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.