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Dealing with thoughts about self harm - advice please

(10 Posts)
batmay Wed 01-Nov-17 21:28:48

As a teenager I self harmed for several years. I think it was something to cope with external circumstances as when they changed I decided I would stop and I did.

A few years ago I was having a hard time in lots of areas of my life and those old thoughts returned, along with thoughts about suicide. Things resolved again and I got better and the thoughts became less frequent and insistent.

I'm in a period of change in my life again, but positive change, and am having those old thoughts again, lots of times a day now. I find them very hard to deal with. I have no one that I can really talk to in detail about it, I just say I'm feeling a bit down sometimes. I have a lot of self care stuff that I do, but they are there, it's like I'm walking near a great big black hole, sometimes far away, sometimes right on the edge.

Does anyone else have this? What do you do? How do you manage those thoughts? I haven't self harmed since that first period, the thought that keeps me away mostly is that there's nowhere on me that my kids wouldn't see and I couldn't let them see that. And distraction etc. But it's still there.

GreatStar Wed 01-Nov-17 21:34:01

Right now I'm a bit distracted & have no good advice for you. But I didn't want to read and run. Just would love to give you a big hug and hope the strength you found previously gets you out the other side of this period too xxx

NolongerAnxiousCarer Wed 01-Nov-17 22:35:58

You have just described exactly the place I was at last year. I now realise that I had started to think of these thoughts as normal. I now realise that they are a bit of a barometer of my stress level in general, and an early warning sign things are going downhill for me. The self care is really important, but this time I needed more help in the form of ADs and councelling.

Caulk Wed 01-Nov-17 22:40:59

I have a therapist that I’ve seen for 6 years. I find it really helpful to have someone to talk things like that through with as I’ve learnt and developed coping strategies with it.

She told me about the hole in the ground analogy- do you know it?
Day 1- I walk along the road and find I’ve fallen in a hole. I don’t know how it happened.
Day 2- I walk along the road and find I’ve fallen in a hole. I remember that’s happened before.
Day 3 - I walk along the road and see the hole as I fall in it
Day 4 - I walk along the road, see the hole and then fall in it
Day 5 - I walk along the road and see the hole. I walk round it.
Day 6 - I walk a different route.

I found it took me ages to start recognising the feelings behind something but once I did I then could spot them earlier and then do more to manage them

batmay Thu 02-Nov-17 09:28:54

Thank you all.

Nolonger, that's what I've started to think, that perhaps everyone has this and I just need to carry on. But I can't see that that is true really.

Caulk, your therapist sounds good, and that's the kind of strategy I need really but I can't come up with it on my own any more. I don't want to go to GP because it will be ADs, and I find the side effects hard, and then a waiting list for CBT through IAPT, and I don't want CBT because I feel like it's the thoughts that are unmanageable, I just want to shut my brain down. The idea of more thinking seems intolerable. How did you find your therapist?

Greatstar, thank you. I hadn't thought of it as strength before, just that it had gone away, but that's a positive thought.

NolongerAnxiousCarer Thu 02-Nov-17 18:23:48

It definately isn't something everyone has, but it took me being well enough to not have the thoughts to realise how abnormal they actually were. My councelor is through my employer. I am very luck to have unlimited appointments with her, I've been seeing her for over a year this time and have seen her in the past too. I have also seen an NLP practitioner I know who was amazingly helpful with the things my councellor felt she was out of her depth with (work provided a psychologist, but his approach didn't suit me at all)

ElChan03 Thu 02-Nov-17 18:33:33

Ex self harmer in sense I don't cut or take overdoses any more but sometimes I do revert to punching myself until I bruise.
I don't have loads of advise other than get some counselling. Find out what your triggers are and what behaviours to tend to display before the urge to self harm becomes too overwhelming.
Find distractions. Exercise is an amazing one as it releases endorphins. I also found driving distracting as it kept hands and brain busy enough to not engage. I used to drive until the urge had calmed and then turn around and go home, often 70 mile trips.
Baking is also good as it keeps your hands busy enough to batter some dough or mix the batter hard etc.
My counsellor said to use elastic bands but I found I would use them until I bled so i won't recommend.
It's mega hard and even the best of us slip up. I don't think anything will ever replace the satisfaction that hurting myself brings but it doesn't fix the feelings behind it. So I can only advise you tackle the triggers first.
Go easy on yourself.

You're strong and amazing and you have got this!

batmay Fri 03-Nov-17 16:04:59

Thank you. I do have something like that at my work but have only just started there so feel a bit exposed using it yet. But I'll see what I can get there. I always feel a bit overwhelmed by the idea of finding someone, and because it's very up and down even within the day I feel like a fraud thinking I need it too. But you're right.

Elchan, thank you. I started to think more about triggers and behaviours and wrote quite a bit down which really helped. I thought of some distractions too. I also find exercise really good, but I think overtiredness is a major trigger for me so I have to balance it quite carefully I think. I need to sort out my boundaries with particular people as well, I think forgetting those has led to this situation, but I feel better for remembering that that's been manageable in the past.

Thank you all for your encouragement. I really felt quite desperate yesterday but it's been very helpful to talk about it and get some external perspective. xx

NolongerAnxiousCarer Fri 03-Nov-17 19:21:14

At my work all I have to do is ring occupational health and ask to book an appointment with a councellor. I don't have to tell anyone including my manager to access it, although I do as they are very supportive and will look at coping strategies I can use at work, reducing workload etc. Hopefully your is as straightforward.

batmay Sat 04-Nov-17 07:30:34

Ok, thank you. I'll find out next week.

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