Have you self harmed?

One of the things I dislike in therapy is when a psychologist asks how many times I’ve self harmed that week. Okay, I can kinda see how it’s relevant to gauge whether I’m still self harming or not. From their point of view, it means I’m still engaging in risky, self-destructive behaviours and therefore is an issue that still needs to be worked on. But at the same time, is it really that helpful to put so much focus into it? In my mind, it reinforces the belief that the only way to communicate how I’m feeling on the inside is to physically harm myself on the outside.

A topic that has come up in my appointments with D is rejection; how much  fear it, how much it upsets me, how much I try to avoid it. There is a fear within me that if I report I haven’t self harmed, the professionals will automatically assume everything’s okay. I am afraid of rejection and I am afraid that I will be told at one point or another that I don’t need to continue seeing them any more because I’m ‘cured’.

There’s been a few times D has asked me to record down when I’ve self harmed during the week for homework. I’ve never done what he’s asked. I don’t believe it will do me much good and may even trigger me more by making me think I have to self harm to prove I deserve help.

7 thoughts on “Have you self harmed?

  1. I avoid this discussion too, but for the opposite reason. I don’t want to overly freak out any supports in case things get worse and I need them more. Then I can say, “Things are so bad, this is what I’m doing.”

    Rejection seems like a good discussion topic though, from what you’ve posted before.

    If you’re uncomfortable about it, maybe you could tell him you did self harm but you don’t feel comfortable discussing the reasons around it right now. That way you share what is going on, but allow for some time to build up trust before diving in more….perhaps?

    It sounds like, from an outside perspective, that this could be a really healing relationship for you. I really hope so. You deserve it.

  2. I have to have this discussion today after having self harmed, first with my DBT group and then with Dr D. Not looking forward to it I must say. I do get what you are saying though.
    *hugs*
    Sarah

  3. you should let them know that it makes you feel like this, too many people judge ‘well-ness’ by levels of self harm and it’s not right. It just makes you feel worse, take care x

  4. i agree!!! for tomorrow, i’m meant to have done a sheet and say what has just happened, what i’m thinking and what i’m feeling each time i self harm. It makes me feel like I have to harm more or I don’t actually have problems enough to get help.

  5. It really seems like this is a catch-22 situation, when you are thinking that you need to prove you need assistance by continuing self-harm. Yet part of the goal of treatment is to reduce that behavior. It does make sense in it’s own way…like what would happen if you went to an orthopedist to get treated for intermittent back pain, and she asked when was the last time you felt pain, and how painful. You would want to say recently, and severe, if you wanted treatment. And I wonder if anyone has experienced less assistance if they say actual self-harm is diminishing? The emotional dynamics with this problem seem really complicated; and I wish I understood them better.

  6. well… now to look like a bit of an arse, but it was super super helpful. in fact, the most helpful t hing i’ve ever done therapy or drugs-wise. instead of doing it every time i actually harmed though, i did it when i felt i might have before or was just upset (also when i ctually did). you then write down all of your thoughts and feelings at the moment and what happened before them. my dr said that people who are depressed have the same negative thoughts as people who aren’t but that, normally, people counteract them more naturally and aren’t dragged further into depression. i then read material, which outlined 15 styles of thinking (some of which i related to) which are clearly flawed, yet natural, and bound to make you sad. then, you start to record your thoughts and say what style of unhelpful thinking you are using until it becomes a habit, like how it is for people who are not depressed.
    for the first time ever, i’m not feeling so desperate for help and really want to work hard at this because i see a way out, where i can help myself to feel better and start to get my old life back. i don’t want to have therapists forever but to be able to cope healthily alone. i thought i’d be the last person to like this wank, but exploring emotions and feelings every time i harm (as well as how much, when, other patterns) is soo helpful
    you might’ve heard about this before or even done it and not liked it. if that.s not the cse, however, i canfind out the name of the book when i am back home 🙂 yeah.. sorry if you are bored by my super reply and not interested, but just wanted to show a different side 🙂 good luck, hope you get better soon.

  7. Sorry you’re in that situation just now. I always hated that in therapy as well, for the exact same reason. I felt if I was getting better and not self-harming as much, that my T would think I didn’t need help anymore…. but then again, shouldn’t therapists know better than that? To think just because we’re doing better, doesn’t mean we don’t still need support? Plus, lots of people are in long-term therapy who don’t self-harm, so stopping self-harm doesn’t mean stopping getting support… yeah, I’m rambling, just wanted to let you know I totally understand how you’re feeling right now.

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