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Member Since: Oct 2019
Location: Ghent, Belgium
Posts: 99
3 yr Member
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Old Dec 07, 2022 at 06:15 PM
My history with self-harm is relatively limited. So far it was mostly limited to sports (with a few injuries that I provoked but never stopped me from mountainbike racing) and hitting myself when stress and anxiety became too big.

I was "clean" for about ten years but recently, due to difficulties in therapy, I started hitting myself. I never spoke out because therapy did not feel like a safe enough place to talk about this. After ending this year in therapy, my urge to hit myself relatively quickly faded.

Now, I think I should elaborate a little about my difficulties in therapy. For a long time, I have been trying hard: I was working while suffering from depression with all the sinister thougts that come with it. After falling out with a burnout/depression, I started studying again and obtained a second masters degree despite relapsing in my final year. After that came a divorce, a few months of homelessness and the diagnosis of a genetic heart disease, all within the same year.
Possible trigger:

I was eventually hospitalized for two months but while on the waiting list, I talked to my psychiatrist about distrust in therapists in general and we had a few months to elaborate on this. The conclusion was that - and I try to translate what I remember as accurately as I can - "I present myself differently from what I report," apparently trying hard - working or studying -, showing up on time and still taking the occasional shower - were deemed misleading and creating the false impression of "not really having a serious problem." I got the advice to talk about this caveat when starting a new therapy.
After the hospitalization came a year of "psychosocial revalidation" and, as advised earlier, I told my appointed supervisor about this and his response was a bleak: "Well, that can all be true but were not going to overanalyze here, we will be doing things," after which he actually turned a blind eye on the emotional turmoil I suffered while "doing things". The distress I experiened due to his blatant refusal to show some interest in any emotions and the constant pressure to push myself further every day, was the immediate cause for hitting myself for the latter half of my time there. In fact, I finished this year in worse shape than I started my hospitalization (for instance: I've been eating from the same plate for eight months, it's only been cleaned like two or three times, I dump my garbage in the kitchen under the window and scoop up a bag full when things become too smelly and the garbage bags are collected, I've slept in the same sheets since March, ... all things that have never happend to me before).

I eventually turned to my original plan of finishing of my second education by doing an extra year in AI but it comes way to early. After all, the anxiety that has been plaguing me for roughly thirty years remains untreated. It's needless to say that, with lectures all finished and exams staring over a month, I experience a lot of stress and anxiety.
In fact, the revalidation center where I spent the last year, offered a course on handling stress but despite my explicit request and motivation, I was barred from following this by the overanalizing-guy. The only thing I know that will bring my stress level down, is resorting to hitting myself. I have not done anything so far but I justify this choice in two ways.
First, I would plan hitting myself within a fixed routine - let's say two fixed days in a week - and plan on stopping when my last exam is finished. I assume that this way, I can limit things in time.
Secondly, it seems that therapists don't really mind what's going on, as long as you're kind of functioning. I know that if I don't find any relief, I will eventually stop functioning. My stresslevel will bring me down, I will stop studying and I will fail at my exams which will make my situation even more complicated because I really feel the urge to prove I'm not a complete idiot (which I would of course confirm if I don't pass my exames). So all in all, if hitting myself can keep me "functioning", and I follow the line of thought therapists have followed so far, I assume there's no way anyone will deny me my right to hurt myself. Right?
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TheGal has no updates.
Member Since: Aug 2022
Location: The House
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Old Dec 07, 2022 at 08:23 PM
Hi there ... Sorry to hear that you're suffering and are in emotional pain.

I've taken up hitting myself recently and I haven't really figured out why I do it (apart from being punished feels good and that I am somehow 'waking myself up'). I've switched from hitting my face to now slapping my hands as I thought I might injure myself by detaching the retina of my eye.

My diagnosis is major depression with psychotic features, and I also have anxiety and some OCD.

I have also gone periods where I am not able to keep up my hygiene. In fact, I now have periodontal disease because I couldn't brush my teeth everyday. I'm really sad about that.

I, too, seem quite functional at least to the outside world and I tend to under report, as well.

It is difficult to find a good therapist, I think.

I have also thought of euthanasia.

The reason I am writing, even though I do not have the solution at this time, is to let you know that you are not alone.

Maybe if we really calm ourselves enough to think, then we will find the answer. And I say that because I'm giving up hope that I will find a good therapist who will help me find the answers. I'm going to have to find the answers myself, I think.
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