To Write Love On Her Arms

I promise

Week of Reflection. Since I’m feeling inspirational today I wanted to talk about one of my favorite non-profit organizations. I donate to a wide variety of charitable organizations, mostly environmental and wildlife. This is one of the only people centered organizations I give to. Why this one?
To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide.  TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery.
The vision is that we actually believe these things…
You were created to love and be loved.  You were meant to live life in relationship with other people, to know and be known. You need to know that your story is important and that you’re part of a bigger story.  You need to know that your life matters.
We live in a difficult world, a broken world.  We believe that everyone can relate to pain, that all of us live with questions, and all of us get stuck in moments.  You need to know that you’re not alone in the places you feel stuck. 
We all wake to the human condition.  We wake to mystery and beauty but also to tragedy and loss.   We know that pain is very real.  It is our privilege to suggest that hope is real, and that help is real. 
You need to know that rescue is possible, that freedom is possible. We’re seeing lives change as people get the help they need.  People sitting across from a counselor for the first time.  People stepping into treatment.  In desperate moments, people calling a suicide hotline.  We know that the first step to recovery is the hardest to take.  We want to say here that it’s worth it, that your life is worth fighting for, that it’s possible to change. 
Beyond treatment, we believe that community is essential, that people need other people, that we were never meant to do life alone. 
The vision is that community and hope and help would replace secrets and silence.  
The vision is that we can reduce the suicide rate in America and around the world.
The vision is that we would learn what it means to love our friends, and that we would love ourselves enough to get the help we need.
The vision is better endings.  The vision is people finding life, finding freedom, finding love. The vision is people breaking cycles, making change.  
The vision is the possibility that your best days are ahead.  
The vision is the possibility that we’re more loved than we’ll ever know.  
The vision is hope, and hope is real.
You are not alone, and this is not the end of your story.
That’s straight from their Vision on the site. They have some great Facts about Depression, Addiction, Self-Injury, and Suicide as well.
Every year they have a collection of days where they make a request that everyone actually write Love on their arms. Once, twice, as many times as you want. The point is so that people will see it and ask why you have Love written all over. People send pictures of their expression to the site, post them on their social networks, text them to friends, and spread the word.  I think this ‘event’ has passed, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still do it whenever you want. It’s a good thing to share, a good message to send. I wanted to let you know.  
I never cover my scars with this, but I write it between them, above them, around them, over and under my family tattoo. It’s silly but I love it.
It should be pretty obvious why I relate to this particular organization, having struggled with and continuing to fight, against all of these issues. While a lot of what I write in this blog is about how tumultuous and sad/angry/hurt I often feel. About the facts, statistics, and issues of Borderline Personality Disorder… My goal is to educate. To understand the label of BPD and see past it, to see the person Beyond the Borderline Personality. In knowledge comes understanding. In understanding comes hope. With hope there is the possibility for a better life. A life worth living.

3 Months Clean

Milestone-ish. Well, maybe not a milestone, but something worth noting. 
I’ve been self-mutilating thought free for about 3 months! Hah. I never say ‘self-mutilating’ because in my head this automatically transposes to self-mutating and then I have the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme song running through my head.
I haven’t cut myself [purposefully] since October/November… sometime around then. Before that, not since April. I often have very long periods between episodes since I’ve gotten older. While I may not actually harm myself, the thoughts are still there. Persistent, in the back of my head, whispering, poking, prodding, any time I feel off or see something sharp. Which is every day. Every day I have these thoughts. I’ve never been without them. Not since I was very young.
I noticed about a month ago, that something was missing. How do you notice an absence of something? You don’t. At least not right away. I just woke up one day, someone mentioned something, and I had one of those ‘Huh, well that’s weird’ moments, but good weird. Realization.
It may not seem like a big deal, but it is for me. I don’t expect that I’ll never have thoughts of harming myself again. It’s kind of like that best friend you’ve had since childhood that you just want to punch every time you see him because you annoy the crap out of each other but you still end up playing together because he’s familiar. Maybe my friend went off to boarding school for a semester. I’m not sad to see him go. Also, why I decided my injurious behavior is male, I don’t know….. and now that I’ve thought about that for three seconds. Anyways.
The last scars I inflicted on myself (5 months ago?) are still very discolored, raised and noticeable. I don’t mind, not really. As mentioned previously I make no effort hide my scars. They’re kind of like any other body-mod to me. But there are mentally healthier ways to modify your skin.
So Yay me!  It really is a good thing.

