Calling a Crisis Line

Reaching out for help can be hard and, at times, terrifying. Today I didn’t realize I was in a crisis until around 9:30pm, half an hour after my therapist’s calling hours ended. I was having serious self-harm urges. I wanted to cut. Badly. I was struggling, making plans to self harm, and felt like I was falling into a trap that I could see coming but couldn’t avoid. I knew that there were specific skills I could use but I was feeling so discouraged and the urges were so strong.

I went back and looked at the coaching call contract I signed with my therapist to find an “after hours” number and found a 24/7 crisis call line for my area. Honestly, I hesitated on whether or not to call the number but I knew that if I didn’t call I would most likely end up cutting.

I was on hold for 10 minutes. Normally that would make me hang up. But this time I stuck it out. I kept telling myself to wait just a little bit longer because the longer I was on the phone the longer I was not cutting. The lady I talked to was very nice. Her voice was very soft and calm and she was very validating. She asked me what was going on and if there was anything in particular that could have triggered these urges. Initially I said no, I couldn’t think of anything. But after talking for a while, I realized there were several things that could be triggering how I was feeling:

  • I informed my work today that I would not be returning
  • I am incredibly lonely; I feel like there’s no one to talk to
  • I’m getting sick
  • I don’t have a job
  • I’m financially dependent on others
  • I feel trapped at times
  • I’ve been feeling quite depressed and sleeping a lot over the last couple weeks

That’s just what I can think of now off the top of my head. I realized, in talking to this person, that I am much more upset than I had known. This woman was so validating though and so encouraging that I felt better just by talking. And we made a plan of sorts. She asked me what skills or things I would normally do in this type of situation and I told her. One of the most effective things (but most detested) I can do is take an ice cold shower. The intense cold helps “reset” my brain in a way. Also, as far as distracting goes, I usually enjoy watching shows on my computer or doing art. So that became my plan. To get off the phone, get in a cold shower, and then distract with a show and some art.

So far the plan has been successful. My urges are way lower than they were before. I was only in the shower for like a minute, but such is the power of ice cold water! I’m trying to distract with some episodes of Project Runway All Stars and so far so good.

Calling the crisis hotline was the best decision I could have made today and I am so glad that I did. I would encourage it for you if you’re in a crisis (but 911 if you’re in an emergency!) and need someone to talk to!

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