I self harmed for quite a number of years, and have some scars to show for it. I haven’t self injured for 6 months/year now (I have forgotten, and it is wonderful that it has been so absent from my life that I have been able to forget!) It was a big part of my life, and it was the reason that I originally went to the doctor, way back in university days, because it made me understand that there was something wrong with me that needed treatment.
In the past year I have rarely thought about SI, and the only times I have done it were related to my struggle to get ESA (here…and here). I have been feeling very well, completely normal and quite content for most of the time since I moved up to the North.
So all is good, but something has brought it back to my mind again, and it is troubling me.
I was diagnosed as a type II diabetic about five years ago. I paid absolutely no attention and recently the doctor insisted I go to a hospital clinic for some more drastic intervention than the “diet + exercise” one that I was not following. They gave me Victoza which is a drug you inject once a day. They also gave me a kit for testing my own blood sugar, one of those pens with a little needle that you stick in your finger.
The drug itself is doing wonderfully – fasting levels of 5.5 (down from 15.3), I have lost weight and it has managed to eliminate the problem I had with bingeing on chocolate and sweet things.
It is the blood sugar monitoring that is causing me problems. I think it is the moment when everything is prepared and I am sitting there, waiting to cause pain and blood to happen to my body that is reminding me strongly of my self harm. When I used to cut (and burn and whatnot) there was always a moment of hesitation before I actually did it, and waiting to press the button to get the needle into me feels the same. It shouldn’t trouble me, or trigger me, but I’m afraid it does, and so I have not been doing it as regularly as I should do. (The drug itself doesn’t hurt or cause blood to flow)
It is funny what triggers people. I was reading something on Feministe about trigger warnings the other day, so I fell to thinking about it. I have never put a trigger warning on a piece of writing that I can recall – although there are certain ways of describing my experiences that I do not do, for fear of triggering people. I don’t know whether I am being unhelpful to others by not saying “discusses self harm” or similar, but I have never found a straight discussion of SI to be triggering for me, and that is probably why I do it. Likewise were I to discuss the twisted view of sex I seem to instinctively have that could be triggering to people, perhaps, or the assaults and rape I have experienced as an adult. I rarely discuss these things but perhaps, if I do, I should consider putting a trigger warning on them?
The only thing I personally have found triggering, writing-wise, is graphic and lovingly detailed descriptions of the act of self harm and the feelings surrounding it. I view those descriptions as being like porn – intended to get you “in the mood”. In fact I have noticed some correlations between self harm and porn, in that there are images and text to, as I said, get you in the mood; there is an activity intended to provide release and there is a point at which I certainly would be enjoying the sensation, lost in the moment, and I would classify that as being somewhat similar to an orgasm.
However, as I mentioned, I have a twisted view of sexual activity (no idea why, just seemed to grow up warped) and I tend to confuse sexual desire with violence and pain quite readily. I am aware that this is not right, so I’m not expecting anyone to agree with me!
I used to have a load of “SI porn” in the form of photographs of people’s wounds. I have got rid of them now. They weren’t healthy, as I looked at them and almost invariably self injured afterwards, but they fulfilled a purpose. (I also wouldn’t look at them unless I was quite far down the road to self harm anyway). People sometimes say we should ban “pro-si” and photograph sites, but I am not sure. For one thing “pro-SI” isn’t always what you’d think. I used to read a site which some people described as pro-SI but which actually said only that our bodies are our business and if we choose to self harm then that is up to us. I still agree with that, and I am not “pro” self harm! The photograph sites, well, they serve a purpose. I suppose I have a bit of conflict about them as I found them helpful when I was actively self injuring, but then again I found them helpful to making me self harm, so, yeah.
Anyway, this is a bit of a ramble, I really just was wondering if anyone who reads this has had to inject themselves and felt a bit triggered, or if it is just me?
For more on self injury I have: