Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Self destruction

Image courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/amy-lloyd/5457419804/in/photostream
You know, I've talked about some pretty personal stuff on this blog. Things that I'm mortified by. Things I hate that are happening to my broken body. But, this post, this has probably taken the most guts to write out of anything before.

I started my counselling this morning. It was more of a pre-assessment before the actual therapy starts but I was still hugely nervous about it. I didn't sleep well last night - my mind was just racing with thoughts of everything I needed to talk about. I was in tears within minutes of walking in the room but my counsellor is really nice and I felt comfortable straight the way. I have a few things to think about before my next session on the 19th. She wants me to decide on what route of therapy I would like to take and what I want to get out of the sessions. She suggested that I either try cognitive behavioural therapy or liaison psychiatry. She also thought some bereavement counselling might help me but I don't want to take that route. I just want to talk to someone and try and get my head straight again.

I mentioned previously that my depression wasn't a recent thing. It's not just come on since all this kicked off this year. It's something I've battled with since I was 16.

Looking back, I feel foolish because I really can't think what problems I had at that time. My parents were going through a rough patch, but they were still together. I had started college and initially found it difficult to make friends, but I made friends eventually. I just found things difficult. My head became a mish mash of thoughts and to deal with them I started self harming.

At first, it started out as the odd cut here and there but it fast became an addiction and desperate measures called for desperate times. The knife I had started using wasn't cutting me deep enough, there wasn't enough blood showing. So I'd move on to another knife or a pair of scissors, or just something metal or sharp. In the end, when I had gotten in to my worst moments, I smashed a glass and added it to my little box of cutting devices. The glass worked the best. It cut the deepest. It relieved the most anguish.

I drank heavily when I went out and sometimes at home but it never helped. Harming my body, and seeing the destruction I was causing, did.

Cutting myself didn't hurt. Until I did it so much that my arm was raw. I was embarrassed by it. I would cover it up as much as possible by wearing long sleeved tops. I remember my friends noticing once on a night out but I dismissed it all. I didn't want to talk about why I was doing it. I just knew it felt good and helped me cope. I was once on a work placement at a hospital and one of the nurses questioned me about it, after I rolled my sleeves up. I told her my cat had done it. On holiday, my parents noticed and questioned me about it. I said I had caught my arm on some barbed wire at college. All such daft excuses.

By the time my parents sat me down and asked me outright about it, it had gotten out of hand and now looking back, I needed to stop. They wanted me to go to the doctors and get some help but I refused. I didn't want help from anyone. I promised to stop and work at it by myself just as long as I didn't have to see a professional about it. From what I remember, we didn't speak about it again.

Since then, since around 2001, I have only felt the need to return to self harm once or twice. I've worked hard at stopping and on the occasions I have cut myself again, the guilt and distress it has caused me has been far greater than the relief I once felt.

Though the harming stopped, the depression didn't and when I was diagnosed with endometriosis it took on a whole new lease of life. Being on hormone treatment after hormone treatment wore me down and I lived inside a black cloud of despair for a long time. I couldn't find a way out and on more than several occasions I wanted out. I wanted so desperately to end it all. To get away from the pain - both physical and emotional. I never felt so alone as I did at that point.

But things got better. My emotions stabilised, only rearing their ugly heads at the worst of times. I had difficulties coping when my last relationship broke down and when my parents split up. But I found different coping strategies. Not always good things, but they helped nevertheless. To date, my best, and most effective, coping strategy has been Danny. Whenever I cannot cope and feel like I want to give up, he pulls me back up. He gives me something to keep striving for. A future with this wonderful man.

This year has been the first time I've felt at my lowest in several years. And to be fair, after everything that has happened, I think it's been expected. Car accident, missing persons report, the tragedy of Bunty's death, redundancy, sickness, finding out my endometriosis has spread... So much has happened I can't even remember everything now.

As you know, from my posts over the last few months, I've had good and bad days. Some days I wake up and I'm positive and happy. Other days, I can't even face getting out of bed. Sometimes, something can just trigger it again. I have no control over my moods and emotions - they control me. Danny always tries his hardest to help me - even when I've woken him up in the middle of the night, crying, and my family and (some) friends have been there when I've needed them. But, whereas in times before, I would have kept myself busy with work or been out doing things and seeing people, I haven't been able to do that. Crying has been my ultimate way of coping. And I've done a lot of it!

I don't know really what I want to achieve from counselling. I guess I just want to be able to think straight again and get my mind away from thoughts of self harm - no matter how long it's been since you last did it, it's still remains with you. Always niggling away in the back of your mind. It was my coping strategy for years and now I have to find something else to help me.

So, there you have it, a little confession. There are less than a handful of people that know about it this but now I've shared it with everyone and it feels like a relief in some ways.

Depression isn't the same for everyone but I do believe that anyone that fights it, comes out much stronger in the end because it's a tough battle - one that I fight on a daily basis. But, that's what you have to do, keep fighting - because the second you stop, is the second it can take over everything.

S.
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6 comments

  1. I am so sorry you're going through this but, I cannot stress this enough, you are not alone, I used to self harm when I was a teenager. I'm better now and I try not to do it but all emotions entailed with endo make me want too again.

    If you ever want to chat, I'm here.
    x.

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    1. Thank you. I keep up to date with your blog too and it's nice to find someone that isn't too far away from myself. It's difficult to get the thoughts of self harming out of your head - but it's good to know I'm not the only one. xx

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  2. It's bizarre how similar our stories are, this blog post could almost be about my life. I don't have endometriosis, but my mum had it, and my illness is less debilitating, despite being life threatening, but the rest of it: the depression, the self harm, the crying, fertility problems, the difference an amazing man can make, its all the same. I'm sorry you've gone through all of this, and that you still do, but you are definitely not alone.
    Hayley. X

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    1. Thank you Hayley. I was hoping people with problems other than endometriosis would read my blog because I know people go through a lot of the things I talk about with other illnesses. I'm so sad to hear that you can relate so much to what I'm going through because I know how it feels for me and I wouldn't want anyone else to feel this way. But thank you for your comment. It feels so good to know people understand the way I'm feeling. xx

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  3. I saw your post yesterday but wanted to sit down and reply when I had a good chunk of time to do so.

    It's not easy to peel away the emotional layers surrounding your illness, particularly when you have a history of depression and self harm. I know you're hurting hugely. I think how you're talking about it online and via counsel is extraordinary, such a huge leap forward in your recovery! I've only just come to know you but I'm blown away by your confession and strength, I think you have all the resources you already need to develop a new coping mechanism, and as said above you're definitely not alone - not by a long shot.

    Keep talking to us about it :)

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    1. Thanks Michelle. It's difficult being so public with everything but I'm finding this is the only way to make people understand how difficult it is to live with this disease. I know not everyone can relate to everything each of us goes through but if it helps one person in not feeling so alone then I am pleased. I love your blog too - there were so many US blogs about endo out there that I just couldn't relate to so it's nice to find some UK ones with people who know about the NHS. Lovely to have found you online. xxx

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