Rescue me: Conceptions of Borderline Personality Disorder – Part 2

I’ve talked about self-destructive behavior before but not from a damsel in distress sort of perspective. John G. Gunderson’s next conception of BPD is: 

– Repetitive self-destructive behavior, often designed to prompt rescue:  

Self destructive behavior is always an indicator that 
something is wrong. What exactly is wrong is sometimes impossible to pin point. There may be no rational idea of what it is, only a feeling that something isn’t right, necessary, and not there. When you can’t identify the cause in yourself, it’s a natural extension to look outward, to someone else for ‘answers’. When you can’t help yourself, maybe someone else can. Now, I will say that a lot of people that embrace self-destructive/masochistic behaviors may not be looking for rescue or help. It is an indicator that there is something wrong but many people that display such tendencies keep these hidden. I’ve fluxuated though I tend to keep it hidden.

For those that don’t make an attempt to hide these behaviors, they are very often a cry for help. When you have no idea what is causing such empty, hollow, toxic feelings it’s like your mind has been dropped into a pit of despair with no way to claw yourself out. This might be a foundation for why people with BPD latch on so tightly to those close to them. Look to them for help to pull themselves up. Or to be their savior and pull them out of the dark completely.  Talking through problems is normal, but someone with BPD doesn’t feel things normally. Feelings are intense, often brutal, needing release /right now/, causing the person to act out in ways that will gain them attention. Attention that will make people notice /right now/. Act, right now. Attention from someone that will care for them, care for them enough to stop them, to protect them from themselves and the emptiness or hurt that is so pervasive. Rescue them from themselves. 

In general and especially when I was in college I kept my self destructive behavior completely hidden. I didn’t want help. I didn’t want to let anyone in. I didn’t want anyone to know I was in pain. I didn’t want anyone to know I was vulnerable. It was my way of coping, reminding myself that I was still alive, connected to the world when I had no one to lean on.

It’s incredibly embarrassing for me to admit that I have ever done this with the intention of gaining someone’s attention. In high school I did this more times than I care to admit (though not as much as I could have), but only with one specific person.  Be it a cry to help stop my eating disorder or threats of suicide, I needed to know someone cared. Someone that I wanted so badly to care for me, to care. Oddly when I was cutting or burning I rarely let anyone know and hid this as best I could.

Evil-ex would spin me out of control so bad that I would have complete nervous breakdowns, destroyed by the shear levels of anxiety and inability to maintain my own sanity. I needed to remember that I was connected to something. Instead of cutting I would beg him to take my knives away and keep them from me. This got his attention but also contempt. I never got the care or support I so desperately needed. Eventually I no longer needed to injure myself. Dating him, living with him, was more painful than anything I could do to myself.
The few times Boring-ex and I broke up were the only times I got emotional with him at all. I couldn’t stand being with him most of the time. But I was frantic at the thought of losing someone else once I had ended it. The last time we broke up was actually a shock to me and I acted out without thinking, made a veiled threat of suicide… he needed to know how badly he had hurt me. I needed him to remember I wasn’t someone he could throw away. Wanted him to take back what he’d said and want to take care of me. (This was immediately after we broke up so of course I wanted him back). While I did injure myself, I didn’t actually have any intention of killing myself, but he didn’t know that. This got the cops called on me and a trip to the psychiatric ER. Fail.  
The only commonality between these incidents; none of them have ever gained me the outcome I’d hoped for. Never once, did I get the kind of love, protection, or caring that I wanted. Utterly ineffective and only resulted in more pain and drama for everyone involved.

Considering I have an 18 year history of self-harm the times I’ve done it with the desire to have someone care for me are relatively rare. Except in my most turbulent periods, generally I’ve never believed in anyone enough to rely on someone to rescue me.  I have to rescue myself. Everyone else just let’s me down.
I’ve also come to the realization that this is a terrible way to get attention. While yes, in the short term it may inspire immediate reaction and attention, once the initial shock is over, it often inspires fear, disgust, and the people you want to be closer to push away. Most people can’t handle, or don’t want to be the rescuer. Regardless of how much you may want someone to rescue you, someone else will not see it this way. Having such a big responsibility thrown at them is scary and may cause them to draw away in order to avoid the drama and frustration of dealing with someone that is incapable of dealing with themselves. Your average person also isn’t equipped mentally or emotionally to handle such situations. Going to someone you care about, telling them that you need help and support to get professional help is a much wiser course of action that will be much healthier in the long run.  

