*Trigger Warning* Before continuing, please note, this post contains some emotional content and discussion of self-harm behaviour which can be a potential trigger
I went to the pharmacy with my mum yesterday, to collect my medication, and there it was, one of the biggest triggers for me at the moment…The razors and blades section. Walking away from it empty handed is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.
Am I addicted to cutting myself? I also take too many pills from time to time. I punch, pull, hit, bite, slap, dig but I know that I’m not addicted to those. However, cutting, I can’t say for sure.
A few weeks ago I found myself in a similar spot; facing a huge variety of razors & blades, and that time I couldn’t fight it, I bought a pack. 99pence for a pack of four . That was all. As I was paying for it I found myself thinking “It’s cheaper than smoking”, as if that made it all okay. I felt safer just by the thought of having blades in my room; to know they were there, just in case. I even lied to myself “maybe this will help me to not cut myself as much, or even at all!” but it’s a lie I believed.
As you’ve probably guessed, that wasn’t the case. A few days later, I cut my arm, in many places, and I was back in the emergency department (A&E/ER), with some awful “doctor” asking “are you suicidal?” and trying to force me into staying in hospital. I hate going to the emergency department (A&E/ER), and the last thing I wanted was to hand my life over for some compassion-less, self righteous moron to take care of. Especially with my new found fear of being an inpatient.
I knew that he couldn’t section me as my cuts weren’t life threatening, and I wasn’t suicidal (not when he asked anyway), so he would have to let me go if I wanted to go. I must clarify that these are all assumptions based on my previous experiences of the mental health team in my local emergency department (A&E/ER). It may be far from reality elsewhere.
So back home I went, where my mum & boyfriend would check my room for more blades and take them away from me. I feel so embarrassed, out of control and child-like when this happens (it’s not the first time), but still I do it again.
My mum thinks it could be an addiction. I’m not sure though. I think it’s nothing more than my way of coping with the intensity of my emotions. It just so happens that my emotions are intense & changing all the time, so to me it explains why I have the urge to self-harm, and do act on those urges, often. But I can understand how it can be confused with addiction, and maybe this is why I question my own beliefs sometimes.
Either way, it has now been over four weeks since my last self-harm episode, which is incredible, especially considering that I want to cut my arms 24/7; the urges never go away. And also not long ago, we were visiting the emergency department (A&E/ER) a couple of times a month, so PROGRESS, me thinks. I’ll take it!
Right now, for example, I’m sitting here thinking of the ways I could cut my left arm and how much release I would get from it. I picture it, I zone out into that image, but I’m doing my best to stick to just writing about it rather than acting it out. Please know that it is extremely fucking hard.
The key for me has been trying to learn about myself and my symptoms, so that I can try to catch the urge early, this way I can have some sort of control over how it all plays out. Doing my ice bucket technique every day is also important. When it’s too late or too intense though, then I can’t work with that, I self-harm. And I won’t pretend that it’s never going to happen again, I’ve made that mistake before and when I relapsed, that was harsh. So I’ll be honest and voice how I actually feel; it probably will happen again, but at least there are bigger gaps between the episodes at the moment. Recovery is fucking slow, but at least it’s here now.
Living with how my self-harm affects my mum has been one of the toughest things I have ever had to deal with. It all upsets my loved ones so much that when we’re still waiting in the emergency department (A&E/ER), I want to cut myself again as a punishment for cutting myself and upsetting them. And so the verbal attacks begin “How could I hurt my loved ones so much?” “How selfish of me”. I would like to think that it is all starting to change though, as I can now see that I’m not trying to hurt my family, unfortunately it’s just something that I feel the need to do at the moment and have no control over at all times.
But… I’m trying. I am really trying. I force myself to attend all my Psychotherapy sessions, which to me is a mammoth task. I try to get out of bed every day (even if just to move to the sofa), I try to get out of the house, I try to get some exercise, I’m trying to eat healthier & to not binge eat, I’m trying out new coping techniques, I’m trying to learn to call for help. I’m trying. I’m trying really hard to climb out of my black hole. I’m just a girl trying to stay alive, damn it.
Recovery is tricky, and even though I am working on it, there can be relapses. And you know what, that is okay. Let yourself know that. I’m making my peace with it. We’re all trying. Just surviving is extremely difficult. And for now, that is hard enough, so please (peeps at the gym) don’t judge my scars. They’re a part of what I’m going through right now; they’re a part of my history.