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Research Topics / Understanding the cognitive processes behind self-harm
« Last post by r.rodrigues on November 14, 2019, 01:02:08 PM »
Hello everyone!

I'm Rachel, a PhD student at Imperial College London working on the iMAGine study. This study investigates the cognitive processes underlying self-harm as we want to gain a better understanding of why some people might find it difficult to stop. If we know more about the psychological mechanisms that contribute to someone repeating self-harm we can use these findings to develop better interventions.

We're currently recruiting people to take part in this study, and specifically we're looking for people aged 16-25 based in London with:

- experience of self-harm within the past year, and/or
- current depression/anxiety, or
- no experience of mental health difficulties

Participation will involve completing an online questionnaire and telephone call to assess suitability for the study, and then a visit to Hammersmith Hospital (White City, London) where you will complete some questionnaires and tasks on the computer (this visit should take roughly 3 hours). You will be reimbursed with a £50 retail voucher and can also win up to £10 in vouchers in one of the computer tasks.

If you're interested and would like to find out more or sign up you can do this by visiting www.imaginestudy.org/can-i-take-part/
Or feel free to email me at imagine@imperial.ac.uk and I can answer any questions you might have!

Thank you very much!  :)

Rachel


 :icon_arrow:
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Survivor Room / Re: Books that you have found to help
« Last post by icicle on October 15, 2019, 03:03:24 PM »
Rose, N. (2019), 'Our Psychiatric Future', Cambridge: Polity Press. Written by a professor of Sociology, who discusses: What a mental disorder is, possible causes (with an emphasis on social adversity), Psychopharmacology and suggestions for the future. NSHN is mentioned on p 158. Personally, I have found learning about sociological explanations for mental distress, to be helpful.
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Survivor Room / Re: Diagnosis
« Last post by Lorien on September 27, 2019, 09:15:46 PM »
I feel you on the feeling like a competition thing. I think that was probably one really unhelpful thing that was almost always true. The more significant the thing I did the more everyone focused on the risk, but often that was in the way of focusing on what was happening to make that risk higher. Also, the less likely people were to hear what I was saying about what I thought would help or not help. I guess there are times that I feel really guilty about the amount that I much I must have cost the NHS over the years. But that is also mixed up with a lot of resentment of the fact that if they had got it right in the first instance I probably wouldn't have.

Since I wrote the original thread I am a lot less angry (most of the time) and between times there was a period of time where sleeping went out the window and I was really agitated. They increased the medication they had already been prescribing and gave me temazepam and diazepam to manage the agitation. So I have now spoken to the new Consultant, although making myself understood was difficult at the time so mostly they spoke to my partner.  I don't actually know what they made of it at the time and I will have to wait until I see them at the end of October. My partner is coming too so she will help ask if I can't. I'm already quite worried about the appointment even though its just less than a month away.
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Survivor Room / Re: Confused returner *possible trigger*
« Last post by SquareTwo on September 16, 2019, 10:35:05 PM »
I don't have anything. No friends or family. Nothing professional. Just me and the hamster. I've just experienced a major life shift, it's then that I find I experience bigger shifts in my dissociations presentation which is why I am concerned that that's what's going on. But it doesn't feel like a positive shift. Kind of hoping that I am over reacting and that someone else gets similar feelings.
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Survivor Room / Re: Confused returner *possible trigger*
« Last post by Tucan on September 16, 2019, 10:02:40 PM »
Do you have support? I am around under the same name
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Survivor Room / Re: Duty of care? My arse!
« Last post by Hysteria on September 16, 2019, 09:46:45 PM »
Hello  I have not been on this site for absolutly yonks  but AM Struggling at the moment  . I saw this thread   and you are so right ,

In the last year my fabulous GP has referred me twice to CMHT  and both times they shut it down because I happen to have a key worker at MIND  who is also fabulous  & once in awhile when my social anxiety is okay  I go to a drop in   mainly the Art drop in , My GP  is so frustrated  as he can only do so much   & I   feel so embarrassed having to ask my GP for help I literally have stopped asking and just ' wing it ' and hope  the episode is over quickly ,  Thankfully MIND are starting to put key workers in GP surgery's in my area so things may start changing for the better
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Survivor Room / Confused returner *possible trigger*
« Last post by SquareTwo on September 16, 2019, 09:37:14 PM »
I'm a returning member from many moons ago. I used to use a different name.

Whilst I can't claim to have been perfectly fine for the intervening years I've managed to get by without stereotypical self harm behaviour.

In recent months I have been struggling with an ethereal urge to self harm. It's like my entire body is aching for pain and today it was at its worst.

