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 😉

SIB quotes adaptive - Copy

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.

20190212_121022 - Copy

 

 

It worked wonderfully!!! 🙂

 

20190212_120014 - Copy

20190212_120206 - Copy

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.

20190212_121059 - Copy

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.

 

 

Advertisements

Alexithymia Annoyance

Annoyance is the feeling, but I’m not actually feeling it. I just liked alliteration.

willow_fake smile

 

I want to cut right now and I don’t know why. I’m not thinking about anything upsetting. I’m not dissociating. I don’t feel depressed. I can’t identify any negative feelings, other than, “I-want-to-self-injure”. Lame.

I told my boss’ boss on Friday that I was leaving. That made me want to cut. I think I felt sad because I also felt like crying, but maybe it was anxiety. I’m not sure.

dean supernatural facepalm

Office Supplies and Good Byes

Feeling overwhelmed.

I’m checking out apartments this week, but I also have 3 exams and 10 hours of lecture to watch between now and when I return home.

I need to create and print my students’ work for the 2 days I am out.

Ginny is leaving and that means there is no BCBA for my students until a new one is hired. In the mean time, Claire and I are trying to fill the gaps. I don’t see how that is possible!

The thought of leaving my kiddos and my co-workers makes me sad. I’ll miss them.

Jessica moved a few weeks ago and I’m worried about her because she is struggling with eating disorder symptoms.

However, here I still have Ginny and Madison. Even though we don’t hang out much, I have the opportunity to and that option makes a difference in my mind. It won’t be an option soon.

I don’t want to be that person who lets their work slide when they decide they’re leaving, but I don’t have enough hours in the day to finish everything! I guess I need a new coping skill that involves problem solving instead of avoidance. 

 

was I my best - Copy NO!!

/

I purged at work, for the first time in months or maybe even a year. However, I also took apart the tape dispenser, intending to cut, and did not. So, I suppose that is a minor win, sort of… The better option would have been asking to talk to Ginny, Ashley, or Claire again (we already talked as a group once in the morning, but I was still anxious) before getting to that point. Despite knowing that alternative was better, I didn’t want to bother anyone. They seemed annoyed or perplexed by my anxiety.

Self-Injury Scars and Interviews

Interview time!

I need to find appropriate business casual clothes that hide my scars (long sleeve) and don’t look out of place in sunny, 64 – 81 degree Fahrenheit, weather.

I’m not sure if that is possible!

 

Edited to Add: I know people at my current job think I’m capable and smart. I’m also being compared to co-workers with less education. So, I’m terrified when I move to a new environment, full of other graduate students, I’ll fall flat on my face and everyone will see how inept and stupid I am. I’ll fail.

Romantic Relationships and Mental Illness

We went to the theater last night with a friend of my mom’s from our old church. Her daughter had disordered eating and still struggles with severe Borderline Personality Disorder. She tried living on her own once and became non-functional. She almost died. So, her mom said she had to live at home unless she got married. She is 38 and marrying a not-previously-married doctor. There IS hope.

I asked my mom’s friend about her daughter’s relationship. I said, I know statistically, there are plenty of people living with their parents, but the situation is a little different when you still live with your parents because you’re mentally ill. She said, if her daughter can find someone, I can. In fact (I can’t believe she said this! – though, I could see my mom admitting this to someone else), she said she never thought her daughter would get married. She is picky and has many bad habits (aka BPD makes her tough to live with). She said the fiancé is non-judgmental and things were revealed over time like he didn’t learn she lived at home for a while because she met him for dates. He didn’t learn about her impulsive, self-destructive spending sprees until he asked her to share the cost of a weekend trip out of town and she didn’t have a few hundred dollars saved, even though she works full time and doesn’t pay rent. So, he helped her make a budget. It worked. Idk about current SIB, etc., but I’d bet $ that she has scars, just bc it is part of the diagnostic criteria for BPD.

Buffy_dawn cuts

 

Anyway, it makes me think there is hope!  Even more than feeling embarrassed about living at home, I worry I am too damaged for anyone to want, but she was hospitalized way more than me, used many more behaviors, and is older than I am. Her behaviors are more likely to negatively affect others, such as taking a joint credit card and spending thousands of dollars. Of course there are ways around that like not creating any joint bank accounts. She must have other behaviors and/or interpersonal issues based on her diagnosis, but Idk specifics. Maybe she is better now, but she still used behaviors earlier in their relationship. Additionally, they’re having a small wedding because they don’t want to stress her out and she only has 2 friends (sounds familiar!). So, clearly, she is not completely better.

Sometimes I feel like I have to be healthy before starting any relationship. That part of why I pull away when someone gets interested. I’m doing them a favor! At the same time, if I wait to be “normal” I might never have the chance to find someone because I’ll be waiting forever.

Hello, Old Friend

Hi guys. I disappeared for a bit because I didn’t feel like being positive and I didn’t feel like writing because I knew few people read this. My depression is alright, but my eating disorder is a problem again. I’m predictable like that.

I posted this on the one pro-ana website I still frequent. No one replied. I’m more convinced my fears are correct and I am a hopeless, pathetic moron because even people who refuse recovery aren’t as bad as me.

“I’m skipping work right now because I binged (less than 800 calories – I KNOW this is irrational!!) when I could easily fast. I’m house-sitting, so I’m alone. It was probably an awful idea to weigh myself. I’m up 3 pounds and therefore, too fat for anyone to see me.

I’ve only skipped work once before. It was almost a year ago and my depression was crippling. (I actually posted about it here)

The worst part is yesterday I lied to my boss to get out of a team-building lunch and she called me on my lie!! I work at a school for students with violent of self-injurious behavior; on Wednesdays, the kids go home early. We get an hour long lunch. This week she said we were all going out together. I couldn’t handle it. I’m weird about eating in front of certain people. I know some of you hate eating in front of anyone. Personally, I eat in front of strangers and loved ones without too much guilt. However, my anxiety skyrockets when I have to eat with 3 or more acquaintances. I’m afraid they’ll judge me for eating bad food and being disgusting. In contrast, I know my family and friends love me at any weight and I don’t care what strangers think.

Anyway, I planned on pushing myself and trying the lunch, but they kept changing the place we were going to eat! I kept planning meals and then having to start over. They settled on an fast food place with no good food! So, I was a weak baby and avoided it. I texted my boss that I was ill and wouldn’t make it to the lunch because I needed to go home. She said: “I know you said no eating on your sheet about team building. If you say you were studying for a final then you don’t have to ask off or anything it is optional.” I’ve never had anyone call me on an ED related lie like that except my parents and therapists. Damn, it was awkward!! Now I’m afraid she won’t trust me.

I am a pathetic piece of shit. :(

I haven’t been fired YET, but if I miss more than 3 days without 24 hour advanced notification, I get written up. I’m scared my boss will know I lied again. I hate myself!!!

Am I alone in this? Please tell me you’ve done similar things. :wacko: Can anyone tell me fucked up ED and job stories so I feel less like a freak? I feel that I deserve punishment right now. I want to cut or binge/purge (that would be insanely illogical).”

I'm evil, I'm bad, do you hear me_faith_angel.gif

*sigh*

Maybe it is karma, but every time I stand up, I get a nosebleed and feel dizzy. I couldn’t work like this.