What I need to tell my new therapist:

I am really struggling right now and everything I am feeling is overwhelming me.  It’s like I can’t get any break from my emotional intensity and I am just cracking under the strain.  I don’t know how to manage all of it without feeling like I am losing my shit completely.  The strain is so much that my brain isn’t working right and I drop things, and I stare at my phone and can’t remember how to use aps, and I can’t do much outside of programming other than just isolate in my room.

I am not self-harming to manage my feelings, though I would really like to because in the short run it makes me feel lots better.  But I am not doing it and that makes things really hard.  I am also not using my emotional pain as an excuse to engage more in ED behaviors.  I am struggling with the same behaviors I was struggling with before this emotional overwhelm started.

I am using peers for support, although the level of support I need right now is not appropriate to foist off on my peers.  I also sometimes think that using other emotionally damaged people for support is sort of limited in its effectiveness.  How much support can I get from people who are as fucked-up as I am?

I have noticed, what is perhaps a trend, in which I tend to have a PTSD exacerbation on Friday evenings.  It has happened two Fridays in a row now.  I have flashbacks and intrusive thoughts and hypervigilance.  I can’t fall asleep and then I sleep fitfully and wake up repeatedly.  Then the intrusive thoughts and images continue all weekend and I am exhausted and feel like shit from being poorly rested.

I need a go-to person when you aren’t there.  Or I need to figure out a way to see you on Fridays.  Of course, this isn’t an option because you don’t work on Fridays and I don’t think you do outpatient work like some of the other therapists do.

I have thought about doing a weekly outpatient session with Kyla to get me an extra bit of support, since she does them.  But when I asked her about it 3 or 4 weeks ago, she wasn’t taking more clients.  But more importantly, I think that seeing her would be a hindrance to our relationship.  I know that I would save things to talk to her about that I should be addressing with you.  I also should probably stick with you because your style is very similar to the AT’s style.  Kyla’s style is so markedly different from you two that it is like comparing apples and pinecones.  It is taking me time to step away from Kyla’s style and adjust to yours.  It will be a smooth transition from you to the AT, which will be important when I go home.

What I need is help.  I don’t even know if I will need it for a long time, maybe it is part of the transition, or maybe I should just stick it out as-is and things will get better.  But I feel like I am getting worse instead of better.  I am not even holding my own.  Several days ago, I felt like I was floundering.  Now, I feel like I am drowning.

Something is not working and I feel like I really need support.

I Ran Away

Sometimes, I think if I actually survive all the therapy and work at Hilltop, it will be a miracle.  Yesterday….Well, it was one of those days.

First of all, I felt like crap most of yesterday. It started after lunch on Sunday, I kind of had a stomach ache and was super tired.  When I woke up yesterday morning, my stomach ache was full-on nausea and I felt like shit.  I was achy and my head hurt…I must have picked up a virus somewhere (yet another reason to not go out in public…too many germs!).  When you are in ED treatment, not eating is not an option and I was not looking forward to the day.  They are big on giving you meds if you are nauseous but I don’t have a prescription for that med…So, I just muddled through and was miserable.

As a matter of fact, I felt so sick that after breakfast I told the direct care person, “I just have to say for the record, that I do not purge, so if I throw up, it really is  because I am sick.”  Of course, they all know I don’t purge, but I thought it was worth saying since people do swap around ED behaviors.  The DC told me just to let her know if I felt that bad.

I did slowly feel better all day, until right before bed…I think being tired made everything worse.  This morning….my stomach is a little bit wobbly but hopefully better.

Okay, but enough of that.

Therapy yesterday sucked.  Worse than usual.  I was stuck in defensiveness behind my walls, frustrated that I can’t immediately snap out of my defensive habits and angry at my therapist for that stupid trauma narrative.  The appointment was frustrating and pointless and was just like spinning my wheels on ice…I got nowhere. I had that old familiar suicidal mantra echoing through my mind. (Probably I should have mentioned that to my therapist?  But I didn’t want her to think I was being dramatic….Not that I engage in much drama here.) I left the appointment furious.  I went upstairs, put my laptop on the table and walked out the door and kept walking.  I ran away.  I just couldn’t take one more minute of PHP or Kyla or anything.

