Posted by: nd | 2009-04-01


As you may remember, I was recently diagnosed with Dysthemia and Major depression and I' m currently on Cilift.

The weekend before my first psychologist appointment (about 3 weeks ago), I took a pencil sharpner blade and cut myself on my leg. It' s not deep, more like a deep scratch. I made about 7 cuts. I didn' t tell her about it. This past weekend, I made another bunch of cuts and now my spouse caught me in it.

I feel that it is just a way to get rid of frustration. I don' t want to commit suicide and I would rather do this, than to take my frustration out on someone else.

I have my next appointment today and I' m not sure if I should tell her about the cuts. I' m scared that she thinks I' m suicidal.

It' s not easy explaining why I feel the need to do this. What do you think?

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Our expert says:
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YOu know that you need to tell your psychologist about this, and to discuss it with her in detail. Its too easy to dismiss this self-cutting as "just a way to get rid of frustration. I investigated this surprisingly common problem years back, and wrote several major textbook chapters on it. And I emphasized, as you do, that it is usually not about suicide at all, but a maladaprtive response to some kids of stress. If your psychologist is wise and well trained, she will know ( and, after all, you will explain it to her ) that this is no suicidal behaviour, but about difficulties in dealing with certain frustrations. Its no a useful way to deal with these situations, because it does work well, it doesn't work for long, and it leaves unpleasant scars which later will be unpleasant reminders of how bad you once felt. Rather work with your psych to understand how to avoid the frustrations that have ben triggering this response, and alternative ways of handling frustration when it arises.

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