Good Morning to All,
Thank you, Audrey, for sharing your personal experiences, as you point  out 
several key points.  I am very aware of the endorphin-link in this. It has long 
been known that many marathon runners experience this.  As a former such 
runner, I  regret  I had too few of such experiences;)  But  such is also 
well-documented in masochistic activities. As in S/m sexual acts, masochists 
often report experiencing "sub-space" during or after 'pain-play" with a 
sadist.  This is thought to be a pleasurable  state of being resulting from the 
endorphin release.  
As I am thinking here, this may be part of the reason it is difficult to stop 
the cutting , the running for hours, the bloody and bruising sex play. 
To bring this back to a zen focus, I  wanted to add a couple more thoughts..
This morning, on Big, Gempo Roshi  delivered his dharma talk on the 
theme of "Virtual Death".  A discussion about death and the dying process, and 
how it inevitable  relates to the birth-death cycle.  As Norman Fishcher often 
points out, .."we are dying all the time. We die to the past moment. We are not 
promised a future moment. We live fully in that moment, then die to the birth 
of a new moment until the last moment when another does not come".. (At least 
in our mortal awareness here).
Gempo suggests that  a fear of death or its polar continuum end point of 
wanting to die (as in suicide), may originate  from being  dis-owned in  our 
awareness of our lives.  If we cannot appreciate  being alive, it is often due 
to feeling not honored or respected in our lives now. Feeling unappreciated or 
unacknowledged can lead to  dis-owning our reason to live, or fearing that 
we've never "really" lived--hence  we fear death.  Resisting the reality of 
either death or birth is essentially a fear of change which leaves us simply 
stuck.  Further discussion suggests that such feelings, or lack of feeling, can 
become a pattern of living or existing .  Such could be true in Tim's friend's 
case.  We  become comfortable with our despair.  
Here are my thoughts...  I think such patterns often can occur, especially when 
coupled with depression or anxiety issues.  You can't force someone to change 
or accept help if they resist it.  You can report behavior that may appear 
self-destructive to self or others, but if she is determined to stay 
comfortable  in her discomfort, then she is getting something out of this 
behavior. Attention for starters, albeit negative.  To borrow a fundamental 
economics premise:  People do what is in their self-interest".
Back to Gempo's ideas.. 
I think there is value in these psychological exercises, but as I have said 
here before, perhaps this  is where I question what Big Mind has to do with 
zen.   If there indeed is this fear of death ~ longing for death focus,  
because we feel  like we are not valued by others or feel dishonored inside, 
that is an ego-centric /narcissitic mind-set. It blows off Bill's notion of 
"Just This!";)  While I tend to think its a bit deeper than Bill, I agree with 
him that part of zen practice is a mind that is at peace with the reality of 
what exists  in this moment, without need (grasping) for approval, hungry-ghost 
issues, and needing to feel something different than what we are experiencing  
right now.
I'm wondering if Tim's friend has done any meditation.  What is the impact of 
zazen and self-inquiry on states of depression, suicidal ideation, and even 
cutting ? 
p.s.  Have been invited to see Wall Street II today.  Maybe my whole opinion 
would change if i see Greed II;)

--- On Sat, 9/25/10, audreydc1983 <> wrote:

From: audreydc1983 <>
Subject: [Zen] Re: If you save a life
Date: Saturday, September 25, 2010, 7:22 PM


Tim, and all:
Actually, cutting is common in many disorders, not just OCD (although, it might 
be the case in this instance). Cutting is common in people with BPD, 
Depression, and phobias as well, to ease anxiety.

I'm not a medical professional, but I WAS a cutter - (it is commonly called 
"self harm" for those who are afflicted)- I had BPD comorbid with depression - 
I ditched the cutting, but the depression still gets to me sometimes, 
especially in the winter. 
The first and foremost issue to resolve in a BPD patient is to stop the 
cutting. This can be hard, as it's a coping mechanism - and, it has been shown 
that cutting releases endorphins into the blood - "feel good" chemicals that 
encourage one to cut...again, and again, and again. It might seem strange, but 
it may not even be painful to her. 
It is also common in BPD patients to use cutting as leverage for "guilting" 
those around them into staying and giving them more attention. (I know, I was 
one of them. Shameful, but true.) If she does this to you, try your best not to 
encourage the behavior by giving her more attention - it only reinforces the 
idea that 'self harm = more attention for me'. (Don't threaten to leave, or cut 
attention off completely, though, if she's BPD - it might trigger another 
self-harm episode, or even a suicide attempt)

It sounds like this woman needs to see a psychiatric professional - post haste. 
(this can be a problem, too - many people who cut don't see it as a "problem", 
and don't think they need psychiatric treatment. I self-harmed for 8 years 
before I realized the need for medical intervention) 

She'll be more likely to find treatment if you continue to explain - calmly - 
that you think she needs help. Getting some information (brochures from the 
hospital, maybe) and leaving it at her place, or visible at your place (if she 
visits you) would be a good idea. If she senses the least bit of opposition, 
it'll turn into the "you vs. me" situation. If she's been self-harming this 
long, she might view it as part of her - and any attack - or perceived attack- 
on her self-harming activities will be met with a negative reaction.