Of course, there is no place to run away to here.  And I purposefully did not grab my keys when I headed out the door (because I would truly have left the grounds), so I walked down to the parking lot, and sat on the ground between my car and the car next to it and I just sat there.  The sun was shining, the wind was blowing, the sky was blue.  I could hear the hawks and the rustling leaves and the squirrels in the woods.  I decompressed a little bit, I was no longer furious, but my self-harm urges spiked to that level where I would have willingly self-harmed to feel better.

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I rode out the SH urge.  And the leaves fluttered down around me and their crispness caught in the wind and they spun around as they fell.  I felt hungry (stupid body!) and still had high self-harm urges and I still hated PHP, Kyla and this state.  But I knew it was time to go back to the building and be safe and eat a snack and do the next right thing.

Of course, this is the real world, so I got back to the building, ignored that I had snack, started browsing airline tickets (I was still stuck in my ‘flight’ (running away) mode).  And then a peer came and sat with me. And another. And another.  And soon there were a handful of peers listening to me hate therapy and hate the program and missing home. And they were kind and reasonable (to counter my lack of reasoning) and they even encouraged me to get snack.

So….I vented, had snack and then told my favorite Direct Care person, Callie, that I really needed to talk to her.

Talking to Callie helped a lot.  And I need to write more about my relationship with Callie, as it has become important here.  But…I will have to do it later today or for tomorrow’s blog because I am just plain out of time right now.

So, I ran away yesterday, but not very far.  I fantasized about buying a plane ticket home, but did not.  I got support from my peers, even though I didn’t ask for it, and wouldn’t have asked.  I got really, really angry, which is something I don’t often do.  I felt like self-harming, but didn’t.  I felt sick all day, but still met my meal plan.  I connected with Callie and felt reassured.  And really, most of that happened in the space of a couple of hours.

Hopefully, today will be less intense.

 

Self-Worth and My Body

(This was a homework assignment written Sunday evening)

How I Define Self-Worth and How This Became Correlated to My Body

I am not even sure how I define my self-worth.  What things make me worth anything?

  • My intelligence
  • My sense of humor
  • My persistence/perseverance
  • My work ethic
  • My creativity
  • My compassion
  • My love of nature
  • My love of my family

What makes me feel like I am not worth anything?

  • That I am not smart enough
  • That I am not skinny enough
  • That I am ugly
  • That I am disgusting
  • That I am never good enough
  • That I am damaged
  • That I am bad
  • That I am stupid
  • That I do stupid/embarrassing things
  • That I am fat

Just looking at these two lists, it is clear that my sense of worth revolves around things that are intellectually/brain based and the things that make me feel worthless are all about my body.

I guess that the reason my body measures my lack of worth is because of messages I got over and over as a child. I was never good enough because I wasn’t lady-like enough. My body betrayed me by attracting sexual abuse.  Puberty came before I was ready.  My peers teased me relentlessly, first about my early puberty, with ogling and snide remarks about my breasts, and then because I got fat and thus my peers bullied and tortured me for the next 6 years over my size.  Basically, I learned at school to hate my body because my body was what made me a social pariah.  And it was my body’s fault.

I also had lots of criticism about my body at home.  It was never spoken directly, my mother never said to me, “Heidi, you are fat. Lose weight.”  But I was told how to dress and what to wear to make me look good/smaller despite my body size.  I also was told what to wear and how to dress to minimize my busty chest.  And then there was the time that my parents made me do Nutrisystem with them.  No…no one at home ever said I was fat, but the message was there loud and clear.

And the constant focus on my size and my feelings of shame and subsequent hatred of my body because of that focus, consumed my thoughts and emotions and became the central point of my self-worth.  Being smart wasn’t good enough, being funny wasn’t good enough, being kind and compassionate wasn’t good enough.  All people saw when they saw me was my body. And then that’s all I saw too.

