Just one sec...
Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free

self harm while studying

Announcements Posted on
Take our short survey, £100 of Amazon vouchers to be won! 23-09-2016
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    hi all,

    Starting back college next week to attempt to complete a course i dropped out of few years back due to my mental health difficulties.
    I've had depression for the last 5 years or so and have used self harm as a way of coping with negative feelings for most of these 5 years.

    Last time at college my depression was at its worst & my self harm was bad to the point there were a few incidents within the college building. As a result the college feared for my safety and i was forced to take a few months out from my course however when i returned i was too far behind and decided to drop out.

    2 years on and i've decided to return to complete the units i never got finished.
    I want to prove to myself i can do it!
    My depression has improved a little and i've been attending regular appointments with a psychologist for the last year.
    Although i still use self harm to cope on occasions, its no where near as bad as it used to be.

    However I'm concerned that the stress of going back to college may have a negative impact on all the hard work ive done to get better. I cant afford for my self harm to increase again.
    Looking for any tips or advice to prevent this from happening? i know most people will be thinking 'Just don't do it' and i wish it was as easy as that! But its something i've done for so long and it has helped get me through the bad patches.

    Thanks in advance!
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Nic5)
    hi all,

    Starting back college next week to attempt to complete a course i dropped out of few years back due to my mental health difficulties.
    I've had depression for the last 5 years or so and have used self harm as a way of coping with negative feelings for most of these 5 years.

    Last time at college my depression was at its worst & my self harm was bad to the point there were a few incidents within the college building. As a result the college feared for my safety and i was forced to take a few months out from my course however when i returned i was too far behind and decided to drop out.

    2 years on and i've decided to return to complete the units i never got finished.
    I want to prove to myself i can do it!
    My depression has improved a little and i've been attending regular appointments with a psychologist for the last year.
    Although i still use self harm to cope on occasions, its no where near as bad as it used to be.

    However I'm concerned that the stress of going back to college may have a negative impact on all the hard work ive done to get better. I cant afford for my self harm to increase again.
    Looking for any tips or advice to prevent this from happening? i know most people will be thinking 'Just don't do it' and i wish it was as easy as that! But its something i've done for so long and it has helped get me through the bad patches.

    Thanks in advance!
    Have you thought about speaking to someone in college and explaining your previous attempt at college and your worries that college might negatively impact you again? They could help give you some support.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Airmed)
    Have you thought about speaking to someone in college and explaining your previous attempt at college and your worries that college might negatively impact you again? They could help give you some support.
    Yes - I've already had a meeting with both learning support and the head of my course, both know that i struggled last time.
    Only problem is, I feel they are only letting me back in the condition I'm feeling a lot better.
    If they knew I was still self harming, I don't think they would have accepted me back so I'm trying to be careful about how much I open up to them about my concerns.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Nic5)
    Yes - I've already had a meeting with both learning support and the head of my course, both know that i struggled last time.
    Only problem is, I feel they are only letting me back in the condition I'm feeling a lot better.
    If they knew I was still self harming, I don't think they would have accepted me back so I'm trying to be careful about how much I open up to them about my concerns.
    Why do you self-harm? I am just curious it is bad for you. You need to realise it is bad. Then you need to find better ways like relaxing watching sport. I know it sounds stupid but why do you self-harm? Can you not see it is not actually helping but causing you more problems because society doesn't see it as normal. Society tells us what to do
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Epistemolog y)
    Why do you self-harm? I am just curious it is bad for you. You need to realise it is bad. Then you need to find better ways like relaxing watching sport. I know it sounds stupid but why do you self-harm? Can you not see it is not actually helping but causing you more problems because society doesn't see it as normal. Society tells us what to do
    People do it for different reasons but it's a coping mechanism, stopping is a lot easier than it sounds. The OP has done really well in getting this far and is asking how not to relapse which is really good in general self harmers know it's not good but it's often a relief that it feels like nothing else can provide at the time, and is a compulsion. They'll get there!


    Have you spoken to your psychologist about this OP? They might be able to suggest some techniques you can use to help cope with stress and things like that. The main thing to remember is your health is most important, and if study is destroying that it's really not worth it. I'd also suggest that if there's any specific places you used to do it (eg particular set of toilets) probably avoid them where possible in case the association makes you want to do it more again. Good luck, really hope it goes well for you!


