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14 months erased in a moment

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I just need to vent and I have nowhere else to do it. I'm sorry. How do you get back on the right track after a big relapse? Is it even possible? 


I stopped cutting in April 2012. It was the hardest thing I've ever done and I struggled for a long time, but it got a little easier as the months went by. I really, truly thought I would never cut again. I honestly believed in my heart of hearts that this was all in my past, that I'd never leave another scar on my body, that I wasn't that person anymore.


Then, a mixed episode. The new me was gone in an instant and this sick, scared, pitiful creature was back. Fourteen fucking months of hard work and fighting urges and distractions and soothing techniques, and I threw it all away on a whim, in a matter of minutes. I don't even remember why I did it. I have no idea.


Now I'm right back where I started, with bandaged arms and legs beginning to heal and a whole slew of new scars to look forward to. I don't know if I can stop again, I don't think I can do it again. It feels like my body is so fucked already that I might as well just keep doing it, what does it matter at this point. I feel so guilty and ashamed for doing it again, but at the same time, I feel almost empowered in a weird way, it feels right kind of, does that make any sense? How sick does that sound? I guess this is just who I am. No sense in fighting my own nature.


I'm so torn between wanting to do it more and wanting to never do it again. But if I will always end up relapsing, what's the point of even trying to resist the urges? It just feels like a hopeless battle that I'll never really win. 

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Don't apologize for venting, we all need to do it sometimes. :) It's courageous of you to come here and ask for help. I am so sorry that you've been hurting so much lately, and I'm so sorry that you relapsed. I know how much it hurts to relapse when you've worked so hard. I haven't cut in 14 months as well, and I've come close lately. It's not a good feeling. 


I don't think you're back at square one. 14 months is not erased. Think of all you've learned in the last 14 months, all the techniques you've used and the confidence you've built. That's not gone. That's still there. You still have all of that at your fingertips to use next time you feel like cutting. And you still deserve to be praised for making it 14 months! That's a long time, and that's admirable. The road to recovery tends to be full of relapses as well. 


I do know how it feels to seemingly throw away all your hard work for a few moments of cutting. I had moments where I'd be pounding my fists on the floor, screaming, I wanted to cut so badly, and I felt so guilty when I gave in. It feels horrible to give in.


But I do what you mean about it feeling "right." I personally think that "right" feeling comes from it being an old habit. Of course you'll gravitate toward the familiar, right? That doesn't mean it is right, it means it's comforting and soothing. Cutting can be very comforting and soothing, that's why we do it. So, you are not "sick" for thinking that. 


Cutting is not who you are, and I don't think it's just in your nature. It's a habit, an addiction some say, and you'll probably feel a craving for it when times get rough, for a while. But that doesn't mean it's who you are. You are healing and recovering, that takes time. It takes time to separate who you are from cutting. I remember when I initially got well, and stopped cutting, I felt so empty. Like I had no meaning in my life without cutting. It was who I was for a while. But eventually, you realize that it's not you, it's a symptom of your illness (at least, it is for me).


It is not a hopeless battle, even though it can feel like it at times. It's a hard battle, and there will always be setbacks on the journey to recovery. But those setbacks do not define you.


I just really want to encourage you to keep trying not to cut. And I want to congratulate you on making it 14 months. :)


When I relapsed in the past, my tdoc would remind me to reflect on that relapse and why it happened. How I felt, what triggered it, and how we can avoid that in the future. Take this time to learn from your relapse, and be kind to yourself. 


Feel free to keep venting if you need to. We're here to listen and support you. 

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It isn't all lost.  Think of all the scars you'd have if you'd been cutting regularly for the last 14 months.  You'd be covered.  A relapse isn't going to create that many new scars.  Your progress is not lost.  Just a bump in the road.


As for the idea of cutting feeling "right," well, I don't think that's because it is, but because it is just a catharsis.  I'm saying this as a person who has never cut, but I've thought about doing it sometimes.  Sometimes your feelings can betray you.

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I agree with the others. You didn't "erase" anything - you went 14 months without selfharm, and that's admirable. That's over a year.

Edited by Ohmy
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I think 14 months is a very long time it's a real achievement to go that long without cutting.


I've had three relapses since I quit three years ago. The latest one was a month ago, so I know how horribly discouraging it can feel that something you've been fighting (successfully) for so long can still get the better of you.

However each time I've been able refrain from making it a habit again. They're just one offs at particularly tough moments. I can still draw on soothing/coping techniques I've learned, know my triggers and avoid them and take comfort from knowing that I can do this. So, yes, I'm pretty much agreeing with the others and saying that those 14 months are not erased.


When I'm torn between desperately wanting to cut and also wanting to make sure that I don't do it ever again I often make a deal with myself that I won't do it for x amount of time. I think 15 minutes is what's often suggested but when I'm not actually in crisis, just tired of struggling, I usually give myself one day. I find it a lot easier to do this  than to truly believe/decide that I will never cut again.


Anyway, sorry for talking so much about myself! I wish you the best of luck and hope that your scars heal well. Be kind to yourself.

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What's the point? YOU are the point. You should be so proud of yourself for managing to give it up in the first place. I am proud of you, I don't even know you but I know how hard it is to right off the urge once you've put it all in the past, and then to rediscovered it.   


14 months is an incredible achievement and don't let anyone tell you any different, with anything you try and give up you're always going to have days when things seem like they're lost, and that the new you seems to have dissapeared as soon as they've arrived. Slip ups are okay, just pick yourself up off the floor, lean against a wall and collect your bearings and then you can wobble on, soon you'll be back on track and you'll feel better. It might take you a couple of days before you feel like you have enough strength in you to pick up where you left off but just remember:


You are still the same person you were before you relapsed.


Take a deep breath and look at what you've done. Look at the times you've been tempted to cut before and remember how strong you have been, how hard it has been... you stopped doing it before and you CAN stop doing it again. Heck, you WILL manage to move past this and and I think deep down you know you will. Treat it as a learning curve not a pitfall. 


It is a battle of the mind and one that only you can make, but we are here for support! So don't go it alone!


One hour at a time, a day, a week... what ever you need to chart your progress. We're here for you to vent, so don't bottle things up, use us as a distraction if it helps! :-)

Edited by Paperskyscraper
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  • 5 weeks later...

I had a similar feeling after relapsing after 9 months. One thing I have learned is that no matter how long you have been stopped for before the relapse, the fact that you ever tried to stop in the first place means you are never back at square one again. My therapist tells me that every time that I do cut is just a bump in the road to recovery, whether a day, a week, a month, a year, or longer I don't think the urge will ever go away, its just something we learn how to control and fight the urges. Good job going 14 months! That's REALLY good. I'm sure there are many times in that 14 months you wanted to cut, but didn't, and the strength it took to get through those moments is very admirable. Don't give up.

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I'm deeply grateful for the wisdom and support from each and everyone of you. I'm feeling much better and back on the right track since I posted this. Seriously, thank you all :) your words have been invaluable to me.

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I have never self-injured, but I do have addictions of my own, so I know that relapses occur. The road to recovery is not a straight road. There are curves and detours. Just because you've relapsed does not mean you haven't made progress. It does not mean you're not recovering from your addiction to self-harm. It means that you are still on your road to recovery. Hang in there. :cool2:

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