The Perfect Client

I was 10 minutes late to my therapy session on Thursday night.

This is the first time that this has ever happened to me. I usually like to be 15 or even 20 minutes early so I can sit in the parking lot to decompress before what always has the possibility of being a taxing session. Especially now, after a very long day, I capitalize on that time. I am coming from a job a great distance away now and trying to use the most efficient route to therapist. On Thursday, I had tried a new route, thinking it would be faster than those previous. It backfired, because traffic was insane and an accident had closed a road, so I was late.

I texted therapist to tell her I’d be late. She responded to say that it was absolutely fine and she’d see me soon. And yet, as I sat desperately waiting to make the u-turn and go through the light, my heart started racing.What ensued in the time between the intended start of my session and the actual time I arrived is exactly what you might expect from someone who feels emotions like I do. 6:30 came and went, but I was still there in my car, gripping the wheel like a vice. Pissed at myself. Pissed at the circumstances. Anger rising from my core and colliding with fear. I began to cry, started cursing at every car in my path, and just generally let my composure slip away with the passing time. I so desperately wanted to be there and there was nothing to do but wait until I could get through.

When I finally arrived sometime around 6:40, I was a mix of seething and panicked. Seething because of the traffic I couldn’t control and panicked because despite the reassurance that “it’s okay, you made it, you’re here now,” I couldn’t get it out of my head that therapist was mad at me. I apologized more than once. I needed her to know that my lateness was not intentional and was only a one time thing. She was super understanding, but I couldn’t let it go. I seriously toyed with offering her the chance to cut my session by the time I was late, because I felt like it was my fault. Even if I had, I suspect she would not have taken me up on the offer, both because I was clearly in need of that whole hour and because she’s just genuinely a good person. But in the aftermath, I felt like I should have done it.

I’m thinking now about where that need came from. My conclusion? Something which I’ve seen other people with BPD talk about. The very real need I have to be her perfect client.

Let’s back up a few days. On Wednesday morning, I had the first real panic experience I’d had in a long time. It resulted in me writing this post, in which I mentioned that therapist and I had a phone chat during lunchtime. It was a call I was afraid to ask for because I so deeply try to respect her boundaries. No matter what part of me may want or perceive to genuinely need it, I do not often let myself contact her between sessions for issues other than scheduling. That morning, I’d held my phone in my shaking hand, trying to decide if it was okay to text her, already prepared that I might be told no. And when I was given the call, I apologized for it. It felt like a breach, a burden, to need her more than that one allotted hour a week.

As with my lateness, therapist was incredibly kind and empathetic during that call. She told me, firmly and repeatedly, that it was okay. That she was glad I knew when I needed to reach out for help. It was so hard to hear that from her, to really absorb it, because I still felt like I had done something I shouldn’t have done.

See, I believe there are certain acceptable behaviors as a client in therapy, a box in which I need to contain myself. Most people would agree with me about that, I think. But since I have such trouble with grey area, I have to make my behavior standards very black and white to feel comfortable with where I am. That means my box is smaller, the boundaries stricter, with little to no room for error.

For most, stepping outside the box would be chronic lateness or constant texts/emails. For me, it is one late session or any contact where I choose to ask for something besides my standard one hour on Thursday nights. I wouldn’t know when I’d stepped over a line if I left myself a lot of space for lunchtime phone calls. I wouldn’t know if that one text was too much. Saying that I needed it isn’t a reliable source to determine that because if you asked me at a low point, I’d always say I needed her. It has to be black or white, because anything else is unclear. And unclear risks too much.

I guess my thought process goes like this: If I step too far outside of the box, make too many mistakes, ask for too much from her, then she won’t want to work with me anymore. Or even if she keeps working with me, she will resent me for all the time and energy I am costing her. It will destroy the connection we have built.

I’ve already talked about my relentless fear of the end of therapy. To avoid the end as long as possible, I realize I have been unconsciously trying to be perfect. Make no mistakes. Be a client worthy of her help and her care.

Like therapist has told me approximately 8238 times now, give or take, perfection is not possible. It’s just not. But I fear the repercussions of anything else, so when I do inevitably step out of my neatly crafted ‘perfect client’ box, it is extremely anxiety-provoking.

