Triggers and Metaphors and I Don’t Know What…

Yesterday I had a good therapy appointment, even though it feels like I don’t fully understand all of it. At one point I opened my mouth to say something, closed it, and then decided I was going to say it after all. Of course my therapist noticed all of this, but she was patient and I finally just plowed ahead.

So, this thing happened on Sunday (the day before my appointment) that was really upsetting. I was cleaning out a box filled with various things at my grandma’s house (because I have to move in there soon, but that’s another story) when I scratched myself accidentally.

As a side note, do you see how I added accidentally onto the end of that last sentence? Ever since I struggled with cutting I feel the need to clarify when things are accidents even though most people would probably assume it was an accident anyway.

It was a plastic box/container with really sharp edges and it scratched me across the edge of my right wrist.

It was so triggering, especially since it was painful and scratched deep enough to draw blood. It’s very noticeable. To me at least. The worst part is that it basically mirrors where I used to self harm (and currently have scars) on my left wrist.

I felt guilt and shame, even though I knew they were unjustified because it was an accident. I felt sad because it was a reminder of what I used to do and how sad and lost I used to be.

When my therapist and I were talking about this, she stressed the importance of using a different word to describe it (I may have used the words accidentally cut or scratched). Like I accidentally injured myself. Because I never used the word injury when describing my self-harm to myself before, it doesn’t have that association with it. And that’s important. I don’t want to associate what happened with self-harm or cutting because that is not what it was.

Then, because I’m a creative person, she asked me to think of a metaphor to describe triggers. Originally what popped into my head was only marginally related. I picked a line/idea from a poem I had recently written. It was about the base of a house of cards crumpling because it was taken one step too far.

Then she asked me, “What would it look like if you pressed the rewind button in your mind on that picture?”

And what popped into my head? A blooming flower made of cards… I honestly have no idea. hahaha.

Then I thought of a metaphor that seemed to fit the trigger question more aptly: a wave. Standing on the beach and suddenly a wave you didn’t see crashes into you and knocks you off balance. But I’m able to get to the surface and stand again.

I’m not sure I entirely understood the point of that exercise, but it allowed me to rethink about things and see them in a different light. That was super helpful. And also I got a really weird flower image out of it. Maybe an art idea…

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