Borderline Personality Disorder Facts and Statistics: Part 2

As promised I’m going to take a look at some of the more relevant facts and statistics concerning Borderline Personality Disorders. I’m only going to cover a few per post because there’s a lot of them. Don’t worry, there will be more.
– 2% of the general population are afflicted with BPD.
That’s a lot of people. That’s 1 in every 50.  In the United States alone this translates to approximately 5.4 million people. Perspective: this is the entire population of Tibet or Denmark (suppresses joke about ‘something is rotten in the state of Denmark’). That’s enough people to make our own country. Hah, that’s actually a pretty scary thought. We could have an emotional regulation tax. The government would be rich. The likelihood of finding better treatment would sky rocket though, or plummet, crash and burn depending on whether our universal health care coverage administration could manage their mood swings. Considering the massive amount of people that BPD affects, you would think there would be much more research into this disorder but to this day BPD remains one of the most misunderstood personality disorders. Often being considered a ‘catch all’ for a multitude of co-morbid symptoms (which it certainly has) instead of it’s own distinct disease. There has been some research, but not nearly as much as other personality and mood disorders. Most of this research has gone into assessing the symptoms, and understanding the causes, but it’s still a long ways from finding a cure or finding optimal treatment. Is there really a cure for personalities though? Part of me still resents the implication that there’s something wrong with my personality. I happen to like my personality. I’m pretty fantastic (on good days). Also, modest. On the other hand, I have a lot more bad days than good and I do recognize that I have a lot of defective tendencies that I am working to change.
Random: 1 in 50 people have digestive problems w/ daylilies. Gradually build up to eating them. WTF?!?
– 69% to 75% exhibit self-destructive behaviors such as self-mutilation, chemical dependency, eating disorders and suicide attempts.
I wonder if this is counted by individual people or by how many of each of these destructive behaviors present. I’ve had every single one of these self-destructive behaviors at some point + more. As mentioned before my thoughts of self-harm are slipping away. For one of the first times in my life I don’t need such an extreme reminder that I am, in fact, living in this world. This is such a surprising revelation for me because for almost 18 years these thoughts have been a constant companion. One I am not unhappy to be rid of. Chemical dependency for me was alcohol. I’ve never done drugs (except by Rx), nor will I. I have this thing where I actually like my brain functioning to it’s fullest potential. I’m still fighting with my eating disorder and my body image. This is one of the more insidious, less overt, of my problems because I hide it so well. I manage to come across as a health nut, but not problematic. I’ve been in recovery from this for years with only minor relapses. My body image is a completely different story though.
Instead of suicide attempts I would think this has more to do with suicidal gestures, thoughts, threats, as well as attempts. I threatened myself with suicide often when I was younger. I didn’t tell almost anyone about this, especially not anyone that would have done something about it. When things were so bad that I believed this was my only option, I didn’t want anyone to stop me. Telling people who would stop me is counterintuitive to the success of this plan. What’s the point of wanting to die and then telling people who will take away that necessary relief? I didn’t have hope for ‘a cure’. I didn’t have hope for anything. There was maybe one person that I can look back on that I think it was more a need for attention, a need to know that someone cared, more than anything. It was certainly a cry for help. I couldn’t hold onto the belief that anyone would remain in my life, that I wouldn’t always be alone. I needed the affirmation that there would be someone that stays. Ironically, I got rid of him years later and, surprise, my life has gone on and improved considerably.
– 8 – 10% die by suicide usually due to lack of impulse control over depression.
Lack of impulse control. Hm. I’m not sure most people consider suicide on a whim. It’s rarely a spontaneous decision. Suicide is a last result, when things have been so bad, for so long, it’s impossible to believe that things will get better. It’s a thought that is only toyed with at first. Creeping thoughts now and again that become pervasive over time as things don’t seem to ever get better. As happiness and hope become things so far lost to the past that a future including these elusive things can’t be seen. It’s not an impulse, it’s a cancer of the psyche that infects over time.
– Successful suicide rate doubles with a history of self-destructive behaviors and suicide attempts.
I can see how this would be true. Once you’ve thought about it for so long, made a couple attempts, the prospect of death can become less scary, more necessary because it becomes so ingrained in everyday thought. Personally? Suicide is my greatest failure. And by ‘greatest’ I mean one that I am most grateful for. Nothing makes you appreciate failure so much as looking back on the wonderful things I could have missed out on had I succeeded in ending my life when I was younger. Every now and again when I hit a low or things go wrong and I feel absolutely hopeless the thoughts creep back, but I no longer consider suicide an option. For as bad as things can seem sometimes I have lived enough, experienced enough, to know that things change. As long as there is a chance for change, there is a chance for things to get better.
My sense of humor is often inappropriate
– 10% of all mental health outpatients; 20% of psychiatric inpatients

