My Struggle With Self-Harm

 

 

Hi, Everybody, Welcome back to HomeFree

I recently got some feedback that said that my videos had become a bit too impersonal and distant, so today I’m doing something completely different, coming to you raw and uncut from a random location somewhere in Dunedin to talk about my struggles with self-harm.

I’m gonna be 50 in a couple of months and I’ve struggled with this problem since….as long as I can remember. I can’t even remember when it started.

So what I do is I tear and chew and rip at my lips and the nailbeds of my fingers. As you can see (in the video) I even have a wound on my lip from chewing it. I was almost too ashamed to make this video and show my face on camera with the evidence of what I do plastered all over my face, but I figured what the heck, right? You can see that I have all the same problems that you have and I’m not above abuse-related issues.

This is probably my most consistent, my most persistent abuse-related problem. I’ve tried many times to get rid of it and still it keeps hanging around. I see a lot of you struggling with this, talking about how keep trying and it doesn’t go away, so today I’m gonna talk about my struggle with it.

So what happened was my mother did this behavior, her two sisters still do it, and my two sisters still do it. So I had it modeled for me from a very early age. I saw it being used as a coping strategy and it just became ingrained. I do it when I’m reading. I do it when I’m working. I do it when I’m thinking. I do it when I’m stressed. I do it for no reason at all. I do it now from sheer force of habit to the point where, most of the time, I’m not even aware that I’m doing it.

So when I say that I’ve struggled with it since early childhood, what I really mean is that I haven’t been struggling with it all that time. Most of the time, I ignore it or I would tell myself, “This is just what I do and it’s what I’m gonna do and I’ll probably be doing it all my life….so whatever.”

It was only a couple years ago, actually when I started to get serious about this blog, that I realized, if I was going to be able to help people deal with this problem, that I actually needed to prove that my system would work, that if it would work for them, it would have to be able to work for me, too. So I started applying the system to this behavior that I have.

As you probably all know from following my content, the first step is to identify that we have a problem that needs to be solved. In this case, I have a habit that I want to get rid of.

The next step is to define exactly what the underlying motivation behind it is, what the payoff is, and what it’s doing for my life. I’ve tried maybe four or five times when I thought I had figured out what the underlying motivation was, but it didn’t stick. It didn’t get me to the point where I could actually tackle the habit itself. It just became nothing.

So, a few weeks ago, I finally realized the underlying motivation behind this problem that causes me to constantly pick and chew and tear at myself is this obsession with being good enough: Am I good enough? Oh my God, I’m not good enough! Oh, my God, I’ve got to do such-and-such to make myself good enough. I’ve got to remove this microscopic imperfection to make myself good enough.” There’s this constant obsession with being good enough because I don’t feel like I am good enough…..

That contrasted between the times when I don’t do the behavior, when I’m relaxed, I’m confident, and I am certain that I am good enough, that I don’t need to do anything to make myself good enough because I already am, that being good enough comes from inside me. It comes from my accomplishments and my achievements and my experiences and my goals and all that sort of thing. 

While I was making this video I had a flashback to Wallace and Grommet. Wallace has this habit that he does when he’s uncertain or anxious. He does this with his hands and that’s exactly what it is. It’s the anxiety of not doing whatever it is that we’re too anxious to do.

So that’s the underlying motive behind it. Even now, even now that I recognize what the underlying motivation is behind it, I find it virtually impossible to stop doing the behavior simply because it’s such an ingrained habit. 

So far, there are two times of the day—it started with one—one time of the day when I wasn’t doing anything else, when I could actually concentrate on recognizing, “I’m good enough. I don’t have to keep attacking myself.”

And the pain! The pain of ripping into myself, of causing myself to bleed, or of whittling away at myself with a pocketknife—not only is it not going to make me good enough, but that pain holds me in a state of tension where I think I’m not good enough and I have to do something to make myself good enough. That tension wouldn’t be there if I wasn’t causing myself this pain.

And all the time in my mind, I’m thinking, “I’m making it better. I’m healing the wound by removing this imperfection,” when, in fact, I’m making it bigger and more noticeable and more obvious and exacerbating the problem.

So that’s where it starts, with one time of the day when I can actually successfully stop myself from doing it. All the rest of the times of the day, I’m still doing it as much as ever and that’s how I wound up with this.

Now, over the course of the last two weeks, there are now two times when I can stop myself from doing it and I’m moving on to number three which is driving.

When I drive, I’m in the habit of driving one-handed which leaves my other hand free to do this behavior. So now what I’ve started to do is concentrate on, when I catch myself doing it, is keeping both hands on the wheel, which I should be doing anyway, as a way to undermine my obsession with doing this behavior.

That’s how it starts to tackle these habits. When there is one habit that we’re either trying to eliminate or trying to establish, there are all these support habits that keep that habit going. If we’re trying to eliminate something, removing the support habits will help to undermine the habit that we’re trying to get rid of. If we’re trying to ingrain it, implementing the support habits will make it more likely that we’re to implement the habit that we’re trying to implement.

So that’s where I’m at with it.

You know, I used to think, “If I’m still dealing with these problems when I’m 50, I’m gonna kill myself.” That’s what I used to think and now here I am. I’m 50 and I’ve still got this problem hanging around.

If anybody is thinking that watching this or consuming any of my other content, this is the only way to get these problems stopped. Just randomly floundering around, either trying any old thing or not trying anything, is not going to eliminate the habit. It’s virtually guaranteeing that, in the decades to come, the problem will persist. The only way to get them stopped is to tackle them one piece at a time and it is an excruciating process. No one knows that better than I do.

So I just thought I’d put my face out there with all the evidence for everyone to see. I do have these problems, too, and I do use this system on myself and it works. It is the only way to get these problems fixed and to remove them from our lives permanently.

So that’s what I’m doing. I hope this helps somebody out there. If you need help right now, click the chatbot link at the bottom of the page and we’ll get your problems solved. See you there.