So…the past few weeks, at HillTop, I have been feeling a bit better about my body.  I had started to accept my body…I mean, in tiny baby steps, but I was starting to like what I was seeing.  Maybe it was just over-confidence, but I was seeing my body as smaller and feeling some acceptance of it.

But then this afternoon, I undid all that.  I went out shopping with Mel and tried on a bunch of shirts because I wanted some new shirts to wear with my new leggings.  I have been wearing the leggings because they are really comfortable and I really want to be comfortable.  I am also really attracted to the prints and patterns on the leggings.  But when shopping, none of the shirts I found fit right.  And I got to actually look at myself in a mirror and I got to look at myself in my leggings…And I hated what I saw.  And I realized that I have been fooling myself and that I still am disgusting and ugly.  And not worth having any self-confidence.  There is nothing about me to like or feel good about or to even tolerate.

When I look at my body now, like even just sitting in this chair, it looks different.  I am huge.  I can see how big and fat and ugly I am.  I feel stupid and embarrassed that I actually thought any differently.  And that I let myself start to feel comfortable.

This means that everyone is wrong.  I can’t eat food the way I have been eating it.  I can’t not-exercise.  And Mac is wrong.  I do need to know how much I weigh so I can keep everything under control.

And what I really need now is to lose weight.  And a lot of it.

So…I guess the only way I can define self-worth is by my body size.  And right now, I am not worth anything.

 

Tuesday update:  After losing my shit and crying most of yesterday because I hate my body and I am so disgusting….I woke up this morning and pulled out my favorite pair of leggings, put them on, put on a tunic top (which is super comfy and shields some of my awkward body spots) and am trying to wear my leggings again.  I am going to try to tone down the hatred and dial up the fact that I enjoy the comfiness of the leggings…Not sure how this will play out…But I am giving it a try.

 

 

Lorazepam Makes It All Better

Yesterday was pretty close to the most miserable, awful day I have had since I got here.  I spent the morning having an anxiety attack and crying.  (This started within minutes or me waking) and basically having an anxiety attack with ranging severity for about 6 hours.  It was. not. fun.  I will spare you the details because it is sort of a long saga and too complex to explain. Plus, I don’t want to re-trigger myself into more anxiety.

The end result of my day of angst was that by bedtime last night I felt completely unsafe and just wanted to go stay in a hotel.  I just wanted to have a night of no worries, of safety and of actual sleep.  Since going to a hotel was not an option, I used better-living-through-chemistry to manage the night.

I have not taken any of my as-needed lorazepam (anti anxiety med) since I got here.  And usually when I have taken it at home, I take 1/2 to 1 whole tablet.  Last night, I asked for whatever the max dose was.  It turns out my max dose is two tablets.  I have never, ever needed to take two!  But I figured the only way to get through my anxiety about the night was to numb my nerves and be oblivious to the world.  So, I gulped down my two pills, while wishing that I could have taken a handful.  Then I got into my pajamas, turned the volume on my soothing-noise/white noise app up all the way to drown out anything that i might hear, and I turned so that I was facing away from the door-side of my room.  And I burrowed under my blankets.

I still didn’t feel safe, but pretty quickly I could feel the smoothing calm of the lorazepam wash over me and with the roaring of the white noise app, I was able to cocoon myself to sleep.  I don’t know what, if anything, happened during the night…But I had rendered myself oblivious.  As a result, I slept pretty much straight through the night, only waking up maybe once and again when my alarm went off.  I felt a little groggy from the meds, but that wore off pretty quickly once I started moving.

So, the night in which I was feeling the most unsafe turned into one of my better nights of sleep thanks to lots of anti-anxiety meds and nearly deafening white noise.  I can only imagine how much better my night would have gone if I could have taken more of the lorazepam and just completely deadened myself to the world.

