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tiffanyaching

Relapse and stitches - tw

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Yesterday I relapsed after 10 months (!) clean. I wasn't really thinking - I just went to cut mindlessly. And I just couldn't make myself stop (even after I got it to the depth I wanted). So it was much deeper than I had initially planned so I decided to go to the ED for stitches, which I hate doing, but I'd rather get stitches than it get infected and have to take antibiotics (I haven't been able to physically swallow pills for a while now). 

I just feel so stupid! I was doing so well and now I have stitches again. But at the same time, I really really want to do it again, and worse. I feel like i'll never be able to get rid of self harm. 

Sorry that this post isn't really anything. I just wanted to get it off my chest. (the downside of having no treatment is that there is no one to talk things through with!)

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First off, congratulations on 10 months clean!! That's a huge achievement and you should be incredibly proud of yourself!

Good for you for going to get stitches. That wound will heal much better with that additional support, especially if the wound is deeper than you were anticipating. It sounds like you made a good choice in the circumstances you were in.

I have a long, stupid, on-again-off-again relationship with self-harm, and I too wonder if I'll ever get rid of it. Not uncommon for me to not sh for a few months, and then go back to it for a while. Taking power away from the number of days/weeks/months you were clean is helpful to me. I try to reframe it by looking at how I felt over that period of time and evaluating whether I was feeling better and whether my habits were becoming more healthy. It helps it feel more like a step in your path instead of starting from the bottom of the mountain. You're still progressing. No need to view what happened as anything more than an incident -- some say that relapsing is a necessary part of recovering.

Think about what made you self-harm. Was there something in the environment? Some internal problem? Think about how it made you feel in the moment, and how you feel now. Lately I've been noticing that self-harming feels more like a bother to me, and I don't want to have to deal with cleaning up the blood. I think this is a sign that I'm slowly making space between the habit and I. You saying that you feel stupid about it may actually be a good sign, or a sign that this way of coping doesn't work for you as well as it might have at one point.

I always want to cut more after a relapse in my experience. The feeling does subside (though it takes days/weeks for me). In the meantime, you may want to dispose of/distance yourself from any sharps you have kicking around that you might want to use as tools. Putting them away in a drawer or something can help, just to get them out of immediate sight. Know that your thoughts are just thoughts, and that in reality, you don't want to deal with maybe having to get stitches again, or having to hide it, or the itching, or whatever part of the after-process is most unpleasant to you.

Use the forums as much as is useful to you, that's what they're here for! I commend you for airing your urges and explaining what happened. It's not always easy to do! Keep moving forward, and treat yourself kindly!

Oh, and btw, this is a link to a "so you've relapsed on self harm" kind of page. It's a short, affirming read saying you're not at square one and reminding you to look at how far you've come. May not be your cup of tea but it helped me after I relapsed following a five-month (my longest) clean period. http://www.pandys.org/articles/relapsing.html

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Thanks for replying Echolocation :) I actually have never really thought about how I do when I go without sh, but its definitely something i'll think about. Obviously I can manage without it! I just have to train myself to stop thinking its my only option. Its like, as soon as it becomes an option, then suddenly it feels like its my only one. I think learning to just sit with distress instead of needing to immediately alleviate it is a big thing for me. 

I get what you mean about it feeling like a bother. I was self harming pretty badly last year and it just became a drag. So much cleaning to do afterwards and I was always in pain and always washing blood off my clothes and sheets. And always having to make time for doctor's appointments to get stitches removed. I'm not quite ready to make my environment safe (like get rid of sharps etc), but its something i'll work towards. 

I'm very glad that I found this forum. I lost most of my friends over the years of being unwell so its nice to be able to talk things through with people going through similar things. 

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