Anyone who read my last post (6 days ago) knows that this past week has been a struggle! I have been struggling hard-core with self harm urges. My main goal 6 days ago was to make it through the day without cutting, but what I really wanted was to make it at least until my next therapy appointment (which was this past Saturday, the 25th). I made it without cutting. In fact, I still haven’t cut. And you know what?
I have no idea how I did it.
I mean, to be honest, I know the things I did: I used countless skills that I learned in therapy, even when I didn’t want to use them anymore. I called my therapist… a lot… and called my friend Amanda a lot. I literally was feeling so needy (but as my therapist would say, ‘I wasn’t needy, I was a person in need’). That’s a much less negative way of looking at it.
I cried a lot… mostly while I was on the phone with either Amanda or my therapist. And I was angry. I was so frustrated that I was experiencing these urges again. I was frustrated because I “wanted” to act on those urges even though I knew, in reality, I didn’t want to act on them. Does that make sense? The depressed side of me wanted to cut so badly. I was telling myself that I needed to, that it would make me feel so much better. Those were lies my depression was telling me. Lies. Lies that I decided not to listen to even though it was agonizing, going back and forth about whether or not I was going to go through with it and cut. Words can’t describe that agony. The desire felt so strong that I’m tempted to compare it to a compulsion. But maybe that’s not fair – I don’t think I’ve ever truly experienced having uncontrollable compulsions. I don’t know, that’s just the thought that goes through my head I suppose. One night, after throwing my blades away I started physically shaking so badly, I felt it internally. I felt as if I had hypothermia or something. (When I talked to my therapist she told me that shaking was my body’s outlet of that urge and energy that I had wanted to direct toward cutting, but didn’t.)
In therapy on Saturday I sat down, smiled (although my smiles don’t always mean I’m happy), and said, “I have no idea how I did it… but I did.” My therapist was visibly happy for me. I mean, she was literally almost bouncing in her chair! She was proud of me and you know what, at times, I felt proud of myself, too.
I almost gave in yesterday. I was doing fine for hours, having been giddily happy the night before, when all of a sudden BAM! Self harm urges were back in full force. I called my therapist – and then promptly walked up to the store where I bought “tools” to self-harm. I was agonizing in the store. I was pacing back and forth, almost screaming I was so frustrated. But I bought them. I walked home but didn’t use them. My therapist called me back an hour and a half later and I cried a little, for sure. I was so angry and frustrated and overwhelmed and just tired. Tired off all this crap. And yet once more I persevered. My therapist stayed on the phone while I threw out my tools. I colored mandalas and used the temperature part of the TIP skill to calm myself and stay distracted.
I also realize that perhaps these urges were so strong because we reduced my Abilify dosage a week and a half ago. So, a couple days ago I talked to my psychiatrist and we changed the dosage of my Abilify back to what it was. Hopefully, this will help.
Keeping my head up and trying to stay positive!