TW self harm Schema: Punitiveness

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I’m really struggling not to go back and update my Unrelenting Standards posts but I still haven’t despite realising things I wanted to add to it, so I will mark that as a small victory before I talk about the punitiveness schema.

I have decided to write about this schema as I am feeling particularly low and have a desperate urge to self harm. I have not been left alone all day as my boyfriend and parents are well aware of how I feel.

Young’s definition of the punitiveness schema is:

The belief that people should be harshly punished for making mistakes.  Involves the tendency to be angry, intolerant,  punitive, and impatient with those people (including oneself) who do not meet one’s expectations or standards.  Usually includes difficulty forgiving mistakes in oneself or others, because of a reluctance to consider extenuating circumstances, allow for human imperfection, or empathize with feelings.”
The above purely applies to me, not to anyone else making mistakes. I have only ever taken any anger I have out on myself. As you can probably tell this schema closely relates to the two schemas I have already discussed (defectiveness and unrelenting standards) as I feel that if I cannot meet the standards I set myself I must be punished and also punished for being defective in general. It is often confusing as I feel that I deserve this horrible feeling and the symptoms of POTS because I am not perfect and cannot be the perfect daughter, girlfriend, friend. I deserve the pain and if I’m not feeling enough pain I need to cause myself more.
I would say I have a higher level of patience for others than most do, I am incredibly forgiving and tolerant of others and always look for the positive in people, no matter what they have done. As mentioned in my unrelenting standards post I do not give anyone else the high standards I set myself and will focus purely on the positive aspects of their personality or successes.
I can never forgive myself for any mistakes I have made in my life. I am haunted by all my mistakes, I can remember each and every one in detail and it replays and replays. If I lose something or something breaks or a voucher expires without me using it it never leaves me. It adds to my feelings as a failure, a let down, stupid. I can’t forgive myself. I shouldn’t forgive myself. If I think how I’d feel if another person had done any of that I’d of course forgive them, they are completely trivial matters, but to me I feel as if I truly betrayed people. I am not allowed to make mistakes. I am so imperfect, I am so flawed, I am so defective.
This weekend I have felt a dreadful sense of guilt as I am fortunate to have a wonderful father when a lot of people don’t. I have done nothing to deserve such a good father when others are incredibly wonderful people but have missed out on the love, care, humour, intelligence and support a good father provides. I therefore sensed the need to punish myself as it brought home the realisation that I was getting something good when others weren’t and I had done nothing to be entitled to this. I was also feeling incredibly low, my POTS was bad and I had menstrual cramps so generally felt rough. I therefore couldn’t help with organising Father’s Day to the extent that I wanted to. This needed to be punished. I couldn’t afford a decent present for my dad so my mum gave me some chocolates to give him. This also needed to be punished.
There have been other factors this week where things have gone wrong when I have had good intentions and this has become something that has kept ticking over in my brain, as I cannot fix it I need to be punished for it. I feel that by keeping myself thinking of it is a form of punishment as I feel the pain of it, however, the pain I feel does not make up for the pain others feel so I am at a loss of how to punish myself further.
I know it’s not a new feeling I began self harming as a teenager, even before that I recall walking through the city in heels on my way to meet friends and the balls of my feet were burning and thinking “I deserve this pain”.
Today, I want to self harm, however, doing this, if my boyfriend or mum found out would hurt them so I am stuck.
For now I will just keep thinking the fact I feel the pain that I feel and these thoughts in my head are a form of punishment along with the symptoms and pain from POTS and EDS. It certainly explains things to me that can’t otherwise be explained.
I’m sorry that this post doesn’t flow well, I didn’t realise how strong this schema was for me until I began writing. Hopefully I’ll be able to work through all the schemas on here soon and a pattern will develop that shows how they are all intrinsically linked.

TW Sui/SH Mental Health Awareness Week pt 2 or “Hello darkness my old friend”

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Day 2 of Mental Health Awareness Week and with it came a greater intensity to the dark, empty feeling that I hadn’t felt in quite a while until yesterday aka The Darkness.

It turns out the anxiety of Atos had been filling my being and no matter how suicidal I felt it was an edgy, heart racing suicide that was calling me, one that was really driven and dispersed with periods where the only way to get the anxiety out of me was to make cuts in my skin.

The emptiness crept in sometime yesterday when I wasn’t paying attention. I was aware of it when I wrote my blog but at the time it was a nice change to feel something different to wanting to scratch at all the walls. I woke this morning at about 5am with the apathy that I remember first had hit me nearly 13 years ago.

