Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about my disordered eating and self-injury issues. I’ve written a few posts about my disordered eating already. Today, I want to discuss self-injury. As a thought starter, I’m using question one from the 30-day self-injury challenge. It’s about when you started self-harming.
I started self-harming when I was very young. Until I was a teen, my self-harm looked more like that of the stereotypical low-functioning autistic person. I often banged my head and bit my hands. It was possibly in part self-stimulatory or stereotypical behavior, but I also self-harmed when I was frustrated. Now that I’m an adult, I still bang my head or bite my hands when frustrated on occasion.
I started cutting when I was sixteen-years-old, although I didn’t do it that often and the wounds were more scratches than cuts. I was somewhat depressed at the time and struggling with mood swings, low self-esteem and anxiety.
By the time I started independence training at the age of nineteen, it got worse. The wounds didn’t get that much worse, but I did cut more often, sometimes daily. One of the reasons was I had more opportunities. Before then, I’d use ordinary table knives that were my parents’. In the independence training home, I still used kitchen appliances, but they were sharper and within easier reach. I never had the opportunity to buy razor blades or whatever other tools other self-harmers use. Part of the reason my self-harm worsened, though, was I started struggling more as expectations increased.
I never went to great lengths to hide my self-harm wounds. That may get some people to believe I did it for attention. I personally still don’t know how to hide fresh wounds and being blind might’ve contributed to my not realizing people would notice. I never drew attention to my wounds or scars and was usually avoidant when confronted with them.
Now, still, when I self-injure, I try not to make a big deal out of it. When I tell my staff, I tell them pretty matter-of-factly unless I’m still melting down. I do on occasion freak out about my own self-injury, in which case I do tell the staff. I don’t tend to talk over the issues that got me to self-injure unless I’m still having the issues when I get to talk to staff.
Of course, writing a blog post (or more) about the subject can be seen as attention-seeking. Quite frankly, I don’t care. I have now only been free from self-injury for four days since my last slip-up. Some people count the days they’ve been free in total, rather than the days since their last slip-up. I like that, and it leads to a much more optimistic outcome. After all, I self-injure only once in a while now. I don’t cut or bite or bang nearly as often as I binge.