fuck up. Thus saving me the time of telling someone to shut the fuck up.
thank you.
a book, some coments (4.85 / 7) (#117)
by longsleeves on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 06:45:04 AM EST

Registered for this comment, for obvious reasons, though i have no other account.

As somebody who has had trouble with this "addiction" too, i can vouch for the accuracy of binaryīs piece. I realise where some of the reactions above come from, but please, please, be considerate when you should meet somebody who does this in real live. You should realise that in most cases this is not a call for attention, as most indeed wear longsleeves or otherwise hide the results, but a way of coping with severe psychological problems. Itīs a very sensitive subject for most, and you may get some unexpectedly fierce reactions if you are not carefull.

Iīve read various explanations for this behaviour and iīll name two that sound likely to me.

1) If you are in pain (as you obviously will be when you put a knife in your arm) your body makes a natural painkiller that as a side effect will also blunt emotional pain.

2) Pain will narow your concience to the pain and itīs source as a defence meganism. You could say your mind adjusts your priorities. This helps very well in blocking unwanted thoughts about social situations.

It may be a combination of these, but itīs a way of coping, not a way of selfdestruction, even if it resuls in eventual destruction.

A good book may be found here http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0801853001/

One of the things that realy amazed me was that i used to wear short sleaved shirts in school, had my the inner side of my arms covered with healing wounds and that "nobody noticed". If anything will make you feel alone itīs that (ok, that one mightīve been a cry for help...)

Binary Boy; itīs been over two years since i last did this and i still sometimes feel the urge, itīs still a sensitive subject to me (my hands are shaking now, my spelling probably sucks at the moment). I have some large scars that will always remain vissible, but at least they are reasonably out of the way. I learned to move my arms in a way that conceales the inner sides so a can wear short sleves if i want to.
It is possible to get out of it, but hard without help. should you wish to talk in private, you could set up a temp hotmail(or whatever) adress and post it in a reply to this, iīll mail you the password for this throwaway account as verification.

The sooner you stop the better as it will mean less scars, best of luck. A honest *hug*
(sh*t, hugs used to hurt when my arms were all open)

This was rambling, i know.

Meditation (4.25 / 4) (#121)
by Rainy on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 07:58:09 AM EST

Sit down in a cross-legged fashion. Think "inhale" when inhaling, "exhale" when exhaling. Try to draw deep breaths and breathe out completely as well. Continue for 10 to 20 minutes, trying not to think about anything. This works best on a sunny day in a quiet park, but any other place is fine.
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
Definitely meditation, but also medication (4.00 / 1) (#126)
by radghast on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 09:54:48 AM EST

Meditation will work...some. It works best with an accompanying philosophy in which to frame suffering. Buddhism (the philosophy, not the religion) worked for me; it gave me a worldview that has changed my outlook on life completely.

Good book on meditation: Jon Kabat-Zinn's "Wherever you go, there you are".
Good book relating buddhist philosophy to suffering: Pema Chondron's "When Things Fall Apart".

But you should talk with a psychiatrist, not a psychologist. A psychologist will prescribe "the talking cure." A psychiatrist will prescribe medication that can drastically lessen the feelings that keep arising, letting you get a handle on the rest with meditation and philosophy. It is literally like a ray of sunshine. You should give it a chance.

"It remains to be seen if the human brain is powerful enough to solve the problems it has created." -- Dr. Richard Wallace
[ Parent ]
re: medication (none / 0) (#141)
by Rainy on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 03:18:52 PM EST

Meditation, when followed through completely, makes any other help unnecessary. With medication, you always have to pay, and I don't mean the financial price alone. I'd only recommend it if someone dismisses meditation completely as hippie crap. I agree about the philosophy, though; diet is also quite important, and yoga can be very helpful. I myself started with yoga & meditation which led me to rethink my diet as well.
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]
In only some instances, IMHO, and IANAD (none / 0) (#145)
by radghast on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 04:21:20 PM EST

I agree that meditation could negate any other help if followed through, but only for some people. Points being:

- Other people don't have the time (as in time before drastic actions) to resolve issues along the meditative path, and

- Some individuals face structural issues, not patterns of thought issues.

For example, mindfulness meditation can actually make someone feel worse initially, rather than better -- they will be more aware of the painful states, not less. If the individual is already having depressive episodes, this could be too much to deal with. And if the individual has a brain chemical imbalance or an endocrine disorder, all of the meditation in the world won't help. Think of it as the difference between a mistrained neural net and one whose system has noisy power -- retraining the neural net isn't going to suffice in the latter instance.

For a thoughtful article on the subject, read "At peace with Prozac" on Salon.

"It remains to be seen if the human brain is powerful enough to solve the problems it has created." -- Dr. Richard Wallace
[ Parent ]
Meditation and Medication don't mix (none / 0) (#152)
by CodeBhikkhu on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 06:18:32 PM EST

I like this thread. You obviously know your material. I feel that it is important to add that mixing medication and mindfulness meditation is probably not a good idea.

The pratice of mindfulness meditation involves being deeply focused on, and mindful of the six senses (the mind being the sixth sense in buddhist psychology.) The use of mind/mood altering chemicals is strongly discouraged during retreat and practice because one can not understands one's true impulses and emotions while under the influence of chemicals. (Yes some teachers say this includes the consumption of tea.)

As many people pointed out, it is apparent to a "cutter" that during an episode of cutting they get a physiological high from the endorphines. Understanding the pleasure reaction that is received from the action of cutting is key to being able to recognize the impulse next time it arises. Chemicals can prevent proper interpretation of impulses and desire to reacte.

Contrary to pop-psychology, just because one has dealt with a problem once doesn't mean that one is over it or cured. In my own experiences I know that I'm haunted by things I thought I fixed.

In a similar manner, just because chemicals can make one stop cutting for a while doesn't mean that the conditioned response to those impulses has been severed. The impulses have been circumvented for the time being by preventing the psychological/emotional problems that triggered the impulse from arising. (Example: if a person cuts when they get depressed, anti-depressants will prevent the cutting.) The conditioned response still lingers awaiting the return of the impulses.

I strongly agree with what someone above wrote. They said that when one first begins mindfulness meditation one can actually suffer more because all the self loathing and despair can come to the surface. The beginner's practice of cultivating single pointed focus should be able to prevent such horrific episodes.