Today is another day.  Most of my angst about yesterday is gone, though I still have a reminder on my arm where I self-harmed.  That will take a while to heal.  Maybe it is a good representation because even though I say my angst from yesterday is gone, it will take me a while to feel safe here again at night and a while for me to heal from the emotional trauma of the day.

 

In Which Heidi Finds Her Self, Portion Sizes, And A Bit Of Nature

In Which Heidi Finds Her Self (for a few minutes anyway)

Okay.  I struggled today in Module Group.  Module group is a topic oriented group that is on our schedule a few times a week.  And today’s was led by a Direct Care woman who appears to be challenged with facilitating groups (and FYI, I am not the only one who thinks so).  The topic was Self-Care.  And it was going kind of okay.  The DC facilitator was asking for folks to shout out ideas of self-care and recreation while she was writing them down.  So, it was stuff like doing your nails, showering, taking a bath, being outside, etc., etc.

And then it took a turn.  She then said that not all self-care things are good and could people come up with other self-care ideas. She was fishing for ED symptoms being “self-care”.  And I started to feel really uncomfortable. I questioned where we were going with the topic and then one of my peers spoke up to give an example and cited her self-harm as a form of self-care.  This is where I lost my shit.  (Mostly internally, in the typical Heidi-fashion).  There is no way that anyone can convince me that ED symptoms or self-harm or anything along those lines is a form of self-care.  So, I said that I was uncomfortable and that the point of self-care it to promote one’s well-being and that self-harm and other things like that cannot be self-care because they are ultimately damaging. And if they are forms of “self-care” then none of us would need to be here at Hilltop.  Honestly, I was really upset.  And I am not sure the DC woman understood why I was upset, I pressed my point a bit and she just didn’t seem to get it.

And since I felt really upset, I did some internal checking.  I have gained some awareness of some of my internal mis-processing while in treatment here.  So I checked Heidi-trap #1. Am I using black and white thinking?  Is this really an all or nothing issue?  And I came up with, yes all-or-nothing, but not in an inflexible black and white kind of way.  Cutting cannot be self-care.  Starving yourself cannot be self-care.  Maladaptive coping? Sure, but self-care? No.   I checked Heidi-trap #2.  Am I responding with this level of emotion from a place of Self or is this something being triggered from the past, like when I get upset because I feel like I am not being heard?  I felt like she was hearing me, but not understanding and while I was frustrated by that, I didn’t feel invalidated. It was clear to me that she just didn’t get it.  And it truly seemed to come from my Self.  This was my Self desperately trying to steer away  from my ED saying that restricting is a form of self-care and that it would be good for me to engage in symptoms.  So, then I checked another Heidi-trap  Was anything else going on that is making me react this strongly that is not actually about this topic.  And I couldn’t think of anything.  (And yes, I really did run down this list and use my best awareness to try to figure out why I was feeling so strongly…I think this is close to what they call “unblending.”)

What I decided was that I was just not going to agree that hurting yourself is a form of self-care.  Hurting yourself may be a form of coping and for getting through an intense moment or for blocking feelings or having control but it is NOT self-care.  I also realized I was afraid.  I was afraid that this idea of ED symptoms as self-care was going to feed my ED and my ED would run with it.  Like, I am on such precarious ground already, I don’t need anything to push me in the wrong direction.  Nope, I decided that this topic was in no way going to be productive for me.

I told the facilitator that the topic was really triggering for me and that I wanted to leave the group, but I didn’t want to get a non-compliance for leaving. But leaving the group did not appear to be an option, so I felt utterly and totally trapped and I was pretty much in tears.

So, after the facilitator and I tried to get each other to understand each other’s positions, the facilitator said one of those phrases that peeves me to no end.  She said (not a direct quote), “It seems like there is a bigger issue going on here that we should explore.”  And that shut me down completely.  I did not want to explore it any fucking further.  As a matter of fact, since I was pretty sure that I was coming from Self and pretty sure that there was no way she was going to convince me that hurting yourself is a way of self-care,  there was not really any deep underlying thing to talk about. So, since I couldn’t physically retreat, I emotionally retreated.

