Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The "question"

I'm often asked if I think about cutting myself anymore.  This is usually preceded with, "have you cut yourself", if my doctor or therapist is talking to me and followed by, "how often", by those curious as to how I could possibly want to do that to myself.  The best way I have ever been able to explain it, is to compare it to how a recovering alcoholic might feel.  One may never drink again because they know it is bad for them, but they do think about it, especially during high stress situations.  The solution---replace the negative thoughts with a positive solution.  On the worst day, call your sponsor or in my case call a trusted friend/family member or my therapist.  I can honestly say that I probably THINK about cutting every day.  Most of the time it is a fleeting thought.  For example, pulling out a knife to cut a fruit or vegetable, shaving my legs, using scissors to cut coupons, seeing someone on a TV show portraying the act, etc. A memory will flash through my mind or a recognition of how far I have come.

Other times, if I have had a very bad day in that something or someone has triggered me, I may think more intensely about it.  I know what it feels like, so that desire to replace the emotional pain with the physical pain is automatic, but I have learned how to distract myself.  And then sometimes, I just want to do it.  I want it like a man who is dying of thirst wants water.  A couple of weeks ago, I found a box cutter in my garage and I brought it inside and just sat and stared at it for what seemed like an eternity. I imagined every moment, every slice, the beauty of each pointed contact.... and that was enough.  I have the strength to NOT follow through.  In my case, for now, the thoughts are enough.

However, like any addict, I know I am just one cut away from going down the same path.  The affects that my cutting behavior has had over my lifetime have altered my need to cut at this point in my journey.  So when asked if I think about cutting myself--the answer is yes.  Have I cut myself recently--no.   How often do I think about it--every day.  Should anyone be concerned about me hurting myself at this juncture--no.  If I ever get there again, I know what to do.  I now know how to stop it.  I'm not saying I won't; the last time I cut was 3 months ago.  But, I didn't keep it up.  I fell down, I pulled myself back up and I started over.  I consider that a success.