I beat the stats on the inpatient thing, though probably I shouldn’t have. Other than one evening in the psych ER which was do to an overreaction from an ex {<~~~ bastard}, I’ve never seen the inside of a hospital for psych problems. Physical medical problems caused by mental problems (remind me to tell you about the sweet potato some time) yes, but not for being out of my mind in need of a ‘rest’. I am certainly an outpatient if you consider seeing talking to my PCP, my psychiatrist, and going to therapy twice a week outpatient.  What can I say, I’ve grown and matured a lot when it comes to my mental health. BPD is not easy to deal with. After more than 15 years trying to fight it on my own, finally I found assistance and it’s made so much difference. Ok, so maybe my learning curve isn’t so high but I’m getting help now.

Pulling the trigger

Unfortunately I have a lot of these.
– Being alone when I need friends (specific friends) – my loneliness is the worst trigger I have.
– My best friend not texting or IMing back – feeling ignored, abandoned, automatically thinking I’d done something wrong that caused this lack of attention.
– Seeing women that I wish I looked like.
– A friend sending me artistic nudes – reminding me of how I used to look or thinking that since I don’t look that way I am not good enough in his eyes.
– Seeing highly stylized clothing that I love but can’t yet pull off.  
– Going over my calorie count for the day – loss of self imposed control .
– Clothes not fitting right – remind of control lost.
– Not getting enough sleep.
(I’m sure there’s more I’m forgetting)
– Finding something from friends lost. Thoughts/situations that remind me of them…  
Causes me to drink. Causes me to eat more. Causes me to obsess about my weight. Causes me to indulge my bulimia (purging and exercise). Causes me to feel like I have failed myself. Lost control of the structure I’ve imposed on myself to fix my body image. Making me so self conscious of my mistake that I can’t bear to let anyone else see me. Compounding my loneliness. Restarting the cycle. Once I’ve lost control for the night, it feels like the entire day has been ruined. That there is no point continuing to try. I might as well continue to indulge the spiral. Spinning down into the dark recesses of my mind. A black hole of cyclic thinking. Nothing solid to hold onto to pull myself back from the horizon of events about to unfold. Sucking me into a vortex from which there is no escape.
I drink to escape my own mind. I want it to dull the racing that pushes me towards the edge faster. I’ve begun to realize that this has exactly the opposite effect. It may slow my thoughts, but it doesn’t change their nature. Knowing this, I’ve been able to suffer this less often. I look to more healthy means of escapism (discuss more here) to distract myself.
I don’t weigh myself everyday or almost ever. I can’t bear the thought of the scale. I measure my waist. I go by how my clothes fit. If they don’t give me what I want to see, I obsess. Every time I renew my promises to work on it. My dedication is restored, but in the mean time, I am more depressed because I’ve let my goal slip from my grasp. I work on it, but everything seems hopeless. Failure.
I have the unfortunate tendency to see myself as either all good, or all bad. If I maintain my structure for the day I have done well. I am good. If I’ve slipped off the path I want to travel I feel worthless. Lost my control. I don’t even have the strength to get through one more day on track. I am bad. I am either white or I am black. There are no shades of grey when it comes to myself. This something my therapist has me working on. I remind myself that one day does not destroy the progress that I’ve made.
I’ve learned to look at every day as a new opportunity. One day does not determine the rest of my life. Does not end my world. I may not have been exactly what I wanted the day before. I may have messed up, but the next day is a new chance. I remind myself that if something is really important to me, I have to work on it. I have to put in real effort. There is no immediate gratification when I am trying to change my lifestyle. For as much as I want change right now I need to remind myself that some things take time, but as long as I am willing to push myself, I will reach my goals. There’s always another opportunity to reaffirm what I want for myself, and to work towards it.  
It also helps me to set longer term goals, giving me something to aim for. This allows me some room to be more flexible, to be less rigid in my thinking. Less black and white.
– Seeing bloody images.
– Friends complaining about tiny injuries.
– Beautiful scars.
– Needing attention – Being so alone, removed from the world, that I can’t/won’t be out with friends.
I also have a tendency to punish myself. To remind me that what I did was not acceptable. Traditionally this has manifested as self harm or damaging thoughts. Over the last few months though these thoughts have disappeared. Self harm is almost always on my mind even though I very rarely act on it. My control has gotten very good and I only act on it maybe a couple times a year. But the thoughts are always there at the back of my mind. Until a couple months ago. That I haven’t had these thoughts, is something new, something good. I didn’t even realize that they were missing until yesterday. I felt I messed up, but instead of wanting to punish myself I reminded myself that I could start again in the morning. That this one incident wasn’t a permanent mark. At least, not as long as I didn’t leave one (I mean this figuratively as much as literally). I still feel like yesterday was an all bad day for me, but I have hope that today will be better. That I can have the will power to set me back where I want to be.  There are still days I’m so lonely and really need friends, but the other three no longer seem to hold any power of me. That’s an accomplishment all on its own.
If I can overcome some of the more destructive triggers I have, there’s hope that I can overcome the rest.  

