Well, folks, I think I’m making progress!
In some areas, it seems things are really regressing and I feel like a failure. In other areas, I can feel healing happening and trust blooming and progress being made. I took a HUGE step with The New Guy this weekend. I mean – huge. It may seem insignificant to some of you, but for me this was a really big deal. I was going to keep this private, but I’ve decided that I want to share. I haven’t updated you all since I posted my story and it’s long overdue for me to post.
I’m going to start at the beginning of this weekend. No, actually, I’m going to go back to last Thursday. I don’t know if the events of Thursday REALLY influenced the activities of this weekend, but it may be important to include them anyway.
As always, I’m going to submit a trigger warning early because this WILL get graphic. If you’re sensitive to self-harm, this may not be a good post to read. Take caution reading ahead.
So, Thursday. For me, Thursday is Therapy Day. I see my trauma therapist every Thursday and this week was no different. After posting my story here, I decided to share it with my Thursday T. I shared this before Thanksgiving and had not seen her since she got to read it, so I was already a little on edge going into the session. She didn’t even really bring it up, but later she mentioned some details from the story and I felt okay about it. We decided that it would be a good day to do some EMDR processing. The last time we tried this, it was too much for me to handle and I freaked out so I was a bit nervous. I was able to push through 2 sets, but the last one we had to stop. She said she was proud of me for pushing as much as I did and then she helped me to center and re-focus before leaving.
All in all, it was a good session. She even gave me a hug (which she rarely does) at the end of the session because she knew it was a hard thing for me to do. For the remainder of the day, I felt pretty okay emotionally. I had a lot of stuff to do so my brain was constantly busy and focused on something. It was later that night when things settled down that everything hit me. I started having impulses to hurt myself or do something very self-destructive. I don’t know if it was related to the EMDR but that was all I felt that I could tie it to. I messaged one of my friends to talk it out and she told me I should email my T. So, I did.
I sent Thursday T an email and told her what I was experiencing and told her that I thought it was related to the EMDR processing and maybe I was just feeling too much after that session. She told me that she wasn’t sure if it was related to the EMDR, but gave me some guidance and told me some things to do to keep myself safe and cope with the thoughts. I felt better by the time I went to sleep that night and Friday I was feeling a lot better. Still a little drained, but better than I was feeling the day before.
Friday night, though, things changed. I don’t really know why I made the choice that I made. I’ve thought about it a lot and I don’t know what it was that made me want to do this. I decided to go out drinking with a friend Friday night. I made a promise to myself a little less than a month ago that I was not going to drink anymore. I use alcohol as a way to be self-destructive and put myself in danger. I’m not really supposed to be drinking anyway because of the medication I’m on. I was feeling reckless and decided I didn’t care – I wanted to go out. After making the plans to go, I almost cancelled. I had his sick feeling in my stomach and I knew it would be better to stay home and have a quiet evening to myself. I ignored my gut feeling and I went anyway.
The night wasn’t fun. I didn’t have a good time. The whole night, I just kept thinking about how sad I was. My T has told me that I really shouldn’t be drinking because alcohol is a depressant. Mixed with my already lingering feelings of depression and my medication, alcohol is likely to push me over the edge. At some point through the night, I thought about cutting. It was a quick thought. It just popped in my head and I tried to dismiss it, but I couldn’t. It stayed in the back of my mind for the rest of the night. I put on a happy face and acted like I was having fun. I danced, I smiled, I laughed. But once I went to the bathroom and I was alone, I just sat there in sadness thinking about how all I wanted to do was hurt myself. The more I drank, the worse I felt. There was no pulling myself out of the hole I had created for myself. I couldn’t wait to get home and just be done with this. Done with myself.
I got home around 2am. Everything from here on was done without even thinking about it. It was like I was a robot doing what I was made to do. It all happened so fast and without a second thought.