Mind you, I’m not sharing this fear with therapist. Not directly. So it comes out via excessive compliments and expressions of gratitude. True, I like her and respect the hell out of her. I know I can be a challenge to work with, so I appreciate that she handles all of my “stuff” with equal professionalism and compassion. But I feel it, I know my expression of all that can be a bit much sometimes. However, because all of that “stuff”, I feel like I need to remind her how important she is to me. Like a protective buffer for the aforementioned inevitable mistakes. A failsafe. If I can make her remember how much I need her, help her see how good she is, then nothing bad will happen with us.

Being the perfect client governs what I do inside the session as much as outside. I am intricately honest with therapist, but there is a limit on how much I will let myself emote. I can be crazy, but I can’t be too crazy. Imagine the grey area involved in emotional expression and you could see how crying or getting angry might be distressful to me. And since I don’t know what is too much, I try to avoid it when I can. I’ll shield my face if I start to cry. I’ll actively push away any bit of anger that surfaces toward therapist, try to deny it. Maybe there will be compliments instead, acting as a buffer again for when I slip up and the anger comes out.

I haven’t been truly angry at her often, but the few times it happened it was difficult for both of us. A few weeks ago I mentioned to therapist how I know working my BPD personality can be a challenge, but that at least she gets a lot of compliments out of it. She responded with something along the lines of: “Yes, but your anger can be very intense.” That comment had me taken aback, because to me it meant that the anger had stuck with her. And that’s terrifying. I should have addressed it then, but I was kind of stunned in the moment and we’d moved on by the time I reoriented.

Needless to say, anger feels like a threat to the perfect client image. Especially anger at her. It feels potentially therapy-ending. That’s why I have always tried not to express it. The last time we had conflict, I really thought that was the end of it for us. It wasn’t, and we spent the next session talking explicitly about how one conflict doesn’t undo everything else, but I still wondered how it changed what she thought about me.

Any feelings towards her seem like a threat to that image. I think that this drive to be perfect is what is stopping me from sharing some of the fears I’ve been posting about. I did bring mention to her that there was something we need to talk about, but that I wasn’t ready yet. That’s because these feelings represent purposeful stepping outside of the box. Talking about my feelings related to her seems like too much crazy for me, too weird. Asking her to read blog posts feels like asking for too much outside of session. These are breaches of perfection. I don’t know how either will be received, so I can’t risk it.

I can’t be the only one that feels this way. Struggling to be perfect, while also struggling to accept that perfection isn’t possible. There’s got to be a middle ground here. A balance of addressing the feelings, acknowledging the respect towards her and her boundaries, accepting that there will be mistakes, and finding ways to resolve those breaches of perfection.

But I think this is another one of those topics I need to bring up with her to find all that.

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Letting Go

Sometimes…

Sometimes it’s just about laying on the couch after a long day watching football. Forget the responsibilities. Forget all the “shoulds.” Forget the self-induced pressure to do it all.

You know how I know I need this? Because my body has welcomed it with full force. It is such a release to put up my feet and yell at the TV. What an outlet. Even more so, I know I need this because my mind keeps urging me to get up and move, to get something done. My mind, so adapted to the everlasting pressure I put on myself, is unable to be content with the stagnancy of relaxation. How can I be good enough and work hard enough if we don’t use this time? it reasons. You should be making the most of each second.

Maybe this is why I’ve been having panic attacks in cars.

I think a better question is: how will I ever have enough energy and be emotionally stable if I’m not remembering self-care?

The other day I talked about choosing myself. Well, the opportunity has presented itself now.

Time to give myself permission to rest. I’ve been working so hard. I’m going to watch my team, cheer my heart out, and let go of everything else.

Electricity – Labeling Anxiety

What words do people use to describe what serious anxiety or panic feels like?

This is what I thought about today as I sat in my car during lunch, waiting for a phone call from my therapist because I was in the midst of very intense panic feelings and wasn’t sure I was going to make it through the day without throwing up or passing out.

I still haven’t identified a specific trigger for it. It really just snuck up on me, a combination of many small moments all morning that had made me feel so overwhelmed to the point where I’d just given in to the anxiety. I started shaking like crazy and couldn’t really catch my breath. Being around other people made it worse, because I irrationally feel like all eyes are on me and they are waiting for me, the amateur intern, to fail. I feel like I have to meet a certain standard, and falling apart because of an anxiety attack because you’re so overwhelmed by your job is not meeting that standard. Unfortunately for me, I work in an office where my desk is with three other people. My job is to literally shadow someone all day. So you might imagine I was feeling claustrophobic, trapped with these feelings and unable to escape, the anxiety mounting and mounting.

