Tuesday, April 17, 2007


From yesterday's post - "before you start cutting ..... Get ready to itch. Because you will itch and itch ...so much you will look like you have fleas or a skin disease." That's me today. I did cover up with a bandaid so I couldn't itch. Because itching a wound that hasn't healed is .....well, just more self-injury. But it's hard. And it makes the temptation to SI really intense. But I've got my contract here and I've eaten breakfast and taken my normal morning meds. I'm typing here as my distraction technique. And I just took another 1/2 xanax. So....we'll see how this goes.

One forum I post on has this section called "Before and After" with questions to answer before (while you are having urges) and after (if you SI). Maybe this will help -

Before You Self-Harm write down the shadow that's hiding behind the urge. look at it. ask yourself:
how will this situation or feeling change if i hurt myself? The intensity will go away and I'll be calmer, the underlying situation will still be there, but I'll be calm enough to deal with it in the short term.

what will hurting myself bring to the situation? what will it take away from the situation? it will bring physical calmness and take away panic. In the short term.

how do i want to feel about this in the long run? is hurting myself likely to get me closer to or farther from feeling that way? In the long run I want this to be over. I want to stop feeling like this. I want to have energy again. I want to stop being so anxious and tense all the time. I want to be "normal." I want to stop having this urge.

if hurting myself seems like my best option right now, how long will the relief it brings last? what will i do then? depends - could be 1/2 day - could be 20 minutes

what is something i could do now instead of hurting myself? how will it change the situation I'm in? how long will that change last, and what will i do then? follow my contract; type here; avoid the bathroom; get immersed in a project - it will last a little while. If I can hold out until noon, then I have a meeting the rest of the afternoon.

how will i feel tomorrow if i hurt myself? how will i feel tomorrow if i do the other thing i came up with? Guilty, mad, upset, self-loathing, if I hurt myself; satisfied if I do the alternative

what do i really want to do right now? how can i best honor the self-protective instinct that has me wanting to self-injure right now? I really want to go home, crawl back into bed, under the covers and stay safe. Stop being so jumpy. I don't know how to accomplish that at work. I could close my door and take 5 minutes but I know closing my door and being "alone" is not a good idea right now.

Why do I feel I need to hurt myself? What has brought me to this point? Panic; annoyance at assistant's persistent bothering of me; overwhelming work load; inability to concentrate; recruit for new job wanting too much money; leg itching terribly; irritable at myself for wanting to do it

Have I been here before? What did I do to deal with it? How did I feel then?
What I have done to ease this discomfort so far? What else can I do that won't hurt me? Yes, been here before. I've pinned or cut to deal with it. It felt good at first and during. But bad after. I've done other things like write, get on chat, IM a friend.

How do I feel right now? pathetic, stupid; weak; panicky; irritated

How will I feel when I am hurting myself? calm, blissfully calm

Can I avoid this stressor, or deal with it better in the future? I'm trying to get someone hired to help at work. I am taking my medications.

I'm going to go on an answer the After questions too while I wait (lad did da) for this xanax to kick in, and because keeping my fingers busy is a good thing -- NOTE this is based on after this weekend - NOT today.

Questions to Answer After A Slip slips are chances to learn. you figure out what stresses are still too hard for you and you can work on how you'll deal with them next time you run into them. so instead of beating yourself up, take action.

have you taken care of your physical wounds? if not, go do that now. we'll wait. Yes - neosporin antibiotic cream and big bandages

what had happened just before? panicky all day; running late; no time to nap but needed to nap; didn't get done all I needed to do at work

what were you thinking and feeling? overwhelmed; totally out of control; panicked; stressed; worthless

why did you end up hurting yourself then instead of some other time? was there an event that was the final straw? what was it? I was at home; alone; I had no time to deal with my feelings; I felt rushed to move onto the next step and stage

how did the situation get to the final straw stage? trace it back through the events that led up to the last event. look for some point at which you could have made a different decision and not arrived at the final straw. See prior posts - I could have not made that purchase at the pharmacy.

were there outside factors like drugs, alcohol, being off your meds, lack of sleep, etc? can you address those in the future? how? being off meds; lack of sleep; lack of food - I'm working on getting better.

what other ways of coping did you try besides self-harm? how well did they work?
in retrospect, are there coping methods that you now realize might have helped? what were they? I didn't try much else - I should have taken my meds.

name at least two things you will do to help yourself remember those coping methods if you end up in this situation again. Carry written contract on paper; take meds and be accountable in regular intervals

how do you feel about the situation that led to self-harm now? is it resolved? if not, what are some steps you might take toward resolution? I feel self-loathing and like a failure now. I'm still overwhelmed and tired. I have tried to get someone hired. I'm trying to sleep; although sleep never seems to be enough.

are you likely to be in that emotional place again? how will you recognize it when you're in that situation? Yes, I'm still there. Feel like I live there.

what will you try before you resort to self-harm if you're in that situation again? list three specific things you will commit to trying. Make sure I've eaten; take my medications, try a distraction technique (reading, writing here, deep breathing, surf web, play online game, write, get up and move around)

What made that opportunity more appealing than any other? Quick and easy. I knew it would work. It didn't involve anyone else or require being vulnerable to anyone or asking anyone for help.

Did you make an opportunity or was it there for the taking? The opportunity was there; I made the opportunity bigger by purchasing blades at the store.

What would you have done if there was no opportunity, how would you have handled your urge? I would have dug my fingernail into my finger (what I do in public) or played with a paperclip, digging it into my nail; taken a bathroom break and used a safety pin; had a panic attack.

If there had been no opportunity would your urge to self-harm have increased or decreased? increased and the panic would have been overwhelming

What constitutes opportunity for you? Being alone? having new tools? waiting for the right feeling? alone, being alone

If your opportunities were taken away, how would you feel? mad; overwhelmed; panicky; out of control; resentful

Okay - it's been 20 minutes - still panicky and VERY dizzy. Taking second 1/2 of xanax and praying I don't fall asleep at my desk. Going to try to do one project I can bill for and then work 1 hour on the project I can't bill for.

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