Aspergers and Self Harm article



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craola
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Sat Sep 13, 2008 10:17 am

I just found this and its made me itchy inside my head.
I was wondering what anyone else thought-


Self-injury is often a coping mechanism, particularly with the feeling of being rejected. This is a particular problem for anyone who has difficulty in understanding non-verbal communication, for example those with Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism, possibly affecting about 1 person in 200.
For most people, understanding facial expressions, body language, etc is instinctive, starting as babies before language acquisition. But just as some people having hearing difficulties or are short-sighted or colour-blind, others have difficulty with interpreting the non-verbal signs which most people use continuously and which are essential part of how small groups work: tiny cues tell us when to speak and when to stop, and whether people agree or disagree with us, or whether others find us amusing or dull, etc. These cues are not understood by aspies (as people with Asperger’s often call themselves). Research is continuing into why this is: for example, some recent research has found that while most people use a special bit of the brain for looking at faces, those with autism use the same bit as for looking at inanimate objects.
This disability is not immediately obvious but it is a handicap. However most aspies can learn how to cope. Indeed many teach themselves without realising that they are not getting all the information available. But it gets more difficult in adolescence when fitting in with friends becomes more important. The give and take of a group requires a skill in picking up non-verbal messages that aspies just do not have, even though their understanding of what’s being discussed will be as good as anyone’s. As a result, aspies get isolated and often bullied.
By the time they reach adolescence, most aspies will realise they are fundamentally different to others at school but, unless diagnosed, will not understand why. Many autistic people are unaware of other people - but not aspies. Being rejected, repeatedly, by their contemporaries really hurts aspies. Not surprisingly, many become severely depressed – and may resort to self-injury. This leads me to suspect (but I have not found any research on this) that more than 1 in 200 of those who SI may be aspies.
Aspies have most difficulty when things are new or strange. They find unpredictability really stressful. So they hate change and uncertainty. Rather aspies are creatures of habit: liking always to go the same way to school, always to sit in the same place, and preferring old clothes.
Aspies are very rational people – they are wonderfully resistant to those who manipulate emotions. Talking about what’s making them depressed or why they self-injure is really stressful for an aspie. An aspie would find it more useful to have guidance on how to cope with irrational – ie ordinary – people. But most of all, aspies just want to be accepted as they are: people who, unlike most others, actually mean what they say.



Last edited by craola on Sat Sep 13, 2008 10:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

Jellybean
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Sat Sep 13, 2008 10:20 am

Woah that was long but interesting. I have AS and self harm quite a lot. Sometimes it is 'typically autistic' self harm like hitting the side of my head or banging it on the floor but I also do the whole scratching my wrist thing. It has something to do with the release of endorphins. Maybe this is because we feel less or more pain than most people.


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nettiespaghetti
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Sat Sep 13, 2008 10:27 am

I have self injured in the past but stopped because when I did it was pretty severe.


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Sat Sep 13, 2008 10:31 am

Rough play with kitties anyone? Them claws are sharp.


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craola
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Sat Sep 13, 2008 10:39 am

I was a self harmer and then went through four years of mental health treatment before finding out I was on the Autistic Spectrum.
This article is confusing me though, it was titled "A Special Group of Self Harmers" and I can't work out whether its saying that some self harmers might actually have AS or that another reason for self harming is AS.
Is this a good article a bad one or a nothing article?



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Sat Sep 13, 2008 10:40 am

The article describes me very well. I resorted to self-injury from my early twenties to late thirties. Yes, the pain and sense of rejection experienced is overwhelming. The physical injury was something I could at least tend and do something about and in that process it offered some measure of comfort. I began to isolate and maybe this is why I haven't experienced these tendencies of late.



Last edited by aspiartist on Sat Sep 13, 2008 10:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

butterflykitty2008
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Sat Sep 13, 2008 10:48 am

I found this interesting because I am a self-injurier.



sirtlan
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Sat Sep 13, 2008 10:58 am

Sounds plausible enough, that many SIers could have Asperger's - then again, could be the other way around. Dunno if it'd really be as many as 1 in 200, with all the reasons to SI.



Brook-lynn20
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Sat Sep 13, 2008 11:01 am

I'm not diagnosed yet, but self-mutilation feels good. Sure doesn't look good, though.



Callista
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Sat Sep 13, 2008 11:59 am

I think the article's completely ignoring that many (maybe most?) Aspie self-injurers don't do it to cope with rejection, but with overload. SI in autistics, whether repetitive or involuntary or deliberate, tends to have something to do with sensory overload, or transitions, or unexpected/uncontrollable events. I don't see why Aspies should be any different. (There's some crossover. Emotions can overhwhelm anybody, NT or Aspie, and add to base-level stress load enough to cause meltdown.)

Anyway, trying to cope with emotions using self-injury doesn't really work. It just helps for a half hour (or whatever length of time), and then you're right back to the emotions again. Same with overload. But there's no denying that if your brain's wired just right, you will benefit from it for that short time. People do things for a reason, and self-injury always has a reason behind it.

I'm not recommending SI, obviously; it just seems to be something autistics resort to more often than NTs.


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Mindovermatter
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Sat Sep 13, 2008 12:15 pm

butterflykitty2008 wrote:
I found this interesting because I am a self-injurier.

harming yourself is not good. I helped my ex to stop harming herself. There are other ways to deal with things, even outbursts or fightingwith people that piss you off is better than hurting yourself.

study satanism on self preservation.



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Sat Sep 13, 2008 12:21 pm

Yeah - in high school I had a good group of close friends, and I have self-injured since I was a little kid, and although not quite as often now as it used to be, it's still pretty frequent. Usually I bang my head, but also hit myself, and occasionally try to stab myself (though fortunately I prevent that). I also don't have difficulty reading body language (though the body language I produce is usually quite unusual).

When I self-injure, it's usually because of a stressful situation, such as overload, or feeling like I'm bad, or because of communication difficulties. Especially when I'm being yelled at when trying to communicate (such as shouting "I don't understand what you're saying!" will make things much worse). I have not done SI because of feeling rejected (which I have felt on occasions, though not too often, as I have the tendency to thoroughly reject those who reject me).


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Sat Sep 13, 2008 1:49 pm

i would pick at skin a lot (i get eczema)... but have stopped by switching methods... i take very hot showers and i have a detachable showerhead so i can hose particular areas with really hot water. it feels just like itching, but better. i have a high heat tolerance. it's actually helped a lot cause i'm starting to heal up. i'll be able to comfortably wear shorts next summer (have a bad spot on one leg).


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Sat Sep 13, 2008 3:15 pm

Mudboy wrote:
Rough play with kitties anyone? Them claws are sharp.


Heheh, I do that too.

I self-injure but it has nothing to do with being rejected. It's almost a stim to me. I bite down hard on my knuckles. Sometimes I head-bang but it's pretty minor.


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aspiartist
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Sat Sep 13, 2008 3:28 pm

Rejection meaning a "sense" of rejection, i.e., feeling different, not fitting in, not measuring up in the neurotypical ways, etc... If you have trouble with verbal communication, as well, then the odds are stacked up even more. IRL I haven't experienced it in literal terms either.



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