Monthly Archives: September 2012

Coping Mechanisms for SI

For those of you who SI (self-injure) like I used to here are a few tips I learned over the years that helped me cope with the overwhelming urges.

Ice. Whenever I felt like I wanted to SI I would press ice to my wrist until I couldn’t stand it anymore. Most of the time, this would help at least a little.

Rubber band. Keep a rubber band, or several around your wrist(s) at ALL times. You never know when an urge may hit, if you are prepared at all times, you will be less likely to give into them. Snap yourself with the rubber band to imitate the feeling of SI.

Red marker or pen. Draw on yourself with a red marker or pen, this approach helps some people to stay away from SI.

Butterflies. Ask someone you love to draw a butterfly on your skin. It helps even more if the person knows of this method. If they draw the butterfly and tell you it symbolizes their love for you and their wishes for you to be free of SI it will help you to think twice before harming yourself, therefore the butterfly.

Journal. Write about the feelings, and if it helps, tear up the paper afterwards and throw it away, symbolizing throwing the bad feelings away.

Pray. Talk to your higher power about your feelings and ask for strength, resources, etc.

Talk to a loved one who understands SI. Make sure that the person you go to truly understands SI and won’t misunderstand you or tell you to “pull yourself up by your bootstraps”. It can be harmful to go to someone for help and instead only feel worse after talking with them. It is often also a good idea to enlist the help of a trained therapist who you work well with (“Therapist shopping” can take a little time, but it is well worth it to find one who you work well with instead of just settling for one because they are nearby).

Call for help. There are many national help lines for people who are afraid they may harm themselves or worse. Please call them if you need help! Here are some numbers I found from www.google.com 1-800-366-8288 (help for people who SI), 1-800-273-8255 (Suicide hotline).

Websites that can offer help and support. Some of my favorite websites are www.fortrefuge.com , http://selfmutilatorsanonymous.webs.com/ (which offers online meetings set up like a 12 step program. I have attended a few and they are helpful for short term relief). Also there is the widely known “To write love on her arms” their web address is http://www.twloha.com/index.php .

Also…Do NOT listen to sad music! Music is amazing, but don’t ever allow yourself to listen to sad music when you are already hurting, especially if you struggle with SI or have in the past. I don’t care what band or genre it is, stay away from it while you are vulnerable! Instead try to listen to something upbeat that will help you shake off the negativity.

I really hope that this has helped someone out there, When I was in the deepest of my depression and SI’ing had me bad I felt alone but I slowly started to realize that there are people who love you deeply and care about you being here even if they don’t know you personally. There is always hope and suicide is never a true option. That really is the tragedy of suicide, that the person wanting to commit it believes that they are doing their loved ones (and sometimes themselves) a favor. The depression, anxiety and anger has them trapped in a delusion that suicide is the most selfless thing they could do when in fact it is a lie. Suicide never solves anything. Please take it from someone who tasted death and was brought back. Living is the most wonderful feeling, but sometimes, especially for people who have had a rough life it can seem horrible. If you truly want to be happy and have faith that you will be delivered from your pain and misery you can and will take your life back. You have a say, it’s your life after all! Take the reins and start taking your life back! One last thing I just remembered. I remembering hearing this a few years ago. A great deal of people who attempt suicide admit that on the brink of their suicide attempt working they suddenly realized that they desperately didn’t want to die, they just wanted the pain to stop. From experience, I can tell you this is true for me. I desperately want to live every day for the rest of my LONG life. And I pray you do too. I love you all!

Please, again, feel free to comment with your coping mechanisms that have helped you here or on the Facebook page!

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Coping mechanisms

Today, instead of writing of my past experiences I am going to write about a topic that is vital to recovery of any kind. Developing positive, and effective coping mechanisms. It took me a very long time to begin establishing coping mechanisms that didn’t further hurt me. For example, in the ninth grade I began to self-harm. For a while I believed that I was only doing this because I was so numb that I couldn’t feel anything, however, now that I’ve been going to therapy for about thirteen years on and off, and have been hospitalized close to thirty times I’ve come to realize that there was much more to my self-harm. I was deeply angry and had no idea how to get the anger out, or how to express to the people who had hurt me that I had not deserved the pain! That anger was turned inward and tempted me to start harming myself. I also did it because sometimes the emotional pain was so great I desperately wanted something to distract me from it, even if it were only for a few minutes.

