I cried in therapy today discussing how I wished I didn’t still get the urge to cut. I wanted it to be a distant part of my past, like the days when my OCD was at its worst. He asked if my OCD was gone and I said it was mostly, but not entirely. He told me:
“It will always be a part of you.”
I feel like for the first time I can accept who I am now, but my history of OCD and self harm and all that…that’s a different story. I wish I could extract it from my life like it never happened. My therapist said
“How could you cut off a limb and not expect that to still affect you in some way?”
His point being that my past is not some attacker that I managed to destroy and walk away from, but rather its a set of experiences that lead me to who I am now, a person I am happy to be. And, wether I like it or not, the OCD is always going to be a part of me.
I have managed to employ strategies that are very helpful in keeping me from cutting. One thing I do is write a word (“Strength”) on my arm. It helps me to feel like I’m marking my body in some way and the word is a mantra for me when I start to feel wilted. I am so glad I have been doing so well not cutting, but I am upset the urge keeps bugging me. My therapist addressed this too, saying how practicing self harm for so many years, how could I expect everything to change overnight and isn’t the self anger what provoked my self harm anyways?
I am continuing to practice abstaining from harming myself and this week, the new thing I am working at is accepting my past as well as accepting that the urge to cut is going to be around for a while and me getting angry at myself for that is not going to help. One day at a time.
My therapist asked me why I cut myself. What did I get out of it? I came up with 4 reasons.
- Self punishment – I wanted to atone; to hurt myself because I was angry for the feelings I had.
- Control – I felt I couldn’t control my emotional pain, but I could control my physical pain.
- Emotional relief – The endorphin rush
- Distraction – The physical pain distracted me from my emotional pain.
My therapist told me that the first one I listed, self punishment, was the odd one on my list. This was so because I could find healthy alternatives to achieve 2, 3 and 4, but not 1.
“If you had a daughter would you slash her legs, throw her in a closet and tell her to shut-up?”
O my god!! Of course I wouldn’t! He then asked why I felt ok doing that to myself.
I tried to look back to my past and think of what started it all, this idea that I needed to punish myself. I felt so bad for all my shameful obsessions. My brain tried to find a reason why the thought looped. I hated my brain. I hated myself. Part of me felt I must have done something to deserve OCD. I felt broken and so full of hate, that I wanted to hurt myself.
I haven’t cut myself in over a month and a half, so what sparked this conversation in therapy today was my fear about the future and what if I start cutting again. I’m terrified of that. I explained how I felt like I had been doing ok because there hasn’t been too much I couldn’t handle in my life lately. He pointed out that perhaps I was attracting less drama because I was showing myself more love. This actually made a lot of sense to me. I have not cut because I have started to love myself and I am showing myself more love because I am not cutting. I believe that I cannot have a healthy lifestyle with successful relationships and a career while practicing self harm, at least I could not find a way to have both in the past.
I wore shorts in public today for the first time in a year. I have been wanting to do that for so long. It’s this type of thing that reminds me that things are improving. I am learning to show myself compassion.
I am still afraid of the future, but each time I get the urge to cut and decide not to, it gets easier and easier. I am incorporating things I have learned in therapy to cope with these situations in ways that are not self-destructive. I am happier than I have been in a long time.
Up until a few months ago, getting sick really tested me and I usually lost so to speak. I would fly into a blind panic, worried that my organs were failing as if the delirium triggered by my illness was just too hard not to drink. I have taken alcohol out of my life and have not cut myself in over month. This is the longest I have gone without causing harm to myself in some form and when the urges come up to cut, it is getting easier to get through it unmarked. So, back to the sick thing…this particular area is still quite a challenge for me. When you get sleep deprived, or really, deprived of anything, you start to get a little bit desperate in some way. Being sick brings out that desperation in me. The insecurities pop up, the sleep is weird and the worry about my health kicks in and combining this all the with the general feeling of being sorta out of it, makes for what feels like a test to me. I am incredibly uncomfortable right now mentally, but what is different now than a year ago is that I am recognizing that I am in a way being tested. This is all temporary and I must accept that being sick is not fun and that these looming emotions are just here for a while. Panicking will not help me, so I am keeping up on my nutrition and water intake, sleeping when I need to, NOT self-diagnosing on the internet, and allowing my mind to get a little mad right now.