Hidden Self-Injury Tools

I should preface this post by mentioning that I don’t feel self-injury is inherently bad, it can be helpful so I find efforts of others to prevent me from doing it frustrating. You might with to read my other post about self injury first.

When I began self-injuring I also began hiding tools to accomplish it. This way I would always have access should I feel the need. Safety pins were hidden in most articles of my clothing. I had a pencil case filled with razor blades and bloody gauze.

In my first hospitalization I secretly brought in a safety pin. A small item I impulsively decided to hide when I realized what was happening. Turned out this was unnecessary.

They did an awful job of searching my things. When my searched bag was handed to me the first thing I did was open a compartment and pull out a brand new razor blade. My roommate had packed the bag and handed it to my parents. The razor blade had been left in the bag previously.

To make it seem I was healthier than I was I promptly handed the razor to the mental health worker who had given me the bag. My manipulation was wasted. This interaction was never entered into my records and I don’t believe he told anyone because it was him who had missed the blade in the search.
Upon later inspection I realized all of my buttons (the kind with little sayings on them and pins on the back) had been left on my bag. I had accumulated a very large assortment of sharp items.

Initially I had decided I would respect the rules of the hospital and not self injure while there, but after a series of frustrations with the hospital I decided there was no reason for that.
I scratched up my arm a bit one day. Hardly any damage, it’s tough to do much with a pin. I didn’t hide it but also didn’t show it off. It was noticed and I handed over some of the pins.
A threat was made, “Is this everything? We can search all your things again if you want”
“Search if you want too”, I said
I made good eye contact. They bought my pretend confidence.
Later, feeling manipulative again I walked to the nurses station with a pin and said, “Here, I found this in my room”
The nurse made a big fuss about how proud of me she was, not knowing I still had my original safety pin. This was entered in my notes.
I scratched a bit at times following and was not caught.

In the weeks preceding my second hospitalization I knew I was feeling unstable. I had destructive plans running through my head with no specific time set.
In the event that I needed to be hospitalized I decided I should ensure I would have materials to self-injure with in the hospital. I hid razor blades in many items that are always on my person.
Sure enough when I was rushed to the ER I had a nice assortment of sharp new blades. None were found during the search. No one expects the lengths I went to conceal them.
I had quite the stash of blades. I cut a lot during that hospitalization and was not caught.
The closest I came was when I was cutting and punching a wall in the shower. The wall punching made more noise than I anticipated and nurses came barging into the bathroom. Fortunately through feigned modesty and angling my body in ways to hide the cuts, I was able to get enough privacy to get clothing on without being caught. I admitted to the wall punching but the cutting and razor blade were not discovered.

On the day I was being discharged, minutes before I left, I passed a clean new blade to a friend I’d met there. She’d mentioned wanting to cut and being friendly I decided to help her out. It’s a fuzzy moral area for me. It’s one thing for me to cut. I know I won’t go too deep, but other people are uncontrolled variables.
Later I heard she cut up her arm pretty badly and was discovered. She wouldn’t give up my name though when the psychiatrist was demanding the information from her.

At my third hospitalization I also arrived well armed with razor blades. The ER room I sat in had a spare unused blood draw kit. I was bored with making balloons out of latex gloves so I took it and hid it for later.
An accomplishment I shouldn’t be proud of but am is that during this hospitalization I cut in the shower while on one to one security. Meaning, I had a person who’s sole job was to babysit me and make sure I didn’t do these sorts of things and still managed to not get caught.
I tried to draw blood with the blood kit. I thought it would be neat to try and bleed until I passed out. I was doing it wrong. It didn’t work. I tried calling a friend with a history of heroin abuse (the same one who I gave the blade to the previous hospitalization) I thought maybe she would have advice regarding sticking a needle in an arm. She didn’t answer the phone.
I later learned those kits are set up to only work when the blood tube is attached. I didn’t have any tubes.

I was trying to express to the doctors how not okay I was. I gave them useless the blood kit and some of the razors that had become rusty from the shower. I wanted them to know what I’d been up to. It didn’t work. I was discharged the next day despite still being very suicidal. First thing I did upon arriving home was OD on a bunch of pills.

