Need Ideas to Justify Freedom from Self-Injury

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Sorry to waste your time with a problem that is completely my fault, but I have been free of self-injury for over 1000 days now, but it is still a fight sometimes. All the information on the internet seems to say find someone to talk to, but that is a lot easier said than done for me. My best friend is 9 years older than me, and is married with a baby and a full-time job, and doesn’t necessarily think of me as a friend, so she isn’t really available to help me very often. I don’t really have many other friends. I do have a counselor at school but she made it clear before break that she will email when she is ready to start back up and until then does not want contact with students so at least at the moment she is not an option at all. Also, she doesn’t seem to see my SI as an issue because whenever I bring it up she pretty much ignores it then goes back to whatever she must have planned to say. (Maybe because I never did anything that left permanent physical damage)

I need ideas to keep me from hurting myself because legalism is what is keeping me from doing it, but I don’t know if that will continue to work long-term, because right now I know hurting would make things seem more manageable, so it is hard to justify keeping myself from that. Any ideas you could give would be very much appreciated. Thank you!

A. An unequivocal statement of fact is that cutting, and self-injury, is never a wise idea. It is always a mistake. Self-injury is a sign that someone is suffering and that they lack the necessary skills to deal with emotional pain. Specific reasons why you should resist the urge to cut are provided below.

  • Cutting is dangerous. You could accidentally cut yourself in a manner that causes serious or permanent damage. Many people do not realize how deep they are cutting. You might think that cutting is a secret thing that you do but you might cut too deep, requiring a trip to the emergency room. Then your secret will no longer be a secret.

  • Cutting is ineffective. Cutting is often used as a strategy to reduce emotional pain. It might make you temporarily feel better but the negative feelings that led to the cutting will inevitably return. It is an act of self-destruction and it doesn’t address the underlying reasons that are motivating you to cut. Eventually, the underlying reasons for self-injurious behavior need to be addressed. That is where your focus should be.

You have not cut yourself in a very long time and it is important that you resist the urge to do so. One thousand days free of cutting is a major success. Try to remain committed to your ongoing success.

I would recommend that you find additional support systems that you can count on when the others are unavailable. You stated that you have a counselor at school. Perhaps you should also have an outpatient therapist. I would also recommend attending a support group. Your local community mental health center, outpatient therapy center or your school counselor could assist you in locating a support group.

You also might want to consider journaling. The content of the journal could include the following: What has kept you from cutting for the past 1,000 days? What other types of behavior have replaced the cutting? How has your life changed since you stopped cutting? What positive gains have you made over the past 1,000 days? How would you instruct others to have their own “1,000 days free of cutting?” Answering those questions might assist you in resisting the urge to cut and it may serve as a reminder for why you stopped. I hope that you can remain free from self-injurious behavior. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 31 Jan 2012

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2012). Need Ideas to Justify Freedom from Self-Injury. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/01/31/need-ideas-to-justify-freedom-from-self-injury/