The discussion did continue a bit, my peers had more understanding of what I was trying to say and actually some of them agreed with me, which made me think that I was not totally being crazy.  And the discussion went on to establish that there is a difference between coping and self-care (introduced by peers and not the facilitator) But over all, it was a crappy group.

I think perhaps what the facilitator was trying to do and how she was trying to say it were so out of sync that it just created a huge problem.

The other thing about the group was that instead of the usual two-person direct care team, it was only the facilitator in that group, so when I wanted to leave and was melting down and feeling triggered, I had no option.  Like, just stepping outside to process my frustration for a couple of minutes may have prevented my shut-down.  And I could have had an opportunity to get away from the group without risking non-compliance.

I will just reiterate, it was a crappy group.

The only, and I mean only plus side of this whole thing was that we are so over self-care as topic that it ended up being something that we were in hysterical laughter about it at dinner.  (We didn’t discuss the group and its actual content at dinner but the term “self-care” was enough to set us off.)  I have not laughed like that since I got here.  And what an amazing experience, no one at our table was crying at dinner, we were all laughing.  It may have been a bit inappropriate to be poking fun at the group topic, but still…We were actually LAUGHING.  It almost felt normal.

After dinner, I talked to one of the evening DC people so I could get a chance to process the group a little bit.  She pointed out to me that I could have left the group if I needed to so that I could take care of myself and re-enter the group.  Of course, that makes total sense, but at the time, I was so focused on not getting another NC that I just felt stuck in the group…Next time, I can make a more empowered choice.

Portion Sizes

And speaking of dinner.  I went in the dining room and looked at my plate and just cringed inside.  I am so over how they serve my portions.  And yes, I noticed the peer to my left looking at her dinner and her portion and then looking at mine and then looking miserable.  She had already quietly asked the Direct Care person at our table if her portion was right….So I am sure my portion was glaring at her.  I wonder what would happen if I just took my dinner and ate it at the table off the kitchen.  Probably, I would get a non-compliance….But at least I wouldn’t feel humiliated.

And A Bit of Nature

It wasn’t horribly hot yesterday and before dinner, I went on a little wander around the yard.  This was well within the confines parameters of what I am allowed to do…I walked around the koi pond (yes, there is a koi pond here) and looked for frogs and looked at some rocks and just spent a few minutes by myself and for myself…Kind of like self-care.  Real self-care.  It was delightful.  Maybe when I am not chafing about what I can’t do, I can actually find some enjoyment in what I can do.

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The Food On My Plate and Meg and It Is Happening

The Food On My Plate

Every time I sit down to a meal here at Hilltop I am reminded of my body size and my shame and my awkwardness.  And unwanted attention is drawn to me.

I don’t eat the same amount of food as everyone here because I am bigger than everyone else here.  Of course my body image sucks and the last thing I want to do is draw attention to my body…But every meal does.  My portions of food seem comparatively tiny…dinner is the worst because they serve the food on huge dinner plates and all that space around my food makes my portions glare.  Mind you, I am not complaining about the size of my portions, I would gladly eat less. But my food does not look right on my plate.  As a matter of fact, when served on a dinner plate, it looks like restricting portions.

And to make matters worse, my food doesn’t even look normal.  If I have a sandwich ¼ of it is cut off.  Yup, they don’t accommodate for the calorie difference by juggling around the calories, they just cut my fucking sandwich by a quarter.  And it looks stupid and it glares and I feel so, so ashamed.  It just kind of screams, “Everyone look, Heidi is fat.”  Ugh…I just want to crawl under a rock.

But…It even gets worse.  I have a peer who has severe issues with comparing.  She talks about it frequently and I know she really struggles because she has large portions for restoration of her weight.  And I feel for her.  But she is always talking about how some people have smaller portion sizes (it used to be me and someone else, but the other person was discharged yesterday, so now it will be just me) and she gets really upset.  Monday night, I was seated across from her and she looked at my plate and burst into tears.