Having so many sharp things hidden in my possession makes airplane travel very stressful. I’m fine with sneaking sharps into a hospital, but not fine with sneaking them onto a plane. The consequences of being caught in the hospital are very low, but being caught with it at an airport is serious business. Before a trip I have to carefully comb through every single possible hiding spot and remove the blades. There are so many I don’t remember them all. I’m incredibly anxious while going through security. I worry if i missed one.
To make matters worse I nearly always have my bag searched additionally. I travel with at least three cameras on the average trip, along with assorted other electronic devices. No matter how I pack these items, my bag appears suspicious under X-ray.
Fortunately it appears I’ve never accidentally left a razor blade behind in my bag, but it continues to be a source of worry every time.

If you are someone who works at a hospital I hope you don’t take out of this post that security needs to be drastically upped for everyone. I think a better message is that if a person wants to do something badly enough they will find a way to do it. Also it is important to note, that most of the in hospital self injury I did was directly following attempts to reach out to staff for help verbally that were unsuccessful.

45 thoughts on “Hidden Self-Injury Tools

  1. I have done alot of reading up on SI but still I its something I can never understand.
    I even came by blogs of people who self Injure with graphic pics and descriptions .
    It seemes to me (an outsider) that some of these SI ers are proud of their injuries (as to post them on their blogs).
    Its a call for help? attention?
    Some of them carry razor blades with them on at all times.

    I too have not had an easy life but I can never see my self injuring my self .
    I know of poeple who were abused pritty badly and still they dont injure.
    So bottom line what makes one person want to abuse him self like that and another not?

    Reply
    • Sometimes when I SI I look and it and it seems beautiful. I have photos of my SI. But it’s a very private thing, they’re just for my eyes. I like how my scars look I wouldn’t want to lose them.

      But at the same time I do hide my SI from people. I’m not ashamed of it, I just realize that most people wouldn’t react positively to seeing it. So to make my life simpler I hide it.

      It’s hard to say why a person might post photos of it online. Too individualized of a choice.
      I legitimately do believe some of the photos of my SI are beautiful if I thought others might feel similarly maybe I would share them. But it’s such a personal thing to show, opens up a person to criticism and comparison from others. In a way I think people who post photos of their own SI are very brave. Even anonymously on the internet would be scary for me.

      It’s hard for me to speak about why others do it or don’t do it. I just know why I do it
      There’s a research article here that looks at that question though

      Reply
      • I have read about it and still reading about it and understanding it on an intelectiual level is not realy understanding it on a deep level.

        It seemes to me that posting photos on line is like boasting about it.

        No need to be ashamed but no need to be proad of it either(in my opinion)

        I somehow get the feeling that SIers is sort of like an addiction but unlike other addictions SIers dont realy see that they need to go cold turkey and stop.Get therapy for it. Learn other methods to cope with pain \fustration\ dissapointments eg art therapy \sports \yoga ect..
        They seem to want to stay with SI .

        Anyway from what I read SI is part of borderline disorder.That is most borderliners also SI.
        Is that true in your opinion?

        Reply
        • Borderline is the only disorder in the DSM that has self injury as part of the criteria. But a person only has to meet parts of the criteria to get the diagnosis.

          Borderline is in my opinion not a useful diagnosis. It’s too stigmatized and frequently misapplied. Often people get the borderline diagnosis just because they do SI and not because they meet other criteria. It gets used when a therapist is frustrated with a patient. The diagnostic criteria for it needs some major revamping. Personally I’m a bigger fan of the psychoanalytic way of viewing borderline as a severity level rather than a type like the DSM makes it.

          I think if people want to post photos of their SI online that’s fine by me. I see it as no more bragging than if an attractive person posts a head shot.
          If you don’t hide something that deviates from the norm in some way people will object and maybe call it bragging. But I don’t think that person should have to hide a part of themselves.

          I SI because it works and I feel the benefits outweigh the negatives, in that case why stop? People who feel otherwise about their SI can feel free to get help for it, but for me SI is not the problem. The problem is that I get overwhelmed easily.

