I came into session carrying so much shame. I also knew that this session was not going to be good or productive, because the last one went so well. The day after we first met this semester, Wednesday, I gave into the urges to cut in the late afternoon. I skipped work and class that day as I was feeling horrible. Since I had finally met my goal of making it to our session without cutting, Wednesday was when I was “allowed” to cut. You mentioned something to the effect of you suspected I would end up cutting and things would get bad…rip self apart? (Slice self to shreds?…I can’t remember exactly what you said) I knew that after session I would spiral back into the cycle of self-harm and self-hatred. I gave into the urges again on Friday, three times on Saturday, twice on Sunday, and again on the Monday before we met. I felt overwhelmed with shame all throughout the week and when I met with Hank on Monday last week (9/23), and the same thing that happened when we met happened then, but not quite as bad. I got stuck in my thoughts and couldn’t talk about things halfway through session. I wanted so badly to speak and discuss how I’ve been the past two weeks and how I was cutting again. I haven’t been able to talk or really trust anyone since the day after our first session this semester, and it doesn’t help that we’re coming up on fall break which brings back unpleasant memories from freshman year. I don’t think I told you about this; I haven’t told anyone until a couple days ago when I confided in Bethany. The night (and entire week) before fall break began, I was extremely suicidal and was seriously considering overdosing to end my life. I stayed up entire night fighting those thoughts; I didn’t go to classes the following morning, and I spent the majority of the day isolated. The week fall break lands on this year is two weeks before 2017 fall break landed on, but still the memories of it being around fall break were bothering me.
I don’t remember quite what happened at the beginning of our session, but when I began to disconnect from reality and the present, my mind was spiraling through thoughts of criticism and insults. I wanted to talk about my cutting and how that all was doing, but since I was holding on/clinging to that shame, my mind was screaming at me not to bring that up and not to speak, while the other part of me what criticizing me for not speaking and telling you what was going on. As those voices were fighting, I was trying to stay present in the room and think separately from them, considering maybe bringing up how my mood and anxiety have been recently. With all this happening in my head, I couldn’t detach from it, and it pulled me in. I tried to ground and keep myself from giving in to the voices that were trying to draw me in, telling me not to speak, not to move, not to breathe, and not to engage in any sort of communication or conversation. Other voices were telling me that I needed to just leave, to run out that door, not look back, and hide somewhere where no one could find me. I tried to bring myself to say something, anything, so that I could grab onto conversation to get out of my head.
I don’t know if it was noticeable, but I was trying to bring myself to make eye contact to reconnect with the present. You asked something like if I was working through it or if I was drowning in the thoughts and needed help. I was certainly drowning, but I didn’t know what was going to help and felt bad for not knowing what I needed or what would help or how to communicate that. After thinking about it over the past few days, I think that when we’re in those situations, asking “hey, can you look at me/over here?” would help, and if I can, then either I wasn’t stuck, or I was but very close to getting unstuck and just needed that little bit of help to catch my attention to draw me back to the present. If I can’t, then I am most certainly stuck and drowning in thoughts of self-criticism. I don’t know if that will most definitely help, but I feel like it might. I don’t know what else could help or if there is anything to help.
At one point you started talking about my critical thoughts and how you pictured it as a little girl at a table with parent or someone standing over her telling her things, and she can’t do anything but sit there and take whatever the person throwing at her. That analogy is so very accurate, and I feel like is exactly what it’s like in my head. When you said this, I pictured myself at my kitchen table when I was little with my mom standing above, scolding me for something I had done or had not done. I’m sure at one point or another in my childhood that exact thing has happened, probably multiple times in several different situations and places. It was as if you knew exactly what it looked like for me to have done something wrong as a child/teen and have to listen to whatever lecturing or scolding my mom would give me, and there was nothing I could do about it no matter how much it hurt to hear.
