I want to cut – right now. I have been wanting to do this for hours now and only through the use of DBT skills have I resisted. I used the oh-so-helpful STOP skill, made a pros and cons list, used the TIP skill by putting an ice pack on my face and holding my breath for a few seconds, self-soothed with a yummy smelling candle, a delicious treat, and a warm blanket, and distracted myself with the ACCEPTS skill. I watched Chopped on tv, called a friend, read part of a book, and texted and tweeted positive things to people. All this helped me get through a couple hours, but then I felt like I was back at square one. I already had found “tools” (something to cut with) and was preparing. I called another friend and ranted and talked and when I thought I was getting close to following through with self harm my therapist called me back. I called her around 1 1/2 to 2 hours ago and was so happy to see her calling.
I ranted. I told her all the skills I had used. My urge to cut was at an 8/10 – that’s pretty damn high. My frustration level was a 10 – I don’t understand why I want to cut so badly, I just know that I do. She suggested I make my tools hard to reach – either freeze them or box them up with duct tape. After talking on the phone with her for a few minutes I was starting to feel more confident – like I could make it through without cutting. Maybe I could even throw my tools away in the trash? I thought about that as we continued to talk. She told me to tell myself my goals every time I started having negative thoughts.
My goal is to get a tattoo that says “Hope” on my wrist
My goal is to get through the night without cutting
My goal is to not make things worse
When I told her I felt like crying she asked if I thought about “one-mindfully” crying. Crying is hard for me. She agreed, saying that cutting would be much easier, but why not try one-mindfully crying instead? She also suggested I put Elmer’s glue on my hand, let it dry, then peel it off. I suggested drawing on my skin instead of cutting. Then she asked me if I had any vulnerabilities right now. I realized I hadn’t eaten in a while and so I should probably eat (which I literally just finished doing now, as I’m writing this). Finally I told her I was ready to throw my tools away. I stayed on the phone while I did it and told myself, as I was doing it, “Throwing out these tools is effective SO… relax” while breathing in and breathing out. After I did it I rewarded myself by telling myself “I am proud of myself.”
For the rest of the night my goal is to keep myself distracted by doing a lot of activities until I go to bed, this way I don’t cut. When I have thoughts of cutting, I am going to think positive thoughts instead such as “I am acting effective… SO… relax.” My therapist also told me to release tension in my body when I notice that I am frustrated.
Oddly enough, writing this post about wanting to cut has helped curb my urges. I’m still having them, to be sure, but I am urge surfing and trying to use Teflon Mind, letting those thoughts slide right on out of my mind. I am going to keep utilizing my DBT skills and I WILL get through the night without cutting. It’s not a promise, but it is my goal.