Acting In, Acting Out with a Borderline Personality

“Most borderline behavior is about one thing: trying to cope with internal anguish. BP’s commonly manage their intense pain in two ways: they either act “in” or act “out”. Some BP’s will mainly act “in”. Some will mainly act “out”. And some will act both in andout.
Acting “out” behaviors are attempts to alleviate pain by dumping it onto someone else – for example, by raging, blaming, criticizing, making accusations, and abusing others either verbally, emotionally or physically. They blame loved ones for all their problems, put others in no-win situations, and use emotional blackmail to get the love they need. Acting-out behaviors cause direct anguish for friends, family members, and partners.
BP’s who act “in” may mutilate themselves, make suicide attempts, express self-hate, and engage in selfdestructive behavior. They may try to hold in their anger, and blame themselves for problems that are not their fault. Acting-in behaviors mostly hurt the BP themselves, although, those who love and care for them are affected.”
To pull on a BDSM term, I’m a switch. I like to think I’ve grown out of the more violent ‘acting out’ of my youth, but really I’ve just changed to almost solely internalizing and that’s not necessarily any healthier. It’s probably better for those around me, because I no longer take out my anger and frustration so overtly on those around me. However, all that anger and frustration is almost exclusively aimed at myself now. Though there are those certain occasions when something triggers me otherwise.
When I was younger (pre-diagnosis) I would rage at how little anyone seemed to understand me. Of course I also did my damnedest to keep people out of my life and my turmoil. Rarely did a day pass that I didn’t get into a screaming fight with my family. I would get in physical fights with my siblings. I would put my fists through windows, walls, kick down doors. I was wrath personified. I blamed all my problems on all things external. It was people not ‘getting’ me, people not taking the time to talk to me, people not being smart enough to understand, people not caring enough to understand, pushing my buttons to agitate me, make me uncomfortable to control me. All I saw were the things that set me off outside of me.  I didn’t understand what was going on inside me.
Through out this time however, I ‘acted in’ as well. I was suicidal. I kept what I was really feeling locked inside, not knowing how to deal with it, I’d take out my inner pain on my own flesh. I hated my life, the constant turmoil that my life was in, the pervasive feelings of hopelessness that this was all there was for me. Nothing else to look forward to. I hid these things. To me, the feelings of perpetual sadness, loneliness, these were ‘weaker’ feelings and I didn’t want anyone to know I had weak moments. The rage I felt, at least was strong.
Now, externally I’m calmer. I have developed a lot of self control over the outward manifestation of my emotions. I can still have a very sharp tongue and I do tend to criticize but I also try to temper this. Frankly I also justify my criticisms with the fact that I am incredibly intelligent and also generally honest to a fault, so when someone has an opinion or an idea that I know isn’t plausible I don’t stay quiet. I do try not to be mean, but I don’t let people run with silly ideas. Maybe I should just stay quiet and people will like me better, but that wouldn’t be me. I’d rather be disliked for who I am, than liked for who I am not. 
My self destructive behaviors have lessened significantly but they do still crop up. I’m working to end my expessions of self harm, though the thoughts can still be nagging. I have no idea how to stop these thoughts. I try to temper my drinking which can occasionally get out of control. I still have a lot of self-loathing, resentment for how my brain works and that I can’t lead a healthier life. I still struggle with hating my body image which I am also taking steps to work on. I am also prone to making impulsive decisions and letting myself get swept up in moments that would probably be better observed from the sidelines, but a girl’s got to live a little, right?
Maybe it’s maturity, or maybe it’s just being so sick and tired of living in so much turbulence. I don’t believe I can live this way any longer. The path I’ve tread most of my life will end quickly if I let myself go to the darkness. I can’t do this anymore. I want to live a happy, healthy life. One that is not wracked with such emotional upheaval. I’ve chosen to become a stronger version of myself and I’ve been doing everything in my power to not give up the only chance I have at this life.

