the depression is so bad you feel like you have failed everyone and everything and as much as you want to go to sleep and not wake up you have to keep on breathing.
Such was me a few weeks ago, me before coming off the Zoloft.
The Zoloft that made life worst. The Zoloft that made me feel crazy. The Zoloft that made me want to harm myself. The Zoloft that made me put the breaks on while driving because I thought someone was crossing the road and when I blinked no one was there (among other stories), The Zoloft that made me dream dreams that I thought were real, absolute. The Zoloft that did not mix well with alcohol. The Zoloft that did not let me sleep but yet made me feel like I wanted to go to sleep and not wake up. The Zoloft that made me paranoid. The Zoloft that changed me.
Now I am off the Zoloft, and in just a couple of weeks I already feel a ton better, not ‘normal me’ better, but not Zoloft crazy.
Back one one of my old faithful medications, Tegertol.
So my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) has gotten worst. I know it has. Within myself I can feel it. The little things I do. The little things I say. I try to hide it, but sometimes, sometimes it surfaces at a rate that even I cannot control.
Like even numbers. The night before yesterday, My husband put two ice cubes in my glass. It was 2 but it wasn’t 2. It was 1 whole one and 2 half pieces. So the dilemma that played out inside my head was do I add one ice cube making it 4 pieces but 3 ice cubes, or do I keep the 2 ice cubes with 3 pieces.
Sounds so absolutely stupid as I sit here writing this. But it bugged me so much I did not know weather to laugh, or cry, and was almost in a panic. My kids and husband was getting a bit of a laugh out of the situation.
Finally my 13 year old daughter, grabs a spoon, fishes out the two half pieces, throws them in the sink, and adds 1 whole ice cube to my glass, making it 2 whole ice cubes.
Then there are the crows. I cross them off. I cannot stop myself. I am driving, or walking or sitting or anything, if I see 1 crow I cross it off with my fingers, if I see 10 I have to cross all 10 off, one at a time. If they are standing on the side of the road I almost panic because I am afraid they will go in front of my car and I will hit them. I am not sure how I would handle that situation, I know what I feel like will happen, so I cross them off, in a panic.
I recently had to take someone to another community and was trying to cross them off without that person noticing, it was causing so much anxiety and discomfort. I would go to cross them off like I normally would, sorta stop my arm movement half way there, try to discretely cross them off, then I would pull my hand back and touch the side of my face. After about 4 – 6 times of doing this, I gave up and just crossed them off like I normally would. The person never even asked why. And I was thankful.
Then there are the car lights. If a car is driving towards me and they have one light blown in their headlights I have to touch the roof of my car. Have to. Absolutely have to. I know how dumb this sounds. I cannot stop myself.
I have to do these things, I have to do what my mind tells me. I have no choice in the matter. If I do not do these things I know something will happen. Something bad. Something wrong. Something terrible. But I do not know exactly what.
I count when doing so many things. 6. 6 is my number. I am washing my hands I make certain movements 6 times, I wipe them 6 times each hand. I brush my teeth, 6 movements, then 6 movements, then move to the next spot, 6 movements, then 6 movements, etc etc etc.
Even numbers, but 6…..6 is my favorite.
1 is okay….but everything after 1 has to be even.
Then the counting letters of words on my fingers. I start at my pinky on my left hand, if I am spelling the word tickle, I would start the with the letter T on my pinky then move each letter to each finger. The last letter of tickle, being the E would stop on my thumb of my right hand. Then I have to start the word again, the T starting on my pointer finger of my right hand. I would finish that hand and go back to my left hand pinky for the L of the word. Continuing over and over until the last letter of the word Tickle (or whatever word I am using at the time) ends on my pinky finger of my right hand. Only then can I stop.
I try so very hard to hide a lot of these tendencies. But lately I find myself partaking in them more and more. Anxiety building up, knowing how odd these things are, trying not to let anyone notice.
I listen to my mind, whatever it tells me to do, I do it. I have had too many situations where something bad happened when I did not. So I listen because I have learned my lesson.