          Reply
          • I was only ever diagnosed with borderline after i had disagreed with my diagnosis or course of treatment. So i know that there are doctors that misuse that diagnosis. They use it to discount a patient’s opinion or to absolve themselves from having to help that patient (because a personality disorder is considered more deepy entrenched, or less treatable, or something). When i was volunteering in the mental health field, i once heard a clinician say, dismissively, “Oh, she’s a borderline, manipulative, a cutter.” I can’t imagine how it would feel to be someone with BPD, trying to get help and encountering mental health professionals who view them in such a prejudiced way.

            The cardinal characteristics of BPD are unstable relationships, emotional instability, confused self-concept. Self-injury is a way that borderlines often cope; people self-injure to cope with a bunch of distressing conditions, _including_ BPD. It’s just stupid to diagnose someone with BPD based on self-injury alone.

            Reply
    • I had always wondered how could someone cut themselves, like inflict pain knowingly to themselves. Never quite get the whole “relief” thingy. Had a close friend once who tried to call me when she was feeling down at night. I was sound asleep and didn’t hear my phone ringing. Heard from her the next day she had a though day, the boy she was seeing is cheating on her and she came to know her father was having an affair. Couldn’t take the emotional pain, she cut herself. I felt guilty thinking that if I was there for her, she wouldn’t have resort to that. So I went over to her house and got her to explain the cutting “relief” thing. I had to try it to understand it and couldn’t get myself tobleed. Asked her ghelp and she volunteered only if I would place a cloth over my arm. Thinking it would not cut me, she ran a penknife over the cloth and surprisingly, I bled. I now get it why people cut themselves. The blood gushing out made me forget everything.
      Somehow, now when I try to cut myself, I end up having swells. I cut seem to bleed no matter how hard I try to push the pin into my skin…

      Reply
  2. New here. It’s been years since i visited an online SI site, and i’m appalled to hear that people would post pictures; it’s irresponsible of any site moderator to allow this. I was once a regular on a website that was something of a support group; generally people took it upon themselves to label potentially upsetting or “triggering” posts (that is, posts that might trigger an urge) as such, out of courtesy to their readers. Oh well; i’m just getting reacquainted with the web and am not familiar with its darker nooks, which is fine with me.

    When i was in college, i had a few therapists who encouraged me to stop self-injuring. It never benefitted me. Actually whenever i would try to refrain from cutting, i would usually end up suicidal. Thinking back, i feel it was unfair of those therapists to expect me to drop my most reliable coping skill when i had nothing to substitute. I think they were responding to their own fear and confusion about what i was doing, rather than trying to empathize with me. (If they’d truly been empathizing with me, they’d have known that i was numb, which is ultimately why therapy never helped me, for years. Hard to work with your feelings when you can’t find them.)

    I do know that some people develop something of an addiction to the injury, and for those people, i suppose a more targeted approach may be needed. I wasn’t one of those people, so i can’t say for certain.

    From the few posts i’ve read, you seem much more self-aware than i was. I’m very glad to see that.

    Reply
  3. How did you stop the cutting? Im 16 and i have also been hospitalized for trying to commite suicide. I still cut but I really want to stop

    Reply
    • I stopped it’s not easy, I had no help I was never hospitalized and my cuts were not as serious as other people’s but my point is that help would have made things much easier, I hid things well never got caught my parents don’t know till this day that I used to cut myself… To stop is not easy you need loads of detractions and trying to spend more time with people you feel happier around helps too. Talking about it or writing everything about it down on a piece of paper then ripping it to pieces helps me. Also thinking positively… Think things such as what would people do if I wasn’t here how would this affect my family my friends any loved ones. Imagine the person you loved most on the planet died killed them selves you didn’t know they were so sad… You would feel horrid. I know I would never want to make any one feel that way. Stay strong. H.O.P.E -hold on pain ends

      Reply
      • Mine wasn’t cutting but it was indeed self harm. It started after I was molested by an inlaw. The sexual abuse went on for a long time – almost a decade and so did the self injury. I was hospitalized; luckily before the popularity of BPD or I would have carried that label all of my life…. The down side is that this was before anyone started connecting self injury with sexual abuse. So I suffered that in complete silence.

