TW: Discusses self-harm in some detail. Please do not put yourself at risk by reading this if you are experiencing similar feelings.
When, having self-harmed, I call my CPN, I generally want to discuss the motivation behind my destructive coping strategy. What was I thinking immediately beforehand? What has me so distressed that the only way I can deal with my emotions is to mutilate my own arms? I want to tell someone that I see no future for myself: one step forward and two steps back means, ultimately, that I am always moving backwards, doesn’t it? I want to tell them that nothing interests me. Every day I look forward to bedtime, but at bedtime I dread waking up to more of the same. I’m not living – I’m merely existing. I simply cannot go on like this. Unfortunately, this is not how these phone calls progress. Instead, I am faced with questions like: ‘what might you have done differently?’ and ‘what are your plans for the rest of the day?’ The upshot, of course, is that these difficult thoughts and emotions remain, festering, inside me. They build, causing an overwhelming pressure in my head and chest until I find myself back at square one, maintaining the cycle.
Yes, sometimes I manage to distract myself. I have taken to cooking the evening meal because this involves planning a menu, shopping for ingredients and cooking the food and is therefore a good’ time-killing’ method. My cousin has a three-year old who is a great ‘mindful’ companion. To him, I am a playmate and nothing more. He doesn’t judge or ask questions that have no answers. But all of this is short-lived. As soon as I stop and try to ‘sit with’ my emotions, I am confronted with a gut-wrenching sense of desperation. I instantly feel the need to get up and ‘pace’ like a caged animal. The phrase ‘climbing the walls’ has never held so much meaning.
There have been times this week when I have considered walking into A&E or my GP surgery and simply telling them I don’t feel safe, because sometimes I don’t. Right now, the urges I have to SH are strong and, most days, I will inflict quite extreme injuries on myself. I haven’t been getting these attended to – its my mess, no one else should have to clean it up. I have a good relationship with a couple of the GPs in my practice, but their hands are tied. They can listen and offer sympathy but they have neither the training nor the resources to help me properly. A&E would at least provide access to Psych Liaison, but what would this achieve? They would deem me articulate, rational and insightful and send me home with instructions to call my CPN.
I have no answers at the moment, so this post is going to end abruptly here, with an apology for the lack of optimism.