I haven't felt like this since my dissociation was at its worst in my late teens/early twenties and it's confusing me. Is it a relapse in my dissociativity (I still dissociate, quite a bit, but it's been presenting very differently in the past few years and this feels almost like the old way).

Basically, I am wondering if there are any other former self harmers still about who may be able to relate to the feeling so I might be able to deduce what I am currently experiencing.

Thanks in advance
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Survivor Room / Re: things to remind yourself *may trig*
« Last post by JustMe:) on September 12, 2019, 08:22:33 AM »
Hi, Iím new here so Iím not sure how everything works lol but hopefully I am commenting in the right place lol. Thanks for posting this, itís really helpful 🙂👍🏻
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Survivor Room / Re: Self harm and you - your stories. Part 2 *posts may trigger*
« Last post by DavidJ on September 07, 2019, 06:49:52 PM »
Self-harm Mind-body Treatment

https://selfharmmindbodyhelp.jimdofree.com
http://selfharmmindbodyhelp.simplesite.com

Hello. This article is about my own successful resolution of a personal mental health issue, namely the presence of a specific self-harming thought. I would like to share my personal experience of successfully resolving an event triggered self-harming mental thought through an effortless mind-body health solution that simply, spontaneously arose in my mind one day whilst observing in my awareness the distressing self-harming thought.

The same self-harming thought would come into my mind daily or so continually for about a few months from its initial unwelcome onset late in my life until it was spontaneously resolved, eliminated by this simple mind-body awareness process I will explain in some depth here in this article. The negative thought to self-harm appeared in my awareness each time as a result of the same physical trigger event associated with the specific self-harming thought impulse or urge. More specifically, when holding a tool such as a cutlery or kitchen tool in preparation for a kitchen chore or eating, I would have a strong thought or urge to put the tool into my left eye. Of course, put the tool down you say but the self-harm was more present and the thought to put it down mostly did not initially arise in my mind, although when it did gain entry to my thinking I would do that. Eventually, the thought would lessen in intensity and leave my mind until the next thought impulse triggering event.

To help give you more idea of what was happening in my experience of this thought to self-harm, have you ever stood on the edge of a cliff and wondered about going closer to the edge and what it would be like to fall off? Imagine this curiosity being stronger turning more into an urge creating fear and distress so you quickly move away from harm as you feel somewhat out of control of this mental compulsion. My event experience trigger was somewhat like that, but stronger and more common as there are many times and occasions in daily life to use a tool than to approach the edge of a cliff.

If I had acted on the self-harming thought, which always took the same form as above, it may have resulted in serious injury or worse. Of course I have never physically acted on the thought as otherwise I would probably not be writing this article if I had. Nevertheless, I was somewhat concerned, worried about the negativity of the thought and that the urge could get stronger. So my story is not about actual self-harming but rather the thought or urge to do so and how I successfully dealt with it. Fortunately, the issue was resolved before it could have turned physical if it ever did.

This self-harming thought did not appear to be related or linked to coping with or reacting to stressful events that I was aware of in the present or past or guilt over such. I was not aware that it was an urge to create or result in some kind of relief of stress. Rather the self-harming thought had a simple physical event trigger, as indicated above. Generally my life, and I am in my seventies now, has been quite balanced both from a physical and mental health viewpoint. However, the fact that this thought was coming into my conscious mind and its somewhat disturbing nature made me think I needed to address it, whether psychologically, emotionally, physically, or whatever and especially if it appeared to get stronger.

I also appear to have periodically in my life mild tics or habits (undiagnosed Tourettes) and perhaps some limited degree of undiagnosed obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) type behaviour, but these symptoms have not been medically diagnosed and were more frequent in my childhood than adulthood. They are mild and not problematic for my life. I am unsure if these above termed psychoneurological conditions are related, although medical research suggests they are. The unconscious and the conscious minds are constantly changing the physical activity of the body for better or worse. Conscious and unconscious negative thoughts, emotions and experiences can cause various problematic symptoms in our life experiences through compulsive behaviour.

So what is this insight, this subjective mind-body help or treatment for the thought, urge to self-harm and how is it achieved? It is somewhat vague and difficult to explain to those who have not experienced it, as it is like describing what is spontaneously happening in the individual awareness rather than giving instruction on how to create it. It is the spontaneous simplicity of the process in our awareness that makes you wonder what you have just done to remove the thought and distress. It is an eye opening, transforming, eureka-like experience albeit subtle. It is the simplicity, spontaneity and present immediacy of the experience of wonder. A kind of instant wonder difficult to describe, but the experience although subjective is very real. You are left wondering what you have just done to bring about this change in thought awareness. Nevertheless, in my opinion and from a layman's experience and limited point of view, I can try to explain what is happening in this subtle mind-body process, and awareness of that may be able to precipitate the subjective experience of the momentary transformation in the mind-body experience. So here goes.

