Nobody knows the truth of the last week for me. So I’m going to write it here, to unburden myself.
I struggled at the CBT group session last week. I was anxious, I’d taken a diazepam, I gave a note to one of the therapists asking for them to help me speak out at the start, and she didn’t. I left with suicidal thoughts. A member of the group appeared to snub me on the way out. I went home and self-harmed, couldn’t sleep, considered phoning the Samaritans, but don’t like using the phone, and couldn’t risk no answer. So the next morning texted the other therapist as I had his number, and it wouldn’t require speaking on a phone. I got no answer. This sparked off reminders of the past for me, and many different emotions. Nobody in my life knows how much I’ve been struggling in the last couple of weeks or why.
In total honesty, I went to my session last night, prepared to harm myself or much worse. I felt really angry at the therapists and group… seethingly so. When we started with a grounding mindfulness, this just pissed me off. I couldn’t take part in it properly, as I was fuming. So in the feedback I told them that. I told them that I went away the last week, in a bad state of mind, and although we were told we could talk to them if we didn’t feel safe, I felt unable to, because of the point they kept making about time restrictions. I told them it made me feel like a burden, therefore unable to open up to them anymore. I also said about the text I sent and not getting a response, and how that triggered the memories of the past. I was so upset and angry as I spoke I had to stop and breathe, so I didn’t burst into tears. My voice shook, but these things needed saying, or else I would’ve walked right out of there and not come back. I told them I had thought of quitting the group.
I was commended for being brave enough to say anything, and for being honest. But not much else came from it at that point. I didn’t receive an apology for being ignored. I didn’t feel a resolution on the other issue, so my anger didn’t subside. It bubbled underneath for almost the whole first half of the session.
One good thing was the member of the group who appeared to snub me the previous week, publicly apologised to me for it… which felt awkward and embarrassing for me, as I’m sure it did for them too, but was nice that they had recognised what they said, and what effect it might have had on me.
But the anger towards the therapists kept simmering underneath. At times I felt I wasn’t listening to other members of the group. I wanted so many times, to excuse myself and go outside for a break, as I couldn’t stand looking at the therapists, particularly the one who ‘ignored’ my text. Their voices were pissing me off, and I wanted to get out of there and harm myself. But I sat with the anger, and eventually it did come down, like a wave. I kept telling myself ‘Just make it to the break’… and I did. But just before the break, my feelings were dredged up again by one of the therapists, and I became desperate to get out of there.
As soon as the break started, I headed for the toilets, and sat in a cubicle, trying to calm down by breathing. It wasn’t working. It didn’t feel enough. So I admit, I harmed myself… not quite as badly as before, but enough to need to treat it again. I kept listening out, hoping nobody was going to come into the toilets. And just as I was finishing up, I heard someone coming in and thought ‘Oh shit, not again’. It was the therapist. I told her I was okay and just needed some time away from everyone. I chatted with her through the cubicle door, not giving away what I’d done, all the while trying to bandage my arm back up as quickly as possible, so that she wouldn’t suspect anything.
By the time I came out of the cubicle, someone else came into the toilets, which likely distracted her, so I quickly washed the blood off my hands. She then said either we could have a quick chat and miss the first five minutes of the second half, or she could phone me today to chat, rather than me feeling rushed at the end. I went for the quick chat, as I thought I wouldn’t be able to carry on otherwise.
When we came out of the toilets, the other therapist was lurking, probably concerned I’d harmed myself again, and he wanted to apologise for not responding to the text. He said he didn’t receive one. However he was aware of a ‘multimedia message’, which he thought might’ve been spam. His work phone is an old sort of phone, so probably didn’t even share my number, I assume, otherwise I’d wonder why he wouldn’t open it. He said he wouldn’t ignore me if I was in distress. It was just because obviously my message was too long, and didn’t come through like it would on a more modern phone. Unfortunate. And going to be hard to get over, as it kicked up a lot of shit for me.
I went for my chat with the female therapist, and told her the week I’d had. She recognised that I had faced three situations, effectively in the space of a day, whereby I felt rejected or abandoned, and how that would’ve felt. She confirmed what I had thought about her lack of support the previous week, in speaking out, and said it was because she knew I could do it myself, and wanted me to push myself to do it. This still pisses me off actually, as that’s not helpful to me right now. I needed the support. And now I don’t know if I can trust their motives. It makes me feel more alone.
I went back in the room and felt less angry, but aware of the pain in my arm. But they’ll never know about that. I’ve become good at hiding my pain and pretending nothing is wrong. I even put on a brave and happy front at home. Nobody will know. I guess in a way this shows I’ve gone backwards even more, as my self-harming always used to be very secretive like that.
But last night I decided enough is enough. I put self-care ahead of anything else. That’s why I didn’t stay up and write this blog last night. I put self-soothing and sleep ahead of it. I’m also going to create a ‘Crisis box’… a nicely decorated box, with things in it that can help me in a crisis – colouring book, chocolate, a favourite film, photographs of my Godchildren, and anything else I can think of – with reminders in it of why I don’t want to cut too. I need to stop self-harming. If for no other reason than I’m running out of space! I realise it’s spiralling out of control, and I don’t want to be that person again. I’m ashamed of who I am at the moment, but I need to be self-compassionate in my approach to stopping.
Obviously I can’t carry the box with me when I’m out, but I’m going to try the rubber band technique when I’m outside the house if I get an urge, and dig into the crisis box when I get home if needs be.
I need to look after myself. Nobody else will. Nobody knows I have self-harmed three times in a week – that’s the worst it’s been in many, many years. It’s my secret… though you now know it too…. so I alone have to face the consequences and pick myself back up. Nobody else can do it for me. They don’t know my suffering. I have to be my own therapist, my own best friend and my own carer. It’s either that or give up entirely and self-destruct. But I’m choosing to TRY and get better.
I hope to start sharing more positive news with you soon. But the positive parts I can take from last night, are that I was brave enough to speak out and tell them what I thought, and how I felt. I got apologies and explanations in the end – unfortunate that it was AFTER I had self-harmed. Things could have played out much worse – they could have discovered my self-harm and kicked me off the course… or I could have done it, run out and killed myself, as it played out in my head. So to just harm myself to the level I did, is a small ‘victory’… I’m still here to tell the tale and learn from the experience. I witnessed that anger can subside on its own, which I’ve not really experienced before – I’ve usually reacted and harmed myself to get rid of it, rather than just feeling it. I have come away more determined to stop harming. And I will never take something to harm myself with again, no matter how awful I might feel, and how big a confrontation I sense coming. I will deal with it in a different way from now on.
I want to make the most of the last sessions I have with the therapists. In four weeks I’ll have said goodbye to them forever. This breaks my heart. I don’t want to spend that time being bitter towards them. I want to try my best and take some steps forward. I have to, else this has all been for nothing.