In my first post titled “God Doesn’t Want You To Cut,” I discussed how we all use different coping mechanisms to deal with stress. Sometimes the mechanisms we choose are harmful. I also talk about what the Bible says in regard to self-abuse.
I recently found a very informative quote about cutting (or other self harm such as binging) in Diane Langberg’s book “Counseling Survivors of Sexual Abuse.” I know the book says it’s for people that have been sexually abused, but this quote is for everyone. Trust me.
“I find it very important to educate those clients who self-mutilate about the biochemical changes that accompany post-traumatic stress disorder and what role those biochemical changes play in the survivor’s vulnerability to self-abuse. The endorphins (endogenous morphines) released into the bloodstream at the moment of trauma have a tranquilizing and antidepressant property. The self-mutilation occurs in order to relieve the survivor from unbearably pain internal states, not because the client is “sick” or “weird” or “likes pain.” As clients comet understand this mechanism, they can begin to see the benefit of regular aerobic exercise of some kind because such an activity is also known to release endorphins. The gradual release of endorphins during aerobic activity contributes to a longer lasting sense of well-being and a reduction in stress, elimination the urge to self-abuse.”
So you see, it isn’t that you actually want to harm yourself. It is a temporary reprieve from your intense emotional pain that you are after. Langberg suggests that you take up exercise, which will release those same endorphins, but in a much healthier way. Exercise is also part of your well-being, and an improved well-being will help you take control of your life. Well-being also includes creating healthy sleep patterns and eating healthy foods.
And remember that God wants to give rest to the weary…
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” -Matthew 11:28
May the Lord continue to keep you and bless you on your journey (or as you walk alongside someone else in their journey) to healing.