I couldn’t move. I saw no point. I didn’t want to sleep. I didn’t want to get up. I really felt nothing at all. So there I lay for two hours until I felt the pain in my back gnawing away so I got up and then sat, again doing not much of anything at all apart from letting the thoughts in my head have their say.

I knew I had therapy today and despite all the fear and unworthy feelings (not to mention the migraine) that I thought would prevent me in the past 2 weeks I had been driven by this energy coursing through me. Having spent the previous 4 hours with an inner dialogue debating as to whether I should go (Rationale stating, “You’ll never get better if you don’t go” and “You’ll let people down”. The Darkness saying, “meh” and “erm…meh” respectively) I finally threw some clothes and trudged out the door.

To be honest therapy was beneficial as it really kicks in my need to take care of people and this is the only thing that generally keeps The Darkness from whispering sweet nothings to me. Instead for the briefest of times I was driven by: I want to protect these people. I want to erase all these bad things that have happened to them. I need them to know it’s not their fault.

Once the session was over though and I spent time reflecting on what had gone on in the 2 hours the feelings from the first session I had been to returned but this time they are goverend by The Darkness. They come from deep within me and are long and thoughtful rather than the short snappy jumpy thoughts I’d grown used to the past few weeks. Sure I have flitted between anxiety, buzzy feelings and The Darkness a lot, all part of the old bpd but this last period was so long it felt like it was here to stay. I can’t honestly decide which is worse, the grass always seems greener. The Darkness does seem to put an emphasis on suicide and how beneficial it will be to everyone who is unlucky enough to have had me barge my way into their lives. The self harm is more from a base of needing to feel. The contrast of the sharp scratch from the blade, the heat from the wound, the blood cooling as it reaches the skin surface, then the repeat as the scab is scratched off. All in all The Darkness does what it says on the tin and leaves a vacuum inside.

Hmm, I haven’t really talked much about my day but to be honest the day has passed by quite emptily. I have been wound up by the usual things on Twitter and felt solidarity with those being wound up on Twitter but not with the same passion.

I need to move from the chair. I need to get a shower. I can’t.

Eheu.

 

Self Harm Awareness Day – TW Self Harm

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As today is Self Harm Awareness Day I thought I would share my experiences.

I was aware of depression and self harm as a friend’s sister was suffering badly and actually killed herself when we were 11 (her sister was 15) and at the time I couldn’t understand how anyone could do that and thought I never would be able to.

I first started self harming when I was 16, I knew something was wrong with how I felt, I tried to talk to people but I was always known for always being happy, never complaining so no one really took me seriously. I don’t really remember what made me do it the first time but I felt a horrible emptiness inside. I was disgusted with myself. I was worthless. I deserved to be in pain. I needed to feel something.


I would not advocate it to anyone but to me, at the time it helped. I needed to feel it, the initial cut, the hot feeling on my arm, the blood coming out and cooling it slightly. It calmed me down. It reassured me that I was causing myself pain. 


It was something I kept to myself for a year until it was no longer bearable in any way and I felt like I was so close to going further. I confided in a close friend and from there I began my journey into the world of mental healthcare. Obviously all the mental health care workers discouraged it, giving me suggestions as to use ice as this could give the same effect (it didn’t). 


I could never cut myself in front of people and have been incredibly ashamed of it (although I don’t think anyone should be) and hid it from everyone. My bf at Uni helped me by telling me if I had to do it to do it in front of him so he could keep an eye on me – I gave up for quite a while as I didn’t want to let him down. There was also a particuarly horrific group therapy session I attended where the boy next to me cut himself in the session, this again made me stop for a while.


I continued to self harm on and off for the next 6 years or so, even after I felt “better” when things got stressful I remembered the release and rush I felt when I cut my arm. It had become an addiction. I kept my cuts clean, in the end it became purely a release mechanism rather than causing myself pain.


I became very good at hiding my cuts as most people do.


When my depression and anxiety reared its ugly head again last year I automatically went to cut, but I found it didn’t provide the release I needed. I tried it a second time but again nothing. I was disappointed in a way that I couldn’t get the release when I needed it and have struggled to find anything that helps me when I am incredibly anxious or down but I know I am the better for it.


There are so many more advances out there now though, if elefriends.org had existed back then or some of the other charities and places that have become more well known to me over the years maybe I would have chosen a different route.


I’m pleased that I can now talk about this openly and hope others soon can so that it can be a discussion held between two people as commonly as giving advice for preventing a cold.


I hope the day has raised awareness to more people and the Time to Talk campaign gets people to open up to help remove any stigma and let people know there are people out there to help.

J

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