A couple of things I learned from the seminar and thoughts the seminar provoked:
(side question: Is a conference of dominatrixes an S&Minar?)
"Cutter" is probably not a good term to use since it's too narrow a definition of self-injurious behaviors and it's pejorative. Plus why label someone by one behavior when there is an underlying problem causing the behavior.
The underlying problem is the real problem. You cannot expect a self injurer (unlike someone with suicidal ideation) to sign a "no harm contract." It's silly and it's just setting them up for failure. A self injurer does so as a coping mechanism. Taking away their coping mechanism doesn’t take away the underlying feelings which require coping.
The root is the inability to face intense emotions or feelings. The cause of those feelings can be deep-seeded hurt, anger, sadness, etc. created by long-term trauma like sexual abuse, domestic violence, other forms of abuse / neglect… or what might be considered to be normal adolescent angst when viewed through the eyes of an adult but seem horrific and hopeless to the adolescent (or pre-adolescent) experiencing it. It seems adolescence is always horrible to some extent.
States of being or of feeling are part of a continuum. There are very few dichotomies out there. Sanity is a continuum. Horror is a continuum.
Life, boys and girls, is a sliding scale.
Unfocused journaling is NOT a good idea for self injurers. Entries might start off normally enough but soon it spirals out of control until the writing is huge and angry and the pen tears through the paper a page into it.
Catharsis for the sake of catharsis is dangerous territory for folks who are not properly equipped to deal with strong emotions. Might as well toss a cherry bomb into a paper bag of sheet metal screws.
I would hate to be a kid today. I'd weep for all the kids who are growing up in the 2000's but for the fact that I'm highly trained to compartmentalize those sorts of things (hee hee!)
The reason self injurers are instantly thought to be Borderline Personality Disorder subjects is that the only place deliberate self injury not related to suicidal ideation is found in the DSM-IV is in the BPD section and in Asperger / Austism section. If you are higher functioning than an Asperger patient then you must be BPD, right? Nope.
A lot of psychology is well founded, time tested knowledge but I firmly believe some of it is complete crap. Actually it's "made up shit" which is worse than organic crap. I guess I'm not going to go further on that metaphor either.
Borderline Personality Disorder (aka Excessive Repulsive Disorder) patients sometimes do self-injure but then it really is for histrionics and attention seeking. Or so it seems to me today. Two days ago I thought I had a fairly good handle on the self injury phenomenon but I was sadly mistaken.
I want to thank the several people who looked over my first CIT presentation on Self Injury. You were right, it was a decent introduction but upon reflection it was way too long on 'wha't and short on 'why' and shorter still on 'okay, now what?'
Public schools probably waste a fair amount of money. That being said, I think we need to pour… yes DRENCH public schools with money for more teachers, better training, better support staffs, etc. I'll even gladly pay more taxes for it. Heck, I'm already funding the rebuilding of a foreign country which we dismantled in the first place and are not appreciated any more now than we were before.
The internet is a dark and scary place sometimes. I tend to think of it as a vast resource of information (and porn) but I didn't realize how many sites are out there advocating self injury as a valid coping mechanism. It's not. There are also sites which teach anorexics and bulimics how to perfect their non-eating or purging strategies and better hide the evidence.
It makes sense.
Bomb making plans are available on the internet. Neo-Nazi websites have a certain popularity. Have a sexual fetish? Have a deviant desire? Intensely crave the rockin' sounds of the Brady Bunch? There are sites and databases and bulletin boards for EVERYTHING.
My liberal heart smiles because the internet is nearly pure free speech. It's a constitutionally protected right in the USA but it's being practiced all over the world to a greater or lesser degree everywhere on the 'net.
And they'll pry my blog from my cold dead … um… binary code? I guess that'd be my "cold dead digits" which sort of works as a twist on the NRA thing but it's not my best piece of writing. But I digress.
The trouble with all of this with regard to self-injurers (and other fringe groups) is that it "normalizes" what is in no way normal behavior. I know: Normality is also a continuum.
And I would never advocate censorship but I'd hate some fucktard 19 year old who thinks he knows everything about everything to influence some 13 year old away from getting help early. But I guess the 13 year olds are going to run into fucktard know it all 19 year olds eventually anyway.
37 year old know-it-alls too. Just ask me, I'll tell you!
Sweet dreams, readers. If you ever had a doubt that I appreciate readership, let me tell you now – I value your comments and your continued interest in where this whole thing on the Panic Blog.
oh and The Eagles of Death Metal and OK Go are on heavy rotation tonight in my headphones and I'd recommend both. Call them self-parody power pop but you'll tap your toes and sing along. I doggamn guarantee it!