Self-Harm And An Admission

Well, I am back in the Clinic at St John Of God in Burwood. I saw my psychiatrist on Monday and he was very concerned about my suicidality and self-harm risk. He wanted me to come in that day but I didn’t have any clothes with me so we arranged for me to come in today, Thursday. Unfortunately, he was right to be concerned as I self-harmed yesterday morning, cutting myself very badly, requiring twenty stitches at the local Emergency Hospital. We were terrified they were going to send me to the local Public Psychiatrict Hospital but when we told them I had an admission already arranged to St John Of God that seemed to satisfy them. We were so relieved. I hate the Public System. They do trojan work but I feel so unsafe there. People are so unwell and acting out. It just triggers me righ, left and centre. My alters go out of control (I have Dissociative Identity Order (DID)) when I go in there.

So my husband brought me up here this morning. The alters didn’t want to be admitted. I was switching all the way up in the car. I don’t know what my husband thought about me being so quiet but that was why. The four year old didn’t want to leave him or home. The seventeen year old and the mother alter, the ones intent on suicidality and self-harm didn’t want me to go as it foiled their plans. Others just didn’t want to be away from home and be where what was to them an unfamiliar place.

I had been doing so well. I hadn’t self-harmed for over two months. Which was a record in the six years that I have been unwell since my memories resurfaced following the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse in 2012. I had repressed all traces of my abuse from the age of 18 to the age of 49. Since then, it has come back in a torrent of horrific flashbacks. I undergo EMDR therapy twice a week with a fantastic psychotherapist and I have a terrific compassionate psychiatrist that I see fortnightly and who takes care of me when I am in the Clinic. I am dreading telling him that I self-harmed only a day after seeing him. I should have just gone and bought some cheap clothes and come in the day he wanted me to. He knows the alters well and knew what they were up to.

With me now in here he can work intensively with the alters who come out to him and he can try and convince them that they are not responsible for what happened to me as a child. I am not responsible for the abuse. The perpetrators are. That is what is at the crux of the self-harm. It is self-punishing for the sexual assault I experienced from the age of 4 – 18. I blames myself. That’s how expert was the grooming techniques used by my parents and the abusers. DID occurs as a result of the abuse. The alters are formed as a form of defence by the child to cope with the trauma of being abused.

Self-harm is when somebody intentionally damages or injures their body. It is a response to deep emotional feelings such as low self-esteem, or a way of coping with traumatic events, sexual assault or physical or emotional abuse.

Self-harm may provide short-term relief from painful feelings, but they usually come back and the urge to self-harm returns. It can become compulsive and the cycle can be hard to break. People who self-harm are usually not trying to commit suicide, but they are at risk of accidentally killing themselves. Repeated self-harm can also lead to people feeling suicidal and hopeless.

Some ways people self-harm include:

  • cutting or slashing the skin
  • burning the skin
  • punching, biting or using blunt force on the body
  • hanging, strangulation, suffocation or self-poisoning
  • misusing alcohol or drugs
  • refusing food or water or eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosabinge eating or bulimia.

People often try to keep self-harm a secret and may cover up their skin and avoid discussing the problem. The signs may include unexplained injuries and signs of depression or low self-esteem.

My arms are a mess. I wear long sleeves even on the hottest of days except when I’m at home I am so ashamed of them. It’s no way to live. I so want my alters to be Integrated and at peace so they don’t continue to self-harm. I want my husband to be able to relax and not have to be constantly vigilante supervising me like a child, even then a clever alter somehow manages to give him the slip. I am totally dissociated and unaware of where the blades are and never remember self-harming. It takes sometime to bring me out of an altered state.

My one wish is to give my family peace of mind.


  1. I am so glad that you were able to go two months without cutting. And so sad that the self-abusive alters hurt you again. I wish I had a magic wand that would stop you from ever experiencing this again. I hope this visit in the hospital is fruitful.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words. They are much appreciated and very encouraging. I will remember them. I had a good session today with my psychiatrist and he spoke to the alter that did the cutting and she apologised so that’s progress. She did it for punishment for the abuse she had suffered but had not meant to hurt me. That is the complicated web of intrigue of DID. He is slowly getting through to the alters and dealing with their guilt getting them to believe that they were not responsible for the abuse. I am hopeful this will as you say a fruitful visit. It’s a great clinic. Thanks once again. All the best and hope your wel. Erin

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