I had an instant reaction of starting to hyperventilate a bit, though I got it under control quickly (also stopped reading). As I get older and the more I'm aware of it, this reaction gets stronger. Explanation involves a friend who was a cutter so be aware if this is a trigger for you.
Background: in high school a couple of close friends would cut themselves, at first as some sign of bravado or when under stress, and then (for one of them) as an addiction. I was under constant and severe stress at this time myself, due to family issues (parents' divorce, living with the one who was unpredictable and frequently enraged) and a mood disorder that went undiagnosed for quite a few years.
I'm afraid my brain was wired to leave me much more sensitive and anxious than a normal person. When stressed, I tend to tune out from people, become uncommunicative, worry that no one can stand me, and so on. What I've also realized is that a phobia seems to be growing connected to my friend's behavior - it's about blood and cutting in particular.
I wasn't awfully bothered by the cutting at the time. I tried to talk my friend into quitting, but was not grossed out. I used to watch all kinds of bloody horror movies, and would even seek out the worst at the video store as if I was dared to.
After a couple more intensely stressful years (they've passed), now I'm afraid to keep sharp objects around even though I haven't harmed myself nor wanted to. But I seem to have started worrying at times about doing so, through some sudden, perverse impulse
I can't control. Now I can't stand to watch scenes in movies where anyone's been cut (I don't seek to watch violence, but a shooting on film wouldn't bother me). I'll start to hyperventilate if it's very bloody. I've had blood drawn at a doctor's office during a checkup and wasn't afraid of the procedure but couldn't stand to look. Yet I'm female so when I get my period every month seeing that kind of blood is no big deal at all. I just can't seem to get rid of some images in my head of that friend's arms and legs and seeing dried blood splattered on books and papers. I think it's particularly having seen the results of some very deep cuts that gets me.
I have read plenty about addictive behavior, PTSD, any and all kinds of mental health issues and I'm on medication that keeps my mood pretty stable. I can't see a therapist now, however, due to a lack of funds/health insurance. What I'm confused by, mostly, is how the phobia didn't seem to develop until about 8 years after the events in question, and why I worry about the.. imp of the perverse suddenly taking over. Has this happened to others? Anything I can do myself to deal with this?