Shorts in Public

My therapist asked me why I cut myself.  What did I get out of it?  I came up with 4 reasons.

  1. Self punishment – I wanted to atone; to hurt myself because I was angry for the feelings I had.
  2. Control – I felt I couldn’t control my emotional pain, but I could control my physical pain.
  3. Emotional relief – The endorphin rush
  4. 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.

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