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Therapy Review: Processing Self Harm and Grief

The cab driver forgot me today so I wasn't able to go in and see Dr. D or see my psychiatrist for refills.

We talked about my brother which is discussed at the end. We talked about my self-destructive spirit since the nightmare I had about my mother two weeks back. I couldn't didn't shake it without self harm so we talked in depth with him asking many questions.

  • What was the trigger?
    A nightmare followed by someone calling me a liar and crazy. That word "liar" hits hard.
  • What specifically was I trying to destroy?
    The feeling of humiliation and guilt associated with the nightmare.
  • What did I try first?
    I painted. I walked. I threw darts. I did my yoga stretches. I scribbled and scribbled to the point that I now need to purchase more printer paper. I scribbled a lot because you can't self harm and sketch at the same time.
  • What emotions did I feel leading up to self harm? 
    Guilt. Shame. Humiliation. Small. Insignificant. Dirty. Angry. Desperate.
  • What emotion did I expect to feel during self harm?
    I expected to feel motivated to reach the goal of relief. I felt determined. I knew I was falling back on old habits, something I haven't done in over five years.
  • Did I consider the consequences?  Yes.
  • What emotions did I feel after?
    Tired. I slept like a baby!
  • Do I regret it?
    No. I don't see it as a positive but it felt necessary. Someone inside said we felt cornered by our own emotions and memories associated with abuse and we came out fighting...fighting us.
  • What steps in my head did I take to get to the point where I was able to carry out self harm?
    I knew in my head what I wanted to do. I kept it in the back of my mind. Several days went by with this thought. The desire to self harm was discussed in therapy.  I WANTED to self harm and so each day not doing it almost felt like I was wearing down my defenses. I know how much paper I went through to direct my attention elsewhere, but the thought of self harm was in my head. I wore down my defenses with time. Maybe it's like a person who stopped smoking or drinking, whatever, and they know in the back of their mind there's the desire to do this drug and they drag out doing it; sometimes rationalizing until the opportunity presents itself in such a way it lets you feel justified.
    I felt stagnant. I was just sitting there with a lump of crap on my being. It wasn't moving. It just sat there stinking up my being. I played 2 songs over and over again to push me over the emotional edge so I could self harm.
  • Is there immediate risk of repeat this behavior?
    No. I don't believe so.

My head swirled with more than the content of the dream. It's been a long time since I've felt this triggered.

My brother got sick. It took awhile to get to that point, probably ten years, having been diagnosed in his late teens. He took his 30 years of life and left. He didn't want to suffer more. I was so happy he got to go to Spain before he died.

After hanging up from my session, I went to sleep. I slept from 2 pm to 6:00 pm. I could easily go right back to sleep.

I've been thinking of something to remember him by. I was thinking of a used violin. He studied and mastered that instrument then taught inner city youth to play. He thought New York was the best place ever but that's the last place on earth I'd want to live. Anyway, I'd like to see an old, beat up violin sitting in my living room, something that says he was here and he left his mark. He wasn't suppose to die and the earth wasn't supposed to keep spinning as if it hadn't lost a tremendous gift. Life didn't have the decency to pause and bow when it lost a survivor turned thriver.

Am I going to think about all the firsts? This is the first spring without him? This is the first sunflower without him. This is the first ...... until I drive myself crazy? Can I wrap it all up in strings and put this to sleep in the chest of a violin? I hope so. I'd fill the heart of the violin with secret notes about who he was as the little boy I loved more than life itself. My boy. My boy.

Faith
4/3/17 9:20 pm EST

No need to feel nervous, comment if you'd like.

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