    Posted from TSR Mobile
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by furryface12)
    People do it for different reasons but it's a coping mechanism, stopping is a lot easier than it sounds. The OP has done really well in getting this far and is asking how not to relapse which is really good in general self harmers know it's not good but it's often a relief that it feels like nothing else can provide at the time, and is a compulsion. They'll get there!


    Have you spoken to your psychologist about this OP? They might be able to suggest some techniques you can use to help cope with stress and things like that. The main thing to remember is your health is most important, and if study is destroying that it's really not worth it. I'd also suggest that if there's any specific places you used to do it (eg particular set of toilets) probably avoid them where possible in case the association makes you want to do it more again. Good luck, really hope it goes well for you!


    Posted from TSR Mobile
    Hi,

    I did not mean offend the OP I was just trying to educate myself. I know I myself have messed up the whole of last year. It just seems weird causing pain can cause relief. I am sure some of the stuff I do would sound equally as weird.

    btw thats really good advice and I think educating yourself on the issue is a must. I always feel paranoid if people read the advice or not so I just quote them anyways. Good Luck OP!

    (Original post by Nic5)
    hi all,

    Starting back college next week to attempt to complete a course i dropped out of few years back due to my mental health difficulties.
    I've had depression for the last 5 years or so and have used self harm as a way of coping with negative feelings for most of these 5 years.

    Last time at college my depression was at its worst & my self harm was bad to the point there were a few incidents within the college building. As a result the college feared for my safety and i was forced to take a few months out from my course however when i returned i was too far behind and decided to drop out.

    2 years on and i've decided to return to complete the units i never got finished.
    I want to prove to myself i can do it!
    My depression has improved a little and i've been attending regular appointments with a psychologist for the last year.
    Although i still use self harm to cope on occasions, its no where near as bad as it used to be.

    However I'm concerned that the stress of going back to college may have a negative impact on all the hard work ive done to get better. I cant afford for my self harm to increase again.
    Looking for any tips or advice to prevent this from happening? i know most people will be thinking 'Just don't do it' and i wish it was as easy as that! But its something i've done for so long and it has helped get me through the bad patches.

    Thanks in advance!
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Nic5)
    hi all,

    Starting back college next week to attempt to complete a course i dropped out of few years back due to my mental health difficulties.
    I've had depression for the last 5 years or so and have used self harm as a way of coping with negative feelings for most of these 5 years.

    Last time at college my depression was at its worst & my self harm was bad to the point there were a few incidents within the college building. As a result the college feared for my safety and i was forced to take a few months out from my course however when i returned i was too far behind and decided to drop out.

    2 years on and i've decided to return to complete the units i never got finished.
    I want to prove to myself i can do it!
    My depression has improved a little and i've been attending regular appointments with a psychologist for the last year.
    Although i still use self harm to cope on occasions, its no where near as bad as it used to be.

    However I'm concerned that the stress of going back to college may have a negative impact on all the hard work ive done to get better. I cant afford for my self harm to increase again.
    Looking for any tips or advice to prevent this from happening? i know most people will be thinking 'Just don't do it' and i wish it was as easy as that! But its something i've done for so long and it has helped get me through the bad patches.

    Thanks in advance!
    Talk to student support and look into something called DSA. It should help make sure college doesn't get too much and give you a safety net. Be honest with them if you are struggling and they can help you.

    Are you still having regular appointments now? If so, talk to them about it and if not look into professional help in the area. Regular therapy could help you make sure you don't slip back.

    I'll try to give you a little bit of more specific advice, but I can't go into too much detail due to site rules and it being a bit inapropriate incase I give bad advice or trigger anyone etc...
    Try to find things to distract you or use less harmful alternatives if the feeling strikes. Some people suggest massaging the area you would otherwise harm, rubbing ice on it or having a cold shower (kinda like an alternative to the pain), twanging an elastic band or playing with bluetac.
    Remember that making a mistake or having a bad day doesn't erase all of your progress up until then- everybody has bad days.
    Call samaritans or somebody you trust or like if the feeling strikes to keep your mind off it or act as a safety net incase something happens.
    Don't be affraid to ask for help and if you do hurt yourself be sure it is well taken care of so it doesn't get worse.
    Remember how far you have come and how strong you are. Try to let that be what you think of rather than any insecurities or bad times.

    I know it's hard and you can't just "not do it" or anything, but just remember that it's not a solution and you don't deserve the pain. Keep working on the alternatives and improving. It's hard to realise the progress you are making sometimes but keep reminding yourself of your achievements and how you can achieve even more.

