Understanding the link between anxiety & self-harm


Trigger Warning for cutters

Part II of an article on Self-Injury & CUTTING
Intenational Self-harm Awareness Day – March 1
In the What Kind of World do YOU Want? series

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What do YOU do to beat back anxiety?

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Father and Mother, and Me, 
Sister and Auntie say 
All the people like us are We, 
And every one else is They.

“We’re all islands shouting lies to each other
across seas of misunderstanding.”

~ both by Rudyard Kipling

As I said in the first part of this article, introducing
The Butterfly Project, “to my knowledge, cutting and
other types of self-injury are not true ‘ADD/EFD Comorbids.‘”

ANXIETY, however, is one of the comorbid disorders  — BIGtime  (although not always at levels that warrant an official diagnosis as a disorder, or so incapacitating it requires medication to manage).

Everybody deals with anxiety

In 25 years of experience in the coaching field, I have found the attempt to avoid feelings of anxiety beneath almost all of the ineffective strategies and maladaptive behaviors I have run across, in both “vanilla” and ADD/EFD-flavored coaching situations.

Why?

  • Although humans beings crave novelty to keep us interested and engaged, anything new and different carries a certain element of risk.
  • Risk has both feet in uncertain territory. Human brains tend to prefer safety and security to risk.
  • To feel safe once more — and quickly, too — we humans have a tendency to exhibit a range of ineffective or maladaptive behaviors when we are unsure.

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