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Hiding Scars – Criteria 5 / Self Mutilation

 I detest that look of pity in your eyes. I do not want your attention. I do not want your sympathy. No one hates whiny emo brats cutting for attention more than people that truly know the meaning of self harm.
“…Self injury may be used to garner attention, but this is not the focus of chronic, repetitive self injury. The fact is that people who self injure make a great effort to hide their bruises and scars, and are loath to discuss their inner or outer pain. Self injurers rarely seek medical attention for their wounds, and are wary of seeking support from the mental health services. Self injury is private and personal, it is hidden from family and friends…”
I’m curious about this statement in regards to myself. When cutting/burning, I often hide the healing wound, but once it’s healed I make no attempt to hide my scars. Pushing too hard, going to deep. I often end up having heavy scars that raise up and never fade. My scars are permanent. I find them beautiful and not in any way a sense of shame. They’re more a badge of courage showing myself I had the will to brave the pain and fight. With the exception of professional situations, I also don’t divert attention from them, this doesn’t mean I deliberately try to attract attention, nor do I deny their origins, I simply wear my scars as they are another part of me.
Why don’t I hide this? What is different about me that I don’t do this?
I am also at conflict with discussing inner and outer pain. There was a time that I would flat our refuse to discuss my feelings or emotions. Only over emotional whiny girls complained about their feelings. I was tougher, stronger, didn’t show my pain. Buried it deep beneath my surface. Eventually, I would turn them off and completely disassociate from them until it was no longer possible to feel them. I would not seek anyone to talk to. I dealt with it in my own manner.
I don’t mind talking about my feelings now, however listening to myself speak it sounds ‘matter of fact’. I can discuss things, I can try to pin point the origins and causes of my feelings, hash them out with others, but it’s rare that I hear or feel any of that emotion when I discuss it. It seems a clinical analysis like a doctor discussing a patient when trying to convey what should be something very personal. I may feel something, but in discussing it, I detach, and more often then not, those feelings go away. It’s like I’m discussing how someone else feels, so logically I can’t convey emotion that someone else would feel because I wouldn’t be feeling somone else’s emotions. More than logic, I actually feel nothing. I image that from an outside perspective it makes me difficult to relate to; to talk about deep or distressing emotions but display a passively neutral, almost cold reserve. How can someone feel this way, and have no outward display or affectation? I wonder if people even believe me.
From another aspect, I may have no trouble talking about it because I’ve already had just about everything possible used against me to humiliate me, abandon me, or injure me mentally and emotionally. Fear of humiliation, rejection, etc. are primarily the reasons I imagine someone would withhold how they are feeling. Having become accustomed to this, there is little point in withholding. Especially as in a twist of defense mechanism I decided to simply take everything about me and put it out in the open myself, instead of fearing that someone else would do it.
Open, but detached.
Sometimes I wonder if I talk about how I feel for the benefit of others. People feel helpful, closer, when you let them into your inner thoughts. Trusted, relied on. There are very few people that I seek out to discuss such things. These people are those that I would trust and keep close. With others it’s easy to recognize that people like to listen and feel satisfaction when they are able to provide advice, or guidance, or their own words of wisdom. It’s amusing to see the self-satisfaction in others. These are the times I feel less than nothing about the things I talk about. I tend to become agitated or annoyed with the simplistic, simplified, prosaic, platitudes that people spit out. Maybe I’m hoping that someone will tell me something I didn’t already know; but I am generally disappointed. I become annoyed at the suggestion that I was not intelligent enough to have come up with such an obvious conclusion. Odds are, I have; many, many times for many different instances, and am too polite to tell you that your suggestions have nothing to do with my world. I also know these suggestions are not actually meant to insult my intelligence, but that little voice in the back of my head says they should know I’m smart enough to have thought of that myself.
My openness may also be a way to push people away. Not let them get close in the first place. If they see my scars maybe they’ll judge me and keep themselves at arms length relieving myself of the responsibility of maintaing the distance. Ultimately it makes it easier for me to protect my core.