I’ve never felt it at that intensity before and it was scary because of how suddenly it came on. I was paralyzed by the physical feelings in my stomach, not in any place where I could problem solve or analyze what was going on. I was just trying to survive the attack and conceal it enough that none of my co-workers could tell anything was wrong. I’m not sure how successful that was, but I’m grateful no one pointed it out. I don’t need them knowing about all the mental health stuff I deal with.

I did get my phone call from therapist. It was practically my lifeline. She talked me down enough that I could function again, and I went back into the building to continue my day. When I had a free moment after school, I did a meditation based on her urging, hoping it would calm me down some more. I guess it kind of did. But what I took away from that meditation was when the soothing voice started talking about bringing these feelings to life. Give them a label. Turn them into an image.

I pictured a thick tangle of knots. I’m not sure I can even explain why, it was just what I imagined when I thought about what the anxiety might look like inside me. An endless twist and turn of anxiety that’s built of so many triggers that its begun to weave around itself just to fit. Something so tangled that it’s hard to figure out where it even starts or where to begin working at untangling it. I pictured the skeins I use when I’m crocheting, yarn wound around itself repeatedly. Usually, I pull the yarn free and crocheting is easy. But sometimes it gets so tangled that if I tried to pull one knot loose I just end up tightening three more. That’s what my anxiety looks like like at it’s worst, a crochet skein but instead of yarn it’s as heavy as lead, weighing so heavily I can’t ignore it or forget that it’s there. Could you imagine trying to go about your day lugging around a ball of lead? Impossible.

Even more impossible when you consider the label I gave my anxiety. The immediate word in my mind. Electricity. Physically, that’s what I would call it. Currents of electricity surging through my body. Jolt after jolt. It’s all the fruit of this this little anxiety ball, emanating outwards and back. The physical experience becomes so bad that I can’t focus on the mental experience, I just try to loosen the knots so I can breathe again.

And so I wondered what this experience is like for other people. Is my electric anxiety a common feeling? What does the anxiety look like for them? Does anyone know how to disrupt the circuits so that I can come back from panic attacks as bad as those?

I hope that tomorrow will be better. I’m ready for this new job to stop feeling so hard all. the. time. While I expected the adjustment period, I never expected my mental health to take such a hit. I’d like to be around other people and just have the space to exist and learn without the electric currents surging.

Thank god I have a session tomorrow.

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To Share or Not To Share

There’s just about nothing more terrifying to me than the thought of my therapist leaving me or me having to leave her.

I’m not sure why this fear is ever-present in my world lately, but I can’t seem to escape it. Seems to be in the air; I’ve read more than one blog lately from someone who is either experiencing the same fear or actually transitioning to a new therapist.

Anyway, the end of my time with therapist occupies my mind a lot. I think about her getting another job, or having to relocate for her family, or getting pregnant. The pregnancy thing is the most viable option right now, but I can’t bring it up for fear that she’ll tell me she actually is or plans on being sometime soon. So, I live in denial that this is a possibility by pushing the thought as far back in my mind as I can for as long as I can.

It’s starting to affect me more and more in the past few weeks, because I feel myself pulling back in therapy, withdrawing from her. Even before I go in, I’m anxious about being there. It’s become a case of the chicken or the egg. I’m not sure if this fear came first or the withdrawal, but now the two are so tightly interlocked that I can’t separate them.

It’s not just her either. I’m remarkably more aware that in the next year, I’ll be looking for a new job. Moving, probably. Who knows where that’ll take me. And what if it’s away from her? I’m realizing as I write this that it’s probably all the transition that’s stirred these feelings. They’ve always been there, but they are heightened now. When something is on the forefront of your mind, you seem to see be extra sensitive to mentions of it everywhere.

Now, because of all this, it takes longer each session for me to open up to her. Once I’ve settled, once I can get past all this shit lurking in my mind, I’m open. I feel safe. But those first few minutes I squirm under her watchful gaze, trying to figure out how to bypass these weird impulses to withdraw.

Someone who commented on my blog told me that as she parted ways with her therapist, it was hard but she didn’t go to pieces. Somewhere along the line she became more whole, while her therapist became more human. I loved that comment so much and it gave me hope that maybe when the time comes, I won’t feel shattered by the loss of the woman who has pretty much saved my life.

This is one of many topics that I know I should bring up with her. I know it. I struggle so hard talking about feelings related to our relationship. It’s embarrassing, probably the most vulnerable I could be with her. I’ve openly sobbed in front of her, I’ve experienced conflict with her, and I’ve talked explicitly about the self-harm. I can do all of that, but I can’t talk about these feelings. I just don’t know how.