I know it is about her and not about me. And I know I shouldn’t care. But OMG…She looked at my plate of food and burst into tears!!!!  I just wanted to disappear.  And I felt so ashamed and so awkward.

I guess my discomfort is two-fold.  I feel obviously fat and ashamed of my body because I have small portions that are cut weirdly and I feel embarrassed and ashamed and awkward that someone would look at my plate and burst into tears.

I am not sure how any of this is actually therapeutic.

Meg          

I am really frustrated with my therapist.  I am starting to trust her and that makes me really angry.  I don’t want to trust her…especially since I haven’t known her very long.  And yet, here I am feeling trusting inclinations towards her and it makes me mad.  The other thing is that she is empathetic.  I hate that.  I don’t want her to be empathetic.  I don’t want her to be nice to me. It’s not supposed to work that way.  I have also figured out that no matter how much I try to push her away, she isn’t going to budge.  She calls me out on avoidance behavior, she points out things that I don’t want to acknowledge and she remembers everything I say.  Basically, she is really good at what she does.  And I like her.  But every part of me screams that I shouldn’t put myself out there and trust her.

It Is Happening

Meg and I are pushing a little harder in therapy and the harder push means we are touching on things that I don’t want to address….So, I am freaking out.  Mind you, no one would know, because I freak out internally except for when I just break and then burst into tears.  But I have started the over-obsessing about my weight, I need to know numbers.  I looked in the mirror this morning and I body checked feeling for my bones and I can tell that I am bigger.  I am clearly gaining weight and it is causing me lots of anxiety.  I am also obsessing about my meal plan and how many calories I am eating.  I tried to ask the nutritionist what the goal of my meal plan is and she gave me a very non-answer. I appreciated her effort of not engaging, but I need to know.  I have restrained from calculating it out…but only just barely.

And my self-harm urges are high.  If I can’t have control, can’t restrict, can’t know anything about numbers, then the only thing I can control is the self-harming.  Of course, along with that is lots of wishing I was dead and just being tired of the fight and wishing I didn’t exist.

So, now I have to figure out how to manage this struggle without engaging in my maladaptive coping strategies.

Polly and Sunday

Polly

Yesterday, the internet was down alll day. I had written a raging blog post about my Sunday, but never got to post it.  At this point, I no longer feel rage about Sunday, what I feel is more like heavy defeat and numbness.  The rage post no longer fits, so I am shelving it.

What I will post is something about Polly and then an assignment I was given yesterday regarding Sunday and how I responded to it.

So first…..Polly.  Polly and I were talking yesterday and I said that I had mentioned to Meg something about the table that Polly and I sit at as our “Station.”  And when talking to it to Polly, I referred to it as her table and she countered, “It’s not my table.”  And then she went on to say that she had only started sitting there a short time before I arrived at Hilltop.  This gave me a moment of thought.  Polly was the first person I was friendly with when I got here and part of it is because I inserted myself on the other half of her table.  And then we slowly got to be friends across the tops of our laptops (or at least as much of friends as you can be in treatment.)  I briefly pondered the fact that Polly moved to the table in time for me to share it with her.  The AT might point out that that sequence happened for a reason…And maybe I might agree.  Or maybe it is just a coincidence and means nothing.

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The best part of our station is that it gives us a vantage point of the whole place.  Actually Polly has the best/safest spot at the table, .but i often turn so my back is against the wall and thus I get a good view of everything going on.  It’s a safe spot.

I don’t know where I am going with this….I just like Polly and am glad that she accepted me crashing her space.

You know, the other person I have become really friendly with (and she often comes and stands at our table and chats) is a woman who I was convinced I would never like.  I had heard she is very judgmental and compares like crazy (which she actually does). And of all of us here she is the most overtly entrenched in her ED symptoms.  Basically, I gave her a wide berth because I didn’t feel safe around her. But, being social by nature, I chatted pleasantly with her several times and started to like her.  Yup, her ED has a strangle hold on her (just like the rest of us) and yes, she struggles and struggles.  But she is actually pretty nice and so I have developed a comfortable rapport with her.

