I’m starting to count down the hours and minutes now. I’ll be out of here in a week. I’ll be in the safe arms of my girlfriend, and in a place where I don’t get talked down every day and where I just feel I’ll self-destruct. Of course I’m not so naive to believe that getting on a plane takes all my troubles away. Of course it doesn’t. But it’s a big step forward. So I need to keep this, whatever this is, in control so nothing comes in the way of my leaving.
I’ve been going to therapy now. Therapy is the wrong word though. I go talk to a nurse at the Mental Disorder Clinic at the Adult Psychiatric Center. Emphasis on the nurse. Not a psychologist, not a psychiatrist, not a therapist, a nurse. Of course from the start I hated it. I hated having to explain everything again. Filling out the same papers again. Going through some things again because it was hard to understand it the first time I said it. I’m trying to keep an open mind but my mind, and my mouth, are on lockdown when I’m there. I can sit silently for minutes on end and braid the ends of my scarf. I always wear a scarf when going to therapy so I have something to do with my fingers. I’ll do that or slowly tear up a tissue. I scored 38 on my BDI, which means some stage of severe and difficult depression. The nurse said nothing and moved on to the next test which was trying to see if I was experiencing spells of mania. At the end of the session she gave me a list on what to do when I have an anxiety attack or a panic attack or when I’m hearing voices. It wasn’t really anything new. Some of the ”advice” confused the hell out of me. Some of them upset me. Thought I’d share.
Squeeze a cube of ice in your palm. It numbs your skin and easily turns your thoughts elsewhere.
Put chili powder or cayenne pepper in your mouth.
Hold your breath and hold your whole body still for 15 to seconds, then relax. Repeat.
Do exercise so that you tire yourself completely.
Take a (cold) shower or switch the temperature of the water from cold to hot to cold etc.
Go swimming in (ice) cold water.
Put a rubber band on your wrist and snap it on your skin.
Dig at your arm with your fingernail without breaking skin.
Scream into a pillow or in a place where nobody can hear you.
Throw soft objects into the wall with all your strength (pillows, socks, etc.)
If you have the tendency to cut, take a marker and draw ”cuts” on your skin. If you wish you can paint ”blood” with red nailpolish, and draw ”stitches” on the cut with another marker.
If you feel like harming yourself, list the positives and negatives of doing it, focusing on the outcome. What sort of short-term consequences may it have? What about long-term ones? Be objective.
I’ve tried most of these. Not the spice thing, or the ice thing either. I have another form of anxiety attached to doing things like that around the house. There’s always people around. And I have a little guy living here that could end up choking on chili if he tried to imitate me.
Exercise, done. I dance or run until I feel like passing out and there isn’t any energy that I could use for feeling anxious or panicky. This, though, isn’t possible at night in a house where your room is next to that of your mother and stepfather and your mother wakes up from just you sitting up in bed in your own room and she will come complain if you get up to pee for more than once a night.
I don’t take cold showers, I go to sauna. I get my bucket half full or full of water and make myself throw all of it on the rocks (not all at once, I’d die) to make it hotter and hotter. The hot steam will make my skin sting and hurt and then grow numb. It helps me calm down or think of other things or just zone out. And the sauna is one of the few places I can be alone.
Okay. For the fake cutting and fake self-harm. It’s a disaster about to happen. Never ever try it. Giving up cutting is not like giving up cigarettes – the nicotine patch logic doesn’t work here. Anything resembling cutting will be enough to trigger me into wanting to do it. If I drew ”cuts” on my arm I’d end up cutting over them. If I snapped a rubber band on my wrist, I’d snap until I had bad marks or bruises. And when you are in a situation where you feel like hurting yourself, you cannot muster enough thought in your head to go over pros and cons. You just need to find the one thing that makes you keep away from it. For me, my last lifeline is sleep.
Writing has always been an escape for me. But for the past month I’ve had very hard time writing. I do not know why. I have had a bad spell of paranoia. A very bad one where I go to such lengths that it doesn’t make sense anymore. I’m scared everyone wants to hurt me. Or that I’m a waste of space and everyone just wants to get the hell away from me. Also, I have this thing with knives and guns and everything weapon-like. I’ll always have an image in my head of what could happen with the knife I’m holding or cutting vegetables with. It scares the shit out of me.
I have my real psychiatrist appointment this morning about my medication. Bad timing, though. If they make me have anything new I won’t be able to get a new appointment before I leave in case the new meds suck. So fingers crossed there are no radical changes.