A good teacher should be able to prevent this from happening. Of course some people have problems just sitting still in silence. A good teacher of mindfullness meditation (vipassana is one) will simply teach a student how to cultivate focus and sensory awareness at first. One shouldn't be exposed to the deep dark pains and secrets of their existance as a beginner. Mindfulness meditation isn't "trial by fire." It is a slow and steady practice. They don't produce overnight miracles and mindfulness teachers SHOULD teach for free. Their motivation is freedom.



"A week long Dalai Lama Fantasy Camp where you get to run around in red robes and eat rice and chant mantras with the Twelfth son of the Lama himself wont teach you what zen is." -- skyhook
[ Parent ]
I can only offer these (none / 0) (#161)
by radghast on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 10:57:28 PM EST

I can only offer this citation from an article I read recently (links below):

Another way this issue comes up, is that I'm often asked what I think of Zen students taking Prozac. Shouldn't practice all by itself quiet the mind and stabilize our moods? Isn't it another sign we're not doing something right if we need a drug like Prozac? As far as I'm concerned, practice is fundamentally about one thing: Are you living a self-centered life or a selfless life? And all those questions about shouldn't I be able to handle this on my own, what are they? Self-centered, of course. The real issue ought to be, What allows me to function and respond best to those around me? Everything else is a matter of pride & self-image.

One of the basic tenets of Buddhism has always been the inescapable fact of impermanence -- and that means that fundamentally there will always be a limit to how much control we can exert over the way our lives go. There's no technique for attaining and holding onto some perfect, unchangeable state of mental or physical health, though everybody inevitably comes to practice with some fantasy of that sort in the back of their minds. True practice entails letting go of that fantasy, and learning to accept our Life as it is, and ourselves as we are.

The above article[ordinarymind.com],

Another article[everydayzen.org] about a Zen practitioner who experienced a deep depression and a desire for SI.


"It remains to be seen if the human brain is powerful enough to solve the problems it has created." -- Dr. Richard Wallace
[ Parent ]
hrmm (none / 0) (#171)
by CodeBhikkhu on Thu Apr 04, 2002 at 11:49:29 AM EST

I suppose you're right. As they say, different strokes for different folks. In fact my brother is medicated with Paxil. I don't like that fact but I live with it. For him the use of Paxil prevents feelings of torpor that cause him great anxiety and restlessness and eventually self loathing. He doesn't deal with the way his body is, he takes a drug that prevents him from experiencing those initial feelings.

I'm not qualified to say whether that is good or bad. I don't know how effectively he could understand his conditions during his sittings though. I think this comes down to a question of practice. Is the purpose of sitting to just sit (Suzuki Roshi) or do we always sit for some other reason, some selfish reason? I don't know anyone on the cushion who isn't there for what could be considered a selfish reason?

I do agree in medication in some senses. I agree that it is better to medicate someone than have them kill themselves. It is just a very painful process [for me] to watch someone succumb to a life dependent upon any drug. In my brother's case, paxil allows him to function like he used to. He feels powerful again. He's not concerned with Satori or with selflessness, he just wants to feel better about himself. He wants to function and be happy and be productive. I know he doesn't need it in the long run because I'm the same as him but I'm learning to understand those triggers.

But sitting is not for everyone.

Peace Brother/Sister,


"A week long Dalai Lama Fantasy Camp where you get to run around in red robes and eat rice and chant mantras with the Twelfth son of the Lama himself wont teach you what zen is." -- skyhook
[ Parent ]
re: tea (none / 0) (#168)
by Rainy on Thu Apr 04, 2002 at 08:59:41 AM EST

I agree about tea. Caffeine is very insidious, its effects are very subtle and yet in long range I'm not sure what I'd prefer to be addicted to - cocaine or caffeine.
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]
uppers (none / 0) (#172)
by CodeBhikkhu on Thu Apr 04, 2002 at 12:02:42 PM EST

Agreed. I think I'll take caffeine over the other. I'm really not a fanatic about such things. In fact at my last retreat I drank cappucinno coffee (that powered garbage out of the little bin.) It helped me to keep awake during my sittings. I used it as a bit of a crutch to keep me awake [not to ward off the addict's headache] but I realize it as such and the more retreats I attend the more easily I notice the mindstates of forthcoming sleep. If one can't stay awake in a meditation retreat as a beginner what's the meditation retreat then? A big nap with back pain.

In much the same way I approve of the use of medications, as a crutch for a while to help a person slowly handle more and more of their real life.



"A week long Dalai Lama Fantasy Camp where you get to run around in red robes and eat rice and chant mantras with the Twelfth son of the Lama himself wont teach you what zen is." -- skyhook
[ Parent ]
of course. (none / 0) (#167)
by Rainy on Thu Apr 04, 2002 at 08:57:41 AM EST

I was just talking about my own experience and observation. However, we can all agree that if all things are equal, natural ways are better. The danger of medication is that it's deceptively easy. We should only use it if we're aware of this danger and we honestly tried other things that did not yield sufficient results.
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]
how about (1.75 / 4) (#122)
by turmeric on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 07:59:37 AM EST

1. tell your female therapist to stop being sexist 2. try a male therapist

I have had male therapists (4.00 / 2) (#123)
by Binary Boy on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 08:06:18 AM EST

I think I've made mention of that, and just as the female therapists cannot change my behavior with one comment, I cannot change theirs, and I do not have the time or inclination to try and better myself AND them at the same time.

[ Parent ]
me too (4.66 / 6) (#125)
by CrazyD on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 09:26:46 AM EST

BinaryBoy, I have had much the same experience as you, being male and hurting myself. I was unable to find a therapist to understand that as well.

I think, for me, the urge to self-injure came from frustration and boredom. The cuts and burns never hurt much at the time, because of the numbness that I felt in my heart, but they made me feel alive. They were "proof" to myself that things were terribly wrong. Several of my cuts required trips to the emergency room for stitches. Once a doctor thought that he would teach me a lesson, and stitched me up without painkillers.