It is a psychological process of subtle change in awareness and effortless transformation of our thinking. It is a present, simple, effortless thought to remove a present self-harming thought in a moment of quiet observation. It is a subtle change from a self harming, strained, unnatural emotional thought to an effortless, quiet state with the absence of the self-harming thought in the mind's awareness. Thinking which replaces thinking, a new thought or experience of absence replacing another previous thought of self-harm but in an effortless, watchful, quiet manner with no emotion present in that moment of experience, such as fear. There is no strain in this subtle change in the thinking, awareness process. Simple awareness in the present moment is enough to create the change in thinking, to release the self-harming thought. A thought whether conscious or unconscious precedes our action. Action can be started or removed by a thought, a simple command if you like. The simpler, frictionless, innocent, effortless, relaxed, emotion free, unstrained and unforced the thought is the greater the power, strength, effectiveness and positive the result will be. It is a quiet moment of subjective observation in the mind that precipitates the experience.

How to do this? How can you in a moment of time transform your thought of self-harm to a thought of no self-harm which will actually work to stop in an instant the self-harming thought before it takes hold of the mind? By letting go of the thought of the particular act of self-harm. By taking away your attention from it in the present moment. No conscious self-harm can come without first a conscious thought of self-harm. A conscious thought precedes a conscious action. No conscious experience of a self-harming thought can occur without a thought of self-harm arising in the conscious mind. No action can occur in the body without first a thought, an impulse of intelligence, whether in the conscious or subconscious mind.

Thoughts are powerful and the quiet mind gives strength to the thought to fulfill its purpose through conscious or subconscious action. Simple, effortless intention in a state of calm mind can work wonders. Resistance, strain replaced by effortlessness, tension replaced by relaxation, failure replaced by success, unhappiness replaced by happiness, fear replaced by peace, complexity replaced by simplicity, harm replaced by harmlessness, hate replaced by love.

Rather than thinking, simply be. Be aware in the present moment. It is a process of quiet observation, relaxing, and a consequent subtle change of thought in the present moment. There is no judgement, no resistance, no strain. Be aware of yourself. Moving gently from the thought to awareness of yourself in the moment you are in. Moving gently in your quietly observing mind from a thought of self-harm to a simple state of awareness which does not allow the thought of self-harm through a delicate, simple shift in awareness of thought. A releasing, a letting go of the negative thought of self-harm. It is the experience of a natural, delicate shift in mind-body self awareness, of thought, of attitude; a subtle process of release in the mind. A spontaneous process that takes seconds. When it happens a sense of wonder arises as to the simplicity and effortlessness of the natural mind when it is allowed to function in the state of simple awareness.

Being natural, simple, effortless, delicate, subtle and effective the process does not go well with strain or effort. It is best used and applied sitting or lying quietly in safe, comfortable surroundings. It is a subtle process of effortlessly letting go. When a fearful thought comes into your mind to self-harm, and it does not matter how that thought is created, simply be aware of it and immediately, effortlessly change it in thought and feeling to a new thought and feeling of the absence of it. Be no longer fearful of it. In your subjective observation of it, let it go. This is a very subtle change in thought and feeling. A change from fear to joy, to love.

Every thought, an impulse of intelligence, has a meaning and feeling attached to it. The thought healing process is a simple shift in thinking and feeling in your awareness in a quiet moment. It is a subtle experience of letting go, of relaxation of the mind-body. Be aware of your thought, desire and feeling to self-harm and especially any resistance to that self-harming thought. It is fear, resistance and struggle that can lock the mind into the self-harming thought. Whatever we resist we attract and through fear, resistance and struggle with the thought create conflict in our mind. In the process of observation, release the self-harming thought by simply removing resistance to it.

It is a simple, effortless, instant change in attitude. From resistance and struggle to acceptance and effortlessness. Simply aware with no strain or resistance. From mental strain to relaxation. By simply being aware in a quiet reflective mind of the thought and associated feeling we change it.

Through the process of observation the observer affects the observed. Our mind-body system functions quantum mechanically. It deals with infinities. There are trillions of living cells in the human body and every cell knows what every other cell is doing. It is a mind-body system. This is quantum mechanical functioning on the level of mind-body intelligence. Note the three propagation, maintenance and destruction operators in quantum physics. Compare in ancient Indian Vedic philosophy where in sanskrit they are termed rishi, devata and chandas. The subject, process of observation and the object. The three in one. The observer affects that which is observed through the process of observation. Nothing can exist without the presence of all three. As the quantum physicist Prigogine pointed out, if there is one photon of light in a closed box it cannot be said to exist unless it is observed, experienced.

