TW: contains references to methods of self harm and suicidal behaviour.
Regular readers of this blog will know that my SH behaviours have reached dangerous levels in recent weeks. I have reached the stage where, rather than providing a ‘release’, it has almost become ritualistic. I’ve been pushing my body to its absolute limit, stopping only when I’m certain one more millimetre would be one two far.
If you read my previous post Reverse Psychology, you will be aware that my therapist managed to convince me that I was making the choice to SH. Nothing, other than my own distorted thinking, was driving me to it. I do not suffer from psychosis, there are no voices in my head telling me to do it. Together we reached an agreement that I would put in the colossal effort required to minimise my SH because, choice or no choice, I’m still unwell and now depend upon SH almost as an alcoholic might depend on vodka or gin. In return, my therapist would make the Crisis Team and other CPNs aware of my newly revised Crisis Plan in order that they are well equipped to advise me appropriately in times of greatest distress. I have managed to communicate what does and doesn’t help so that now, when I call the CMHT, they can prompt me, remind me of the helpful things and validate my anxiety, reassure me that ‘its not my fault’. In short, we drew up a verbal contract, an agreement that we would meet on a middle ground.
For my part, the obvious first step in minimising the risk to myself, is to dispose of any potentially harmful items in my possession. I don’t know if anyone else has experience of extreme SH, but said disposal is torturous. One might agree to try harder not to SH, but having the means to do so provides a sort of safety net. Just knowing there are blades, pills or whatever else close at hand can be a perverse sort of comfort. But of course, that increases the chance that one might, in the heat of the moment, give in to an urge and end up back at square one…or, ‘go directly to jail, do not pass go, do not collect £200’…that’s a more accurate analogy. Because SH imprisons you in cycles of very minor relief, guilt, shame…
So yesterday, with my consent and my cousins help, my CPN staged an intervention of sorts. She came to my house, we collected together any harmful objects in my bedroom and we took them to the outside bin…simple as that! In fact, not simple at all. I have a feeling the next few days and weeks are going to be hard, to say the least. At the moment I’m doped up on Diazepam and am due to start an increased dose of modified release Quetiapine from this evening. I have my cousin on standby in case I need out of the house and I have a couple of projects I could work on as a distraction.
However, I recognise the need for what I did yesterday. I can’t continue down the same path. I’m not actively suicidal, but I was certainly behaving in a suicidal manner. I don’t want my parents to have to visit me on a psychiatric ward on Christmas Day…or worse. I have to come to terms with the fact that I don’t have an illness that will just ‘go away’ but one that is going to rear its ugly head from time to time. Most importantly, I have to learn how to live with this, work around it (or learn to recover more quickly in the future) and lead a fulfilling life. Its the start of a new year soon – maybe 2015 will be a better year than 2014.