The one thing about my snap judgments of people…Sometimes, I am wrong.

Sunday

Okay…now that homework assignment:

When I look behind me, I see that I am being trailed by years of stuff.  And this stuff weighs me down….no, it doesn’t just weigh me down, it is like an anchor on an elastic band.  It drags along behind me and the band stretches and stretches and I have to work sooo hard to keep moving forward, but I am making progress.  Yes, the progress is slow and the band sometimes pulls me back, but I am still moving.  But every once in a while, that anchor slips up out of the dirt and the elastic ker-twangs it right at me.  And it hits me and I can’t help but be hurt and overwhelmed and doubled over in pain.  But I can’t make the pain stop and the anchor just keeps bouncing on that elastic and hitting me again and again.  Sometimes, I just lick my wounds and keep on moving and other times, I can’t cope and I have to do anything I can to stop the pain.

Sunday morning, my anchor came flying at me and I was not able to cope.

When I have situations in which I feel unheard, brushed off or not believed, I get really, really upset.  Therapist #2 had a lot of concerns about my reactions to not being heard but we didn’t really ever get to address it in therapy as at that point, I was nowhere near being able to talk about trauma.  Even just skipping across the top of the topic was too much for me.  And being unheard is a trigger that will totally unravel me.

Being unheard was pretty much the story of my childhood.  No one heard me.  No one helped me.  No one acknowledged me. Here’s what I wrote about it for my agenda on being invisible: [This refers to a prior assignment…They call assignments ‘agendas’.

I felt invisible when I was growing up.  No one really saw me or heard me, no one was aware of my needs and struggles and desperate wants of love and attention. I was just a nothing and a no one. I never even had my own identity, I was always my sister’s little sister.  I didn’t even have my own name.  There was nothing about me that was remarkable enough for people to remember.  Maybe I was never remarkable enough to remember.  Heidi was nothing. 

When this not-being-heard happens I end up in a kind of a freeze.  I just shut down and enter this deep state of hopelessness.  I am guessing the shutdown looks like helplessness to other people, because I stop standing up for myself and/or advocating for myself and I withdraw. Sometimes, I withdraw really deeply into myself.  But it is not helplessness.  It is hopelessness.  I just get so mired in the hopelessness that I can’t see any way out of it and I stop trying.

This emotional re-run plays out in the moment of being unheard and then keeps replaying in my head.  I engage in punishing behaviors, I perseverate, I feel hurt and angry and like life is unfair. My core beliefs that I am bad and broken and worthless get reinforced.  And I withdraw more into my dark place.  And I punish myself more.

Depending on how the whole thing plays out, I either eventually get over it or I have to make it stop.  Making it stop involves self-harm.

When I self-harmed here on Sunday night it was the first time that I actually self-harmed in residential treatment.  I am not even sure why I did it.  I just was at the end of my rope.  I know that there is support staff here to help me, but I evidently am not smart enough to reach out to them…Another failing on my part.  And I knew it was a failure.  Which compounded my pain.

I did not engage in particularly significant self-harm and since I don’t really care about my body ultimately it doesn’t matter if I self-harm or not.  But I did the most benign form of self-harm that I engage in and pinched a little patch of skin between my index fingernail and my thumb.  And then I counted slowly to 100.  I did it 3 times.  Honestly, it didn’t hurt enough to satisfy me.  It was sort of a tentative trial.  I now know that I can self-harm in res.

For me, self-harm is not about making the biggest gash and the most gore…All I am after is the pain.  I probably would have been more satisfied with the more severe (most painful) kind of self-harm I engage in…but that also leaves the most mark and I wasn’t sure I wanted to go there.

Oh…and Meg wants me to talk to the anxiety therapist about my counting to 100 because the number 100 is involved in all of the self-harm I do and Meg want me to explore the ritual aspect of that.

And I got my second non-compliance for the week.  Yup, you get a non-compliance for self-harming.  Go figure.