Sometimes I want to share this blog with her. She knows that I have it and I’ve read her pieces of different posts when I’ve felt they were relevant. But that’s a far cry from her having full access to all of my posts, including the ones about her. Knowing therapist as I do, I’m not sure she’d even use the link if I provided her one. That seems like a crossing of boundaries that she wouldn’t breach. Deep down, I know this probably isn’t a good idea. It would likely either inhibit the writing process or redirect it such that I was directing posts specifically at her.

Still, there are things I want to be able to talk to her about (like this) that I just can’t bring myself to vocalize in session yet. So I consider bringing up the topic and seeing whether she’d be willing to accept the link. Or whether she would be willing to read a specific post now and then before a session. I can imagine her response, but it’s hard to know for sure. She’s surprised me before when the issue has been blurry as it is right now.

All I can say for sure right now is that these feelings are not what I need as I’m cycling back into negative moods. I’m dipping low…bad feelings…

I’m repeatedly thinking about taking a week off just so I don’t have to deal any of it. I never do, I always end up going, but I’ve considered cancelling a lot this month. It’s just me running scared, both of the fear she can’t help me truly resolve feelings and the fear she can and I’ll become dependent on her to do it. Either way, it means the end of the road eventually. I don’t want to keep endorsing the attachment. I’m scared of all this random fear that seems to have popped up again out of nowhere. I know I’ve got to talk to her about it, but I don’t know yet what kind of response I need from her to make me feel better.

Stupid attachment problems. Stupid BPD.

So I don’t know. To share or not to share? To share all of it? A little at a time? Or just wait it out until I’m ready?

Questions only I can answer.

Choosing Myself

A few weeks ago, after the end of one of my first weeks of internship, I finished a therapy session by asking my therapist if she thought I was lazy or selfish for not wanting to babysit on a Saturday night after working all week.

Therapist had been trying to usher me out the door, but she stopped for a minute and looked at me. However briefly, I believe she was weighing in her head whether or not to answer that question directly or probe me for my own response (the latter is certainly more common!). Whether it was because it was the last few minutes or session or because she truly wanted her point to be heard, she did not reflect the question back on me. Instead, I got quick but firm list of all the reasons why wanting a night off was not in fact selfish, or lazy, or any negative adjective I’d drummed up in my head.

It may be interesting to note that this was (I’m pretty sure) the same week where I spent the majority of the session with my head against the couch, closing my eyes every few minutes, because I was so tired. It was definitely one of the many sessions as of late where we were constructively dealing with the many emotions coming to light due to the transition I’m currently going through.

What I’m trying to say is: with everything else going on in my life, despite how overwhelmingly exhausted I was, I was still contemplating a 6 hour babysitting job on one of my two days off because I was so afraid of letting someone down or seeming selfish (in whose eyes? I have no idea) that I was willing to put those feelings over my own self-care.

I didn’t take that job, and therapist’s kind and supportive words were enough to buffer the guilt I felt for not. I did take a job for last night and for two weeks from now, both on Saturday nights, one fairly late into the night. It’s probably important to note that those requests came at a time where I couldn’t get therapist’s opinion on them. Rather, I couldn’t use her words to let me off the hook.

And so last night, I decided enough is enough. It’s time to start choosing myself.

I’m not talking about choosing myself 100% of the time. I’m not talking about putting my needs ahead of everyone else’s even when the situation clearly warrants some empathy and the sacrifice of my time and energy.

I’m talking about choosing to love myself and do what I need to do when it’s very clear to me what I physically or mentally need, instead of choosing the opposite because of fear of negative reprisals.

Choosing yourself is definitely not always easy to do if you’re constantly letting everyone else’s opinions matter more. It sounds great in theory, and I talk a good game surrounding the issue. I’ve pledged to do it more times than I can count and then backed out when the chips were down. Like saying that I’m not going to spend the extra time worrying about a relationship that’s toxic to me and then ultimately giving in and trying to do something to regain their affection.

When you have BPD and you’re constantly afraid of making someone, anyone, mad at you, it’s a risk to choose yourself. Because what if I choose myself and inevitably make a decision that makes said person decide you are not longer worth their friendship and walks away? What if I lose a job? What if I do some irreparable damage to my school reputation? Nevermind the fact that if they are walking away based on me doing what feels right for me, it’s probably not the safest relationship to be in anyway. My BPD brain blocks that very reasonable thought out in the moment. I just end up doing whatever it is that will appease the largest number of people possible, even if it is not a particularly good decision for me. This way, my BPD brain reasons, I cannot make anyone angry. I’ve been so selfless putting their needs above my own that they could never get angry with me. How generous I am!

