Yesterday I relapsed to cutting. It happened too fast. I don’t know what to do now. I don’t want to do this anymore, but I feel ashamed of what I did.
Good morning! Breaks my heart to hear about the relapse. Some ideas to help. Do you journal? Write down everything you were feeling before it happened. I did this early on in my quest for sobriety. I quickly could see the patterns that caused urges. Once I recognized those, it was easier for me to stay sober. Second, come on here before you do anything. Read every thread, talk to us.
The shame is part of the process. Don’t let yesterdays relapse ruin todays recovery. Use it to fuel your recovery. Remember you are not alone. Slow down, breathe, and focus on today. You have this, and we have you.
@Ifs, you seem to be able to provide the best advice around this
I used to write down my own every day, but lately it has become difficult even for myself to talk about what is inside. More thanks for being here. Recently, I had no support at all …
The fact that you really want to help allows me to smile again. I’m a little bad in English, but I still want to thank you. I will try to remember your words during the breakdown.
I used to be a cutter too. I felt ashamed too but that shame helped me recover.
First I did the easiest things. I threw away all of my blades and knives/handles.
At the same time, I started showing the wounds to the people in my life. Their concern and their constant checking on me, made me feel loved.
Eventually, I dealt with the core issues inside me. I realized I was trying to make my outsides reflect my inside…trying to make my body feel what my heart and mind were feeling. I also realized I there was more in love for me to experience, things that inspired me. So I started really focusing on people and things that elevate me and avoiding the people and places that bring me down.
You are a real warrior. I am very proud of you. Thank you very much. I used to try to love myself, but now I often come across reproaches from “friends”, it breaks my heart. I understand that I need to learn to focus on people and things that would help and not trample in the dirt, but so far it turns out very badly…
Hey, it took courage to come and talk about it, and I’m glad you did, because we’re here to help. No judgement here.
I am encouraged by our community to see the support and advice you’ve received already. These people are saying many of the things I would have to say on the topic, plus more that I would have missed.
I have to run for now, but I’ll be back to add a few more things from my experience in case they help.
I get that. Part of that is the addiction. Therapist or counselor?
Hey there. Former cutter here. I totally understand where you are coming from and I’m sorry to hear you relapsed. It took me a long time to quit the act. I still have days I think about doing it, but the difference these days us that I finally sought counseling. If you cant get into counseling, make a safety plan with a friend or confidant who can be there for you when the need arises.
There will be hiccups and relapse happens to the best of us, but I believe in you. You can beat this. I know it in my heart and I’m happy you came here to talk. We have your back.
I went to a psychologist for a couple of months, but neither became better nor worse.
I am very glad that here I find support. For a long time I was afraid to write here, but now I have no regrets about anything. Many thanks for the support!
I would like to hear from your experience. Maybe it even helped me somehow. Anyway, thanks.
I have struggled with self harm on and off since my early teens and am somewhat over 6 months clean from it. I wanted to stop, but I never got my head around why I found it so easy to turn to. I also didn’t really understand the possible consequences of continuing to self harm. I never took it seriously enough for a long time.
As a few different mental health conditions started to surface, it got worse, because I found myself with so much distress and depression to cope with, and I didn’t have the proper tools. As my mental health worsened and my diagnosis shifted, again it got worse, because I didn’t have any proper coping mechanisms in place. I had started to practice better coping skills, but I often would abandon them when it counted. Alcohol seemed like it helped (one of the worst decisions I’ve ever made), but it made things much worse because it lowered my resistance to self harm further. I still wasn’t getting it. It took a number of experiences to hammer it into me that I couldn’t keep dealing with life with alcohol and self harm. It took twice being escorted to the hospital in a police cruiser, too many medical scares, and an embarrassing number of psychiatric hospitalisations. Finally I decided I was done forever, no matter how safely I thought I could self harm (it’s never safe by the way), no matter how bad it felt to resist self harm.
The good news for me is that during this chaotic time I also had many opportunities during this time to learn better ways of dealing with my emotion, and techniques to avoid relapse. Between my counsellor, psychiatrist, nurses on the psych ward (and especially in psych ICU), and wanting more and more desperately to stop, I learned a lot. I am not tempted to self harm very often anymore, but I still use those coping skills almost daily.
I’m glad you are getting to the bottom of this now instead of staying lost like I did.
@Thirdmonkey’s suggestions are great - learning about your patterns so that you can be aware of when you’re more vulnerable to a relapse can help you anticipate the temptation, which can give you more time with a clearer head. This helps make a plan to get through your tough situation without cutting and not have it come out of nowhere and surprise you. And talking to someone first - both of these are important parts of my safety plan, which I’ll get to in a minute.
I really appreciate @333Outdoors chiming in too. You are far from alone, and today can be better than yesterday. Yesterday’s relapse can stay in yesterday after you process what happened. Once you’ve learned from it, you can let it go and not let it anchor your future moods.
@MrCade has good practical advice and learning points from his own experience. Put up those barriers to self harm. Getting rid of, or at least distancing myself from every object I would use to self harm was one of the most important things I did. It’s like how as an alcoholic in early recovery, it’s not a good idea to have alcohol around where I live if I can at all help it.
Sharing that you’re struggling with this to someone in your life who cares about you is really valuable. You don’t have to show them your wounds, but being able to talk, holding yourself accountable, and accepting help from whoever you tell can help you a lot in your recovery. But it can be hard for people to understand why you would hurt yourself. They can’t always understand why you feel that way, or find the right words to say. It’s a difficult thing to hear someone you care about hurting themselves. I hope you can find someone you feel safe with who is willing to try to understand and help you. Sometimes this is a personal connection, sometimes it’s a therapist or other professional. I didn’t get a good connection with my first counsellor, but I kept trying and I found a different one now that’s really helpful.
Also, it’s good to examine the “why” questions. Why do you cut, why do you want to stop. Often we to cut because it feels different, or numbing, or because we want to feel the pain, or we want to punish ourselves, or struggle to see our bodies as worth protecting, there are many possible reasons. Understanding how things work for you will give you power to fight self harm. Therapy is where I learned the most about why I self harm.
And I’m thankful to @NWWitch for reminding me about safety plans! Let me see if I can redact the one I filled out last time I went into the psych ward, it’s a pretty helpful tool. Hang tight while I go do that.
I didn’t finish this safety plan actually, there’s stuff I meant to add but didn’t. I have noticed that occasionally I need to update my safety plan because my answers and needs change from time to time.
There’s another section of the plan that asks you to list people who can help you stay well, and their contact information. I’ve omitted it because of the nature of the information.
I hope I didn’t completely drown you with text
@Ifs What a helpful response! The honesty on TS is awesome. Thank you for your contributions.
I have had students who cut and knew when things we’re going south based on clothing (long sleeves) and encouraged them to use clothing as a conversation starter when they felt the urge because without the ability to hide it they were less reluctant to engage and it was a reminder it’s time to talk. I hope that helps but please know there are MANY people here 24/7 to talk!
Can you elaborate on what you mean by this? I’m not sure I follow.
Self harm in areas normally covered by even summer clothing is pretty common. It’s pretty much impossible to remove the ability to hide self harm.
I hurt myself to…
I’m self destructive in all ways!
I hate myself so much that I do harm to myself and I pick fistfights with a hundred other people just to calm myself down! Not shure that we have the same problem, but I hear you