Have strength, hope, and patience. I've been continuously amazed at how 
effective the human body - and mind - is at healing itself. 


--- In, Kristy McClain <healthypl...@...> wrote:
> Greetings Tim, and all..
> I tend to agree with Vince on this, though such situations are indeed 
> complex. As there are a number of licensed psychologists and medical 
> professionals here, they may  have opinions as well.
> My own training is in health care--wellness/ fitness/ preventative  health, 
> but I am not a clinical professional. 
> I have a "friend"  that I met some time ago who seemed to be devoted to 
> caring for others and to social justice. Always the volunteer in crisis 
> situations. Trained in counseling and fire-fighting as well as law 
> enforcement, he seemed outwardly dedicated to humanity.
> Yet he is obsessed with his own body and health-- he sees a medical provider 
> of one type or anothe, about  once or twice a day  or more on average. In 
> my opinion, he suffers from a psychological malady wherein he gets his 
> intimacy needs met this way.  He is quick to anger, and his whole life is 
> committed to some kind of drama.  Most recently, he is working with  the 
> fire-station and search & rescue to find a wandering alzheimer's patient, 
> searching  until the wee hours, he says.  He asked to be part of this 
> search as a volunteer, though he tells me he cannot hear without a hearing 
> aid, and it is being replaced by the VA--which is caught up in bureaucratic 
> channels for a week, or so he says.  He also says he  is seeing an 
> orthopedic specialist because of his knee pains--but then the next day, he is 
> back  at the doctor's office to be treated for insect bites sustained in his 
> heroic  search.
> He claims a childhood history of physical abuse by his mother and being raped 
> by a stepfather. Claims to have anal bleeding from the scars now that act up 
> every couple of months, requiring him to wear a "pad".  Yet he has  a 
> close-enough bond with her  now to play dominos with her for hours--work 
> with her on insurance and legal matters. He claims he was tortured in the 
> army as a POW.  He claims that he lost his wife and child in a terrorist 
> attack.  He claims he tried to hang himself.  He claims to be suffering 
> from  heart and liver diseases that will ultimately  take his life. He is 
> completely self-aborbed--and focused on his daily dramas.  He has said that 
> I am the only person he is living for.  I am a saint  sent by God to be 
> with him.  When he  saw his liver specialist two weeks ago, he  told me 
> that he is no longer on the national transplant list because his liver has 
> miraculously healed...  
> But without me--life is not worth living..
> Okay~~ I am a tough-sell when it comes to compassion. I am a skeptic by 
> nature. I have a family chock-full of attorneys, so need I say more on 
> that?  This man actually really got  to me, and I believed him  for a long 
> time.  I posted on him not long ago about how deeply he humbles me by his 
> compassion for others despite his own personal misfortunes.  
> I have learned in the intervening time that he is the one I need to find 
> compassion for, instead of being justifiably  angry at him for playing with 
> my empathy and  wasting my time. I'm sure pieces of his story  might  be 
> true.  But the majority of it is just a  drama he has created to erect a 
> persona that allows him to get  his needs met, (no matter how 
> manipulatively).  
> Back to Tim's situation..  We all find a way to survive within ourselves. 
> Yes--suicide does happen far too often. But sometimes, the drama may have 
> become her habitual way of living. She may not give that up without  having 
> something similar to replace it with.  That is not likely to be "happy" , 
> "feel-good" acts or activities.  Often, I recommend people  get the focus 
> off themselves by getting busy working for others.  But as you see 
> above, my friend  has turned service to others into his own egotistic 
> reward. This is tricky.
> She may simply be addicted to the pain, and without  knowing any of the 
> details, perhaps seeking out a professional trained in this kind of 
> counseling or medical intervention is the only answer.  Seek out  someone 
> who has worked with "cutters" , for example.  (Cutters are people who 
> intentially cut and scar themselves. Its a form of OCD, I think). Continuing 
> to do as you are only reinforces her behavior..  Moreover, harsh as it 
> reads, you may  be caught up in doing this  to make    your opening 
> statement true for you. So-- I  guess I'm saying that giving is a razor-edge 
> experience. Our ego is rarely absent from it, and there is a place in life 
> and service for "tough love", to include ourselves.
> Enjoy  the weekend..


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