Today you have the opportunity to read one of the most interesting accounts of dissociation that I have ever encountered. I am extremely proud and grateful to have the opportunity to premier this piece on Betty’s Battleground, even though–and probably even because–much of the information is new to me, and different from my own experience.
I don’t talk about spirituality often, mostly because my spiritual ideas are these super weird combinations of physics theories and creative imaginings that have little to no basis in organized religion, but this post is about one person’s experiences with integrating spirituality as a form of mental health recovery. That might seem ironic, considering I recently posted that I don’t follow the 12-steps because I don’t consider my addiction the result of a god-shaped hole, but as I have mentioned numerous times, I enjoy posting perspectives that are different from mine. Also, as you’ll read, this is a bit more nuanced and intelligent than what is typically offered by the 12-steps..in my opinion..
The author has asked to remain anonymous, but I hope you will enjoy reading about their experiences of mental health recovery and spirituality. Continue reading →
Last week I published a research based article about 10 scientifically-backed reasons why humans self-harm. Today, I’m going to get a lot more personal. PTSD is an extremely difficult disorder to live with. Coping is a daily struggle. In the past year I have stabilized in a treatment program and made pretty big strides in my personal development. A few years ago, while living in Boulder, CO, I was introduced to mindfulness therapy. These therapies and supports have helped me come up with better coping mechanisms. Things like writing, exercise, reading, watching movies, yoga, mindful cooking or playing, and self care. But for a while, self-harm was one of my go-to coping tools.
Self-harm is a widely misunderstood phenomenon. Our social consciousness seems to center the discussion of self-harm around gothic teenage girls slashing their wrists for “attention.” I think that attention is hardly the goal of self-harm; most cutters or other type of self-harmers I’ve known have been very deliberate about hiding the evidence, but even if people are harming themselves for attention, I do not understand why that means we should not give it to them. Frankly, if one of my daughters started cutting herself in front of me for attention, I’d give it to her.
Anyway, a lot more people self-harm than black garbed teenagers, and self-harm has many more forms than cutting. The most prevalent forms of self-harm I have engaged in are cutting my body, and taking drugs. Drug addiction is a big massive subject in my life that’s gonna take way more than one post to discuss. This post is going to cover cutting as a form of coping with PTSD symptoms. I don’t believe in trigger warnings, because I have no idea what triggers you personally, but I’m telling you right now: THE SUBJECT OF THIS POST IS CUTTING. Take care of your own triggers and read wisely, please.
What do you imagine when you hear the phrase “self-injury?” If your first thought is a black garbed teenage girl who is “just trying to get attention,” then this list will surprise you. There is a lot of stigma surrounding the phenomenon of self-harm. Too often self-injurers are judged, ignored, or even mocked. When people do take it seriously, they often assume it is a suicidal gesture. Self-harm can affect virtually any demographic, for a vast number of reasons. Some people do hurt themselves in an attempt to end their lives, but most people who harm themselves don’t want to die.
I have intimate knowledge of self-harm. Though I did “cut” a little as a teenager, due mostly to peer influence, I did not begin the practice in earnest until I was an adult. It became a gesture to combat dissociative PTSD episodes. Next week, I will discuss the relationship between PTSD and self-harm, and my experiences with it. This week, I am providing an introduction to the baffling phenomenon of human self-injury with a research-based article outlining ten of the most common reasons science has discovered that people harm themselves.