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Avoiding the "tools"

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Back to school time is the hardest time for me of the year in regards to my self harming. The reason being is that I can go buy more of my "tools" that I use to self harm at a lot cheaper price.


I have this whole routine that I go to the Dollar Tree and can get a 6-pack of my "tools" for a buck. Sometimes I find myself going to the store and clearing the shelf. Its like once I get there I get really, really panicky and have to buy every single one. I find myself thinking that one pack is not enough, two is not enough etc. I get paranoid too thinking that the cashier knows what I am doing. I seriously will be looking over my shoulder thinking the police, my mom etc will find me and throw me in the hospital.


I will drive all over town sometimes going to every single Dollar Tree and clearing the shelves of these packs of my "tools" I think two years ago at this time I probably spent close to $200 at Dollar Tree just on my "tools" during just the back to school time. I probably would have spent that much last year if I wasnt in an long term facility.


I then will come home and hide them all over so I have at least one "tool" accessible to me at all times in my home. At times I have one in my purse so that if I am out and about and want to self-harm I can. When I was sent to the long term facility last year  my mom packed up my apartment. She told me that she found close to 200 of my tools all over my apartment.  


Its funny because i will go out of my way to go to Dollar Tree to buy more tools. In a pinch I will go to another store but ony buy one of my tools.


This year it will be really hard to do this. My mom currently has my car keys and my money. I know its a good thing but its so hard to see all these commercials, newspaper ads and kids talking about going back to school and not thinking about what I usually do this time of the year...

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What are your plans when everyone goes back to school? Are you working? Or would you be able to work? Are you volunteering anywhere? Do you help family or friends with any extra needs they may have? Have you thought about taking a class at an adult school or community college just for fun - just to get out?


These are questions for everyone. And believe me, I can hardly answer them myself. I suppose my current "routine" is doctor appointments every day but friday. Having a calendar with events listed on it is helpful. i.e. "must get blood draw by 9 am" - now you have a purpose for that day.


Hope im not talking out of my ass,


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Hi Emack, 


Autumn/back-to-school is a trigger for me too. It triggers all these memories of depression, and just general bad times I've had during the fall season. 


I'm a university student, so I find it pretty easy to distract myself with course work. I like DB's ideas, can you distract yourself with lots of things to do? Can you keep allowing your mom to hold onto your money, so that you can't buy them? That seems like a good idea. 


Do you have a tdoc or pdoc to help you get through this difficult time? They might have some good suggestions. Maybe you can get a tdoc appointment ASAP?


I know it's not as easy as "Just don't buy them." I have walked away from buying cheap tools before, and it was really, really hard. 


What I hear in your post is that you need security. You stash your tools all around your house and in your purse. It sounds like what you are looking for is a way to feel safe and secure in the face of tough emotions. Are there any other ways you can feel safe and secure? Sounds silly, but I like to wrap myself up tightly in a blanket when I'm feeling unsafe, overwhelmed and like I want to cut. 


As well, it sounds like the actual ritual of buying the tools is important to you. Can you replace this ritual with a healthier activity? Sort of like what DB suggested, can you start doing something good for you this time of year, to create new memories or a new activity? Maybe it could be joining a class (yoga comes to mind) or a new hobby.


I'm sorry this season is so hard for you. I know it must be really tough. Feel free to keep checking in here. :)

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I haven't cut myself in 35 years but something in my personal life has caused me to think about it intensely over the last few days.  Saturday and Sunday were incredibly difficult to get through but I managed to get through them uncut.  I've thought about cutting yesterday and today but it hasn't been too hard to avoid it.  Trash pickup is tomorrow and I keep telling myself that I need to throw my tool in the trash before they come but somehow that never seems to happen.  Somewhere inside me I know I've decided to keep my options open.


T. L.

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If you're not ready to give up your tool yet, how about making it a little more challenging to access by freezing it in a block of ice or wrapping it up with layers of duct tape? Or if you're feeling festive, a bunch of boxes wrapped up inside each other?


Anything that puts a time delay between thought and action gives you more options.

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Thanks again for the great advice Wooster.    It's in the garage and I'm afraid to touch it.  I've had fantasies about using it (the details of which everybody here knows about) and I'm afraid that if I touch it it will be too evocative of past experiences for me to stop myself.  I'd like to get my partner (who's supportive in most things) to throw it out at work but he doesn't understand the problem so it's too difficult for me to ask him.


I could get my sister to throw it out but I'm too ashamed to ask.  Yeah, I know I shouldn't be ashamed but I am.


I can be strong but it's really tempting.

T. L.

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