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I’ve just realised I’ve been an addict my entire life

(10 Posts)
GoneAndDoneItAgainAgain Wed 02-Sep-20 23:16:10

Well, since I was about 14 anyway. I started self harming as a teenager, had counselling which I found really helpful and stopped self harming. I then started exercising like a maniac and not eating for days. After friends and family became concerned about my weight loss I started eating again but started drinking everyday instead. After about 2 years of this I realised I was drinking too much and stopped and became pretty much tee total. I started exercising again, dislocated my knee and ended up spending the next 4 years secretly addicted to codeine. I get help with this when I fell pregnant with dc1, stopped the codeine entirely but started self harming again. I knew I couldn’t hide cuts so I used to hit my legs with sticks (yes, I realise this is completely mental). Whenever I manage to stop hurting myself I start drinking to distract myself instead.

My marriage broke down at the end of last year and my New Years resolution this year was to stop the self harm and drinking. I saw my GP, told her everything and she put me on Sertraline and a waiting list for counselling. Due to CV I haven’t had any counselling yet but I thought the Sertraline was helping and I hadn’t hurt myself and been feeling really proud of myself for not drinking either and just about coping with everything.

Except I’ve realised I’ve been completely lying to myself. I go sea swimming and have been deliberating swimming across rocks covered in barnacles which has been ripping my legs to shreds. I only realised that I’ve been doing it on purpose when I actually looked at the state of myself when I got out of the sea. My legs are just completely covered in scratches and cuts that I’ve managed to give myself over the last few months. I didn’t even realise I was doing it deliberately.

I feel like such a complete wreck. I don’t know why I do it. I can’t tell anyone in really life because it just sounds completely mad. From the outside I come across as a completely normal person. I don’t think anyone at all has any idea that I’ve been doing this for the last 20 years. I think my ex husband knew deep down but either didn’t care about it or just thought it better not to ask.

I don’t know what to do. I thought I was doing really well but I’ve even convinced myself that I haven’t been doing it.

Has anyone managed to stop doing shit like this or know anyone that has? How do I stop? I don’t know if I just get obsessed with stuff or if I’m genuinely just a bit mad. Even just writing this out I can see how nuts I sound.

OP’s posts: |
notaflyingmonkey Thu 03-Sep-20 06:47:41

You don't sound nuts to me, Op. You sound very strong and aware of the harm this behaviour is causing you.

Being on a waiting list for therapy sounds crap, does your NHS area run online counselling? Personally I would suggest a return visit to the GP to see if they can help, either with the waiting list or the meds, as it could be you aren't on a strong enough dose.

GoneAndDoneItAgainAgain Thu 03-Sep-20 16:00:53

Thanks notaflyingmonkey. I think online counselling is an option. My GO has checked in with me a couple of times since lockdown but I’ve been really positive and said I was coping really well (because I genuinely thought I was). I feel daft to go back and say that actually I realised I’ve been unconsciously self harming by cutting my legs to shreds blush.

I live in a really small town, everyone knows each other and both the doctor and the receptionist are mums of my kids friends. I know I shouldn’t be ashamed of my MH but it’s really bloody hard when even I recognise that I’m unstable. I run all the kids hobby groups (normally) and I’d be mortified if people stopped bringing their kids because I’m a nutcase.

OP’s posts: |
Keepthebloodynoisedown Thu 03-Sep-20 16:09:56

Lots of people don’t realise how addicting self harm can be. I haven’t hurt my self in years, but it’s still the first thing I think of when I’m under stress.
You don’t sound like a nutcase, you’ve recognised that your behaviour is harmful, which is a good thing. Your gp isn’t going to judge you for going back.

GoneAndDoneItAgainAgain Thu 03-Sep-20 16:25:06

Thanks keepthebloodynoisedown. I’ll call the GP tomorrow, hopefully she’ll be able to adjust my medication or get me some counselling soonish.

It is so addictive. I think so many people associate it with teenagers and I’m sure for a lot of people they do just grow out of it or are able to cope with their emotions better as they grow up. I think there must be lots of adults who still do it though.

OP’s posts: |
Whatifitallgoesright Thu 03-Sep-20 16:37:39

Until the counselling gets under way there are a lot of great informative videos on youtube. Dr Gabor Mate is wonderful on addiction and trauma and other people like Kristen Neff and theories of self-compassion and other things on mindfulness too because counselling can bring up a lot of difficult emotions. You've been excellent at numbing these emotions over the years to protect yourself so it's good to store up some of these people to watch when you're feeling vulnerable or anxious. Wishing you all the best.

readingismycardio Thu 03-Sep-20 16:46:01

OP, how wonderful it is that you realised what the exact issues are YOURSELF, before getting any help. You are very brave. Counselling will definitely help. Best of luck, OP! Also, you're sober! Wohoooo!smile

Kasparovski Fri 04-Sep-20 06:05:14

Hi OP. Sorry to hear of your pain. My adult DD has a similar pattern of behaviours, she has a diagnosis of depression with traits of borderline personality disorder. Have you considered getting referred to MH services and trying to access group DBT therapy? I think this would really help you start to unwind some long held habits...but it will be a long but worthwhile climb to recovery for you. DBT courses are 12-24 months and hard work. But You Now have the motivation to stop this both for yourself and your DC, who, at some point will start to ask you questions about those marks. I’m sure as a mum, you’re going to want to be able to demonstrate better ways of coping with strong emotion than what you’re currently doing to yourself. If you can not access group DBT on the NHS or the wait list is daft Don’t give up, contact Mind charity or some private mental health services in your area. It will be a huge relief for you to just know that you are not alone.
You’ve hit a rock bottom. Take action and be brave. You can do it.

Kasparovski Fri 04-Sep-20 06:10:52

By the way, you are not a wreck for doing what you’ve been doing. On a rational level it’s a coping strategy that has actually worked for you. But you’re now experiencing its destruction and limitations - the risk to your health and relationships with people you love. You will need to work through a process to accept what you’ve been doing, why you’ve been doing it and start to shift and have faith in alternative behaviours. It can happen - DBT is what you need and it is clinically proven and effective but no silver bullet solution, it will take time and your commitment.

KetoPenguin Fri 04-Sep-20 06:59:41

About the GP in the small rural area, it works both ways. They know about the local community but people also know about them. People would soon realise if they were unprofessional and talked about their patients outside work. So I don't think you need to worry about that.

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