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Self Harm If you or someone you know is struggling with self harm and needs advice or alternatives, we're here to help.

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Exclamation Urges getting stronger, I need help - January 24th 2018, 06:50 PM

This thread has been labeled as triggering, particularly on the subject of self harm, by the original poster or by a Moderator. The contents of this thread might therefore not be suitable for certain sensitive users. Please take this into consideration before continuing to read.

Thought I needed to start a new thread due to my last thread being really vague and not really relevant to my current situation.

The urges are becoming harder to ignore. The thought of hurting myself sparks fleeting feelings of emotion, specifically a sense of relief. I am worried that I will soon relapse and lose almost a year's worth of recovery. I am also concerned that I will harm myself and not tell anyone, which would require me to isolate myself from personal relationships and even lie to my girlfriend.

A few days ago I met with my therapist and told her that I need to focus my upcoming therapy sessions on dealing with my self-harm urges and figuring out a way to cope without self-inflicted pain. She said she is trying to find me different types of support (group, online forums, different methods of therapy) but I won't be able to see her for two weeks due to her schedule being fully booked. I'm genuinely worried that I won't be able to stay clean that long without some type of therapy.

I guess I am creating this thread for advice. How do I talk to my therapist about self-harm? I know she won't judge me but I've never received help for my self-harm (anytime I saw a therapist we would always talk about my other problems, meaning anytime I stopped self-harming I did it without help) and don't know what to say or how to approach the subject. I guess it's hard for me to talk about self-harm because I know the logistics behind it and I also know that any rational personal wouldn't see hurting themselves as a coping mechanism. Even talking about self-harm in this post is triggering me bad enough to want to relapse, how will I be able to talk about my years of self-harm in therapy if I can't even talk about it to anonymous people without fantasizing about cutting myself. How do I tell her?

I have recently started journaling again and it has helped, though I am still in need of coping mechanisms. Even though I really do want to harm myself, I do not want to relapse and start the vicious cycle of recovery all over again.

Thank you for taking time to read this post and thanks in advance if you respond. I really am determined to get better, I just don't know where to began or how to go about the subject in therapy (this is seriously keeping me awake at night so any suggestions on this would be extremely helpful).

-Ash

Disclaimer: I am seeking professional help (therapist and psychiatrist) and am not using this website as a substitute for therapy. I really just need to let all of this out and this seems to be a very supportive community. Any advice, personal anecdotes, or just messages of support really help me stay grounded and realize I'm not alone.


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Re: Urges getting stronger, I need help - January 24th 2018, 08:11 PM

Hey there,

I am glad you reached out and I hope I can provide you with some support. Firstly, it sounds like you are doing everything you can to try and recover/overcome your self harm. Having determination is really important and it does help. It isn't the only thing a person needs, of course, but back before I was able to get to a better place with self harm I didn't have a ton of determination and I noticed that once my determination grew I was able to learn more about how best to recover.

In regards to talking to your therapist, you could consider writing the things you want to down. If she allows you to send her emails you could email her a list of things pertaining to your self harm that you want to discuss. You could also let her know that discussing self harm is difficult and it can be triggering. All of that could lead to her being able to understand what you need from her and help her to know that she should check in with you when you two do start discussing self harm.

When I was in therapy and needed to discuss difficult things I would write those things down in my journal. I would bring the journal with me and read it to my therapist. It helped to keep me accountable and to actually bring up the uncomfortable topic and it helped my therapist to know that we needed to discuss my journal entry at some point during the session. You could try this as well. I think writing things down and letting a therapist see it or hear it can be helpful to some people who are struggling with talking about certain topics.

You said that you have been clean for about a year, do you know what might be triggering the current urges you are experiencing? Back in 2015 I had a relapse after about 2 and a half years and I know the things that led to it were primarily stress that I was unwilling to address. If you can figure out what might be triggering your current urges you might be able to figure out a way to confront that trigger and either try and resolve it, talk about or find a coping skill for it. Figuring triggers out is not easy but it might be a way for you to try and work on overcoming the urges?

I really hope that this helped and if you need anything please feel free to message me.


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Re: Urges getting stronger, I need help - January 24th 2018, 09:07 PM

First off, thank you for the response. I found the advice to be very helpful.

Second, I just found a journal to use only for therapy. I'm going to take your advice to see if writing it down will help me be more comfortable. I'm also going to take in some of my poetry/prose to see if that will help her understand the relationship between my depression and self-harm. I also have a big issue with keeping myself accountable when telling my therapist my feelings (I often downplay them to hide myself from having to confront them). Do you (or anyone) have any suggestions regarding accountability (besides the journal)? I almost always chicken out of opening up to my therapist...

Lastly, I have experienced a lot of stressful situations in the past few months (being threatened, grades dropping, suicidal ideation, nightmares worsening, etc.) and haven't dealt with them. If we're being honest here (which I'm trying to be) I should probably be in inpatient (or outpatient) due to my depression/anxiety growing worse but that's not an option right now.

Thank you for taking the time to read and respond, I really appreciate any help/advice out there. If anyone has any suggestions on how to keep myself accountable PLEASE let me know.

-Ash


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Re: Urges getting stronger, I need help - January 25th 2018, 01:00 PM

You could talk to your therapist and let he or she know that you're having trouble opening up. This way, your therapist can kind of push you and support you and help you open up. Therapists are very good at that.

Does your therapist allow out of session contact? That may be something to ask about. This is because you might be able to email in the moment and show how you're truly feeling. Your therapist will have already seen it prior to the session so you can kind of be held accountable in that sense.


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Re: Urges getting stronger, I need help - January 27th 2018, 03:01 AM

You should definitely speak to a therapist
When the urges get tough i would suggest listening to troye sivan's music, because he is really calming. You can try the app calm harm. Just find some ways that work for you to control the urges




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Re: Urges getting stronger, I need help - January 29th 2018, 04:04 PM

Hey there,

When you say inpatient or outpatient is not an option is there a particular reason such as work or school commitments? Depending on what your reasons are there might be a way you can deal with them and be able to get the appropriate treatment. Your therapist might be able to help you navigate that.

Do you think you'd be able to let your therapist know that opening up is difficult but you want to? It can help a therapist to know this because they might have tools to help you get comfortable with opening up and they might be able to work with you and find ways to help you be a bit more accountable with opening up etc.

Best regards.


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Re: Urges getting stronger, I need help - February 3rd 2018, 12:01 AM

I definitely agree with suggestions the others have made about your counseling and speaking with your therapist. Showing him/her your poetry would absolutely be a good idea because when we write, we leave a part of ourselves in every piece, even if it is only a little part. Poetry is really the most intimate parts of our thoughts and emotions, and showing your counselor your poetry could help her understand what goes on in your mind a little better.

Also, poetry was a very useful in-the-moment coping skill for me when I was going through my struggles with self-harm. When I would have urges, I would smoke a cigarette (whatever you do, don't start smoking. It was easier for me to overcome self-harm than it was for me to quit smoking, to be honest. If I could go back in time, I never would've smoked my first cigarette) and put everything that I was thinking and feeling into poetry. I would use the poetry to help me articulate my thoughts/feelings and pinpoint what exactly was triggering me to self-harm as well as deal with those thoughts and feelings. Focussing on ordering all of that into one poem would help calm the urges, and I usually felt a lot better after finishing and editing a poem. Of all the coping methods I used to help me overcome self-harm, writing poetry was the one that helped the most.
   
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