I made it inside and set my stuff down in my bedroom. I immediately turned around, grabbed the shed keys out of the drawer, and made my way to the backyard. I unlocked the shed, walked inside and found the toolbox that I knew was holding the boxcutter I had placed there less than a month ago. I grabbed the tool and went back inside. I walked into the bathroom and grabbed my roll of paper towels from the cabinet. I tore off 2 towels, ran one under the water and kept one dry. This was how I always prepped. I walked back into the room, took off my pants, pulled down the side of my underwear to reveal my right hip, and sat on the bed. I picked up the boxcutter, opened it, and removed the blade from inside. I knew this was a clean blade because I had put it in there not too long ago. In hindsight, there’s no way that blade was sterile. The inside of the boxcutter was filthy. The blade LOOKED clean, but that likely wasn’t the case.
I proceeded to put the cold blade against my hip and slide it across. I was anticipating a rush of relief – to feel the weight and heaviness lifted from my shoulders as it has always done in the past. That didn’t happen. Instead, I started feeling worse. So, I repeated the process. It still wasn’t working. I tried again, and again, and again and at this point tears are flowing, I’ve lost control and I just can’t stop. I was feeling so much worse. There was blood running down my leg, soaking through my damp paper towel. The cold, wet cloth felt soothing over the stinging cuts that were now covering my hip.
I continued to push the sharp blade into my skin and pull. At this moment, the thought crossed my mind. The thought of how EASY it would be to move the blade to my wrist and just be completely done. To end it all. The pain, the hurt, the shame. How easily I could forget about the rape and the sexual abuse in my childhood. How easy it would be for me to reach that sense of peace that I’ve been longing for. To end this race that has exhausted me in every way possible.
I didn’t do it. I stopped. I set the blade down and I cried. I couldn’t believe what I had just done. There was blood everywhere, on my hip, my hand, my arm. The paper towel was no longer white, it was bright red and I was still bleeding. I cleaned up and tried to get the bleeding to stop because I didn’t have enough bandaids to cover what I had done. I pulled the side of my underwear up above the cuts so they could breathe while I cleaned up the mess I had just made. I returned the blade to the boxcutter and set it on my nightstand. I grabbed my paper towels and walked to the trashcan to toss them. Once I felt I could go to bed, I checked the cuts to make sure they weren’t bleeding too much. There was still some blood so I cleaned it up and then placed the side of my underwear back over the top of the cuts. It hurt. I grabbed some shorts off my bedroom floor and carefully put them on so they wouldn’t move my underwear that was protecting the fresh wounds. I hoped that with two layers of clothing covering them, if they opened in my sleep, the blood wouldn’t get on my sheets.
I crawled into bed, laid my head on my pillow, and silently sobbed until I fell asleep.
The night was restless. I barely slept at all. I had to work the next morning so I got up, got dressed, and headed out. It felt like there was a cloud of shame over me the entire day. I was a mess. While at work, I had to excuse myself because I couldn’t stop crying. I felt awful about what I had done and I was feeling so unsafe. I just wanted the nightmare to end.
I made it home, slept for a couple of hours, and cried some more. It was like, no matter how much I cried, I was never out of tears. I had no energy to do anything. I talked with one of my friends for most of the day and that was helpful – she was the only person that I wanted to talk to that day. Aside from that, I just wanted to sleep and do nothing. I felt so broken. My heart was hurting, my hip was hurting, I couldn’t keep the tears from clouding my vision, and I was truly regretful of everything that happened the night before. I was wishing I would have taken my own advice and moved the blade to my wrist so I could be done feeling like this. There was no relief from the pain I was in – nothing was helping. I felt like I could barely breathe and no matter what I tried, I couldn’t keep my mind off of it. I was drowning.
Sunday wasn’t much better. I was still in a lot of physical pain and I just felt like there was this weight on me. Everything felt heavy. The only motivation I had that day was knowing that I would be seeing The New Guy and I would be able to tell him what happened. I knew I would be seeing his wife and while I felt she would be disappointed in my actions, I needed comfort – especially from her. I needed to hear that I was okay and that I was safe and that the moment had passed. I wanted her to reassure me that I was loved and cared for. And above anything, I wanted someone to tell me that they were happy that I didn’t end my life that night.
Things didn’t go exactly as planned.