    Mind.org, NHS, Sane and Samaritans are all good resources for advice and support so check them out. Childline may have some better advice realting to college even if it doesn't really count as your age bracket. I actually found they have some good advice for self harm issues.

    Make sure you have a safety net and if you think something is going to be too much for you don't be embarassed to ask for help in advance. You are so brave to have come this far and be going back to college. Best wishes.

    edit: Just saw your second comment so regarding that just remember that your wellbeing is more important than college. You can always go back later, as you are proving now
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Epistemolog y)
    Hi,

    I did not mean offend the OP I was just trying to educate myself. I know I myself have messed up the whole of last year. It just seems weird causing pain can cause relief. I am sure some of the stuff I do would sound equally as weird.

    btw thats really good advice and I think educating yourself on the issue is a must. I always feel paranoid if people read the advice or not so I just quote them anyways. Good Luck OP!
    Hey, I know you weren't trying to cause offense but i'm going to try to explain it a bit for you. I used to think it was crazy too and couldn't understand how people couldn't just not do it, but then I had a bit of experience with it myself.
    This is mostly based on my experience either personally or from what i've been told so won't be the same for everyone.
    I'm not trying to cause you offense either so if something sound it please don't take it personally- it's just poor choice of words.

    You will probably know it's bad and not helpful (op does which is why they are asking for help). And although you are part right in that being an important step it's the easiest and there's a lot of struggle after that. People eat burgers and chocolate becaue it makes them feel better despite knowing it's bad for them and sometimes it's like that- immediate gratification despite long term negative effects. Sometimes it's more complicated though- there's a level of compulsion to it.

    For me I found I just couldn't get it off my mind and eventually it got too much. I'd held off for months pushing the temptation away and taking the logical option, but it got too much and I gave in. It was tiny and there wasn't much negative so I gave in more easily after that. I'd know I was being stupid while I was doing it and sometimes that made it even worse. Emotions just turned into actions without me really knowing.
    I was lucky and when my mental health improved those feelings did too, but untill thenn i was living in some crazy world where I had no control over my actions or thoughts. I was trapped in my own body. In a time like that where the world doesn't make sense logic starts to become less and less meaningful. I had tried relaxing and music and distration and all tose othe better options but none of them took the thoughts away. Hurting myself was the only thing that dragged me out of my own head enough for some slight release. The self loathing that followed was almost better than the temptation actually.

    Even after I sought help there was still a long road to recovery. You need to change your whole way of thinking and it's hard. To be honest, I still turn to it sometimes when i'm at my worst. At those times where my support seems to be failing, but after getting help I now have the stregth in myself to fight it. That's something I didn't have before.

    Anyway the basic point is that when you're in a depressed state logic doesn't always work. It's really difficult to comprehend until you're experienced it. Even for me, looking back, it's kinda like trying to explain a colour that doesn't exist. It's such a different way for thinking and feeling that it's kinda like being in another reality. Now that i'm out of it, I can't really understand how i felt so I can understand how it's so difficult for other people who have never experienced it.

    I hope that wasn't too long and that it at least kinda answered your curiosity.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Kindred)
    Hey, I know you weren't trying to cause offense but i'm going to try to explain it a bit for you. I used to think it was crazy too and couldn't understand how people couldn't just not do it, but then I had a bit of experience with it myself.
    This is mostly based on my experience either personally or from what i've been told so won't be the same for everyone.
    I'm not trying to cause you offense either so if something sound it please don't take it personally- it's just poor choice of words.

    You will probably know it's bad and not helpful (op does which is why they are asking for help). And although you are part right in that being an important step it's the easiest and there's a lot of struggle after that. People eat burgers and chocolate becaue it makes them feel better despite knowing it's bad for them and sometimes it's like that- immediate gratification despite long term negative effects. Sometimes it's more complicated though- there's a level of compulsion to it.

    For me I found I just couldn't get it off my mind and eventually it got too much. I'd held off for months pushing the temptation away and taking the logical option, but it got too much and I gave in. It was tiny and there wasn't much negative so I gave in more easily after that. I'd know I was being stupid while I was doing it and sometimes that made it even worse. Emotions just turned into actions without me really knowing.
    I was lucky and when my mental health improved those feelings did too, but untill thenn i was living in some crazy world where I had no control over my actions or thoughts. I was trapped in my own body. In a time like that where the world doesn't make sense logic starts to become less and less meaningful. I had tried relaxing and music and distration and all tose othe better options but none of them took the thoughts away. Hurting myself was the only thing that dragged me out of my own head enough for some slight release. The self loathing that followed was almost better than the temptation actually.

