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Self-Harm Triggers *TW*

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Self-Harm Triggers *TW*

Postby breezewriter » Wed Jun 13, 2018 5:07 pm

Hi all,

It's been a long time since I've been around. I remember trying to be really helpful and supportive for 2-3 weeks and then losing my $%#@ and not returning since. Sorry about that.

Things actually resolved relatively fast and I've been pretty good for several months. I was afraid to come back because of the triggers. I hate being that person who only shows up when they need help and doesn't contribute in between, but here I am.

Our culture in the US is overwhelmed by suicide and self harm. It's EVERYWHERE. Do you ever feel like you're okay but some stressor comes along and makes you vulnerable, and then it feels like all that stuff in books, the news, and TV shows are like the voices in your head telling you it's your turn?

For me it's like being an addict. I'll be fine for so long, but then some trigger flips a switch in my mind so that it's all I see and all I can think about. And I know I shouldn't want it, but I do... so bad... What do you do?

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Re: Self-Harm Triggers

Postby z7z » Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:10 pm

I'm not easily triggered I guess. If I'm depressed or suicidal it's my own mood/instability not something I read or see on TV. I'm also not weirded out about talking with people about suicide online, but more so in person. I find the psychiatric ward very stressful and just sit in my room if people are being downers, but I do find the people very interesting. I guess I'm on a moderate to high dose of medication and I've been stable for a while so I'm not as easily swayed by other people's emotions.
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Re: Self-Harm Triggers

Postby breezewriter » Fri Jun 15, 2018 6:46 am

z7z,

I guess I didn't explain very well...

I'm not super easily triggered. I can go for long periods of time without a problem. I can talk to people about this stuff without a problem. But once a combination of stress and my own mood/instability makes me vulnerable, I can become susceptible to triggers. Those triggers are not other people's emotions. The primary trigger is my personal issues and the secondary triggers are from images of self-harm and suicide.

My point is that we are inundated with these kinds of images all day. We live in a culture where most of the time we are numb or immune to it. For me, I can disassociate myself just like anyone else, but if, in a mentally weakened state, I hear or see (or read about) images of someone cutting or committing suicide, I get fixated on it (on the act, not on them). Does that make sense?

My meds have stabilized me a lot too. It used to be way worse in terms of always thinking about it... But I wrote this post, asking this question, because I want to know how other people deal with that really strong urge that follows them everywhere. Like my original post, I think of it like being an addict. Alcohol is everywhere, yet can be tuned out. But when an alcoholic slips, they feel like they can't escape the temptation. I see an opportunity to SH and I feel like it's begging me to follow through, like a razor blade calling my name. You never have that?

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Re: Self-Harm Triggers

Postby z7z » Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:37 pm

That's odd. I don't see much about suicide anywhere. Where are you seeing this stuff and can you avoid it? Most people think of it as pretty taboo and don't talk about it other than recently a couple of celebrities did it. I guess if I was suicidal it would be more triggering for me but I'm more of a manic person than depressed. I suppose that is lucky in a way but being psychotic is pretty dangerous too.

If you are triggered by suicidal themes, maybe you are depressed? It just doesn't bother me that much. I guess it's kind of how I look at suicide too as sort of an end to suffering for terminally ill or elderly people. I do think about it if I were to be 85 years old someday or have cancer but I'm fairly happy right now and tend to ignore it. If people want to commit suicide, I guess I am okay with it and respect their decision assuming they are elderly or terminally ill and not just temporarily depressed.

Everyone dies and in 100 years there will be mostly all new people on earth. So you've got to enjoy it while it lasts and make the most of it! It also depends on how you look at death and getting over the fear of it. I see it as just nothingness and eternal oblivion. Rebirth or an afterlife just doesn't sound possible to me. I didn't exist before I was born and I won't exist in 100 years. I'm pretty much okay with that right now. Not much I can do about it anyways!
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Re: Self-Harm Triggers

Postby breezewriter » Sat Jun 16, 2018 8:58 am

z7z,

I'm not exactly sure how to respond. I guess I'll just do it systematically...