Later on in my life I began to abuse my prescription medications, alcohol, and marijuana in addition to self-harming. I will go more into how I got free of that in a later post! So on to positive, effective coping mechanisms. When it comes to deciding what works for you and what doesn’t first think about things you like to do, and things that bring you comfort when you are stressed out. For me, my main ones are drawing, writing stories, writing in my journal, and talking to my loved ones. I have many more, but those are probably the ones I use most often. Make a list of all the things you like to do and try to make it as long as possible, that way you have many to choose from. Sometimes one coping mechanism that you lean on the most will suddenly not help you in a particular situation. For example, I usually draw, however, when I get extremely stressed out and feel threatened I may “switch” to one of my alters, Katie. Katie hates drawing because she isn’t very good at it unlike Jaenelle and I. If Katie is in control of the body at that time, a different coping mechanism will work. For Katie, talking things out with someone she trusts works very well, or watching a television show that brings her comfort.

After you make your list of all the things that you like to do, you can go on the internet and search out more coping mechanisms. Pick the ones that you want to try and add them to your list. After you have done this, practice using them and even keep the list with you at all times if that helps! Don’t be afraid to refer back to it, coping mechanisms make life’s stresses easier to deal with, and can even save your life. One coping mechanism that I have been using for about eight years now is having an “Emergency box”. Gather things together that make you happy, soothe you, and remind you that there are people who love you and would be hurt if you weren’t around. Put all of those items in a special box (mine has a lock on it so only I can access it) and go through it when you need comfort.

My emergency box had pictures of my dog, crayons, soft fabrics, pictures of my mom, pictures of places I want to go someday, lucky coins, and a bunch of little miscellaneous objects that for some odd reason make me feel comforted. Put anything in there that helps you feel good! Everyone’s is different!
So, what I want to know is, what coping mechanisms work for you? Which ones don’t? Please feel free to comment on the blog or on the Facebook page! I would like to start getting more interaction going on!! Even I can use some suggestions!

Facebook page for Journey out of the abyss!

Hello everyone!

I have decided in order to spread the news of this blog and to allow readers to write to me or discuss topics with each other I would create a Facebook page for Journey out of the abyss.  Here is the link: http://www.facebook.com/?sk=welcome#!/pages/Journey-out-of-the-abyss/360837627324413

Please know that this Facebook page is to help raise awareness of the blog and it’s purpose, as well as to allow the readers to communicate with me or other readers. I would love to know how I am doing with the blog and whatever else you would like to share! I’m very excited that this will further help people!

~Dandi

You are too young to be having this many health problems!

“You are too young to be having this many health problems!” Words that I have been hearing my whole life. It has been painful, confusing, terrifying and exhausting that my body has been suffering from illnesses since childhood, especially because they have usually been severe, bizarre and most of the time unexplained upon medical evaluation. An irregular heartbeat that sometimes renders me unable to move, causes me to have to sit down and focus on breathing, over 30 excruciating kidney stones that resulted in urinary tract and kidney infections, severe migraines with bizarre symptoms such as inability to control my movements, nausea, dizziness, confusion, thyroid problems…just to name a few. I have been in and out of doctor’s offices and hospitals since elementary school and the majority of the time the doctor can’t find a physical explanation for my symptoms.

Just recently I have been feeling especially weak, fatigued and just sick. I went to a doctor who finally listened to my concerns and decided that despite the fact most of my medical issues were probably due to psychological pain and stress that he wouldn’t stop until he made sure nothing physically was wrong. So far he has ordered over ten tests on my blood (in which he found I am vitamin D deficient) and more testing will be done soon. It is a relief to know that some doctors do care, and do understand the way trauma in our pasts can cause the body to become sick.

If you are struggling with medical issues, don’t give up! Continue to search for a doctor who will listen to you and who will seek out the cause of the issue instead of simply throw medication at you or send you home with no answers. You deserve to feel better, it is YOUR body after all! Don’t be afraid to tell the doctor the whole truth either, he or she can only do so much when you withhold details. (Believe me, my list of symptoms was a page and a half long).

~Dandi