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Self-injury Recovery board

[FONT="Comic Sans MS"][SIZE="3"]Dear folks recovering from or in the midst of struggling with self injury,
After many decades of struggling with this problem, and almost as many years of therapy, one day my psychiatrist said something to me that made a WHOLE LOT of sense, and I thought I would share it with you all. My prayer is that it will help maybe at least one person not to feel so shame filled and guilty, and to explore the possibility that this is a CHEMICAL imbalance that is causing you to deal with stress, anxiety, shame, embarrassment, lack of hope, feelings of worthlessness, and all of the other things that may cause you to injure yourself in many different ways that have been discussed here. I have done most of them myself. One way I was self injuring included alcoholism, which seemed to make the likeliness of physically hurting myself even greater.
This may seem strange - but please think about it - it made so much sense to me when I finally heard it, I could have jumped for JOY!
There has been research that shows that self injuring people may have less natural opiates, or release less than the "average" person does as a response to physical and emotional pain. As a result, some people may have learned that causing themselves physical pain releases opiates into their system, causing an almost immediate sense of relief ... the problem is, it fades, and the cycle repeats.
Several years ago I started methadone maintenance, as I tend to become addicted to almost anything, and it had two unexpected side effects. ONE was drinking alcohol was no longer enjoyable or desirable to me. Even when I thought I wanted a drink, I could barely down half a beer. And you are talking to someone who was drinking an average of 36 beers a night.
TWO I noticed, maybe during the second year, that since I had started methadone, I NEVER ONCE cut or burned or intentionally hurt myself in any way. It was something I hadn't even noticed until my doctor pointed it out to me, and mentioned maybe there really is something to that study saying that people who self injure do it in part to release opiates that they do not release as easily or freely, and that do not last as long in their systems as they do for others.
I found this VERY ENCOURAGING. And while I will admit, methadone became a new type of addiction, even my psychiatrist said that if I have to exchange one bad thing for another, maybe going to the methadone clinic isn't such a bad thing. I can function and think clearly on methadone. I can get things done on methadone without falling into a deep depression that keeps me in bed or drunk for months. And most importantly, I NO LONGER HAVE ANY DESIRE to hurt myself whatsoever.
Now, I don't give all of the credit to methadone, in fact, it belongs to my God, who I believe led me down the path to try it because I had become addicted to pain medication, and was more concerned about the damage the Tylenol and or aspirin would do than I was concerned about the opiate part of the medicine.
Methadone worked for me.
But let me warn you, it is also something that comes with it's own downside - for sure. It's just comparing before and after is like comparing two different lives. It makes sense to me now that Revia (an opiate antagonist) also made me have no desire to drink. And I will swear by it as a cure to alcoholism. But I will also swear that opiates are a cure to self injurious behavior (this is all just my opinion and experience of course) -- but I would be happy to discuss it further with anyone who is feeling hopeless.
Going to a methadone clinic is a lot simpler than most people think. You don't have to be addicted to heroin -- I've never touched it in my life, and I believe as research in this area continues, they will discover that the lack of natural opiates is the cause of most if not all self injurious behavior. Opiates used to be prescribed as anti-depressants about a century ago, and I really believe they were on to something. It is just that America became so terrified of "addiction" we threw out the baby with the bathwater. For example, VValium is one of THE SAFEST drugs there is, it is nearly impossible to overdose on (without combining other substances, obviously) and yet in the 60's and 70's a bunch of bored housewives feared they were "hooked" and so their doctors panicked and stopped prescribing a very helpful med as often as they should have. We are seeing the same thing with a country wide mass hysteria over people becoming "addicted to opiates" -- God forbid. Meanwhile - don't take any one's Prozac or Paxil away -- they could suffer physical withdrawal, they need to taper off, and why should they if they "need" it? IMO that should be the same approach docs have to pain meds, and anything else people "need". If you physically need it, of course you will be physically and psychologically addicted. But if it doesn't hurt your body, soul, or mind - SO WHAT? Why don't they just give us what we NEED and stop having so many pseudo-ethical dilemmas? We live in a country that doesn't hesitate to kill unborn babies without even sedating them, and until a recent supreme court decision didn't even have a problem killing (euphemism "aborting") them, as they were born, in a barbaric practice called "partial birth abortion - without anesthetic or pain relief for a baby that could FEEL every bit of it, that is the scientific fact. And yet doctors have "ethical and moral" problems relieving pain for people who need drugs that could be categorized as "addictive" -- how ridiculous!!! Does anyone else see the IRONY and the HYPOCRISY and the pure baloney of it all?
Anyway, I digress.
Opiates can help you if you are a self injurer and don't know why. Especially if you do it when you drink, and you are developing or have a drinking problem. Naltrexone could also help you in the same way. I encourage you to talk to your doctor about the research on this, and to explore options that might be out there for you. I want to encourage you - you are not crazy, and you do not struggle alone. You are a frustrated genius, and it is very likely that you find it frustrating that you cannot find anyone to listen to, to see, or to relate to your pain and so a lot of what you are doing is symbolic. It is so people can SEE that you are in pain even though you don't really want anyone to see it at all once you have recovered from the onslaught of it, and yet you are left with the tell-tale embarrassing scars. I know. I have been there.
And my God and the path He is leading me on is setting me free - finally after over three decades of suffering in that way.
If you need help, or support, or have questions, I am here for you. And remember Deuteronomy 31:8 - so is God - He promised he would be. And that, friends is GREAT NEWS!! May He help you find a path to freedom from this pain -- remember the TRUTH will set you free!!!
God bless all those who are struggling with this. IT DOES get better in time, I PROMISE ... even if you don't believe anything else I've said. You are here for a reason, and maybe it is to bring understanding and compassion to this hugely ignored percentage of our population that is crying out for understanding -- and just to know that they are not weird because of their affliction. I assure you, struggling with self- injurious behaviour just shows that you are unique and creative in expressing deep pain, and that you can feel a lot more than most. Like say, Paris Hilton is someone who I am sure wouldn't even begin to understand what you are going through. And that is a good thing!
Best regards, it will get better ... here's to hope - it isn't nearly as far away as you may think, and you will see it soon if you keep watch ...
~S.D. [/FONT]