Utilising this three in one mind-body process, in this simple, unstrained state of mind we are replacing the twisted unnatural thought of harm with the natural, frictionless thought, experience of acceptance, release, love. The self-harming thought and feeling melts away. It is just an effortless shift in thought and feeling in an instant. We do not resist the self-harming thought, we accept it and in that moment of acceptance we simply are aware that it is not necessary. We do not need that thought. Instantly you feel a change, a very subtle change in your mind and feeling. Simply by that alone you have changed destruction to creation, self loathing to self love, conflict to peace, strain to effortlessness. Observe innocently and release innocently. Simple, effortless, no strain. Simply choosing a different thought, a different attitude. Love instead of non love. I choose love here. I choose love here. I choose love here. In this way we simply, effortlessly remove the problem. Just the experience of this once may stop the self-harming thought ever coming into your mind again. I remember watching a movie once where an actor spoke some very upsetting ungodly words. Immediately, spontaneously with a very alert focused, determined mind I prayed to God to remove those thoughts from my mind. To this day, from that moment I cannot remember them even if I tried. However, if the self-harming thought comes again, repeat the effortless process.

When in a moment of insight this experience first happened to me, spontaneously and immediately, all fear of and resistance to the self-harm thought disappeared. The obsessive self-harming thought melted away. I was thrilled with this self insight, a moment of clarity, with a sense of wonder on how such a simple effortless switch in awareness, thinking and associated feeling could produce such an immediate transformation in my mind. I have tried to explain this as best I can, but only the direct and self experience of the effortless mental process would bring true self understanding and fulfilment. Understanding is one thing and direct experience is another. Both are important.

Repeatedly doing this simple mental technique using thought and its associated feeling whenever the instant the serious self-harming thought came into my mind has resulted in a cure. By which I mean the self harming thought no longer comes into my mind. The distress has gone. Mostly by far from the time of the first experience. The simple healing process may help with other similar psychoneurological conditions: the coprolalias, obsessive compulsive disorders, Tourettes for example, perhaps depending on causative factors. However, I do not like putting labels on symptoms and my experience is somewhat limited in such mind body or psychoneurological disorders. Perhaps this simple technique could possibly be used experientially in many mind-body disorders, and there may be variations of it already being used therapeutically. I cannot possibly be the only one to have subjectively discovered this simple mind-body healing process. The most natural insights can happen in an instant. Those who have made wonderful breakthroughs in life giving innovations for mankind will agree with that. Where there is a will there is a way. I am just expressing and writing about my experience. Not making any claims as to treatments and cures.

As said earlier, there are trillions of living cells in the human body. Every one of those cells knows what every other cell is doing. Communication of intelligence is instant. This is the unified field of creative intelligence at work. This is quantum mechanical functioning on the level of consciousness, intelligence. This is simplicity, innocence, love, God, the unified field, pure consciousness, pure awareness, the soul, samadhi, harmony, natural law, life, or whatever else you want to call it that indicates its nature, at work. A simple desire, this direction instead of that direction. A simple awareness of a thought and its associated feeling, a subtle tweaking, and this may change the biochemistry in the mind-body relationship from destructive to creative, from imbalance to balance, from suffering and strain in our present moment of experience to joy and effortlessness in our present moment of experience.

This is my experience. By repeating the healing, transforming thought awareness process over a few days whenever the need arose, which after the initial first experience was almost nil, I now consider myself cured. I hope others can replicate my healing experience and results from this simple, subtle, delicate, directed thought feeling technique. I do not presently have anything to add, although I may do so in the future. Perhaps if it works for you, you can share your experience. It is good to share. I thought I would put it all in words to you in the hope it will help you. I wish you well. Feel free to share it with others if you find it also works for you. God bless.

I choose love here. I choose love here. I choose love here.

David J

https://selfharmmindbodyhelp.jimdofree.com
http://selfharmmindbodyhelp.simplesite.com

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NOTE. For those adults and young people with thoughts of self-harming see your health practitioner as self-harm can be a sign of other disorders that you need help with such as depression or anxiety and other psychoneurological conditions including the coprolalias, Tourettes and OCD. Medical doctors can refer you to the right people for treatment including mental health services so you can have an assessment for the right treatment for you.

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Helpful websites:
Self-harm - Young Minds
https://youngminds.org.uk õ find-help
Feedback

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Survivor Room / Re: Scars and family holiday
« Last post by Lorien on September 02, 2019, 11:25:21 PM »
Personally I wear board shorts to cover scars on my own scars on my thighs. With dark coloured shorts they can't be seen even when they are raised or indented - it looks like wrinkles in the fabric when wet. I also wear mens ones because they are longer in general. I do this because I choose not to allow people to see. But that is just my choice.

If you are ok with an explanation, then just wear what you want.
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