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Heathen Offline
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Kindness - April 8th 2019, 12:25 AM

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.

In the past couple of years my self harm behaviors have decreased in both frequency and intensity. After I had to have inpatient surgery for one of my self-inflicted wounds last summer I vowed never to hurt myself to a serious extent ever again. Unfortunately I broke that promise. I hadn't cut myself with an actual blade in years but today I did. The cuts are not the deepest I've ever done, probably because it's been so long and I was more cautious, but they are deep "enough" and cover a considerable area of my body. They can be hidden by clothes while they heals but it's going to take weeks for them to do so.

I am experiencing the usual feelings that come along with an episode of self-harm after a long period of abstinence. Guilt. Shame. Anger. Fear. But lately I've been doing a lot of growing, and I refuse to do things the way I've always done them in the past. In the past, I'd let one cutting episode turn into another, and another after that, until the guilt eventually becomes so intense I start to become suicidal. I don't want to do that. It only leads to setbacks, poor self-esteem, broken trust and relationships, and hospital stays. I know where it goes.

So I've decided to do something different: kindness. I cut because I was scared and sad, and I need to honor that fear and sadness rather than heaping on a ton of guilt and using myself as a whipping post. That doesn't absolve me of my choice to cut, but it does mean I don't have to give in to the cycle. My question is, how? How do I CONSISTENTLY practice kindness in this time (and always, really, but especially so soon after a relapse)? How can I honor myself? How can I apologize to my body? I know I didn't deserve to do this to myself, just like I didn't deserve the trauma that caused me to choose to cut today. I can do better.

All help is appreciated.

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Re: Kindness - April 9th 2019, 08:03 PM

It might help to slowly practice kindness. You can try different ways to do it, too. If you want to apologize to your body, you can apologize out loud (because it's validating to hear it). You can also practice self-care whether it's taking a bath or watching a movie or making sure your cuts are taken care of.

Some therapists, for the purpose staying present, recommend kind of patting your body in the way that someone else would pat your back or something like that.

There's a DBT skill (I think?) and it has you do the opposite of whatever unhealthy thing you are considering. If you wanted to push others away, you'd reach out, and so forth.

I do a lot of self-talk and something that helps me is actually talking to myself (when no one else is around!) to get through it. I tell myself I can do it, and it'll be okay and whenever I finish the task I remind myself I did it and I did it well.

You can also practice self-care and kindness to yourself and your body in the general sense. I personally don't have a lot of time these days so I am working on trying to make sure I do something I like at least once or twice a week so I have that time kind of written in.

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