In regards to your comments about suicide not being anywhere other than a couple of celebrities... I agree that people don't talk about it openly, but they absolutely use media to relate. You yourself are saying that you ignore it, so obviously you're not going to see it. But it's not just these last couple of celebrities. Look back over the last several months of news and you will find MANY people. Of course, a lot of them are in the news because they are somehow famous, but that just speaks for the many more people who are not recognized by the news. In addition to that, our TVs are teeming with similar themes. We romanticize it. Look at hit shows like 13 Reasons Why!

If it's not direct suicide, or self-harm due to mental issues, it's something related. There are a gazillion TV and movie scenes where a character self-harms in some way or another. Punching walls, purposefully wrecking a car, self-starving, sacrificing injury for a supposed greater good, blood-letting, and even drinking away one's woes are all still forms of self-harm. These things may not matter in the slightest to someone like you, but to someone like me, who has broken my hand punching walls, sometimes the images suck me back there. Like PTSD.

Next, I think you're only seeing things from your unique perspective. I'm sure you know that everyone is different, and everyone has a different reaction to Bipolar. My bipolar may look exceptionally different than yours. Some people are known to become highly suicidal while manic. Some people have mixed episodes where they are high as a kite but instead of being happy they are freaking out like they're on a bad trip, or sad as hell. For some, mania can manifest as explosive fits of rage, while for others it just means being the life of the party. Psychosis can also be very different for different people, and perhaps mine has been different from yours. Suicidal themes, ideation, and self-harm are not isolated to those who are depressed. They're not even isolated to those who actually want to inflict self injury. Some people just can't get it out of their head, even if they want to. For someone who seems to be on here a lot, I'm surprised you don't know that.

It's very hard for me to explain through writing what it's like to be in this position, but I'll try to break it down. In this exact moment, I'm not depressed. I do not want to kill myself, and I only have a minor inclination to self-harm. But I know that I'm not completely okay/stable right now, and that if I happened to be watching TV and wasn't prepared for images of someone cutting, punching a wall, etc. it would stick in my mind. That is the point where it sits, nagging at me, and I'm unable to shake it. If my mood stabilizes in time, nothing comes of it. If my mood does not stabilize, I dwell on it until it gets worse and worse and I eventually explode. An explosion results in me following through with the behavior. Obviously that's referring to SH, not suicide...

I used the addict example because sometimes it feels like that's the case. I don't want to think about it, but then I can't stop. And when I get sensitive to it, it seems to pop up everywhere. I notice every instance. Eventually it becomes very difficult to not get consumed by it. Sometimes I think of how nice the release will be if I just go ahead and do it. Then I eventually give in. It takes a lot of work to stop again...

I wrote this post looking for people who shared my experience. My question was not rhetorical and I honestly did want to know what people do to cope with this situation. Apparently you are not one of those people and that's fine. I respect you for that, and I'm really happy you don't suffer from it. But I'm not sure why you want to come give me grief when this doesn't pertain to you.

By the way, I'm not afraid to die.
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Re: Self-Harm Triggers

Postby z7z » Sat Jun 16, 2018 1:58 pm

Well you say it's all over the news and movies/tv. That's why I stopped watching that garbage. I still read the news but that doesn't really benefit me much either. If that's a trigger for you, why do you keep watching it? Read books or watch movies that are more positive. Hobbies are great for distracting yourself as well like exercise, sports, cooking, hiking, gardening, music. Sitting around watching TV shows and the news would make anyone depressed.
I see self harm *mod edit*. Committing suicide is different. The person has just completely had enough of this world. If you're thinking about either of them, I'd talk to your pdoc *mod edit*.
Last edited by quietgirl2538 on Sat Jun 16, 2018 2:45 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Self-Harm Triggers

Postby quietgirl2538 » Sat Jun 16, 2018 4:34 pm

z7z wrote:I'm not easily triggered I guess. If I'm depressed or suicidal it's my own mood/instability not something I read or see on TV. I'm also not weirded out about talking with people about suicide online, but more so in person. I find the psychiatric ward very stressful and just sit in my room if people are being downers, but I do find the people very interesting. I guess I'm on a moderate to high dose of medication and I've been stable for a while so I'm not as easily swayed by other people's emotions.