The New Guy had just gotten back to town from a trip and I KNEW he was exhausted. I could see it on his face, hear it in his voice, and I know that he only slept for a couple of hours the night before. I offered to let him cancel my session and move it to next week. As much as I did NOT want him to take me up on my offer, I insisted that he take the time to rest if he needed it. Luckily, he declined and I was able to have my session that day.
The New Guy’s Wife was absent from the session. Part of me knew this would happen, but I asked about her anyway. The New Guy informed me that she had other things going on and would not be present. I was sad, but I knew I would still be able to talk to The New Guy so I was okay. This in itself is progress though. This is only the second time I’ve had a session alone with The New Guy and I wasn’t afraid. I felt comfortable being in the same room as him without The Wife being present. This was a first.
He asked me how things were going like he usually does. Instead of my normal ‘everything is great’ line, I told him things weren’t very good. I wasn’t doing well. After he asked what was going on, I did some beating around the bush but eventually told him what I did. I barely got the words out before the rivers started flowing from my eyes. He talked. A lot. I listened and I cried. I was so overwhelmed, but I finally felt that safety I was longing for. Being there with him – it felt safe. Talking about what happened and knowing that I made it through that and it was over, it made me feel that rush of relief that I needed. I was finally feeling all of the things I was missing, and I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing. It was like a breath of fresh air.
At the same time, I was still feeling that brokenness. The need for him to wrap me in his arms and tell me I would be okay was strong. I knew it wouldn’t happen, I just wanted to feel that kindness and the compassion that is shown with a hug. It was nothing inappropriate that I desired, I just wanted to feel whole.
During the session, he mentioned hospitalization. Yikes. That’s not something I ever wanted to do. Honestly, I never thought I was to the point of needing it. It seems that things may be worse than what I can really see right now. I spoke about this with a friend of mine last night and she agrees with The New Guy – she thinks it’s a viable option. That scares me.
I told her that inpatient is for people with real issues. People that are truly at risk for killing themselves or are very depressed and I’m just not in that place. She told me that I WAS in that place. To me, it seemed like it was just one bad night where I got a little carried away and lost control. But I’m OKAY. I’m fine. Nothing happened. But, it would appear that I’m not as okay as I’d like to believe that I am. I suppose, from the outside, I’m doing a lot worse than I realize.
The bottom line is that I don’t want to go inpatient. That scares me. I just can’t see that I am to that point yet. I’m hoping to get control of this now so that doesn’t happen. I’m also very nervous to tell my Thursday T about what happened. I don’t know what she will say about it. But, I suppose that’s a story for a later date.
I know I said in the beginning of this blog that I was making progress. Everything I’ve told you up to this point was the opposite of progress – I realize that. What I’m about to tell you is the part where I feel I’m making progress.
At the end of the session, I tell The New Guy that I need to ask him a question. He tells me to go ahead. I preface my question with telling him things he already knows. I told him that I don’t trust men and I don’t like to be alone with men which is why I always have his wife present. I also told him that men make me nervous and I don’t like physical contact. I barely even hug my own father. Men scare me. Then I asked if he would give me a hug. He said yes.
It was the most sincere, healing, safe hug I have felt in such a long time. He was so kind to me and he said he was so honored that I trusted him enough to ask for that. He said he knows my feelings towards men, and he was so grateful that I opened up to him like that.
There was a time not too long ago that if we were talking and he took a step closer or inched towards me, I would back away. I never wanted to do therapy with him because he was a male. I’ve been so hurt by the men in my life, I didn’t trust that someone could be kind and gentle with me and be so sincere. I am so glad that I asked for that hug and I’m so glad that he was so receptive. It was safe.
So, I guess in closing, I want to say that I’m proud of myself for trusting The New Guy the way I did. It has taken a lot of work for me to build this relationship. I’m just happy that he’s been so constant and didn’t leave when I was apprehensive or when I tried to shut him out. This feels...safe.
I don’t know where I stand emotionally right now. This weekend was a roller coaster and I have tally marks on my hip as a constant reminder of the darkness that consumed me Friday night. I don’t know WHEN I’ll be over this. It’s still pretty fresh.
I know this blog wasn’t very friendly and I apologize for my sad story saga. I will try to post something a little more lighthearted next time!
I hope that you’re all doing well. Hugs to everyone!