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Obsessed with Imagining Myself Getting Hurt

A

Ashley A

New member
Joined
Nov 9, 2020
Messages
1
Location
PA
Hello!

First I would like to note that I do not think I have a mental illness. My symptoms are mild and fairly infrequent, but I believe these symptoms cause overall anxiety.

I am 24 years old, and since I was about 14, I have been imagining stories of myself getting hurt. Now please note that I have never wanted to hurt myself. I am in fact always very careful to not get injured.

Here are more specifics:

When I was about 14 years old (possibly because of puberty) I would imagine stories of myself getting hurt. One particular story I imagined was of myself getting shot in the leg by a bad person. I was obsessed with that story to the point that I wanted it to come true. I did not want to hurt myself, but I wanted to be hurt. That desire completely controlled my life for a few months. I literally prayed to God that this would happen. I am a devout Christian, and I was then as well, so it was not a flippant prayer. Again, I did not want to hurt myself, but I wanted to get hurt.

Now that I am older, my imagined stories are not to that extent. However, I do still imagine these types of stories, particularly at night when I am trying to fall asleep. My mind keeps repeating the parts of the made-up story where I am in the most pain. I can get obsessed with it, and recently I realized that I needed to fight this obsession. The obsession is the same type of obsession as looking at your phone for notifications (when your brain releases dopamine), but sometimes much stronger of an obsession. It is similar because as I'm imagining these stories, I am seeking some sort of satisfaction, but I am never satisfied. Hence, I keep re-thinking the parts of the story in which I am in the most pain. I am seeking satisfaction in pain.

From doing some research, this is possibly related to another feel-good hormone called endorphin. If I understand correctly, endorphin is released when we are in pain to make us feel good. I wonder if my hormones are off, and if my brain is trying to correct it by (attempting to) simulate pain (although I never actually feel pain).

I wonder if doing physical exercise might help. If my body experiences the "pain" of physical exercise and releases endorphins, perhaps my brain will stop trying to simulate pain (assuming my analysis of endorphin is right).

I am wondering if anyone has any thoughts on this. Is my analysis of this correct? Can you explain more about the brain that will help me understand? Is this issue possibly related to puberty and hormonal imbalance? What can I do to help balance this?

These facts might be related to my issue: 1) a "martyr's complex" after going through hard, emotional life experiences, 2) During a few months of back pain issues, wanting to stay in pain/not willing to work to get better, 3) impulsive habits like flicking my thumbnail against my index finger or rubbing my finger against a surface in a figure-eight pattern. These are impulsive habits that I am able to stop, but not always aware I am doing. While not related to pain, I believe these impulses cause anxiety if I do not stop them.

I greatly appreciate your time!

Ashley
 
Tawny

Tawny

Well-known member
Forum Guide
Joined
Nov 10, 2019
Messages
4,469
Location
England
Are you sure this is not depression?
 
L

LokiPokey75

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 1, 2020
Messages
587
Location
United States
Hello!

First I would like to note that I do not think I have a mental illness. My symptoms are mild and fairly infrequent, but I believe these symptoms cause overall anxiety.

I am 24 years old, and since I was about 14, I have been imagining stories of myself getting hurt. Now please note that I have never wanted to hurt myself. I am in fact always very careful to not get injured.

Here are more specifics:

When I was about 14 years old (possibly because of puberty) I would imagine stories of myself getting hurt. One particular story I imagined was of myself getting shot in the leg by a bad person. I was obsessed with that story to the point that I wanted it to come true. I did not want to hurt myself, but I wanted to be hurt. That desire completely controlled my life for a few months. I literally prayed to God that this would happen. I am a devout Christian, and I was then as well, so it was not a flippant prayer. Again, I did not want to hurt myself, but I wanted to get hurt.

Now that I am older, my imagined stories are not to that extent. However, I do still imagine these types of stories, particularly at night when I am trying to fall asleep. My mind keeps repeating the parts of the made-up story where I am in the most pain. I can get obsessed with it, and recently I realized that I needed to fight this obsession. The obsession is the same type of obsession as looking at your phone for notifications (when your brain releases dopamine), but sometimes much stronger of an obsession. It is similar because as I'm imagining these stories, I am seeking some sort of satisfaction, but I am never satisfied. Hence, I keep re-thinking the parts of the story in which I am in the most pain. I am seeking satisfaction in pain.

From doing some research, this is possibly related to another feel-good hormone called endorphin. If I understand correctly, endorphin is released when we are in pain to make us feel good. I wonder if my hormones are off, and if my brain is trying to correct it by (attempting to) simulate pain (although I never actually feel pain).

I wonder if doing physical exercise might help. If my body experiences the "pain" of physical exercise and releases endorphins, perhaps my brain will stop trying to simulate pain (assuming my analysis of endorphin is right).

I am wondering if anyone has any thoughts on this. Is my analysis of this correct? Can you explain more about the brain that will help me understand? Is this issue possibly related to puberty and hormonal imbalance? What can I do to help balance this?

These facts might be related to my issue: 1) a "martyr's complex" after going through hard, emotional life experiences, 2) During a few months of back pain issues, wanting to stay in pain/not willing to work to get better, 3) impulsive habits like flicking my thumbnail against my index finger or rubbing my finger against a surface in a figure-eight pattern. These are impulsive habits that I am able to stop, but not always aware I am doing. While not related to pain, I believe these impulses cause anxiety if I do not stop them.

I greatly appreciate your time!

Ashley
Hi Ashley A!

Welcome to the forum! You seem to have a really good grasp of what you're experiencing and what may have caused it. Your awareness will be crucial to getting through this. But I think first and foremost, you have to realize 1.) These thoughts are nothing to be afraid of and 2.) You are afraid for a reason. What I suggest you do is learn to remove the fear from these thoughts. You're only hurting yourself more by letting your fears increase the intensity of these thoughts.

After removing the fears, you can learn to face them head-on. Go towards the fear, not away from it. You'll find that you can handle any anxiety attached to the fear once you stop avoiding it. Tawny also has a point. You may be depressed. If so, therapy is a great way to voice your fears and get helpful feedback. I've been going to therapy for over a year now, and due to my candor, I've seen a remarkable difference in the way I think about things.

I also don't think it's so bad that you want to feel pain. People like to experience pain during sex so it's quite common really. Your anxiety about people hurting you may make you afraid, but it's okay to allow yourself to embrace the "pain" of this thought. You may find you don't like the pain as much as you thought. But you'll never know if you let fear overtake your mind.

I've dealt with OCD and depression for years (I'm 26) so I know this beat pretty well. All I can say is take away the fear and go towards the pain. You'll come out stronger and more resilient. Ashley A, you don't have to let the fear of others hurting you physically destroy you mentally. View the thoughts differently and it will help you more than you realize.

Good luck to you! Stay safe!
 
C

Cyclist

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 23, 2020
Messages
61
Location
Scotland
Go out and buy a bicycle. Bike riding floods your body with good endorphins and gets you very fit indeed.
 
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