Self-Injurious Behavior as a Stim

Hola, amigos!  I wanted to touch on a ‘sensitive’ topic again today.  Now, I’m told I can be rather blunt and forward.  I don’t like pulling punches and I prefer people to be straight with me too.  Even if I’m not straight myself.  Because I’m gay.  Probably.  Non-binary at the very least.  Okay, totally on bunny trail mode here, so I’m going to go ahead and jump right in.

To start off with, I’m perfectly aware that there are some idiots out there who refuse to admit that Self-Injurious Behavior is more than just ‘attention-seeking’.  To those people, I say a very solid fuck you and get the fuck off my blog, pretty please.  Obviously, I can’t control who can or cannot access my blog without making it private, and I refuse to do that.  I’m not saying anything that’s not the truth and the haters need to get those sticks out of their bums.  Onto the main topic, though.

What is Self-Injurious Behavior?  It’s something that encompasses a wide variety of behaviors, including, but not limited to, cutting, head banging, burning, wrist banging, hair pulling, and skin picking.  Generally speaking, a majority of teenagers or young adults who engage in Self-Injurious Behaviors will learn better coping techniques.  However, those with the Autism can continue this well into adulthood and may never pick up less damaging stims.

I call Self-Injurious Behavior a stim because it is, even for non-autistic folks.  I mean, it’s using a physical means to control one’s emotional state, so I would classify it as a stim.    This is an important subject to talk about because no one wants to talk about it.  It’s a very shameful thing to those who do it, myself included. I don ‘t want to talk about it.  I’m going to though, because fuck feeling ashamed about it.  We can’t get better if we don’t talk about what makes us feel bad.  It’s not a shameful thing if we bring it out in the open, people.  Hiding our secrets is what makes us feel bad.

I’ve cut to stim.  I only ever did it to get rid of an overwhelming emotion and then I get into my spazzing mode where it just feels like it washes away that feeling.  Imagine you are an autistic individual whose routine just got messed up.  Your mother gave you the wrong spoon with your breakfast.  You can’t really express that you are upset using words, so you bash your head against the table over and over and over again until you aren’t upset any more or someone gets you the right spoon or you just tire yourself out.  By bashing your head against the table, you are no longer holding onto that upset energy, you are transferring it to something else.  Maybe not the best way to deal with things, but if you are like me, sometimes you just do what feels right.

Disclaimer: I do not bang my head against things very often or nearly as violently as I did when I was a kid.  Now, as an adult, I try and do physical activity such as jogging to get rid of those yucky bad feelings.  It’s hard as fuck and sometimes I don’t want to.  So I don’t.  Because I don’t do things that I don’t want to.  I’m working on that.

Anyway, I will admit that some people hurt themselves for attention.  Some.  Most of the people I’ve met don’t.  It’s a way of getting rid of those emotions that they don’t know how to express.  The people that cut themselves for attention generally, as far as I’ve seen, never did it deep or often enough for it to need medical intervention.   For them, cutting or head banging was done as a way of saying ‘Look at me, see how much I hurt’.  I’m not going to rip on these people for that.  I mean, you have to be a little fucked up to hurt yourself in the first place.

It’s important to realize, however, that it doesn’t matter if it is ‘attention-seeking’ or if it’s something else, someone who engages in Self-Injurious Behavior are going to need psychiatric intervention at the very least.  It’s a stim, and I’m all for the freedom to go out and be your nifty little selves. Hell, I can’t sit still long enough to write a blog post without wriggling about like a kitten on speed.  Autistic people need to stim.  I need to spaz.  Non-Autistic people who have a stim-like behavior should be able to do it. However, stimming should not come at the cost of one’s health.  I mean, I’ve done purging as a type of stim.  I’ve done the wrist banging (still do), head banging (sometimes), cutting (rarely), hair pulling (working on it), and burning (never again).

It releases tension.  People, Autists and the Non-Autists alike, need ways to release tension and stress.  Some of us just don’t have the skills required to do so in a healthy manner.  Others are not very communicative in their needs in order to do a healthy release.  I don’t care what you need to do to release that bad yucky feeling that grows inside you.  Shower, run, dance, roll on the grass, hit people with sticks of celery.  You can sing, rub your arms or legs or face, draw, colour, paint, do the sports activity.  Fuck, I don’t care if you masturbate.  There are plenty of ways to get rid of that yucky feeling without resorting to Self-Injurious Behavior.  I believe you can change your negative stims, random interweb strangers!

Shit, I feel like I just got real preachy and shit.  I’m such a hypocrite.  Sorry, my lovelies!

If any of you need to chat, go ahead and contact me via my contact page.

Much distant affection,

The Sarcastic Autist


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