Self Harm Too Far?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

WARNING: This entry contains graphic descriptions of extreme self-harm. Please do not continue reading it if you are not safe.

Q. Hi I have been self harming for 6 years…i had stopped for 6 months recently…but when my doc put me on prozac for depression and OCD …I started cutting alot worse…i kept having to go deeper and deeper…i was eventually going thru all my skin…and then i got creative…i started picking pieces of fat out of my arm with nail clippers….i also hit an arteriole once and it squirted ya that was sort of scary… u think that would have stopped me but nope!!!…anyways…i can’t stop now…and i am having urges to cut off the tip of my finger…and also i hate my body so…i was thinking of cutting my stomach and chin open and pulling the fat out…the pain just doesn’t stop me!!!

i am scared of myself…i have no control over this anymore…i think its getting too far…i also once had 2 cuts that were very close together on my arm and then i conected them and made to flaps which i safety pinned down so basically there was a hole in my arm…and i picked at it for like an hour…taking fat out…i think i even had my muscle exposed and some other greyish thing that i didn’t know what it was… my doc did take me off the prozac but my cutting still proceeds. i do have borderline personality disorder, ocd, and depresson as well as anxiety issues….do u have any advice on how to stop or at least deal with the really scary urges like cutting my finger off and the stomach and chin thing…im very afraid of what i am capable of.

A. Your situation is of great concern because you have been self-harming for years, taking medications to no avail, you are currently harming yourself and you do not seem to have the ability to stop yourself from causing even more serious bodily harm. I know that you mentioned that you are in touch with a doctor for medication but what may really help you above all else is to work with a therapist who can teach you actual skills to decrease or stop the urge to hurt yourself. You did not mention therapy so I am assuming you have not tried it. You are on the verge of losing control and because of this it is imperative that you seek outside assistance from mental health professionals to prevent further serious self-harm and injury. A therapist can also help you work through your other mental health disorders as well.

Medication alone simply does not seem to be an effective treatment regime for you. In the majority of cases, it is advisable that individuals who take medication consider working with a therapist or other mental health professionals as part of a comprehensive treatment approach. I strongly encourage this for you.

There are treatments specifically designed for people with borderline personality disorder (BPD). Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) developed by Marsha Linehan has proven to be a very effective treatment for sufferers of BPD. I urge you to consider more help than you are currently getting.

As you mentioned in your letter you have self-harmed for many years. You may feel that there is no help for you or that you are too “far gone” to get help. Please know that with the proper help you can learn to decrease or overcome your cutting behaviors and other mental health symptoms. There are individuals who have learned to better handle BPD with they sought out the right treatment. You may never be “cured” of BPD but like so many others who seek treatment it is possible that you can learn a more appropriate set of problem solving skills that do not require you to damage your body in unhealthy ways.

I hope that you can get yourself into treatment. Thanks for writing. Please take care.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 29 Feb 2008

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2008). Self Harm Too Far?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 1, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/02/29/self-harm-too-far/