Today was Week 8 of my 3rd round of SAFE. For those that don’t know what SAFE means it stands for Self-Abuse Finally Ends.
The topic was on Self Harm. Yes, it was going to be one of “those” sessions and boy was it ever!
As I listened to other group members share their awareness and experiences with Self Harm. There was one in particular, who was just all “good with the world” if you know what I mean. All was right in her world, I am positive she was on a manic ride! It was super annoying and I felt that the more she spoke about how she has pushed the negative to the curb, the angrier I got. I just couldn’t help but feel she was beyond bragging, she was literally verbally puking on all of us!.
As various paragraphs were read from our material, we stopped to talk about them. Each therapist asking if anything in particular resonated with any of us. To some it did, to some it didn’t. To me yes, there were moments that did resonate with me, a lot!
I remember saying that when a group member pointed out that for her, staying up late was a self harm for her, because it means she isn’t taking care of herself. Well, I never ever even thought of that as a self harm. Self Harm means different things, to different people. It isn’t just the obvious big ones. You may also hear these actions described as self-injury, self-inflicted injury, self destructive behavior or self-defeating behavior.
- Eating Disorders
- Abusive relationships
- Putting yourself in an unsafe situation
- Attempting suicide
- Shopping to make one feel better
- Staying up late and not getting enough sleep
- Spending money when it is allocated for something specific
- Alcohol abuse
- Smoking excessively
As you can see, any of the above can be self harm, as well as many others I’ve not listed, but you yourself will know what they mean for you.
You might self -harm directly or you might find yourself “setting someone up” to harm you.
As an example, I said that for me, this could be me having a conversation with a family member, it starts off cordial and within a very few short minutes, it blows up into a bad situation. The end result is I will self harm.
There were a series of questions that followed, read by group members one at a time. After they were read, we took a few minutes to discuss. It was then that I started to talk about something I have never done before.
What lies beneath….
What lies beneath Self Harm and Control?
What lies beneath the layers to my soul?
What lies beneath that which is me?
I described what I feel holds my self harm in place. It is control. I have been this way all of my life. I’ve also been in survival mode for a very very long time as well.
I told the group that I am layered. I described how I see what I look like. I have realized that underneath control, lays fear. If you take the layers of control and fear and lift them, there lies my soul, naked and raw.
My soul doesn’t know who I am. Just like when a baby is born, it is vulnerable and receptive to the teaching of his/her parents as they grow up.
Tears came down my cheeks as I went on to describe what this feels like. A member suggested that when a person has had enough, they will change. I said that for me, it isn’t about being at rock bottom. I’ve been to rock bottom, I know what it is to be homeless, to have to go to the Food Bank, to having to get income support; as well as being in abusive relationships and sticking them out in the hopes that the person I was involved with would see how valued I am.
To know that I don’t know who I am as a person, really hurts. To know I am petrified to let what control I have go, so that my life could be free of heartache is so incredibly scary. For some they may let it go in an instant. For me, it makes up who I am, letting this go, is my whole identity. Healthy or unhealthy, at this time, it is who I am.
One of the therapists commented that another way to look at this is to see things in layers. That we work our way down versus looking at the whole picture. I suppose that is possible, but now all I see are band aids. I see open sores covered in scars and band aids. Years and years of band aids.
No wonder I am physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted.