My therapy assignment from this past session was to practice feeling emotions. I was supposed to find a safe place, attempt to summon an emotion, and really feel it. The idea was to pay close attention to my physiological responses so that I could use those to recognise emotions in a regular setting. I don’t know if too much attacked at once or exactly what happened, but last night, things went very, very badly.
It started with anxiety. I certainly didn’t try to summon the anxiety. I don’t have the least bit of difficulty recognising that particular feeling. It snowballed, though, which isn’t unusual for me. One worry led to another until I was in a mad panic and so scared that I could barely breathe. Then that *thing* happened– I cut. Months and months of successfully stopping myself from SI all torn apart in one stupid night. SI has never been something I’m proud of, but it’s something I’ve dealt with for many years now. Going back and reading this post, I noticed it also has a somewhat cyclical pattern these days. I guess that’s a good sign– it used to be what I fell back on during *any* period of strong emotion.
Today I feel numb. The slight burning from the cuts and break through bleeding from the deeper ones feels comforting somehow, and that frightens me. It feels embarrassing to write that, but this blog is an honest look at mental illness if nothing else. I guess the cuts just feel like a blanket– something to soothe those out-of-control emotions. In the words of Sarah McLachlan ‘I need some distraction. Oh, a beautiful release. Memories seep from my veins.’ I fell asleep almost immediately after cutting and woke up this morning feeling numb. Maladaptive as it may be, self-injury does work for its purpose. I just wish it didn’t work so well sometimes.