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Self-injurer

Question:

I am a self injurer. I have been doing this ever since I’ve been about 3 years of age. I also dissociate a lot, and feel unreal. Lately, this behavior is happening more and more, and I’m getting scared. I sort of think I should see a Doctor or somebody, but am not sure how to approach one. Doctors (most people, actually) really scare me, and part of me really wants to tell somebody about this because it is bigger and scarier than I am, but every time I open my mouth to speak the truth about something upsetting, I clam up. I get nervous just walking past a walk-in clinic, never mind if I was to go inside and actually see somebody. Where I live, most people treat self-injurers like freaks, still. I am a teenager, too. Do you have any advice? Please answer.

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Answer:

The very best thing you could do would be to get into some appropriate therapy for yourself (which might include Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (or some other cognitive therapy designed to reduce your self-harming behaviors) and possibly some psychiatrically prescribed medicines). In order to get this care, you’ll need to get real brave and make an appointment to be seen at a local mental health center. You could go directly to a psychiatrist, but he/she is unlikely to offer you any therapy and therapy will be important for helping you. I realize that this is a tall order but I encourage you to do this anyway. Someone in your situation needs help more than they need to be isolated with their problems.

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p>If you can’t or won’t find the courage to take the plunge with a therapist, why not consider online communities that people with similar problems to your own frequent? has a self-harm forum where you could talk about your problems with other people who have been there. It doesn’t cost anything and it can be used anonymously. There are also now online psychotherapy clinics popping up all over the net. Check at http://www.metanoia.net for more details.

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