Monday, March 2, 2009

SIAD - Self-Injury Awareness Day

It was actually March 1st (yesterday) but I failed to notice it was March already.
WARNING - may trigger - use caution.

I had actually forgotten about SIAD until I saw Marj's post.

Similar to what Marj writes, I was in denial for a long time that what I did was actually self-injury. After all, I wasn't using razors or knives. I had never needed stitches. I had the perception that SI was something those "Goth people" did.

I really couldn't tell you when SI first started. I can tell you when I first became aware that it was SI. That was about 3 years ago. I was in denial for a long time. Then I looked back and realized it had been going on for a very long time. (see prior post here, here and here). {That second link is very powerful and I need to re-read it often.}

I had very bad acne growing up. I was obsessed with picking at my face. It was more of an OCD habit than a SI habit. But it turned into SI in a way. When I got stressed, it would get worse. When I looked in the mirror, all I saw were my imperfections and I would spend countless minutes trying to pick at my face.

I've always been a nail biter. Not just your average nail-biter, but a bite until it bleeds person. I would, however, allow my thumb nails to grow. I would use them to dig into my fingertips. Especially when stressed and panicky. The pain relieved the panic. But then I developed thick calluses on my fingers.

I turned to using safety pins to stab at my legs. Always my legs. Easy to keep those covered.

Things ebbed and flowed. There was always some level of SI, but it differed greatly.

In 2005 when I really started dealing with the abuse, the SI picked up in intensity. Pinning (as I called it) was an everyday occurrence. But soon it stopped working. It didn't relieve the panic. In a state of numbness, I turned to razors and cutting.
My legs now bear the scars. While I tried to say it wasn't that bad because I never got stitches, I can't deny that I should have with some.

I've blogged about my SI journey and when I made the decision to stop. It was September 16, 2007. So it has been 1 year, 167 days since I last cut.

So am I SI free? I'm not sure. The temptation to cut is there. Strong at times. I still keep my house clear of SI-tools to the extent possible. I have used safety pins for "normal" reasons on occasion. Over the weekend I was pinning a blouse closed and accidentally stabbed my finger. I looked close but it didn't bleed. I felt a rush of disappointment, but then relief. I deliberately left the pins in the photography studio changing room.

The other night my husband asked about the marks on my chest/neck area. I don't know if it is nursing, the Vicks vapor rub, the Lanisol cream or what, but my pores are extremely clogged. I've tried scrubs but it's not working. So I pick, squeeze, etc. A lot. I lose time doing it. I have scars from it. I hear a noise and realize I've been in the bathroom for 10 minutes or more and there are nail marks all over.

You'd think with my SI-history and all the books I've read, that I would know whether what I am currently doing is a form of SI. I guess I could say I'm clueless, but denial is probably a good word too. I tell myself I'm just getting rid of blackheads. I think really it's more a form of OCD than SI. I say that because it is more automated and less deliberate than SI. And there is not that adrenaline high. (if anyone has any insight on this, I'd love to hear it).

For those still SI-ing and struggling, you're not alone. I'd encourage you to reach out for help. There are lots of online sites and blogs, as well as books.

I found books really helpful. Here are 2 of my favorites -
Clinically Clueless, BPD and Marj have posts up too.


lawyerchik said...

I just wanted to say that I'm proud of you for that 1 year and 167 day mark!! :) Yay!!

BPD in OKC said...

Thanks for linking to me! I went back and posted a link to you from my blog entry.

Casey said...

Wow Enola...a whole year! that is wonderful.

Do you think that eating disorders can be classed as SI? I suffered..or I should say my family suffered...with me being anorexic and bulimic for years. I hid it for a very long time of course...and it was not for the purpose of body distortion. I have always been very small...I am a healthy 110 pounds now...and am proud to say I exhibit no ED behaviours. I was hospitalized years ago for 6 months on an eating disorders unit though. I weighed 80 pounds and it was affecting my heart.

It was maddening to me, that the staff kept insisting to me that it was because I had issues with weight. I can promise was never ever about that. I have a few ideas as to why I did it. firstly...when you dont eat or drink you become numb to feelings. When you get really exhausted and again become numb. It also seemed to me, that part of it was because I felt I didnt deserve to eat.

I think I should do a blog post of my own rather than take space on your blog.


Vague said...

a good read for me today... i'm just coming to view my hair pulling and scap/zit scratching as SI.... thanks for sharing...

Marj aka Thriver said...

Better late than never. Thanks for sharing this honest, heart-felt post. I'm not sure what to say about the OCD vs. SI thing. Sometimes, when I scratch, it's really in a trace kind of state. I'm no expert on OCD for sure, but it seems that SI can often be very obsessive and/or compulsive, no? Congrats for no SI in over a year! Way to go!

Semi Permanent said...

You have shared very useful information here about Self Harm and thanks for letting me know about Self-Injury Awareness Day. Deliberate Self Harm scarring, or self-injury, is becoming increasingly recognized as a problem affecting adolescents and young adults. Rates are difficult to determine, as the behaviors are often concealed.