When I was sitting there in silence, stuck with my thoughts, you said a few different times that we had a certain amount of time left, and I became more anxious about that, because I felt like a waste of time, like I was wasting your time by just sitting there in silence. When half an hour had past, it did not feel like that much time had gone by. It felt like just a few minutes, yet at the same time, an eternity.
When you said we had twenty minutes left, I thought to myself, “Well, fuck. Great job, you piece of shit. You managed to waste half an hour in this session when you were supposed to be bringing up your issues from the past week, but no, you incompetent fool, you wasted precious time where you could be talking through these issues. Good job. Are you happy now, you waste of space?” And by then, I felt like it was pointless to bring anything up, because we wouldn’t have enough time to discuss the things. I still wanted to speak and was still fighting to. Then when you said we had five minutes left, the thoughts escalated and became louder. I felt like a complete waste of time and found it pointless to have even gone to this session because of my inability to make it a productive session. That partially contributed to my breakdown.
From the moment I walked into the center, I knew that something wasn’t right or like something was off. I couldn’t pinpoint what it was, and I just assumed it was anxiety, so I paid it very little attention, or as little as I possibly could. Then that last scheduled five minutes, you brought up that you hear everything that comes through the BC Care concerns and then began on about the Instagram posts and how someone was concerned about me. I was trying so hard to contain and keep myself together, but once I heard that, it reminded me of last times I was reported and triggered me I guess.
That Instagram account is a mostly anonymous account; my name isn’t posted anywhere on there, and it’s completely private. The only I people I let follow me on there are those I really trust who understand, for the most part, what I’m struggling with. When you brought it up, I felt misunderstood (and I know that you were just drawing from what you heard trying to put the pieces together and make sense of the situation), because this wasn’t like I was telling everyone I know that I was struggling with self-harm. It was on my mostly anonymous “finsta” (spam account) which only had maybe 10 people who I trust (or thought I trusted) following it. When you brought up the reporting, I felt like I couldn’t trust anyone who was following that account (or really anyone at all) and that I needed to delete everyone off of it before I got hurt again.
I feel so stupid for even having such an account now. I post on there about things going on in my life that I don’t necessarily want the whole world knowing, both good and not so good things. I post on there to vent and rant about frustrations I have about things, or about how I’m feeling in relation to anxiety and depression or how work had been going or how inedible the dining hall food is on a particular day. I would post on there each time I made it to another week without cutting. I’d post pictures of my cats or random pictures of nature. I posted these types of things so that I wouldn’t have to explain anything to any of those who would ask me how I’m doing. Over the summer, I didn’t have friends to hang out with or talk to, so I’d post on there as an outlet to vent, mostly to the empty void, but sometimes to a few friends who would come across it when going through their feed. Here I have used this outlet so that I don’t have talk about things with people if I don’t have the ability, a place where I could go to talk about what I was struggling with without directly burdening anyone. I don’t want to text or tell someone every time I’m struggling and need support, so I post to explain what I‘m going through. Friends that I trust and confide in can see the post on their own time and can respond if they want to or feel led to. I won’t know who has seen it and who hasn’t, so if they were to see it but don’t want to or don’t have the ability or energy to help, they don’t have to, and I won’t know, so I can go about my day without having to wait for a reply from whoever I reached out to. This all made sense to me at first, but now I feel so stupid now for having such outlet, and I feel as though I just need to isolate and keep everything to myself, so I don’t bother or concern anyone, and then no one will have reason to report me again.
I went through the followers of that account and deleted almost everyone except for four people: Bethany, Alexa, Sophie, and Marie, and I’m almost positive they won’t report me. At the moment, I don’t feel like I can trust anyone except maybe Bethany. I realized that a friend from freshman year, one of Marshall’s best friends, was somehow following my account (maybe from when I first made the account and wasn’t using it as what it is now), and I suspect it’s her who reported me, or possibly this other girl who’s in my theatre class whom I thought I could trust. Needless to say, I deleted them from my followers. I have four followers left, okay, actually seven, but one of them is myself, and two of those are friends who have two accounts they follow me from, so it’s only four people, but seven accounts.
