I know no one likes to read these longer posts, but hopefully someone will read this.
I’m a 21 year old student at a large city university on the east coast majoring in mathematics with a minor in computer science (thinking about picking up a minor in psych). In my free time I like to paint/draw/sculpt, lift weights, and go rock-climbing, or if I’m feeling introverted (which is most of the time) I watch videos online or read psychopathology text books. As a child I suffered from some benign neglect, and since puberty I’ve been dealing with depression and anxiety. I’ve been dealing with SI on and off for 8 or 9 years. I don’t really have any peers who I can talk to about this (I’ve been in therapy for about as long as I’ve been self-injuring) so I thought I’d join the community.
I’ve been in therapy for nearly half of my life and it’s helped me alot, when I first started seeing my therapist I was very unresponsive and the only way I knew how to deal with my overwhelming anxiety and depression was to SI. Over the years my therapist has worked with me to come up with some better coping mechanisms like:
– talking about my feelings
– learning to ask for help
– getting regular exercise
– eating regular meals
– getting enough sleep (which I wont be doing tonight since I’m writing this)
Today I am able to ask for help when I need it, I have learned that there are people in my life that will listen to what I have to say with out freaking out or being dissappointed in me. I am better at expressing my feelings to others (being able to tell my friend she pissed me off or hurt my feelings without being afraid she’ll abandon me is a good example of this.) I have also utilized the other coping mechanisms with great success sporadically, but all of these things require constant effort and self awareness from me to continue doing them.
Sometimes I get tired, I falter, and my coping mechanisms break down. If I don’t catch myself at the beginning of this cycle I’m likely to find myself self-injuring again. Sometimes I just get so anxious, and depressed, and disgusted with myself for being lazy, or procrastinating with my school-work , that I feel like I am trapped. Sometimes the frenetic energy builds up to such an unbearable level that the coping mechanisms I’ve developed are useless; calling a friend, running a mile, going to sleep, none of these things can calm my frayed nerves. I feel like I need to do something to calm down or I’ll explode, so I self-injure. And I feel relief, as if the pressurized steam inside my head has been released, but at the same time I know the relief is a temporary fix, I know that if I don’t do something REAL to get back to my healthy routine I’ll soon be back, injuring. With the relief comes shame, shame that I’m 21 and I’m STILL DOING THIS, shame because I know how to keep the cycle from starting but I screwed up.
It’s SO hard. So hard. Once I’ve reached the low point it’s so hard to fight my way back to the top, and so easy to relax into my old patterns. But I’ll fight it as hard as I can and pray that I dont take the top for granted again, “This time I wont get complacent.”
Last night I self-injured again, It was half-hearted, I wasnt destressed enough for it to help, no temporary fix this time, I guess I’d better brace myself for a fight. So I’m there now, at the bottom, looking at how far it is to get back, man is it gonna suck! Do I have to? And of course the answer is yes.
Maybe some day I wont have to work so hard to be ok, maybe huddling will become obsolete, maybe. . .
But do I want it to?