Infallible logic, right?

Wrong (duh).

You know what usually ends up happening instead? When I don’t choose myself, I usually end up in a foul mood because I’ve denied myself whatever it was I truly needed. I’m usually tired or sad or angry about the position I’ve put myself in so I let those feelings rule my behavior and make a costly mistake. My negative attitude gets me in trouble with a parent. My sad mood causes me to drink in excess and fall apart. The consequences of those behaviors are usually so much worse than the consequences I’d have felt for choosing myself. Whereas if I’d just listened to my body or mind and stayed home from babysitting or the party, this could have been avoided.

This has been a tough lesson to learn and I’ve only learned it through many many of the outcomes I just described. Going against my instincts doesn’t make me a martyr, it honestly just makes me foolish.

Choosing yourself might just be the best defense to a mental illness offense. It means that you’re taking the harsh critic in your head that tells you you’re worthless and that what you need doesn’t matter and basically telling that voice to please shut the f*ck up. It means that you’re taking care of your mind and body enough so they can be resilient in the face the extreme emotions or negative thoughts that might be triggered at any moment.

Ever heard the phrase “you can’t fill from an empty cup”? It’s kind of like that. How can you be there for people and be the caring, reliable, good person you want to be if you’re not there for yourself?

You have to build your self-worth by believing that if your mind or body is telling you it needs something, that it’s right. That it’s okay to listen. And then you have to follow through and do it. I have to imagine that it’s going to feel weird to choose myself after so long of not, that I will be simultaneously resisting my choice. But if I can do it, anyone can do it.

The world won’t drop from your feet if you make a decision that might be a little bit selfish. We’re allowed to be selfish sometimes because we’re the only ones who can always look out for ourselves. And even if that other person whose response your feeling does get a little angry, it will still be okay.  You have not made this decision with malice in your heart. You’ve just chosen to do what what right for you.

So I will not be babysitting on the weekends anymore, except for the family I’ve been working with for over 5 years. I will be choosing relaxation and self-care. I will be giving myself my weekends back after 5 very busy and trying weekdays.

I will be choosing myself.

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Half-Baked

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All day today, I’ve been thinking about this point. About self-discovery. And about how blogging gets me there. I really like blogging.

It’s not always an easy thing to do and sometimes I struggle to find the right words, but I have found it to be very rewarding. Especially considering it was something I wasn’t very sure of. I wasn’t sure what it would felt like to put my thoughts out into the world where others could read them, to open myself up to being judged.

What I’ve found is, posting my thoughts and feelings on this very public platform has made me more accountable for being honest with myself. A few weeks ago, my therapist suggested that maybe I was having trouble writing because of the public nature of a blog, me trying to get things just right. And while she’s not wrong, I felt like she meant that it was inhibiting me in a negative way. How I feel is that blogging is pushing me to really think deeply about how all of this going on inside me is connected because yes, I want to get it right. Not right as in it’s right or wrong. Right as in yes! this is exactly everything that is unfolding from a very cellular level, this is how it’s all connected. 

By pushing myself to be the most truthful I can be while writing, and really following the path my thoughts take, I am cultivating new insights that I hadn’t been previously making outside of therapy. For so long there has been so much swimming in my brain. I call them half-baked thoughts because that’s exactly what they were. Not fully molded. Not even a full thought sometimes. Just an indication of something that needed further exploration.

Like fish just below the surface of the water, I knew the thoughts were there, I got glimpses of them every now and again, but they were elusive. Slippery like those fish. Thoughts came and went fleetingly and I could never grab hold long enough to really examine them.

I’m doing it now, more and more. I’m proud of that. I’m proud of the way it’s empowered me. I’m proud of the insights I’ve been able to transfer back into therapy to work with further. Like that comic illustrates, it’s been really hard. There are a whole mound of posts that talk about just how hard self-discovery is. But wow is it worth it.

Something that’s been super important to me is building more safe spaces outside the therapy setting. To me, safe means I can share without feeling like my relationship with the other person is at risk. This blog gives that to me. I’ve been dealing with a lot of stuff that I’m holding in because it never feels safe to confide. But here, I can be 100% honest about my darkest moments. It gives me a sense of being heard, even if nobody reads my posts. Just knowing that it’s out there, that someone could read this and understand the pain and hope behind the words, gives me some solace when I’m struggling bad.