But now, this all seems almost foreign to me. It's been three or four years since I've last hurt myself. One big help was getting out of the environment that was making me feel bad - in this case, college. Another was finding someone that I cared deeply for, and who cares for me. I don't hurt myself because I know it would hurt her even more.

Male SI is probably more common than is generally recognized. For whatever reason though, I think that men are less likely to seek help for this problem. I wish you all the luck.

dropping out as an anti-psychotic (none / 0) (#169)
by killmepleez on Thu Apr 04, 2002 at 10:33:23 AM EST

But now, this all seems almost foreign to me. It's been three or four years since I've last hurt myself. One big help was getting out of the environment that was making me feel bad - in this case, college.

do you mind clarifying the above? i found this portion of your comment startling, because i also experienced a connection between college and SI. there was something about sitting in a room, filled with silent people, staring at some one person, droning on about something, scribbling symbols on a board, acting as if the subject at hand were the most important thing ever -- somewhere in the interaction between those things i would be overcome by recurring obsessional fantasies of taking my pencil in one hand and jabbing it through the webbing of my other hand, or, my "favorite" scenario at the time, holding the pencil in my fist orthogonal to the desk with the sharpened end pointing up, then right in the middle of the lecture ramming my head down towards the desk splurting the pencil through the eyeball and into the brain.

unfortunately, [which is how i felt then], i never had the balls to follow through on these rather more morbid fantasies. instead, i began carrying around a buttefly knife. i changed to sitting in the back of my classes, so that under the table i could run lines along my arms/hands without being noticed [especially in large math/science lecture halls]. eventually, i began to personify the blade, sleeping with it in my hand and affectionately calling it mi puņalito. sometimes being around certain people [usually guys to whom i was attracted] would spur me to go out in the woods by my house and apply the blade. even now, not having engaged in cutaneous SI for almost three years, i still think of each scar as being named for the person i was thinking of when i did the cutting.

anyway, i discovered that once i no longer was taking classes i had a marked decrease in psychotic / suicidal / obsessional ideation overall.
i'd be interested in hearing more of your experience. if you'd rather not share in "public", respond accordingly and i'll give you one of my addresses.

Many thanks to Binary Boy for posting this topic.

"I instantly realized that everything in my life that I thought was unfixable was totally fixable - except for having just jumped."
--from "Jumpers" in The New Yorker, October 13, 2003.
[ Parent ]
college (none / 0) (#177)
by CrazyD on Thu Apr 04, 2002 at 10:21:10 PM EST

College was a very hard time for me. Classes seemed unimportant - you are right, there is something inherent in the typical classroom setting that conspires to strip you of a sense of identity. Just as bad was the tiny dorm room in which I lived, alone. Sometimes I could go days without speaking. It was an unhealthy setting.

Actually though, I didn't drop out. I graduated and moved far away. The depressing feelings subsided, and although I still have destructive impulses, I don't feel the need to follow through with them like I did before. I nearly quit school a few times, and maybe I should have - but in the long run, maybe I am better off having graduated? Who knows.

If you post an address, I will email you. Talking with people who have had similar experiences helps me gain perspective on my own.

[ Parent ]

this is not psychotic behaviour (none / 0) (#183)
by KiTaSuMbA on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 02:47:28 AM EST

It's depression with perhaps (not knowing you, can't and shouldn't tell) manic components.
About the college association: college/univ are notoriously high-pressure environments both from a performance and a social-compliance point of view. You are EXPECTED to study, to succeed, to conform by the community's both formal and informal (often exceedingly high and / or narrow-minded) requirements while you just came out of those adolescence wars in your mind. In my experience, at least 1/3 of the students "breakdown" in some manner sometime in their univ. career.
There is no Dopaminergic Pepperoni Kabal!
[ Parent ]
Been there, seen that (Male SI not so uncommon) (5.00 / 5) (#127)
by SlashDread on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 09:58:04 AM EST

Being male, and having been down the road somewhat (did it mildly, stopped when I realized the ULTIMATE outcome: kill myself, I more or less reasoned this: If SI pain is a cool way to calm stress, which was my rationale for not stopping at first, what would happen if my stress levels one day would be a lot worse then I was then feeling? Cut deeper?)

And also have seen a more serious variety come and go away by a close friend, I must come to the conclusion that male SI is quite common, from your testimonials I take it *reported* SI from males is far lower than females. This leads me to believe that perhaps males are better equipped to deal with the problem and thus never need to reach aid.

AFAIK the difference between males and females is a more female ability to communicate and "see all sides" of a story/problem, whereas men tend to focus on 1 problem, and its solutions. Making females better organizers, and males better trouble shooters. Anecdotal evidence in my life seem to reflec tthis theory too.

So males might generally focus more on the strict logic (aka my rationale, Its cool to relieve stress, but what if..) whereas a female might be more concerned with the emotional WHYS and try to change the world (if the world were to be the WHY, it might also be a boyfriend or a job) in trying to change her re-active behaviour, which would most likely be less succesfull if looked purely at the goal of stopping SI

SO ask yourself this:
1- DO I want to stop SI?
2- DO I want to know WHY I do it, and stop the WHY?

For one, try meditation, or getting high (me thinks I discovered a new medical purpose of MJ here ;)
For two, seek pro help, and work on one at the same time

HTH /Dread (I bet it helps you more than telling you to just dont do it, like some bunnies I know)

RE: Male SI: A Personal Perspective (5.00 / 7) (#128)
by RandomAction on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 10:23:28 AM EST

I've got some nice pics, the scars are a lot worse than in the pic you provide, but the ones on the top of my arms look kinda cool. I'm not ashamed of them. I used it to deal with a shitty time in my life; I didn't go out picking fights, or inflicting my emotional state on others. The `normal' reaction for some men. In fact my little pictorial helps to remind me of what a maladaptive response SI is.

I was diagnosed as having a personality disorder. That diagnosis alone actually helped a lot. I understood that my reactions to events often made them worse, in a downward cycle. The truth I learned, was that it's not events, or other people or just my dam bad luck that created the situations I found myself in, it was me!

Just knowing that I changed, a lot. I could recognize really quickly were I was over-reacting, and then adjust my perspective. Ones personality is highly malleable, it's a set of traits picked up through ones life. If you're able to recognize where you're reactions are out of proportion or inappropriate, then it becomes possible to adapt them, to the point where there is no problem at all. At least in my case, I guess a lot of people are to prideful to admit they might have had any role to play in their situation, they see themselves as the innocent victim. Perhaps some people are so far away from the norm, there is no way back for them, I don't know.

