Successful Coping Skill for Self-Injury

Long time no see.

Grad school is stressful (duh) and living on my own, in a new state, means much less support. However, I’ve managed relatively well. I’ve caused some bumps along the way, but I still have my internship and I’ve passed 2 out of 3 semesters. I’m about 1/2 through with my last semester right now!

I haven’t forgotten about the peeps who are just here for the inspirational pic 😉

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However, this week, stress has come to a head. Long story short: I was battling severe Self-injurious behavior urges today.

Details: I hadn’t slept in almost 48 hours because I am overwhelmed with the workload this semester and anxious I won’t pass. Granted, I am always anxious I won’t measure up. To be fair, this semester, the concern is warranted. I am currently failing one class. Uh oh!!

Using the syllabus I calculated the remaining possible points in the course and I can still pass as long as I do well on the midterm and final exams. The midterm is next week! I am extremely behind in reading. The exam is essay based and the questions come from the reading. Of course, this is no ones fault, but my own…

Anyway, the urges were intense enough that I was unable to function. I did not go to work yesterday. I got nothing done for school or my practicum, even though (for once) I was awake all day. This morning, intrusive images made it tough to distract from the urges. When suicidal thoughts and a plan entered the picture, I decided riding out the urges was not a safe option.

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In treatment, people sometimes held ice as a coping skill because it causes pain, but no tissue damage (as long as you are careful to watch for frostbite and are able to curtail the SIB urges enough to take off the ice as needed, if tissue damage begins). I find that a little helpful. The pain works to elevate my mood. However, blood is a strong motivation for me as well. It is a discriminative stimulus for relief from overwhelming negative emotions. The sight of my own blood is so strongly paired with SIB that without it, the compulsion remains.

Therefore, I tried something new! I froze ice cubes made by mixing red food coloring with water.

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It worked wonderfully!!! 🙂

 

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Next time I’ll do a few things differently. I’ll put a towel down under my arm to avoid staining. I got the red  out of the counter tops, but it took a few seconds with a Brillo pad. Additionally, I’ll have paper towels within reach.

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Surprisingly, the red dye came out of the silicon ice cube tray without a hitch,

The important take away is I avoided self-injuring despite struggling with the urges for over 24 hours.

 

If seeing blood and feeling pain are part of your self-injury, are there other ways you sublimate the urge? What works for you? I hope this helps someone avoid SIB.

 

 

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Change the Ending

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Even without reading this blog, my mom knows me well! She sent me this quote the other day. I love the reminder!

Still Alive, Kinda Hopeful

Hi All,

Thanks for checking my blog even though I’ve been severely derelict about posting. 

Listening to Pink’s “Conversations with my 13 year old self” while procrastinating for finals reminded me of the sad drawings I used to doodle in Middle School. I updated my typical picture. There is no longer a cage surrounding the child I used to be…. though my drawing skills have not improved one iota in 15 years! 

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The random object to  my left is my first attempt at a leg. Woot for not tearing it up

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Also, I found an awesome, sweet, cuddly, hilarious kitty wandering around my apartment complex about a month ago. The leasing office called the sheriff and he had no microchip. They kept him for a day and then prepared to turn him over to a shelter. He is so people-oriented I thought he would not handle a shelter well. Someone loved him and misses him. We put up flyers and posted on local lost pet websites. I’ve fallen in love. Here is my buddy: 

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What gives you hope? Are you holding on for someone you love, future aspirations, or something else? 

Now I’m off to study… maybe 😉 

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Sexuality Struggles Part 3

****trigger warning**** Abuse mentioned

I realized my earlier assertion that my masochism began before any abuse is incorrect. In addition to clear memories as an older child, I have a very early, unclear memory of potential sexual abuse. This memory seems to haunt me more than known memories. I’m not sure why, maybe because I’ve managed to rationalize that every other thing that has happened to me was somehow my fault or I participated, etc. and therefore I only recently began to view as abuse. Or maybe because it involves a family member who, unlike other family members, has never hurt me.

Anyway, this memory occurred around ages 4-5. I know this based on location because we moved when I was 4. I also know there are parts of the memory that are incorrect like I remember the floor of my bedroom as its’ current pale blue, but the carpet wasn’t changed until I was 9. I know my timeline is correct, and I wasn’t 9, because the memory includes being rocked to sleep and the PJs I wore were ones I did not fit into at 9. 

The memory is not a recovered memory from therapy; I have always remembered it. Perhaps, even if it is false, it still shaped who I am today. Maybe regardless of the memory’s truth, its effect on my development in neither good, nor bad.

My earliest recalled masochistic fantasies were at age 5. I believe it was this early because they involved grade school teachers. Each year, the participants would change to that year’s teachers. Therefore, their onset might have occurred after abuse… or not…

But then, maybe a nefarious origin is beside the point. Should sexuality formed by abuse matter more than sexuality formed by first consensual experiences? Does it make masochism wrong, if it was formed by abuse? Whether or not it is wrong and whether or not it was formed by abuse (real or imagined), do you think I can recondition myself to enjoy typical sexual activities?

People tend to believe conversion therapy is both wrong and ineffective for homosexuality. It is definitely unethical to do with children or people who do not want to change. I think it would be best if people could accept themselves. However, would conversion be okay if someone tried, but couldn’t accept themselves and wanted to change? If it was okay, could it work for masochism?