Blogging was a decision spurred on by my happenstance BPD diagnosis. I stumbled on a few blogs that opened me up to what BPD was and how it feels. In my very first post, I talked about how it was enlightening to read my own thoughts echoed clearly in the words of others. It was the immediate stepping stone into new levels of healing for me. And it’s continued to be. I visit those blogs almost daily now and I feel like their journeys have all intertwined with mine. I hope to find more of the BPD and mental health community here, as I’ve already found a few through these posts.

I’m very grateful that I made that first google search, first click. It’s opened me up to a world I didn’t think I would become so connected with. And it’s giving those half-baked thoughts a chance to really grow.

 

Scars

Self-harm has been a common topic in therapy lately, because it’s been a recurring pattern in my behavior. First once in the heat of a bad night, then more frequently when paired with my very low mood.

On a whole, I think this last week was definitely an improvement from where I’ve been previously, but there still have been low points. I avoided it for almost a whole week, but I did harm yesterday in the midst of a very stress-laden moment.

It never helps long-term. It doesn’t solve any of my issues. But it does release the inordinate amount of anxiety, sadness, or shame that’s built up in any given moment. There are other ways to do this of course, but I keep falling back on harm. We talked about that last week.

I’m writing about this because therapist asked me a question during that conversation. I mentioned something about how the presence of the scars keeps drawing me back into doing it. That’s why holding an ice cube or tension exercises aren’t cutting it when I feel feelings of that intensity. For some reason, I like being able to see the scars. Therapist wanted to know what the scars say. “Give them a voice,” she told me.

Except I couldn’t.

I sat and stared at her because I really didn’t have an answer. Days later, I hoped I might. The answer is somewhere in me, but it still isn’t completely clear. The only difference between now and last week is now there are fresh cuts to look at and really ask: What do they say?

I’m not encouraging this by any means. I know that it’s dangerous and not appropriate. I’ll say that whenever I post about self harm. It is not the avenue of coping I should be taking. But it happened and I’m working on the whole “acceptance over judgement” thing (which is super hard), so I might as well use this as a learning opportunity if I can.

So what do they say?

When I look at my scars, I see physical proof of the hell in my mind, the stuff I’m concealing from everybody because it’s too painful to think of being invalidated for sharing. I see a visual illustration of my pain. It’s like the scars are screaming to me: Here is your hurt. Look at how much it hurts to exist. It was too much to feel. 

My scars are also a reminder. They remind me that I’m still here. They say You’re surviving this hurt. You’re walking around with these feelings, carrying them all the time. But you’re still alive. 

You’re hurting, wow are you hurting, but you’re alive. Look how alive you are, these scars prove it.

It’s validation in it’s own right. Me needing to emotional validate myself, but in a dangerous way. The stark truth is that I’m hurting myself. There’s no denying it from a rational perspective. Yet somehow I’ve warped harming into this self-soothing behavior that legitimizes everything I’m thinking and feeling with a mark on my body. I’ve made the hurt that comes with cutting become a positive thing in my mind.

It’s amazing the way mental illness affects your brain.

Maybe that’s why I’m so reluctant to stop. I have for weeks or months. I’ll be proud of myself and wonder why I ever felt the need to cut in the first place. But when it gets bad this nasty habit rises from the ashes with a vengeance, reminding me exactly why I felt the need. The release. The voices of those scars. Like therapist says, I wouldn’t do it if it didn’t serve me in some way.

I think the fact that I can look at this in a non-judgemental way is making the picture clearer. Instead of disparaging myself for another slip or for not being able to ditch that damn razor yet, I’m taking my feelings at face value. The time for the rest will come again, just like it has before.

In the meantime, I keep coming back to the imaginary toolbox that I mentioned in a previous post. What will keep me feeling validated and cared for in absence of scars? I’ve had a lot of trouble answering that question. But I’m starting to become more cognizant of what calms me down as I get through the stormy patches. The candle with the same scent that therapist uses in her office (eucalyptus spearmint, anyone?) or just organizing something, whether it be deleting old texts or going through my internship binder. These things stabilize me, bring me back to the ground. Or writing.

They say you learn best by doing. What that means to me is, the more I weather the storm, the more I can find things that are as emotionally validating as the voices of those scars.

Only then will I truly be able to silence them.