My parents were shit, and I blame them for my emotional fuckedupness, but they're not responsible for what I do, they're not responsible for dealing with things, that's my job, it's up to me now. I'm a fucking grown-up after all. I despise people that whine about how their parents fucked them up, they should take a look in the mirror and take a bit of responsibility for themselves.

I still take Venlafaxine every day, it's very effective, PD often creates severe depression as people wonder why everything is so wrong. Even for those that realize why everything is wrong and affect change, depression can linger. Here again admit you're depressed and deal with it. Venlafaxine may give you a perspective that might be hard to achieve otherwise. Depression gets in the way of handling the deeper emotional issues.

Personally I fell quite far, hospitalisation for 6 weeks, but learned a lot. Admit your own role in things, take responsibility, treat your depression, learn to accept help. Be brutally honest with yourself, stop pussyfooting around. For me hitting bottom was a wake up call, and boy am I awake.

Jesus CHRIST! (1.14 / 7) (#133)
by CodeWright on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 12:18:47 PM EST

That's a pretty damn hard and slow way to commit suicide buddy.

Drugging yourself... (4.66 / 3) (#134)
by krek on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 12:43:44 PM EST

I have read in a few sources that in experiments monkeys who are separated from their mothers too soon can develop mental instabilities, and as a result will almost always resort to self-mutilation including tearing at the skin, gouging of eyes and ripping of hair.

The explaination is that these self-injuring acts cause pain and thus release of endorphins and other chemicals; endorphines are the bodies pain killers and are essentialy opiates like morphine and heroin. In addition to killing pain, opiates tend to produce a sense of well being and reduce the symptoms of stress and depression.
Basically by cutting yourself you are actually drugging yourself with your body's own drugs (there are lots of them).

If you want to read a very informative book then I suggest A General Theory Of Love by Thomas Lewis, Fari Amini and Richard Lannon (all doctors of some sort).


excerpt for purposes of review only (5.00 / 3) (#136)
by killmepleez on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 01:39:15 PM EST

you are correct that there is a lot of difficulty in treatment of SI. here's the concluding section of an article ["Helping with deliberate self-harm: Some practical guidelines"] in the July 1995 J. of Mental Health -- there's also a 1.5 page case example of "Tony", a male SI patient, which you may be interested in reading. visit your large city or public university library and ask for help finding professional literature on the subject. if you're near a university with a well-established college of social work or psychology, they will have a tremendous catalog of indexed journals either in print or electronic form.


There are a number of criteria which, in my experience, make a referral for psychological therapy likely to be fruitful. Those referred need to be able to take responsibility for making and keeping appointments; being brought by a family member or key-worker rarely predicts a good outcome. Similarly, if they themselves are not particularly distressed by the self-harm, individual psychological therapy may not be the most appropriate intervention. If they have some experience of controlling their behaviour, for example if they sometimes feel the urge to harm themselves without acting on it, or have been successful in reducing self-harm using practical advice from the referrer, then their optimism about the usefulness of psychological approaches is likely to be greater. Finally, it is difficult to engage anyone in psychological therapy unless they have some interest in their thoughts and feelings, and some ability to reflect on and discuss these.

It may seem that these criteria for individual therapy are rather high. However, it is important to emphasise two further points. First, there is a great deal that can be offered to help people stop or reduce self-harm in addition to, or instead of, individual psychological therapy. Second, the attributes discussed above are by no means fixed. 'Readiness to Change' (Prochaska & DiClemente, 1983) is a continuum along which we move throughout our lives, and timing is crucial. Any therapist who regularly tries to help clients tackle deliberate self-harm will be familiar with a situation in which someone who has repeatedly, and frustratingly, engaged with their service and dropped out, often with much mutual acrimony, returns to work determinedly on a chronic and entrenched difficulty. That said, access to skilled and experienced psychological therapists within the Health Service is very limited, and it seems legitimate to focus those resources on those who are ready to change.

Requests for psychological therapy for people who harm themselves may often be seen as requests for help from others who are trying to care for vulnerable people in the community, for example, staff in services for the homeless. If one investigates the referral further, one often discovers a subsidiary message: 'We are committed to working with this person, but their behaviour is scaring us to death. What can we do?'

The analysis above of the nature and functions of self-harm makes it clear that there are a wide range of strategies that can help.

First, if self-harm can be seen as a way of expressing and communicating distress or anger, then it is vital that healthy and appropriately assertive expression of negative feelings is encouraged and rewarded. This may be difficult for carers, particularly if anger is felt towards them, or towards other service providers. However, as I argued earlier, people who harm themselves have often received poor services, and realistic causes for anger should be addressed.

Second, if self-harm is used to help people manage their mood, 'get a buzz' or feel in control, then it is useful to help them think about other ways of dealing with unpleasant mood changes, build in exciting, relaxing and pleasurable activities, and offer opportunities for success and control. One housing worker who worked with me to develop a plan for a resident who harmed himself regularly found that getting her hands on a couple of bicycles and pedalling furiously into the country with her client had a dramatic effect on his urges to cut himself.

Finally, if self-harm is being maintained partly by carers' responses, basic behavioural techniques are relevant. An incident of self-harm often produces a flurry of intense activity and interaction around the self-harmer, and this may be unavoidable. However, if carets ensure that they make time to be with the person when self-harm is not an immediate issue, if they can provide some space to encourage the person to talk about their self-harm in a practical, problem-solving way, and keep their responses to each episode of self-harm as low-key, matter-of-fact and unpunitive as possible, they are reducing the risk to their client.

These strategies may sound straightforward, but they depend heavily on carers' ability to develop and implement a 'team plan'. Self-harm is a problem with an unparalleled ability to evoke rage, terror, punitive feelings and disagreement in teams, perhaps because it is seen as both dangerous and wilful. The distress that can be elicited in helpers may be extreme, and must be addressed. However, it may help to keep two important facts in mind. First, self-harm is not primarily intended to 'manipulate' or upset helpers. It must be seen as part of a desperate struggle to cope with something. Second, it is normal for staff to disagree about how to handle situations involving self-harm, but vital to get beyond this to an agreed response to a particular individual. Finally, although deliberate self-harm may appear particularly difficult to understand, it 'is best thought of as a purposeful, if morbid, act of self-help' (Favazza, 1989). It has much in common with many of the other difficulties with which our clients struggle, and many of our everyday helping skills are relevant to it.