        You see, the thing is, I was abused, I suspect, bc I was different. (I realized after emerging from the fallout of all the damned trauma that I am gay). But I was raised by uber-conservative, distant, cold, parents who outright rejected me for the self harm alone. They were extremely judgmental, deciding the self harm was bc I was “attention seeking” which had nothing to do with it. I was raised to believe sex was immoral. And here I was being forced as a little girl to perform sexual acts on a grown man that should have been trustworthy. He silenced me by convincing me that I’d done something awful.

        Somewhere I realized that writing things down could help me with my pain. I tried that. But one day I was searching for something in the kitchen and discovered that my parents had gone though my trash and taped together pages I’d ripped out, torn of my journal, ripped into many pieces & thrown away. After that I never trusted journaling again.

        Let me complicate this even further. I had my first lesbian awareness at age 4. Now. even heterosexual people who had sex w/o marriage were disgusting to them. You can fill in the blanks about gay people. At the age of 4 I was given a very clear message that being gay was only for “dirty people”.

        Let me lay another layer over this. My father had a PhD in child psychology and my mother had a MA in education. They should have known better. I suspect they did and really didn’t give a crap.

        I started to come out of all of this when I moved hundreds of miles away from my family of origin. I didn’t feel all that safe, at first. Slowly, slowly I came out to myself. The self harm became less and less of a coping tool as I discovered a community that was accepting & loving.

        I have discovered that video gaming helps to divert my attention from intense inner pain. I don’t feel the elation that is supposed to accompany all of this. (I kinda wish I did). I just wish that people had some sort of internal mechanism that prevented them from breeding if they didn’t have the emotional skills to parent. All three of us (my brother and my sister and myself) are completely screwed up.

        Reply
    • There were no metal detectors that the hospitals I went to.
      I intentionally didn’t explain how I did this. I’m not comfortable giving advice in this area. I personally know I can control things with cutting to avoid serious damage, but other people might not. I’m sure anyone who’s dedicated to figuring out a way to get blades in can manage it, but I don’t want to be the person facilitating it. Sorry.

      Reply
      • its ok. i dont mind and i understand. im just trying to figure out ways so when i break down i wont be so rash as to use wire or some other thing.

        Reply
  4. The only Word that comes to mind is moving! I can’t cut anymore but I rip my Hair out on a daily basis….if u want to do something badly enough u’ll find a way to do it!

    Reply
  5. As a self-harmer, I always fear being out in a psych ward. I’ve come very close several times and know I would not be able to survive without my razors. I know the psych staff (I’m also an EMT) (which helps me get tools like scalpels) from runs I’ve been on and, with their thoroughness, am so scared that I wouldn’t be able to sneak in.

    Reply
  6. I’m 16 now and I’ve been self harming since I was 11. It started off small and escalated. I don’t just cut up one part of my arm each time though I cut up my whole arm. Then while it’s healing I’ll want to do it again do I’ll pick it and do things to it to make it hurt and bleed. I’m addicted and I can’t stop. I need help but I can’t ask because everyone I talked too think I’ve stopped.

    Reply
    • Hi Jess,

      I’m not the best person to ask for ways to stop, as I still do it myself. There are many online support groups though they you might want to look into if you are trying to stop. You might also consider asking to go to therapy. You don’t have to tell your family about the SI to get therapy. Good therapy should be addressing whatever problems are leading you to SI.

      Reply
    • Hi Jess.
      My name is Maggie; I’m 16, too. I haven’t been cutting for nearly as long, but my cutting was very severe and I’ve managed to quit for a while now. I’d be willing and able to act as a bit of support and emergency management.
      SickArtShow@hotmail.com

      Reply
    • Sorry. That isn’t the type of thing I want to get into on this blog. I don’t have moral objections to SI, but at the same time am not comfortable providing tips. If it is something you want I’m sure you’ll be able to find it through other sources.

