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765828 tn?1306263868

Self Harm and OCD

I OCD clean and organize things - post it's and Sharpies are a couple of my best friends.  It's severe enough that if I'm forced to stop, I will have a panic attack or just black out because I don't know what to do.  I am at a complete loss without cleaning.  I make lists constantly as well as schedules to try to maintain a healthier life, like getting outside and not letting it isolate me.  So, I'm trying.

I'm a cutter and a wall banger.  This is a result of many things, including OCD.  But as I get older, it's not the depression, anxiety, or panic that makes me do these things.  I feel the need to do them.  It's like I actually miss having blood and bruises everywhere.  Is it controllable?  So far, yes, but it's starting to become another factor of OCD.  

I'm curious to know, has anyone else experienced this type of OCD?  
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585414 tn?1288941302
Yes but I'd rather not describe but it happenned before my recovery. For me it was from untreated psychosis though and I would suppose some abuse I experienced growing up that I had emotionally blocked out. I talked it over with my psychiatrist who also functions as my talk therapist. For some people a support group such as Self Mutilators Anonymous is good. Depends on what the cause is.
Helpful - 0
765828 tn?1306263868
When I was younger, I was mortified by how I looked if I encountered any bruises or cuts - especially rashes and what not from all the side effects of the medication I was taking (which was a lot and constantly changing because I'm allergic to everything).  Now, having what I refer to as "war wounds", I'm generally pleased with them.  It reminds me of what I've gone through and as unaesthetic as they may be to other people, it doesn't matter.  I'm very comfortable with myself and I don't embarrass easily.  Whatever other people think is on them ...

I never really thought self-harm was bad.  At least not for me.  I can understand opposition.  But you have to look at it in a broader perspective.  This is a topic I've discussed with my doctors, friends, and my sister once.  Take smoking for example.  You know it's harmful to your health but you still do it.  We die a little each day, but in this scenario, you are PAYING to die.  It's expensive (especially now with the economy), you can get at least ten kinds of cancer just in your throat and mouth, it's addictive, and some people don't agree with it.  They find it displeasing or rather, disgusting.  

Cutting and wall-banging are both methods of coping, just as cigarettes/tobacco/chew are.  It can become addictive, depending on your lifestyle and whatever reason you're doing it in the first place.  But you're not doing it to kill yourself.  Most people just want to FEEL when they're numb from the inside out.  In my experience, only taking the depression as an example, it reminded me that I was human.  No, they're not healthy habits.  The majority of people will argue that it's wrong and not "healthy".  Who determines what is healthy for a specific person?  

I'm not advocating self-harm, but I'm not condemning it, either.
Helpful - 0
585414 tn?1288941302
Yes I understand and of course there are a wide variety of lifestyle choices that people should be tolerant of, but self mutilation can be really destructive and even if not carried to extremes is a form of self harm best eliminated. I could think of one example that's not too disturbing to post. I used to get a rash from lithium. It was not dangerous but it bothered me and what my dermatologist gave me would not eliminate it (adjusting the dosage under my psychiatrist's supervision eventually did). I would pick them open until they bled thinking I could get rid of them. One day I got chickenpox (having nothing to do with this) so of course it all worsened. By that time chickenpox was treatable and I took the medication for it but I continued to pick apart the pimples. Now I have a huge hole in my shoulder as a "reminder" that will never go away. The whole time it was an unhealthy coping solution because it could have gotten infected. No one should condemn or judge you because you are not hurting others but think why you want to do it. If there are people or issues that bring these feelings upon you best to discuss coping solutions for them or find other stress relievers (for me a long walk is good) that will help. Something to think about. It can be a hard habit to overcome. I know people in the bpd forum have had it severely and specifically overcome it and might be able to give you a more personal perspective. None of this happens in one day is all I can say.
Helpful - 0
765828 tn?1306263868
I'm not dumb ... and not that I'm saying you are for "picking" at yourself, but I take precautions in what I do.  I'm well aware it can get infected, in fact, I don't take care of most of the bumps, bruises, and cuts I get on a daily basis.  Why?  Do I want them?  Not really.  Most of them are a mystery from waking from catatonia and I figure, as long as I haven't done anything to anyone else, my animals, or left my apartment, it's manageable.  

It's funny, though.  A very scared stray kitten I adopted freaked out on me and tore up my left arm.  She sunk her teeth and all of her claws into my skin.  I literally had to shake her off, because I couldn't pull her by the scruff since she wouldn't let go.  I was upset because I didn't want her to be uncomfortable in my living environment - I didn't care about my arm.  Now I have some kitty scratch reminders and I didn't take care of them, so they're there.  

Another time my other cat got scared in my arms and cut my left arm as well.  My friend was over and he insisted I use rubbing alcohol.  I did and it was gone in practically one day.  Really, though, I don't take care of the exterior of my body because I'm allergic to everything.  I cannot emphasize what I mean by everything.  There are NO antibiotics that I can take, no steroids, no creams ... nada.  I'm allergic to latex, so you can cross that off for bandaids.  I'm also allergic to cotton.  So, as you can see, there really isn't much I can do.  As far as cutting myself, I clean it up as well as what I use to do it.  All in all, what I'm telling you is that, I'm not worried.  I'm as comfortable in my skin as I can be.  

That's something hardly anyone can genuinely say.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Your story reminds me of our neighbour.  She, too, suffered from OCD; however, later, she was suspected of also suffering from BPD (borderline personality disorder).   Have you discussed this possibility with your doctor.  Just wondering .....
Helpful - 0
765828 tn?1306263868
Different doctors think different things.  I don't have Borderline Personality Disorder, but I've had a lot of other diagnoses.  My OCD has been with me since day one, I just never really noticed it until it hindered my life (not going outside, sleeping, or eating - just cleaning 24/7).  
Helpful - 0
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