"I instantly realized that everything in my life that I thought was unfixable was totally fixable - except for having just jumped."
--from "Jumpers" in The New Yorker, October 13, 2003.

great quote! (none / 0) (#182)
by KiTaSuMbA on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 02:30:26 AM EST

enlighting, indeed.
There is no Dopaminergic Pepperoni Kabal!
[ Parent ]
You should try martial arts! (4.75 / 4) (#138)
by Medievalist on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 01:54:56 PM EST

Find a teacher who incorporates both meditation and exertion in a non-exploitative environment (it'll take some looking). If you're in Florida look for Masaharu Sakamukai's dojo, I think it's in Lauderdale? He's a little short on the meditative aspects, but a really great teacher, and his workouts will bring you all the pain and endorphins your cutting behaviour provides without quite so much lasting damage.

If you're not happy with the teacher after two months, leave and find another one. Eventually you will find a senseii who can teach you how to release your inner demons in a constructive rather than destructive way.

Note that martial sports will probably not have the same effect... you're ready for a professional.

Interesting idea... (none / 0) (#187)
by coolvibe on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 04:22:49 PM EST

I used to do Aikido. I really want to start again, but the dojo's here are few and far between. And my preferred style (aikiko) isn't really well represented :(

Which form of martial arts does Masaharu-san teach?

Yet another community site: hackerheaven.org. Now in juicy Scoop flavour!
[ Parent ]

Chintokan karate-do (none / 0) (#190)
by Medievalist on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 05:21:43 PM EST

Traditional Okinawan karate-do, and Japanese Jo-do. Very traditional methods and atmosphere for an American doj.
Since Chintokan is a very "hard" (linear, direct) style, and Aikido is a very "soft" (circling, indirect) style, they are very different yet also quite complimentary.

[ Parent ]
Opinion #34623 (5.00 / 4) (#140)
by jaci1211 on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 03:11:52 PM EST

Hey- this is my first post here, perhaps my last. I registered solely for the purpose of this article. I've been doing in-depth research on SI and related behaviors for almost two years now, and I must say that it's incredibly difficult to find males who are willing to talk about their experience with it. So, first of all, kudos to you, BinaryBoy, for posting on this subject at all. It was a very impressive account, and undeniably accurate. I'd be interested in talking to you more, explaining what I'm doing through this research, and getting your opinion on several different areas. On a slightly more personal level, I've never SI'ed, but I have had several close friends who did/do. Fortunately, in the experiences I've had with them and seen them go through involving their SI, they've received mostly supportive responses. Despite the shame that you've talked about having for this behavior, as well as the flames that your article have inspired on K5, I hope you've got the same kind of support in some fashion. It's an action that's often associated with shame, but please realize that not everyone is out to jump on the bandwagon and attack you and the community of people that have been through this. Nor does everyone find it revolting. Some of us simply want to know how to help. Thanks for having the courage to speak out on the issue.

#34624 (4.00 / 1) (#147)
by longsleeves on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 04:43:58 PM EST


From what i read, i gather this is a hard area to do research in. Not only because it may be hard to find willing people to research/question, but also because i understand there is a taboo on it, even in psychology circles. This may be getting better though as i sometimes see magazines that discuss this (mostly aimed at young women). Good luck with your research. (Iīm willing to help if you think that usefull)

[ Parent ]
Yes, you're right (4.00 / 1) (#153)
by jaci1211 on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 06:51:48 PM EST

It definitely is a difficult area to research. There is a lot of information out there, but a great deal of it is speculative. In the field of psychology, you can't use anything that's not supported with statistics, etc. And you can't get statistics without asking people, but very few people are willing to volunteer to be part of a survey on self-injury habits. Thanks for the offer to help out- I'd be more than happy to have you on board with us. In the next few weeks, we'll probably be releasing surveys (both for SI'ers and non-Si'ers) to be used for statistical research, so if you'd be interested in that, it would be great. We also collect personal stories for use in the creation of an awareness program for the public. Anything you'd be willing to do would be wonderful. Again, thanks.

[ Parent ]
If you want (3.00 / 1) (#154)
by Binary Boy on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 06:54:08 PM EST

personal stories or a survey filled out, my anonymous e-mail is now on my info page. You're more than welcome to contact me or use anything stated in my article. Anything that helps others out is good thing by me.

[ Parent ]
*smiles a bit* (none / 0) (#176)
by Minz on Thu Apr 04, 2002 at 03:17:51 PM EST

i'd be willing to chat with you as well if you like. no worries.

[ Parent ]
Thanks to you all. (5.00 / 3) (#142)
by Binary Boy on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 03:38:46 PM EST

It has been an interesting almost 24 hours to say the least. I did not expect to get a front page story with this, nor do I really feel it was deserved, but I have gotten what I was looking for, which is some good discussion on both sides of the fence, and really there were very few downright rude people, so k5 is still okay in my book.

I will continue with my therapy, and actually some suggestions here are avenues I will go down. Who knows, maybe I'll keep a progress diary under this account or something, I dunno, but I think it's probably time for me to leave the issue alone. Thanks again, if any other si'er wants to talk I'm going to make an anonymous e-mail account later and put it under my bio on this account, you're welcome to contact me. Hell, even BunnyVomit can yell there if he likes, I'm not certain I'll reply, but everyone with an opinion is willing to discuss there, it's just much harder for me to keep up here. Thanks once again to everyone, you have proved that k5 really is a place for intelligent discussion in most cases.

Yeah, it would be.. (none / 0) (#146)
by RandomAction on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 04:31:22 PM EST

..interesting, to me at least if you 'keep a progress diary' and this might be useful 'if any other si'er wants to talk I'm going to make an anonymous e-mail account later and put it under my bio'. But maybe that's too personal. I wouldn't do it. A diary gives you some control over responses & reactions.

