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.

Buffy_too much for me want it to be over

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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Sexuality Struggles Part 1

I recently reconnected with a previous Master (dominant) or rather, he reached out to me. Nonetheless, I’m struggling with myself again.

What kind of advice is be yourself when myself is a freak_Claudia_ Warehouse 13

I know my masochistic and submissive tendencies were formed at some point before accurate memory begins, including before any abuse. I don’t know whether they are inborn or created by other early experiences like my 6 month long NICU stay or childhood surgeries resulting in pain and restraints because I didn’t understand and tried pulling out tubes.

This matters to me because I don’t question my family’s or friends’ identifications as bi, homosexual, or another variation of attraction. They are who they are. If my masochism and submission is more akin to that because it is inborn, as opposed to environmental, perhaps it has more validity.

On the other hand, I believe sexuality can be conditioned by experience. For example, IMHO, if someone identifies as bisexual and their first few sexual experiences are with women, I think it is possible, they would begin to favor women as partners because women are now paired with sexual pleasure, whereas men are not. This is a controversial belief because it is uncomfortably close to some fundamentalist Christian beliefs that same-sex child abuse can create homosexual urges. 

Although, my mom used to counsel childhood victims of sexual abuse and she says a common theme was fear or disgust at arousal reactions to abuse. Kids worried they invited the abuse and sometimes they became attracted to older people whereas before the abuse, they did not recall such attraction. I am not saying this happens to everyone, or ever a majority.

Do you think sexuality is always innate or can it be learned? 

I’m afraid I’ll get backlash for these thoughts. So, even though I have more concerns related to my own sexual preferences, I’m going to stop here and post Part 2 later.

ETA: I’m really sorry if this offends or hurts anyone. That is absolutely not my intent!!

Evolution or Reinvention

I’m moving to a state where no one knows me. I could be anyone. Other than my stupid scars, I don’t have to have a past. I know I can pretend to be bubbly and extroverted because I was as a camp counselor. I also know I can make small talk because I managed to be the talkative one at a high school friend’s baby shower, where I knew no one.

Ginny told me a while ago that I’m too intense and it is off-putting to some people at work because I’m always serious. On one hand, I’ll be surrounded by other graduate students and they may be more serious as well. On the other hand, I could try being less Olivia Dunham Season 1 and more Olivia Dunham Season 5. ;p

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In the meantime, I’m sad that I have less than 9 days of work left. I’m avoiding packing. As I feel more sad, I’m withdrawing from friends. I’m not sure if I’m isolating to decrease the pain of leaving or if I’m isolating because that is my MO when I’m sad.

 

Have you ever moved states? If so, how did it feel and how did you handle it?

Emergency Rooms and Rehab

I am upset (worried? I have a constricting feeling in my chest that makes me feel like I can’t breathe deep enough. The pressure and tightness lead to cutting urges; SIB is like letting air out of a balloon that is about to explode) because my friend went to the ER last night and then left against medical advice.

However, I’m grateful she continues being honest with me, despite knowing I worry. I know that isn’t the case with most people.

Tara_it is ok to be worried

She lives far away now; she moved a few states away last month. We met online in high school and ended up attending the same university, even living on the same dorm floor freshman year. We’ve accompanied each other in emergency situations throughout our friendship and I worried about her having no one close by for accountability… just like I worry about myself in a month… She was doing so well!

The ER nurse wanted to commit her, but the doctor let her go with some IV fluids.

She lost 20 lbs so far this month. That is extremely fast and despite starting at a healthy weight (she did great maintaining in her ideal weight range for a few months), that speed is dangerous.

She is one of 3 friends I think won’t forget about me, even when I’m a crappy friend.

I don’t know what to do. I asked Ginny for ideas, but I think I upset her because she had a close friend die from eating disorder complications. I suggested Skype during meals and my friend agreed to that. I also suggested a G-tube and there was no comment on that idea.

Does anyone else have ideas of how I could help?

 

In other news, I miss Ginny and the group of us that went to lunch Wednesday afternoons. Surprise: I haven’t eaten lunch on Wednesday since she left. I asked Iris on Ginny’s last day and she said she wasn’t interested in hanging out once Ginny left. She has been quiet lately, but that could be because I was also quiet last week when I was out of town and running around all day and evening or it could be because I was right and she is glad to not have to deal with me in real life or she is busy with the new job and I’m not a priority (which would be understandable, I’m sure I’ll be super busy once I move and have to get used to a new environment… the fear is that trend will continue once she is settled because I’m not good enough/boring/not as involved, ex. She isn’t around to tell me anecdotes about her family, so there is less to ask about).

My grandma is in rehab after hospitalization for weakness from atrial fibrillation and a glucose measurement of 500!! I didn’t know it could go that high. She has weeping edema and heart failure.