Potentially protecting myself from future external emotional harm

Cut to the quick – Criteria 5 / Self Mutilating behavior

Another hallmark of the Borderline personality is Self Harm.
Criteria  5: recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior.
People don’t understand cutting, self harm. It’s almost always met with expressions of repulsion or revulsion. “Only whiny emo kids need to do that for attention.” Or “Why would you hurt yourself!?!”. It creates disgust or something to look down on, fear or a scapegoat. This comes from people that have not taken the time to understand it. Once you unmask the monster, it begins to make more sense.

I stumbled upon cutting by accident. Well not completely an accident, but I didn’t know it was a thing, then. I was ready to commit suicide. Slit my wrists. I was testing the waters, to see how it felt.
I was 13.
It was then that I realized that this made me feel better, more alive. Hold to life harder. Not make me want to end it. At the time, I didn’t completely understand why, but it jolted me back to reality and grounded me. There are three primary reasons I self-injure. The first is most important so we’ll start there.
1.) To Remind me that I’m alive. 
— I look out for myself, unfortunately my subconscious is less than thrilled with me. Self harm reminds me that I am alive when I otherwise feel like I am not attached to anything. When I dissociate, I could be walking along a road, stumble in front of a car and part of my brain would think it unnecessary to jump out of the way b/c I feel so far removed from my own sense of Self.
My dissociative disorder is a way to deaden my nerves to such things as past abuse. It’s a defense mechanism against emotional trauma. Unfortunately it is not selective and now takes over during my day to day more than just for specific harmful interactions. I’m not necessarily unhappy about this. I do still connect with the rare good people I have in my life, but I often lose that feeling of connection. When I am unconnected I am left with something of a cold rationale, logic. I’ve learned to utilize my disorder to my benefit, but as a result it leaves my life a very dreary place and me numb to the world around me. Feeling nothing.
To see my blood flowing, hot and thick, reminds me that I’m alive. The sharp wounding a reminder that there is something left to feel. Extreme forms of physical sensation bring me down to earth, back into myself and I remember that I am fully alive in the now. So in a sense, my self injury is helping me look out for myself. Keep me alive. 
My Self harm counterbalances my Dissociative disorder, now. I don’t know if I’ve always had a dissociative disorder as it’s a recent diagnosis, but I do know that I’ve always felt separated, other.  
2.) Punishment, for when I believe I’ve done something wrong, or not well enough.
— I have to be perfect. Everything I do must be done right. And I do a lot of things at one time. Things are very time dependent and synced to provide the perfect outcome.
What’s funny is, I don’t actually believe in the concept of perfection. The concept of Perfection to me is also a concept of Stagnation. A point where there can be no further growth or progress.
Cutting to punish myself, helps push myself, to keep me striving to do better because what I just did was not as good as it could be.
3.) Controllable Pain.
— This may be more a result than a reason but it is worth including. It’s also a pain that can be controlled. When everything surrounding you seems to hurt (emotionally, mentally) beyond your ability to influence, cutting is a pain that is manageable. Provides control.  Welcome to an aspect of Self Harm that most people don’t understand. Self harm is a physical (outer) representation of emotional/mental (inner) pain. As the physical wounds heal, so the psyche represents the mind healing, the real inner wound heals. It’s a process I can see, touch and feel. Know that something is healing the way it should and that there is hope that other things will be able to heal as they should.  
As for my self-injury I appreciate many forms. I cut, I burn, I fight, I scratch. Fighting is probably my favorite (as in mixed martial arts, not petty arguments with people). I walk away covered head to toe in bruises. I’ve used oven racks and irons to burn. I do prefer cutting most though. I have two pocket knives of significant sentimental value. What many find surprising is I’ve never used razors. Scissors and broken mirrors I will use if I have nothing else, but never such a traditional tool as a razor.
I don’t do it so often anymore, only during times of extreme stress, but that’s still more often than most people think is healthy. Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with it as long as it helps me. You can tell me it’s fucked up all you want, but I do what I need to do.
I feel strong again for enduring the trial. Having deadened the nerves to things that might otherwise hurt and filling in the cracks of my mental armor with blood and scar tissue. Sometimes I feel like I am clad in full platemail. Other times it’s like I’m walking beneath an icy sky, bare.