Today we talked about this in group therapy. This is my 2nd of a total 3 rounds of this group and you know, I don’t really remember talking about this the first time I did this group. Funny, how this isn’t the first time I’ve had memory fogs about things, it actually annoys me into thinking I can’t remember the simplest of moments.
Talking about self harm (by the way, we don’t talk about the actual “act” of self harm, we just mention self harm), I began to feel quit warm and flushed. Especially when after the paragraphs were read, the floor was open for discussion. I started off with stating that prior to starting SAFE, I have never even heard of the words “self harm”, I didn’t even know there was such a label. I have had trouble acknowledging that my self harm is an eating disorder, but I also learned today that I have other ways of self harm that I have done as well. I explained to the group that for me, when my anxiety became so high, that when I wanted to get the screaming that is going on inside my head and the words couldn’t come out of my mouth, self harming was a way of helping to release those feelings.
A therapist mentioned about having something to benefit from or gaining from doing self harm. I said, very honestly, that I have never seen a benefit to self harm. When I am in that moment, everything around me is numb. I don’t feel anything, I don’t hear anything or anyone. All I see is that moment. I don’t think about the future, or what my results will be if I act on my self harm. Other members agreed that they felt the same way.
I shared a piece of what had happened just prior to me getting to group this afternoon. I was at home, getting ready for group. As I was getting dressed, I had commented in my room with the dog present, and my boyfriend down the hall in the kitchen, that I wondered how on earth anyone could love me, being that I am so fat. Just like that, no thought, no choosing of the words, just said them as they are and as I felt. My boyfriend had said a few seconds later “do you plan on talking about your self critic in group today?” I said “what are you talking about?” he said “you just said out loud that you wondered how anyone can love you being that you see yourself as fat. My answer is “I do”.
I said to the group, that my actions are so ingrained, that I didn’t even hear what I had said, or what I was thinking. While it is true that I bash myself on a regular basis, to see it the way he sees it, I have never done. I said to the group, that it is hard to even consider changing a thought pattern, especially when it has been a coping skill for as long as mine has. The therapist had said that he could see that “fear” creep in our eyes and our anxiety rise, at the mere thought of having to change our thoughts and behaviors in order to make ourselves free to embrace a healthy way of thinking and living.
A few of us openly said that the new concept scared the daylights out of us. There is a huge fear around that sort of thing, even though many of us know that the end result of our actions is not a good one, it is one we are familiar with. I for one, don’t like the cycle I am on, yet it terrifies me to take it away. How bizarre is that? You know it is not healthy and it is dysfunctional, yet to change it for something that can bring you peace and understanding, seems scary? I call it twisted thinking.
In our paperwork for today’s session, there is a page on the topic of creating a soothing journal, something to write our emotions in and to take the tools we have been learning and applying them to our moments of wanting to self harm. The concept is to help extend the fuse of anxiety so that you don’t self harm.
I will think about starting a soothing journal/blog once I understand the concept better.