Anyway I got through it, it took until I was 32 to really to get to grips with things, but it can be done. Honesty about shit like this is a good thing. A really good thing, honesty and perspective help a lot. Good Luck.

[ Parent ]
True, but.... (5.00 / 1) (#148)
by longsleeves on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 04:55:35 PM EST

...a diary also makes it public (asuming you mean a k5 diary).
that may not be suitable to a subject as "close to home" as this one.

i second the honesty and perspective bit, friends and a way of creative expression are good too.

[ Parent ]
that's exactly right (4.00 / 1) (#150)
by Binary Boy on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 05:58:22 PM EST

what's been played out in the open is really enough for me publicly, and I don't really want to bother uninterested parties with it I guess.

[ Parent ]
Thanks (none / 0) (#165)
by QuickFox on Thu Apr 04, 2002 at 03:44:57 AM EST

Thank you Binary Boy. I've learned interesting things here, I think it will help me understanding people a little better. And if someday I meet people with a similar habit, or with some other odd habit, I'll have a much better grasp of what it might mean. Maybe I'll be able to respond in a meaningful way. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has learned something here, so I think your article has been quite useful.

By the way, just in case you didn't notice, it might interest you that BunnyVomit took some heat over this in his diary. If you'll just steel yourself against his weirdly persistent ignorance you might find some of the posts interesting.

Anyway, I'm glad you posted your article so I got to read it. Have fun, be happy, good luck.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fish.

[ Parent ]
*hugs* (none / 0) (#175)
by Minz on Thu Apr 04, 2002 at 03:14:48 PM EST

Its a brave thing you did =)

[ Parent ]
all types do it (5.00 / 1) (#143)
by techwolf on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 03:44:42 PM EST

I have done it the past and will in the future. it is somethinf I have worked loooooong and hard to control and for the most part been sucessful. I still break down from time to time, mostly in times of high stress or if there is something big on my mind. i have lost friends over this, people who simply could not understand and were to "freaked out" by it. i lost a wife to be over it after I discussed it with her. she was the most understanding but in the end it bothered her too much. Over time I have found ways that work for me to cope and deal with cutting. Using these methods I have gone weeks and months at times without doing anything to myself. It is interesting in that once I found that i could wear short sleves and shorts agian i really liked not cutting myself, but it always came back to doing it again. I have learned to live with this problem and by seeking help I have managed to find out why I do it, but it is somehting I will probably chose to never deal with. The method I have come to use is a copmboof meditation and non-traditional fencing(spainsh street fencing basicly) I have always found it to be rather ironic that by using a sharp, edged object that could be used to make myself feel better, I force myself to control those desires. *Sigh* I am glad to know that i am not the only one out there and wish others best of luck in getting help..
"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." - Thomas Jefferson
Goth chick. (5.00 / 1) (#149)
by MattOly on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 05:51:46 PM EST

I had a girlfriend who faked it.

She never had it, then she started hanging out with this girl who did. Then she started. Jealousy for the attention, I guess.

A final note to...the Republican party. You do not want to get into a fight with David Letterman. ...He's simply more believable than you are.

BPD and Naltrexone (4.00 / 1) (#151)
by epepke on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 06:05:06 PM EST

Self-inflicted injuries are usually associated with Borderline Personality Disorder, which is about three times as common amongst women. However, I have known men with BPD. One at a psychiatric hospital I used to work at got hold of a scythe-shaped piece of glass from a broken window. (Yes, they still have glass windows; someone decided that it would cost too much to replace them all at once with plastic--can you believe it?) I wasn't there at the time, but they tell me it was an adventure.

The trouble with BPD is that it is extremely difficult to treat. Also, many of the psychiatrists I have spoken with think that BPD is often iatrogenic, that is, caused by treatment. There's a pretty good treatment in Colombia, but it would be illegal to implement here.

Cutting can be treated by Naltrexone, which I have probably spelled incorrectly. It is an opiate antagonist that kills the endorphine rush. It takes about six months and can only be done in an in-patient setting, because in an out-patient setting, the patient will just cut more deeply to get the endorphines.

The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett

some issues... (none / 0) (#181)
by KiTaSuMbA on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 02:22:28 AM EST

The spelling is ok, despite your fears, and it is an opioid antagonist. However I have some remarks.
I personaly feel that pharmacological treatment (at least if it plays the center role) is not the best approach for borderline (that is in the limit between pathologic and paraphysiologic) behavioral traits.
A severe blockade of endorphines as suggested by this treatment protocol can produce some very unpleasant side-effects (from a "simple" drop of motivation to dumping himself to depression) and the risk of a severe crisis after he is off-treatment. The rational of this therapy would be to dissociate the SI behaviour from the pleasant relief feeling carried by endorphines upon the act. However this specific approach has a serious flaw: to obtain the dissociation, it demolishes the entire action->reward relay. A "re-education" of that relay would be far more effective. How to obtain it:
1) hunt the causes (patient specific) and appropriately treat (eventually even pharmacologically).
2) associate the SI action with unpleasant / adverse sense in the patient's thoughts
3) provide fresh patterns of action -> reward so that the patient can consciously opt for the alternative in order to feel better. Guided leisure activities (especially for patients up to teenagers) and / or mixed group therapy can offer good paths to start with. Perhaps cooperate with his close family/friends environment but be careful (this can be tough to handle right).

Never offer a treatment protocol as an "it works great, it works for all" panacea. Therapy (of all types, from surgery to psychiatric) is optimal only if tailored on single patient situations. Therapeutic protocols are to be considered as mere guidelines.

There is no Dopaminergic Pepperoni Kabal!
[ Parent ]
I agree (none / 0) (#185)
by epepke on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 01:04:52 PM EST

I guess I didn't make myself clear; I was talking about treatments for BPD and then treatments for cutting in a different paragraph. I wouldn't recommend pharmaceuticals to treat BPD per se, either. But it does work on the cutting behavior, sometimes.

Personally, I think that the endorphine mechanism for cutting is quite different from the BPD mechanism. The endorphine mechanism may cause someone to cut, but the BPD mechanism provides a payoff for displaying the injuries to others. There are borderlines who don't cut at all but still display pain, often exclusively psychological pain. However, if you have someone who has both, well, treating one can simplify the problem.

