The Questionnaires
Conducted by A.E. Cox

Filled Out By: Holly
Addiction Type: Self-Injury

Q: So, tell me about this addiction. (What the addiction is, how old you were, why it started, how long it lasted, etc.)
A: When I was twelve, I began to self injure. It began with simply cutting, and eventually progressed to things like wrist banging and scratching. I didn't really recover from it until I was about seventeen, almost eighteen.

Q: When did you first know your addiction was an "addiction"?
A: I remember one day when I was about thirteen. I became so afraid when I felt the urge to cut. Before, it was just something I did. But suddenly, I had this intense need to, and I did. It felt better for a while.

Q: Did you feel other people judged you based on this addiction?
A: Oh yes. There are so many jokes about self injury because it seems so ridiculous if you look at it superficially. You know, 'Why would anyone want to hurt him/herself?' No one sees the hidden guilt, the self loathing. Few people knew about my cutting, but the ones that did all looked at me strangely. Only my best friend understood, because she, too, self injured. {This is a different friend from the one with bulimia}. She was my best friend, and I must admit, the idea originally came from her. It certainly wasn't her fault. I would have been exposed to it eventually.

Q: Did you try to hide the addiction from others? Is so, what would you do to try and hide the addiction?
A: Oh, self injury is terribly difficult to hide sometimes. Particularly because some of the scars never go away. I would cut on the insides of my thighs, of course, but I would also cut my ankles, upper arms, and belly. I used to wrap up bloody tissues and gauze, and hide my first aid things and razors. My mum used to wake me up in the mornings for school, and I remember wearing long sleeves and socks every night so she didn't see anything. I had to wear shorts and t-shirts for gym class, and people would eye my scars suspiciously. By the time I was sixteen, I was so antisocial and far from everyone, I just gave up trying to hide it. I stopped caring. And then so did everyone else.

Q: Did you loose any friends or harm any relationships due to your addiction?
A: No, not really. There was the feeling of no one really understanding anything about me. But that wasn't just the self injury.

Q: Did you feel, at any point, you were in control of your addiction and brushed off concerns of friends or family members?
A: Always. Again, I feel like I was better left to my own devices. I am completely alone in the end, and it was another thing I need to overcome by myself.

Q: Were there certain "triggers" that made you want to continue your addiction?
A: Guilt. I would cut if I made my mother cry. I would cut if I threw away a tiny gift someone gave me. I would cut from imagined hurt I caused. And then simply overwhelming pain would make me cut. For whatever, it was a release. It might have just been a weird dramatic gesture that people do when the emotion gets overwhelming.

Q: When did you decide enough was enough and get help for your addiction?
A: When I went into therapy for my eating disorder and depression, this was also talked about and worked on.

Q: Were there certain steps you took to recovery? Did you go to someone for help?
A: My therapist didn't touch on this much. I think he understood that I needed to do this on my own. He agreed that I didn't need to tell my parents I was still cutting and such, and I did eventually stop.

Q: Did you experience any kind of withdrawal symptoms?
A: Not physically, but emotionally. I didn't have that release anymore, so I had to try to deal with my emotions another way. Usually, I learned to just cry it all out until there was nothing left.

Q: What kind of support system did you create for yourself in trying to overcome the addiction?
A: I put my razors away. They weren't in the drawer beside my bed anymore. I went to an online site for self injury - a message board called Safe Haven at self-injury.net. I had to just be strong.

Q: What would be your advice to anyone currently experiencing this addiction?
A: I think in this case, it is easy to say you've stopped, and go back. Just try to be strong and firm with yourself.

Q: How do you feel your life has changed since your recovery? What have you learned?
A: It is mostly the same as with my eating disorder. I learned about myself emotionally- my strengths, my weaknesses.


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