Today I had an appointment with my support worker from Rape Crisis. I nearly didn’t go to it as my sleeping is still utterly shit and I seem to have well and truly fallen into a pattern of falling asleep somewhere between 3 and 5am then waking up again between 7 and 9am, leaving me feeling pretty shattered. But I decided to go along to it and we spent the hour talking about the self-harm-that-hasn’t-happened-yet-but-I-know-is-likely-to-happen-pretty-soon.
I should probably put a trigger warning in here, this post talks about self harm and is a little bit graphic in places.
I talked about my reasons why I don’t actually want to do it but how I know that the thoughts surrounding doing it are getting faster, more frequent, more graphic, more persuading. I could throw the blades in the bin, but it would only take me two minutes to acquire more. I talked through a typical self harm episode with my support worker, how the build up to doing it is so intense, there are so many thoughts and emotions all dancing around encouraging me, making me think of that feeling of complete numbness and total release, it’s almost like the feeling a junkie gets knowing the hit, the rush, is going to happen any time soon. In a way I can’t wait for it just to happen and for it to engulf me and submerge me all at once.
But then there is this little irritating thought that reminds me of the hatred that I feel towards my scars, the loathing I have for them and how much they affect my self confidence. That’s the long term consequences. Then there is the short term consequences which (usually) involves a trip to A&E. By the time I’ve got to A&E a couple of hours after self harming I am sitting there in shock at the damage I’ve done to myself. I find it really hard to go into the A&E department and be able to speak. The anxiety makes it very hard to get my words out and then there is the sitting in the waiting room knowing that you are going to be called through to the doctor and have to admit to self harming. Having to expose the old scars and the new wounds. Not knowing if you are going to be judged or treated kindly. The mixture of both hope and dread about seeing a nurse/doctor that you’ve see before (for the same reasons). In a way you want to see someone who you know has treated you before and done it nicely, on the other hand you don’t want them to see that you are still doing this same shit to your body.
And if I’m in a situation whereby I don’t know the nurse or doctor on duty (I live in a rural area with a small local hospital so have met most of the A&E staff) but if it’s someone I haven’t met before and I am in a room alone with one or two of them with them assessing my wounds I tend to clam up with anxiety. I can’t speak and I start looking frantically around the room making escape plans in my head. I get scared of the questions they ask me in case they think I am lying – for example – they ask me if I still want to hurt myself and I shake my head to say no but I’m also shaking with anxiety, not speaking, eyes searching all round the room, unable to have eye contact with them… well then I fear they are going to be looking at me and thinking I’m crazy and not be able to just walk straight back out the door. I don’t often feel like I’m in control of a lot of things in my life so the fear of losing my control scares me… a lot.
Most of the time I regret self harming in the days afterwards, sometimes the regret starts within hours of doing it. Fucking hell sometimes within minutes I’m regretting it. But whilst I’m in the act of doing it it’s almost like being transported to a different world – a different headspace – where I feel no physical pain from it and become almost entranced by the blood, the depth, the severity. It’s like how can I be doing this yet not feel it? So in a sense it almost doesn’t even seem real because if I can’t feel any pain then how can I really be doing it?
After my appointment with my support worker I came home – still completely confused, still with these urges to cut, still with the same debate going on inside my head making me remember all the unwanted consequences that come along with doing it. And whilst there are loads more reasons for not doing it than doing it I still know that I will do it. It always wins in the end and the feelings of release it gives me is like an addiction that I must feed every few months (at the moment) – it builds and builds until I can’t take it any more and eventually it will become the only thought in my head until I can’t take stand hearing it one more time and so, I begin to cut. It’s been part of my life as a coping mechanism on and off over the past 17 years of my life. 17 out of my 31 years spent harming my body. That’s more than half my life. Hmm.
So that’s been my day. I am seeing my support worker again on Tuesday and am hoping to see my social worker towards the end of next week to touch base.
It’s after midnight now and despite taking my meds just after 10pm I don’t feel even slightly sleepy so it looks like another night of being awake til fuck knows when. I’ve just taken some extra Diazepam but I doubt they’ll do anything. Tomorrow I’m hoping to find some concentration as I still haven’t written a single post for my course’s weekly debates. But with a mind that is already in a constant debate with itself ‘to cut or not to cut?’ it’s hard to focus on anything else. Especially when you feel like a zombie from the lack of sleep and large doses of Quetiapine. Speaking of Quetiapine makes me think of the voices, I’ve heard snippets of some pretty funny conversations this week, one or two which have made me just roll my eyes in a kind of WTF confused sort of way… and another couple which have actually made me LOL. They are funny things voices; sometimes pure evil, sometimes pure genius, sometimes just hilarious.
Anyway… if I don’t sleep well tonight then I think I may treat myself to a bottle of wine tomorrow night, if I drink alone in the house where the heating is up full blast it is pretty much guaranteed that I’ll fall asleep in front of the TV. Then again alcohol would be something that would likely fuel the self harm thoughts and urges. It’s a no win situation, I should just get it bloody over and done with and hope the usual pattern follows where I don’t think about doing it again for another month or two. But it is impossible to do without the regrets that follow.
Oh well. I guess we’ll see what tomorrow brings. Come what may… (and all that jazz).