Monday, March 8, 2010

My thoughts on self injury, the day after

"I was trying to get equilibrium from two extremes: either I was so upset that I had to cut myself to relieve it, or I was so numb that I had to cut myself to get back to being there." Women Living with Self Injury

Well, there was that. The marks were gone this morning. I was disappointed. I like marks. I carry my history on my skin and I'm a little proud of that, as twisted as it is.

I know why I'm feeling weird about this cutting business. I had a revelation, driving to Taco Bell to get some cheap comfort food. I talked to BFF earlier and sounded very calm about the whole thing. And I was last night, in a way. See, the ache was inside. The butterflies were. But my head was calm and my voice was even. I explained that I think of it like my X@n@x (I'm hoping this will help eliminate spam commenters): a quick fix that works, even though as a habit it's bad. I'm using pain to medicate my anxiety. And it works quite well. To me, it's like taking my medicine. No stigma. To me, that is. But since I've been on this L@mictal, my speech is even and calm. My thoughts move at a normal pace and do not make me dizzy. I can think about things in a logical order and contemplate the possible effects of my actions.

However, my medicine does not take away the feeling. The feeling that makes me cut. It's hard to imagine. I feel my ache in the same spot, near my stomach, and I point to it when I talk about it. Think about the achy feeling you get when you break up with someone. The panic you feel when you think you're losing them. The dread of something looming in the future. All of those feelings put together is what I feel like when I'm scared or sad and I want to cut. Cutting makes it go away. Not forever, but for the moment. And it helps me sleep. But my speech belies my emotion.

Before I took medicine, I was a much more intense person. Not to say that I'm boring now, but there was a definite difference. That's part of both bipolar and borderline. I don't get the rushes I did then. So even though I want to cut, I don't get the rush of thoughts that come out in my speech, making it seem like I'm faking. And this whole slow thing makes me WANT to cut. I miss that feeling.

I want my rushes back. I want the adrenaline, the heart pounding, and the swirling thoughts. I felt alive. So yeah, I'd cut to get that back.

Now that I've figured that out, maybe I can find other ways to calm down. I don't know. But it scares me that I'm so calm about it. It means the next time I feel bad, I'll feel no qualms about just going right ahead.


Relevant Quotes I got from here

The plain fact of it was that I was miserable—though my misery wasn’t so much sadness as it was a shrieking unease, a gnawing despair, which I had been trying that morning to cut out of myself. –Caroline Kettlewell, Skin Game

I started cutting because at a particular point in my life I ran afoul of a certain unique set of circumstances for which neither experience nor my own emotional constitution had equipped me. I can’t say what precise conjunction of factors led me to choose self-mutilation as my recourse, nor can I say how my life might have been different if any one of these factors had been otherwise. All I can say is that my skin itself seemed to cry out for an absolution in blood.
I kept cutting, because it worked. When I cut, I felt better for a while. When I cut, my life no longer overwhelmed me. I felt too keenly the threat of chaos, of how things can get away from you in a thousand ways… Entropy keeps eating at the ramparts, and I cut to try to shore them up. –ditto

I stopped cutting because I always could have stopped cutting; that’s the plain and inelegant truth. No matter how compelling the urge, the act itself was always a choice. I had no power over the urge, but the act itself was always a choice. I had no power over the flood tide of emotions that drove me to that brink, but I had the power to decide whether or not to step over. Eventually I decided not to.
Stopping, however, was not at all the same thing as ending the desire. Even now, I still sometimes ache with a fierce, organic need for cutting’s seductive, minimalist simplicity. I expect that I will always be the kind of person who is too much aware of the boundlessness of chaos; it’s like having an unfortunate sixth sense, alive to the teeming, invisible undercurrents of anarchy streaming past us as every moment. I don’t say it makes me stronger, or more interesting, or gives me character; it’s just a part of my fabric of self. –ditto

It serves a lot of functions in my life. I use it as a way to punish myself, I use it as a way to medicate myself, I use it for the tension release when things get too strong or too built up. –Meredith, in Jane Wegscheider Hyman’s Women Living with Self-Injury

When I’'m done, after this big huge buildup, then there’s an overwhelming feeling of calmness, an overwhelming sense of peace. –ditto

My wounds
do the weeping
I cannot.
–S. Marie

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