    Even after I sought help there was still a long road to recovery. You need to change your whole way of thinking and it's hard. To be honest, I still turn to it sometimes when i'm at my worst. At those times where my support seems to be failing, but after getting help I now have the stregth in myself to fight it. That's something I didn't have before.

    Anyway the basic point is that when you're in a depressed state logic doesn't always work. It's really difficult to comprehend until you're experienced it. Even for me, looking back, it's kinda like trying to explain a colour that doesn't exist. It's such a different way for thinking and feeling that it's kinda like being in another reality. Now that i'm out of it, I can't really understand how i felt so I can understand how it's so difficult for other people who have never experienced it.

    I hope that wasn't too long and that it at least kinda answered your curiosity.
    The last paragraph is so me its like my logic went out of the roof
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    I'd reccomend, first and formost, see the social team at your institution
    2] try and keep as busy and distracted as possible, it works to a point..
    3] Try and avoid anything that might trigger a relapse e.g. places, people, implements, substances etc.

    Good luck.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    Distraction and avoidance are good crisis prevention techniques but you've probably already realised that the only way to lessen self harm acts is to sit through the urge and teach yourself that you can ride an urge out. Every time you do that you build your self confidence as you learn you c an cope with the situation without self harming, you build your emotional resilience because you're not cutting off your emotions and repeating the message that emotions are bad. Finally, you build your distress tolerance so that next time your feel an urge to self harm it takes a little longer to reach that point or a little bit more stress.

    It's not a quick fix but then neither was the journey that took you (any self harmer) from a one off cut/burn to multiple times a day.

    That urge will never go away, not really. Same as once an addict always an addict. It's because the neural pathway has been created between distress and that form of relief. So it could be self harm, it could be sexual self harm, it could be drugs or alcohol. But the need to act on the urge isn't always there. One day you can be "sober" and stay sober.
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    talk to your psychologist - they are the expert

    from someone who used to self harm, stopping requires two things - you need alternative coping mechanisms and you need to learn how to sit through bad feelings when they don't work

    so before you go to college you can work on some coping mechanisms, that might include a support person to talk to at college if your work is getting too stressful and feeling overwhelming, regular meetings with someone who can be a 'mentor' and help you plan your study so that you feel more in control, it might include exercise, walking, drawing, writing, punching a pillow, snapping an elastic band etc ( there's lots of lists around)

    but you also need to accept that sometimes things will just be difficult and that's when you need to try and sit through it, you can start small by saying 'ok I will self harm but I'll wait til I get home' and then 'I'll self harm tomorrow if I still feel the need' and eventually you will be able to delay it long enough that you can ride out the urge until the bad feelings pass - unfortunately the only way to learn to do this is to do it... the first time you try it will feel impossible but once you've forced yourself to do it once (I suggest putting yourself in a situation you can't self harm e.g. go sit with student support) then you will know the next time you can do it and it will graudally get easier
    Online

    3
    ReputationRep:
    Hi Nic5

    Well done for having the determination to go back and complete those units, and for coping with all those conversations that must have been involved to make that possible. I've a family-member who has self-harmed, and I know it's an incredibly difficult and complex issue, so I just want to send you a big hug and say that you're not on your own.

    I've only two tips to offer: if at all possible, keep up your conversations with your psychologist. perhaps writing an occasional journal in the process so that you can identify what's happening around you at those times when you feel most susceptible. Secondly, remember, as you go back to college, that this is a brilliant choice of your own making, which puts you more in control of the situation.

Reply

Submit reply

Register

Thanks for posting! You just need to create an account in order to submit the post
  1. this can't be left blank
    that username has been taken, please choose another Forgotten your password?
  2. this can't be left blank
    this email is already registered. Forgotten your password?
  3. this can't be left blank

    6 characters or longer with both numbers and letters is safer

  4. this can't be left empty
    your full birthday is required
  1. Oops, you need to agree to our Ts&Cs to register
  2. Slide to join now Processing…

Updated: September 23, 2016
TSR Support Team

We have a brilliant team of more than 60 Support Team members looking after discussions on The Student Room, helping to make it a fun, safe and useful place to hang out.

Poll
Which would you rather be...?

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22

Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Quick reply
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.