Self Injury is defined as the intentional, direct injuring of body tissue most often done without suicidal intentions. It often includes cutting, self-mutilation, or self harm. It is an injurious attempt to cope with negative emotions such as extreme anger, anxiety and frustration. It is repetitive. Often people who injure themselves are survivors of traumatic events during childhood.
Self injury. It is a hard topic for people who deal with it, and an even harder topic for people who do not. It is hard to understand, it is hard to explain. For the most part, self injury is a taboo topic.
These are my personal experiences.
I was 13 years old the very first time I self injured. I continued to do so until just 2 weeks before finding out I was pregnant with our first child. Call it mothers intuition: I have no idea why I was able to stop then, I had tried over and over before but failed. I have had a handful of “one time slip ups” over the years. Until February of 2012 when I started self injury all over again and continued to do so for about 7 or 8 weeks. Since then, I have for the most part, been self injury free.
Do I still struggle with the urges? Yes. Do I act on them? No, I try very hard not to.
There is something I want you to know about someone who Self injures: It is not a cry for attention, it is not a suicide attempt. In fact, for me, I spent the entire time hiding it. I hid it from everyone.
For me it was a release, it was control. I had taken part in different types of self injury, but it always went back to cutting.
I had tried several different methods (all recommended by mental health professionals) to try to stop. Marking myself with red marker – did nothing for me. Writing when I felt like self injury – I did a lot of this, I wrote and wrote and wrote until I couldn’t anymore. Elastic bands on my wrist and snapping them when I felt the urge served no purpose for me, just bruised my wrists but I never got the release I was looking for.
Sometimes the frustrations built up inside me were so bad, I would be physically shaking. I felt like if I did not self injure I was going to physically and mentally blow up. The pressure was extreme. The pent up emotions were raging inside me and I needed to let them out. And the only way for me to get even minimal release was through self injury.
Sure I had other ways of expressing myself especially through writing. But the urges were so strong and I was so weak.
In the end I was cutting numerous times each ‘session’ on a near hourly basis.
My then boyfriend – now my husband. Was the only person other then my Psychiatrist and therapist who knew the extent of how bad it had gotten (only because it was kind of hard to hide it from him). He was afraid to sleep because he was afraid I would get up and do something. He was terrified that i was going to end up cutting too deep, or do something even more drastic. He slept (if you can call it that) with his foot/leg always touching or anchored over mine, so if I got up he would know and would be able to check on me. He had a key to the bathroom hidden away just in case I would lock myself in there.
I, in turn, had hid things too. I hid razors, I hid anything I could possibly cut with in places he would not suspect. I knew it had gotten extremely bad one particular day, I was sitting in a mall bathroom and was cutting. I began to shake, and cry.
It is hard for someone who has never dealt with self injury within themselves to even begin to understand the release that comes from it. It is also hard for me to explain where the release comes from. You probably wouldn’t understand. Trust me I have tried to explain it. I have written, I have talked to therapists, psychiatrists, doctors.
Sometimes as I struggle now the urges become so strong and the emotions are so pent up that I feel like the only way to get through it is to partake in more self injurious activities, it feels like that is the only way I will be able to release some of the pent up tension that is building just under the surface.
But I know that there are better coping methods. And I try each and every one of them until the urge subsides.
For me self injury was something I could control when so many aspects of my life – were uncontrollable. I felt like I could release the pent up feelings that my emotions were causing. I could control how often, how many times, what part of my body, how deep, how big, how small. Control. It was the one thing in my life that was constant and I thought I controlled it.
But the cutting had gotten so bad that it was out of control – I was out of control. The control that I tried so hard to exercise was completely gone. Things began getting worst, and fast. More pronounced, harsher and I was beginning to make mistakes. I had always cut where I could cover it with clothes. I began cutting everywhere on my body. I began cutting deeper. I have a scar on my arm, it would have needed stitches had I seen a doctor. That was part of my turning point. I was unable to stop myself, the control, that I thought I had, was gone.
Although self injury might feel like control, it might feel like release, it is only temporary. It is an unhealthy coping method. If you find yourself controlled by your self injury, please seek medical help. A doctor, therapist or psychiatrist will be able to lead you into some more healthy coping methods.
This is my story – I am not proud of it, but it is a part of who I am.