Coping With PTSD Through Self-Harm

Learn how cutting myself helped combat dissociation and flashbacks-on

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.

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Off-Fridays Mental Illness Blog Share, Week 4: TRIGGERED

It's PTSD Awareness Month; Don't miss your chance to add your writing to a big PTSD resource library-on

Happy Friday! Not just any Friday, but OFF-FRIDAYS 4. June is PTSD Awareness Month so this week is themed to honor the experiences of trauma survivors and the people who know and love them. The title is “TRIGGERED” and the theme is PTSD, trauma, and triggers. If you’re a trauma blogger in any capacity, do not miss your chance to get your story into this link library. My blog’s mission is to end ALL mental illness stigma, but the main focus here is PTSD, so naturally, I want the Off-Fridays PTSD resource page to be biggest and best yet. It’s only as big as YOU make it, so please be sure to take a few moments this week to add your link and make this resource awesomely various!

If you want to see how the previous weeks’ libraries are looking, here they are:

Week 1: Mothers with Mental Illnesses
Week 2: Celebrations in Mental Health
Week 3: The Art of Recovery

Speaking of PTSD, trauma, and triggers, I have recently been dealing with a lot of triggers related to the abuse that caused my PTSD. If you follow this blog you know that for the past year I have been engaged in a custody battle with my abuser. Well, it is all coming to a head at the very end of PTSD Awareness week my abuser and I will be duking it out before a judge. By the time this linky closes for new submissions, my son’s fate will have been decided and our abuser will either be barred from our lives, or given an open door back in. Needless to say, I’m stressed. All I can do is ask for support, and right now, the way that request is manifesting is to ask that, if you write about trauma, to please include a link this week. That may sound odd to you, but Off-Fridays is my special project, and it really means a lot to me. I think all of us with mental health issues have those little oddities that don’t make sense to other people, but which totally make us feel better. Off-Fridays is mine. Getting your participation in this won’t help with my case or change it’s outcome, but it will brighten my outlook a bit and give a little boost my self-esteem…and right now, I can use all the positivevibeboostenergyselfesstemeverything I can get. Could you do me that favor, please, if it’s not too much trouble (which it’s not! It’s fun even, I swear!)?

Let’s work together to build Week 4: TRIGGERED

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Sober After Trauma: 10 Simple Ways To Prevent Relapse When Triggered

The Trauma-Mama Guide To Staying Sober During Triggering

Life is hard.

PTSD is hard.

Staying sober is hard.

When you have PTSD, and an addiction history, and your life suddenly weaponizes against you, staying sober becomes a monumental feat.

Right now, my life is a landmine of triggers. I lost someone I considered a good friend, who I cared about and was unbelievably hurt to learn didn’t care so much about me. If you have been following my blog at all, you know that losing these long-time friends is a deep fear of mine. Then, I had to attend a Family Court Services interview in which I was asked to disclose the intimate details of my worst abuses to a stranger; I haven’t even disclosed a lot of this stuff to my therapist yet. And, that was only the first half of the interview. I have to go back next week. In a couple of days, I have to actually see my abuser. I’ll be in the safety of a court room with my big, BBJ trained husband by my side, but still…I have PTSD. It’s not cool.

Needless to say, it’s been a tough couple weeks.

Once upon a time, I would be high out of my mind right now and approaching an overdose.

But I’m not. I’m sober. And not by chance. I have worked really, really hard to have a clear head right now. So today I am going to share with you some of the tricks I have used to keep myself from relapsing despite being assaulted by triggers for two weeks straight.

I should tell you guys that I do not adopt the 12-step mentality, which commands that once you’ve had a problem with a substance, you can never get intoxicated again. I do smoke weed (I live in a state where it’s legal) and drink alcohol occasionally.  I am able to control myself, and I do my best not to use these things in a self-medicating context as that is a dangerous action which could lead me back into an addiction. I’m not smoking or drinking now, for example. But I just thought I should tell you, for the purposes of full disclosure, that every once in a while I’ll kick back and have a couple tokes or drinks after the kiddos have gone to bed.

That being said, these tools can help you stay sober in whatever form of sobriety you choose. They can help you stay 100% abstinent from all mind-altering chemicals (okay that’s a lie; oxygen is a mind-altering chemical and I can’t help you with that…but you know what I mean) or they can just help you avoid the substances that cause you problems. I respect whatever form of sobriety you have chosen for yourself. Recovery is hard. Judgment does not help (hear that Anonymous folks??)

Without further ado…

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