I’m not triggered easily either. But for sure,for me, when my mood takes a turn for the worse, be it a low mood, or a manic episode, or especially a mixed episode, I get easily triggered. This is just me, though. I know myself well. I think right now, a mixed episode might be on the horizon. Gotta watch out for it, just in case. I don’t watch tv and hardly watch the news. It brings me down. So much bad stuff going on all the time. I do enjoy watching my favorite movies. It settles me down and I place my time and energy to that. When in the hospital (or Psych Ward), I kept to myself. Once when I went in, the nice and talkative people wanted to switch phone numbers and I didn’t. I felt like I was the loner there. No matter if we had things in common, we were complete strangers. I think I’ve been under some amount of stress that it is affecting me in a negative way. But I am restructuring how I run my life and removing excess stress and people who are not good for me. They don’t realize how negatively they can impact me. There a few of them, two in real life, and they can be such downers too.
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Re: Self-Harm Triggers

Postby breezewriter » Sat Jun 16, 2018 5:06 pm

z7z,

Look, I have no issue with you. I'm not trying to start a fight or anything.

Again, I guess I don't explain myself very well. I'm trying to say that sometimes you think you're watching a movie or TV show that is perfectly fine, and then those themes pop up. It comes from books too. Sometimes a hyperfocused mind picks them out, where other times it would pass over them.

Anger, frustration, anxiety, and depression are all very common and normal human emotions. Of course they're going to show up everywhere. Unfortunately our culture loves the drama and the outward reactions to those emotions are being presented in a more and more violent light. For example, instead of someone throwing one item across a room and crying in frustration, now they chug a glass of whiskey, tear apart the entire house, and occasionally injure themselves in the process. Normal, stable people don't usually do that.

Would you agree if I ammended my statements to say violence is everywhere? It wouldn't really matter. That opens it up even more. Disney movies even contain violent themes, and they always have. The characters constantly get gravely injured or die, but they just miraculously get better or are brought back to life again. Heroes routinely sacrifice themselves to save the lives of others. I can say that I would, but how many other people in the real world would do that? I'm not saying those particular movies are a trigger for me, but the point is that it's there.

Let me also clarify that I'm not saying I'm simply watching a movie and suddenly see images that make me want to kill myself. Normally it's fine. What happens is that my mood shifts, I develop a vulnerabily and a heightened sense of awareness/perceptiveness to these themes, and begin to see/hear them everywhere (even if I avoid it). Then when I accidentally happen to come across particularly strong ones, I can't shake them. I feel like I'm being pushed in that direction. Instead of a normal reaction to emotions, my actions are more extreme. I feel like I can't help myself. Make sense?

Having hobbies has nothing to do with this. I have lots of hobbies, including several you mentioned. Actually, in this state of mind, some hobbies that would normally be a positive outlet (like working out), turn into a means to self-harm by taking it to an extreme.

I really am not trying to fight with you about this. That was the last thing I expected from my original post. I think we're really just misunderstanding each other right now. No hard feelings and I wish you the best in your own journey.
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Re: Self-Harm Triggers

Postby breezewriter » Sat Jun 16, 2018 5:22 pm

quietgirl2538,

But for sure, for me, when my mood takes a turn for the worse, be it a low mood, or a manic episode, or especially a mixed episode, I get easily triggered.


Yes, that is what I'm trying to say.

I don't just watch TV all the time, by the way. Actually I really don't watch it that much at all. And I never watch the news. I only read it when something catches my eye as I open up my internet browser. I'm just saying that I see this stuff everywhere, even when I try to avoid it. I have picked out movies I thought were benign, just to be smacked in the face with a suggestive scene. I also come across it while perusing social media, listening to music, or even overhearing a conversation. I live in a big city and have actually seen more than one person on a ledge. There have been a couple times where I was only a few degrees removed from a bad situation. Perhaps I'm weak and overly impressionable, but when my mood is fluctuating, those things get to me.
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Re: Self-Harm Triggers

Postby z7z » Sat Jun 16, 2018 9:17 pm

I was not offended at all. Hope you weren't offended either. I think the mod removed my opinions about suicide for some reason. Maybe I should have put trigger warning :lol: I thought the point of this website was to talk about this stuff.
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