      Reply
    • If you don’t know where to find blades you don’t need this, i mean really she’s spilled out a story and you’re being thick. No one wants you to self harm and i personally think you’re deliberately trying to trigger her with this okay.

      Reply
      • Don’t worry about me. I don’t understand the whole “getting triggered” thing. I can talk about self harm without wanting to do it. If I genuinely had a problem with a comment you wouldn’t see it here because I would remove it.

        Reply
  7. thinking back i have been depressed by age 8 . at 15 i tampered with over the counter meds. at 16 i od . over the years i have been cutting, i took several blood baths to the point of passing out. my wrist has been cut so bad that you could see what moves inside. i lost count of how many times i cut and have been hospitalized. all doctors would give a different dinonsis. i have been on so many meds. i am 39 now and still enjoy self-injuring. in 1000 words you can describe a picture but in 1000 words no one gets the picture. i like the state of mind cutting puts me in. and there is a medication that could help with the urge to cut but it interfers with my other meds.

    Reply
  8. I’m 15 years old and have been self harming for 3 years. I am currently trying to recover by myself. It’s really hard though. My parents don’t know I self harm or that I’m even sad. I’ve attempted suicide twice by OD but have just woken up in my room 12 hours later with a million calls from my friends. My close friends all know I self harm (my close friends because depressed and it became a trigger for me so I had to tell her). What do u think are some ways I can help myself recover from SI. It’s really hard and I relapse atleast everyother week

    Reply
    • Hi Abby,

      This blog isn’t really a good forum for advice about stopping self harm. That said despite the bad therapy experiences I have had I have found it to also be very very helpful. If you can find a way to get in therapy it might be able to help.

      Reply
  9. I’m 23 years old ive never cut always wanted to but never had the intuition however ive been going through alot of financial changes and hate the fact that i’m alive. I started attempting suicide at 5 I lit myself on fire, drank lighter fluid bit into rat poison and snorted ajax by 11 having sex with random people and letting my friends punch me in the face. By 13 I was getting drunk and snorting cocaine. I stopped all this once I was admitted in to a max alert mental hospital by my family. But now drugs aren’t as potent these days and trying to cut myself is still an issue to be honest I feel more numb than anything. Pain doesn’t affect me anymore. I finally got so pissed off I attempted to inflict pain onto myself, the other day I busted a beer bottle on my concrete patio and stepped on it barefooted I felt the blood running and saw the sharp glass hanging out of my feet but I laughed at how it didn’t hurt. and this morning I was so pissed off I slit both my legs from the base of my feet to the kneecaps with a dull knife and still didn’t feel anything I felt the blood and saw the wounds but didn’t feel pain I just laughed. At this point I would rather feel pain than be numb I feel alien like even if I were to shoot myself in the foot or slice my neck open I will still feel numb. I’ve been to many therapy sessions, hospitals, and jail. Numbness is worse its hard for me to see my wounds pick the scabs and not feel the pain no stinging or tingling just a bleeding wound and tears falling from my face. What’s the point of inflicting yourself with sharps if you can’t feel the pain…

    Reply
  10. i know what its like, i remember making compartments in my shoes to hide bits of pen, and me and my freind turned the entire lounge into a hiding spot. every sofa, every window sill, every picture. we celotaped blades to our ceilings! and they would do strip searches, and leave me with things under my toungue, or id find yogurt pot lids, out of foil, and scrunch them up into blades. and i did that needle kit thing,m and i fashioned a syringe out of a pen, instead of having a tube. a pen i shouldnt have had, lol. pens are easiest, and shards of teeny glass noone can see. to be honest, ive gotten so into the pattern of it, that i still hide things, on impulse. like, walking down the street, if i see glass, i hide it up my sleeve and stick it to my ceiling! weirs the things we mental patients get into the habit of!
    its nice to see someone online who isnt all stop it youre beautiful blablabla.

    Reply
  11. I self harm. It’s soothing but then it’s not. It turns the emotional pain into pain at you can actually see which helps u cope

    Reply

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