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showers…and coping strategies

by Mary Love

Two nights ago, i was showering because i wanted to self harm so bad and they told me to use that as a coping skill…it worked, until i started shaving my legs hard and fast because I was thinking about it…took a whole chunk of my leg off….good thing it looks natural. I don’t know what I should do for my coping skills anymore. I used to love showers cuz they made me so tired but I always have to shave in them and it just sucks to be around razors right now. any suggestions?

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ThousandCuts 6/9/2014 - 4:42 am

Exercise. It’s not just “a” coping mechanism, it’s the best one. It creates the same effect that cutting does. It’s not the actual pain of the cut that people enjoy, it’s the endorphins and chemicals released in the brain after cutting yourself. Exercise releases the same thing. And it doesn’t mean you have to do some 45 minute organized exercise routine. It means do pushups or squats or sprints until you’re exhausted, which really doesn’t take long. Channel the anger and frustration into the exercise. You can even look at it pretty similar to cutting, exercise hurts. Exercise can be painful. In some ways it can even be worse. It’s much easier to slice yourself a couple times than to tell yourself to do 50 body weight squats as fast as you can or go run until you are out of breath, or pushups until you fall to the ground.

Releases the exact same benefit, no scars to hide, and might actually have a benefit to it. I think a lot of people on this site would benefit from trying it.

5 seconds of stendarr 6/9/2014 - 8:43 am

@ThousandCuts

no offense to anyone, but many people would rather cut themselves than exercise because cutting makes it easier to pity themselves or for others to pity them. everyone loves feeling sorry for themselves, me too

xanadu 6/9/2014 - 9:51 am

To quote the dude from the TV show Community, “The next person who offers me charity or pity will be mentioned by name in my suicide note.”

It’s all about the endorphins. Cutting is more of a shock to one’s nervous system, thus causes a greater burst of endorphins. In that sense, exercise is to cutting what smoking heroin is to shooting up (smoking it causes a slow, gradual release of endorphins, while shooting up is more addictive due to the quick, enormous burst of endorphins it causes). Yes, heroin is all about endorphins too.

5 seconds of stendarr 6/9/2014 - 11:04 am

maybe Lorax has a better understanding of it, I don’t understand chronic cutting, forgive my insensitivity

xanadu 6/9/2014 - 11:20 am

@stendarr: I thought you were part of the people’s revolution – think synthesis – it’s very likely everyone is right in some respect, like a cascading fractal of perspectives. But before any kind of conclusion can be drawn from particulars, a lot of observation and experience must inform that conclusion. Everybody’s different, and every cutter probably has different reasons for doing it – sometimes more than one single reason. Heroin addicts aren’t always just addicted because of how it makes them feel; sometimes they get into it because Kurt Cobain used to do it, and he was a glamorous musician that people took seriously and felt bad for; using heroin might look like a gateway into the same sort of dynamic. But the endorphins help cement the habit no matter the reason someone gets into it. Same goes for cutting.

To the OP (and ThousandCuts – to not derail the thread too much, haha..):Exercise is probably a good stepping stone towards coping with that urge. ThousandCuts already gave some good ideas, but for it to be really helpful, you have to try and make it a kind of routine when you start getting that urge to self-harm. It’s replacing a bad habit with a relatively good habit that will hopefully continue benefiting you further on in life. Just takes a little willpower to maintain it until the habit has gotten ingrained.

5 seconds of stendarr 6/9/2014 - 12:04 pm

@lorax

I used to cut myself out of impulse all the time, I’ve gotten kicked out of school and made to take psychiatric mental evaluations in order to get reentry, ha, to me it was never about the endorphins or anything, more like releasing tension similar to punching a wall or a pillow, except my anger/frustration was always directed at myself. That’s just my experience, not making this about me. I just can’t empathize with chronic cutting and I suppose I’ve somewhat bought into the stereotype that cutters are all looking for attention, I just don’t understand why people go on tirades day after day about how many times they’ve cut and how much blood they bleed etc. I guess SP is supposed to be the place where you vent about that, hence its anonymity, but after being here so long it’s desensitized me to the significance of it, but that’s not an excuse, that’s all on me. Rant on, everyone

5 seconds of stendarr 6/9/2014 - 12:10 pm

It’s like an overweight woman (no gender targeted in particular, just an example) venting on a forum every other day about how many pizzas she’s eaten out of habit and how much she hates being overweight yet perpetuates the problem by giving into her addiction (food addiction is a real thing) and refusing to exert any effort in stopping it. I don’t know, I just can’t stand people who complain about what they consciously do to themselves. I understand that addictions are very hard to break, but many people don’t want to change or commit to changing in the least bit but complain about the problem being there despite them doing nothing about it. Maybe I’m judgmental, maybe I’m just a *****, who knows.

5 seconds of stendarr 6/9/2014 - 12:14 pm

@OP

If you want to be comfortable around razors, exert some effort in halting this addiction. It takes time, but eventually it will happen and if you really don’t want to feel uncomfortable around razors, you need to take action. If you do want to remain volatile around sharp things, that’s up to you.

xanadu 6/9/2014 - 12:17 pm

@stendarr: it’s hard picking out when endorphins are getting released in the brain – it’s like that moment where you cease feeling some negative emotion and get some form of reprieve, or relief from it. I think that’s why most people get into those habits (heroin included – there’s a kind of ritualization in both cases that draw from endorphin release). But what’s wrong with attention seeking? It’s like any kind of seeking – sensory seeking, drug seeking, pleasure seeking… it comes from a lack of something. Just, in a lot of cases, it’s malformed and seems ridiculous if you see it often enough. I don’t think every cutter is an attention seeker by default, though.

Phil McLoven 6/9/2014 - 12:24 pm

What I find perplexing is when people say that they don’t cut to seek attention, then they post pictures of their cuts online. Isn’t broadcasting images of self mutilation a way to draw attention to yourself?
I don’t get it. I’m not saying it’s bad to ask for help, but that doesn’t seem like the best way to do it. Punishing yourself by exercising would yield better results. At least then you’d get stronger instead of accumulating scars.

5 seconds of stendarr 6/9/2014 - 12:24 pm

@lorax

you have a point, I guess there really isn’t anything inherently wrong with being attention seeking, i just don’t like it when people make everything about them, but that’s what the point of posting is after all… the line is when people turn it into a competition, but i dont think most users do that

xanadu 6/9/2014 - 12:49 pm

@stendarr: That;s what I mean by malformed – distorted, over-valued, overly-exaggerated etc.. But that goes hand-in-hand with the experience of one’s family dynamic, or lack-thereof. It happens if you grow up in certain kinds of households, and has the same kind of progression as a collapsing star after it goes supernova. You can understand how it gets to be a black hole more easily than you might think. Sometimes people just want someone to notice them, but don’t know how to remedy the feeling of being constantly set aside by everyone. But yeah, when it turns into a competition – that’s when it’s past the line of understandable and headed into the murky waters of really bad stuff.

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