**TW: contains references to self harm and related behaviours. Please take the necessary precautions, and proceed only if you are comfortable with the subject matter**
Recently, after a long period of coping without certain ‘strategies’, things started to feel unmanageable again and I found myself reverting back to habits I (and everyone around me) believed I’d finally kicked. Here is an attempt to untangle the web of whys and wherefores, at the request of my GP.
Lately, I’ve felt as though I’m juggling with several balls. Each ball I have represents an area of my life, or something I might do to enable me to lead a productive life. For example, one ball may represent my ability to keep myself clean and tidy, another my ability to keep my living space clean and tidy, yet another my OU studies, and so on. The more I do, the more balls I have. The problem is, there comes a point when I am juggling with more balls than I can cope with, and I drop them.
To move away from the analogy, no one thing overwhelms me; I lay no blame anywhere, or with anyone, but all these things combined seem to be a bit too much for me to cope with. I get overwhelmed, I panic, I become anxious, agitated, irritable. These feelings…or emotions…several years of therapy, and I still don’t know the difference…make me feel like I could claw the skin off my face (except my fingernails are bitten to the quick, so an attempt at this would be woefully unsuccessful), or tear my hair out at the roots. If I could draw what I think I look like in these moments, I’d put myself standing on a chair, in a crowded room, screaming, while no one could hear me. My mind spirals more and more out of control, and the only way to stop this feeling of drowning in my own existence is to cut, burn, swallow tablets, punch a wall. This is my way of begging for help. This is my way of pushing people away.
The next bit doesn’t frighten me as it should. I’m unafraid of the danger, the pain, the consequences. Recently, according to A&E staff, I hit a blood vessel; there was a lot of blood, and they had to do something to the wound before it could be stitched. Even this didn’t scare me. I lay with apathy, on a bed in a cubicle, and willed my body to evaporate.
That said, I hate that SH makes me a burden. I hate that other people need to pick up the pieces, clean up my mess (literally). I hate having to walk into A&E and tell someone what I’ve done, to humour people who know the answer to the question: “what can we do for you?”.
I’m aware that this all sounds a bit bleak, but I intend it to be the first in a series of posts that attempt to break down my struggle and find a fumbling way forward again. Because I think I’m still on the road to recovery; it’s just developed some hills and sharp bends, with the odd blind corner thrown in for good measure.