It's a bit like putting anithistamines in cold medicine. Of course, an antihistamine isn't going to do squat for rhinovirus. However, most people have some allergies, and having an allergic reaction at the same time as a cold just makes it all the more unpleasant. Also, antihistamines make people sleepy, and sleeping is a good thing to do when one has a cold.

As for "opiod" rather than "opiate" antagonist, that's technically more accurate, but every psych nurse and doc I've spoken to in person used the latter term.

The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett

[ Parent ]
a bright red scream (none / 0) (#155)
by anon868 on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 07:08:24 PM EST

I'll post more when I'm home from work, but a great book on this is 'a bright red scream' by Marilee Strong(spelling?). She goes into lengthy discussions of why people cut, and has stories, both from female and male cutters. While it is, like most SI literature, more female based, it's still a great read. (coming from someone who'se in the same position as you). I think this is alot more prevalent in males than most people think, but as you said, "There is a set of "societal beliefs" which imply that a male should be able to handle his problems as well as other's and females are only allowed to be in crisis"
Open a window. No, not that one! One made from actual glass, set in an acual wall, you dork.
From another former cutter... (none / 0) (#158)
by Xia on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 08:38:07 PM EST

I spent four days in the hospital last year to get help with SI, and it really changed my life. People who SI have a huge variety of underlying issues, I discovered. Some people might be able to stop on their own, but I have such strong dissociative tendencies that I couldn't figure out why I was cutting without a very competant psychiatrist to help. It did take me several tries to find someone who understood the kinds of problems I was having, but I would encourage anyone who self-injures to keep searching until they find the right therapist. Some doctors and programs specialize in treating SI. One of the best websites on the subject that I've found is called secret shame. It has sections for both people who SI and friends and relatives who are trying to understand.

self injury? (5.00 / 1) (#160)
by nickco on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 08:57:36 PM EST

i use drugs for this.

i have a lot of empathy for you, Binary Boy. i think the reason you can't find a good therapist is because good therapists can't be found. they all wallow in their own prejudice, thus making their advice useless. for me, the best place to look for help is with family and friends or within myself. i don't think you should put your trust in someone that tells you how to think unless they are doing it because they care about you. and just because they care does not mean you should listen. it doesn't matter how you become happy or how you sustain happiness, as long as you do it.

we live in a time where anything you do is meaningless because there are people doing everything for you. and it will always be like that until the next great catastrophy. this meaninglessness extends into all parts of your life, so that you begin questioning literally the things that keep you sane. doubting certain values society has forced upon you because they are necessary is a very bad things for your sanity. you will begin to resent that you were forced into this existence, and if you resent life itself then the only answer for you is death or a way to change your perspective. cutting yourself, like drugs, feels good. they are two sides of the same coin. when you feel good your problems tend to take on a different light. you may see the silver lining that is supposedly in ever cloud. and it's so easy. that's the real problem. it's insant gratification, which is why it's so addictive. you know, if you tell anyone about things like this they will usually tell you that there are OTHER ways of beings happy. that is the response i expect will be generated by this submission. what people don't understand is that usually those other methods of happiness have become things to despise. there's really little you can do for soemone who's depressed because of how the world is. some people just will never be happy because of an inherent dislike for the way things are. that is the way i feel and i doubt it will ever change.

Novel about SI (5.00 / 1) (#166)
by fabbo on Thu Apr 04, 2002 at 07:17:47 AM EST

The journalist and writer Gordon Houghton, who also is a former self-injurer, wrote numerous articles about SI. One of his novels, The Dinner Party, is about the life of a self-injurer, and it is a damn good novel too. Gordon's page about self-injury is here

mail SI/ femailSI (3.00 / 1) (#170)
by aropax on Thu Apr 04, 2002 at 10:48:32 AM EST

Whether or not this is a disease, and I do state this is a disease, is not related to male or female, I do not know. What I do know is this:it's a disease of purging, self-erradicating and relief. It is a form of taking away the frustration, the stress and, in the ultimate end, the self hate. By cutting yourself, you are bleeding away the overeating, the overdrinking, the over-selfhate. The blood that flows away, are the flaws that flow away. And the day afterwards- you feel better, but you stress ultimately about what societey thinks. And in the end, although you do not mean to do it, EVER, you might cut that one time too deep, and because you do it alone, there will be no one too help you. So what do you do? I do not know.

I haven't in a year or so... (3.00 / 1) (#173)
by avdi on Thu Apr 04, 2002 at 12:27:36 PM EST

...but I used to.

Personal observations:

It's contagious, in a memetic sort of way. As an adolescent, I got the idea of cutting from an acquaintance. Didn't feel the need to cut at the time; but when, months or years down the road, I found myself in emotional anguish, I thought back to that friend. Turned out it worked for me too, and it became a habit. Years later, I told my soon-to-be wife about my habit. She had experience with other forms of self-injury, but had never thought of cutting. Later she went through a compulsive cutting phase during a period of great stress.

It's been awhile since either of us has done it. Our lives are saner now. She continues to see a therapist, but for other reasons. My demons have largely gone quiet now that I've put an end to the thing that caused me to cut in the first place: loneliness. Cliched as it is, marriage has been the most effective therapy for me.

Never before this article did I realize it was considered a "female" problem by anyone. I was introduced to it by a male; and amongst the gothic types I discussed it with, it seemed equally prevalent among males and females.

It's not usually a cry for help. As has been pointed out by others, the scars are usually kept hidden, and the cutting is done in secret.

For me, the best I could explain it was as a surrogate for crying. At the time I was doing it, I was experiencing a lot of despair, depression, loneliness, and/or stress. I was unable to cry though; and somehow the cutting was an effective replacement for it.

It was also a way of proving to myself (and occasionally, to others) that my pain was "real", that it wasn't made up or groundless. The fact that I would actually cut myself to relieve the pain was a kind of validation. It was a protest against the common notion that if a variety of mental anguish is "common" or "typical" it's somehow less valid and less worthy of respect.

Now leave us, and take your fish with you. - Faramir
I am14 Days SI free.. (5.00 / 3) (#174)
by Minz on Thu Apr 04, 2002 at 01:03:56 PM EST

and very proud of it!

