Punishment vs. Relief

After Saturday, you could say I was in a somewhat dark place. Tuesday I had a session, and we talked about how bad Saturday was and the things that led up to me getting there. I decided to reveal that I had cut and pounded myself until I bruised in order to punish my body. That was the sole purpose of doing those things: to inflict pain on myself as a punishment. I had never told her that I had done these things before, because honestly I didn't do them very often (maybe every 3 or 4 months) and it was never used as a form of punishment, but as a way to feel physically what I couldn't emotionally. I guess you could say that Saturday scared me enough to say something, even though I knew revealing it would cause me some pain as well.

We talked about all of that, and she discussed how she felt that cutting was not only unsafe physically, but detrimental to my healing. The way it was worded caused me take on a tremendous amount of guilt, and I felt awful for saying something. I ended up going home Tuesday night and cutting again, but not as a punishment... just as a way to physically feel my emotional pain. So I knew when I went in today, I had to say something to her about walking away feeling guilty because of something that was said. We talked about that and she reiterated that she was not blaming me in any way, she just wanted to let me know that in her opinion, my decision to cut was only going to hurt me, not help me. I told her I cut again, and we compared Saturday to Tuesday and the emotions that were going on inside me at those exact moments. It led up to me needing to make a decision on whether or not I wanted to try out healthier ways of dealing with those emotions, even though they may not be a quick fix, or continuing to use the quick fix even though it might cause future emotional pain. She asked me if I could make a committment to myself not to cut until I see her again on Tuesday. I said yes, but I hate telling myself "No! You can't do that!" in times of need. It just makes me want it more. We talked a little bit more on the subject and she asked me again if I thought I could make that committment to myself and I started crying. Giving up my back-up plan is extremely vulnerable and I just don't think I'm ready to do that yet.

Part of what started this whole tailspin of stuff was me sitting down to journal Saturday night because I was feeling anxious. The evenings are a very vulnerable time for me anyway, so taking on such heavy things at night is sometimes detrimental to myself. So on Tuesday I was asked to stop journaling and processing difficult things at night, which is why I haven't checked blogs or updated yet... because I'm always on at night! Hopefully these next few days will give me the proof that I can find other ways to cope, and that saying I'm not going to cut doesn't make me feel cornered and out of options. I hope Tuesday gets here quickly.


imaginenamaste said...
August 13, 2009 at 3:15 PM

Totally random....you should get playdough (or silly putty).....was fantastic for me when I needed to do something with my hands (and you can make fun little creatures....haha or just pretend to squish things!)

More later...wanted to share my random thought!

PS--Bet school is starting again, hope it has started well for you if it already is! Or, have a last few days of break :)

Harriet said...
August 13, 2009 at 9:38 PM

I've always thought it was weird that my t thinks it's ok that I SI. He says since it's not too often (every 2 to 3 months) and not deep enough to require medical attention it's ok. I have really never heard anyone tell someone it's ok to do this to themselves.

But if he asked me to promise not to SI for even a short period of time I'm sure I would feel like you - wanting to do it even more!

So I guess I should be grateful that he doesn't ask me for that promise.

Take care of yourself....

Just Be Real said...
August 15, 2009 at 7:24 AM

Dear one I am so very sorry for your continued pain. I cannot honestly say how one feels when they do SI, as I do not, but I know any pain we feel to get any relief is welcomed. I pray you will find a better was to relieve your anguish. So, glad your t. shared she was not trying to make you feel guilty!!!

Blessings and hugs dear one. ♥

mmaaggnnaa said...
August 16, 2009 at 3:31 PM
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
enlighteningthedarkness said...
September 15, 2009 at 1:21 AM

I used to cut but thankfully I think I'm past that. My current maladaptive coping mechanisms are mostly excessive napping and overeating.

Cutting was very hard to stop. Being told not to do it only made it worse because I'd get angry at the person and avoid them because they were trying to control me and clearly didn't understand. (I felt this way even when the person who asked me not to cut was a cutter themselves.)

I cut to make my emotional pain physical and/or to punish myself. I also hit myself to cause bruising and banged my head. What made cutting different is that it left scars. The scars would remind me of times that I was depressed, causing me to get depressed again, which in turn would cause more cutting. It was a bad cycle.

What helped was trying to find a different coping mechanism. When I was getting really emotional, I would go through my phone book and call people. Sometimes I would vent, but most of the time I would just chat and use it as a distraction. Once I was calmer, then I could think about what triggered the impulse to cut.

Over time, reminding myself that cutting actually made me feel worse in the end (because of the guilt and bad memories) helped me stop. I also found a lot of ways to distract myself.

I hope that you are able to find something that works for you.