I've cut for...god almost 20 years. On and off. It has gotten me through the hard times in my life.

I'm sitting here, at my desk.

Its quiet, the sound of keyboards clicking away can be heard over the soft gray cubicle walls. Friendly banter rings back and forth.
The smell of coffee drifts through the air, . . .and the knife digging into my hand.

I fight not to draw blood.

I am a good person.

I have a wife and kids. I am a good neighbor.

I can't let others see me.

Why do I hurt myself? Why do I have bandages on my hips and my arms? Bandages covering wounds that I made.

I squeeze my hand hard, thinking how much I suck. How rotten and useless a person I am.

Unimportant. It doesn't matter that I hurt. I deserve it.

A thin trickle of blood runs down the palm of my hand. Damn!

I hate me! I hate me! I hate me!

I get up, and quickstep to the bathroom, panicked. They're staring at me, I know it. The know. They can see through me. They know I am a freak. That I am a fraud. A useless, worthless piece of trash.

In the bathroom, I cave in. The knife is in my hand again, dragging an angry red gash up my hip. I cut there because it's easier to hide. It?s a deep cut. Squeezing my eyes shut as I feel the ice cold burn of the steel blade slips into my skin. Opening a wide valley. I press paper towels to my leg, stemming the flow of blood.

After five or ten minutes, a bandage is applied and I go back to work.

I don't know why I cut. Partially it's to deal with emotions that seem to overwhelm me. Feeling so strong, that I almost drown. Hurting myself make them seem more manageable. More real. Some times I want to cut because I feel like I deserve it. That I am worthless and ought to be punished. And some times, I am so emotionally numb and empty that I cut just to feel something.

It's not healthy

It's not safe.

But it's all I have.

It's how I have learned to cope
When this is read, it will probably pale in comparison to some of the horror stories. And that?s OK. Because most of the people who self injure don't have heart wrenching horror stories. Most of them are just like me.

They go to work.

The have families.

They simply have learned how to deal with things in an unhealthy way.

They're not crazy or sick.

They're your friends, and family. Your brothers and sisters.

The people you know and love.

some advice... (none / 0) (#179)
by KiTaSuMbA on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 01:45:09 AM EST

I'm not very informed on this specific issue but this is what I can offer as my opinion/advice:
1)I understand you are getting professional help on this. Good, keep on with it.
2)don't be ashamed/feel special in a negative way about it. All (and that means *ALL*) people have some kind of trouble hunting them. You got SI. After all, you CAN (and will, sooner or later) get rid of it.
3)IGNORE those who will treat you as a "freak" upon knowing about your prob. Pregiudice and fear against unknown is something I simply can't tolerate, and probably you shouldn't either.
4)FIGHT the causes, not just the effect (SI, in your case). Don't fear to express yourself and your feelings: let it go out, release that steam when it pressures up. Talk with others (if they can't take it, they aren't worth it so who cares...). Perhaps take up some practical art or a creative hobby or something. Speaking of personal experience, some years ago, poetry helped me get out of some pretty deep sh*t and since then, every time I get close to that, my writting rate simply increases instead of other "alternatives" (I often used to look for them in the bottom of a bottle).
Stay Cool!

There is no Dopaminergic Pepperoni Kabal!
Types of food, pain, Aspergers, forms of autism (2.00 / 1) (#180)
by fraise on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 02:06:27 AM EST

The title probably sounds weird, but bear with me, I think there could be a link here. I just came across a couple of websites linking a food "opiate effect" with forms of autism, and a light went on in my head regarding your article. It sounds like you could have Asperger's, I know I do and I injured myself as a teenager for a few years. Not cutting, but literally pulling my hair out by the roots (I have a terrible scalp problem - psoriasis - calling me "Snow White" is a compliment, and pulling off the layers of gunk, well, hurts and can even lead to bleeding).

It just so happens that, apparently: "The proteins found in wheat, rye, oats, barley and dairy products (Gluten and Casein) are not completely broken down in some autistic [people]." Following are quotes from this website (caution, a bit of marketing, but good links to some serious sites), emphasis is my own and the link leads to a scientific website:

"Medical professionals in England and Norway have performed several tests on children with Autism and discovered that 50% of these children do not break down gluten/casein proteins completely into amino acids. These undigested proteins (peptides) are then eliminated harmlessly in the urine. However, a few peptides enter into the bloodstream.

"Unbroken peptides entering into the bloodstream may cause abnormal brain development and create an opiate-like effect. Opiates depress the activity of the nervous system including such reflexes as breathing rate and heart rate. They can cause the individual to feel drowsy, warm and content due to the relaxation. They also block pain sensations.

"These opiates are highly addictive and can reach toxic levels. A chemical dependency may develop that makes it difficult to 'quit' eating foods containing these substances. This may be a possible explanation as to why many children with Autism crave milk and wheat products."

Another quote, from this site:

"The presence of this intense opioid activity would result in a large number of the systems of the CNS being disrupted....Perception; cognition; emotions; mood and behaviour would all be affected. Many and diverse symptoms by which autism is defined would result. We believe that these peptides are derived from an incomplete breakdown of certain foods, and in particular, gluten...and from casein."

It's just a way-out-there idea, but as I myself cannot properly digest milk or wheat, (both are my favorite types of food), and I'm an Asperger's kid, and I injured myself when younger to try and feel pain... I'm thinking there might just possibly be something here!!

Bogosity Alert! (none / 0) (#184)
by epepke on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 12:41:45 PM EST

"Medical professionals in England and Norway have performed several tests on children with Autism and discovered that 50% of these children do not break down gluten/casein proteins completely into amino acids. These undigested proteins (peptides) are then eliminated harmlessly in the urine. However, a few peptides enter into the bloodstream.

In order to be eliminated in the urine, it has to get into the bloodstream first.

The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett

[ Parent ]
Great Gods, Boy! (5.00 / 1) (#189)
by bjlhct on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 01:36:07 AM EST

If you can handle that kind of pain...why waste it on cutting yourself with sharp stuff? Exercise a lot, or do some yoga, or something : All the pain, and none of the blood!

[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism
Male SI: A Personal Perspective | 190 comments (178 topical, 12 editorial, 0 hidden)
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