Also, the surgery part you mentioned was taken completely out of context by whoever reported me. If that person had seen the other posts I made before they freaked out and reported me, they would have seen that I was referring to the previous posts I made complaining about suffering from an ingrown toenail that I was trying to get it to stop hurting. It was from Wednesday night (9/18), I wrote that I was expecting to hurt myself from irrational mental reasons, not out of actual physical necessity. I was being overdramatic when I used the phrase: performing minor surgery on myself. It felt like surgery, but in reality, it was no big deal; I was just being over dramatic in those posts and was in constant physical pain and not thinking clearly. So, I wasn’t actually hurting myself because I wanted to; I was trying to take care of myself by tending to a physical ailment/condition that I would have otherwise ignored had I been in a worse state of mind.
Speaking of Instagram, I found out a week or so ago that on my main account, Marshall unfollowed me and made it so that I’m not following him anymore. The hurt just never stops. He and I have a class together this year which has been so flipping awkward, and he ignores and avoids me during every class. I hate it, and it doesn’t help that they class we’re taking is Improv.
When you brought up the reporting, I was trying so hard not to contain myself and not fall apart. I did not want to start crying, and I felt so embarrassed even though I didn’t need to be. I don’t like crying in front of anyone as I’m sure I’ve mentioned before. It was good though that I did fall apart like that because I haven’t been able to cry/let myself cry like that in a while since I’ve felt so disconnected from the world and reality. When you were talking about how you think I don’t know how to ask for help or can’t ask for help, that was completely true. I don’t want to be a burden to others, and I also don’t know what I need; I don’t know who to go to. I need help, but I don’t know what; if I knew what I needed then it would be so much easier. At one point during that time, I put my arm and hand up over my face, I remember quite distinctly that you said, “You don’t have to hide.” I don’t know why that stood out to me over all the other things. I’m always overly conscious about how I look when I cry, and I haven’t cried in anyone’s presence in a long time. It was nice/relieving/comforting to let that out in a non-judgmental place with a trustworthy and understanding person.
At the very end of our session, you asked if I was suicidal. I conveyed that I wasn’t, but in all honesty things had been really awful for me mentally with those types of thoughts for the past two weeks or so. I had to keep myself around people or in safe places until I was too exhausted to think about anything or do anything. That day I was technically not feeling suicidal, but the days leading up to it I was. I didn’t make any attempts or anything serious like that, but I had been thinking that I would rather just not be around anymore and the way I would have acted on those thoughts, because the mental pain seemed to be getting too overwhelming. I’m doing fine now, and I’m completely safe, so there’s no reason for concern for my safety, but I felt bad for not being able to tell you that I was feeling suicidal. I was too scared to admit it because I was so afraid that I might get hospitalized again, and I cannot afford that, not now at least, and I can’t put my parents through that again. I had been thinking over the past two weeks how nice/relieving it would be to be hospitalized now, having people take care of me, getting my meds on time and not missing doses, not having the ability to cut, free from the distractions of life for a little while, access to psychological help whenever I needed it, and 24hr care. I haven’t been able to care for myself over the past couple of weeks. I haven’t been able to function or get anything done; I keep giving into the urges to cut; I’ve skipped several classes, on the weekends, I end up sleeping almost all day and night. My room is a disaster; homework is piling up because I can’t get myself to do anything productive. My health is deteriorating, and since I’ve had two med dose changes, I’m struggling with the side effects of that which has been horrible. I’ll meet with my psychiatrist on (10/4) and see about the latter part.
The same day we first met this semester, when I told you about the thirteen week streak and how you said you were proud etc., that same day, friends were telling me they were proud of me for getting so far, and then my theatre professor told me that he was really proud of me because of how I was able to get past my anxiety during one theatre class the week before even though I thought it was going to overtake me, and I wasn’t going to be able to do the things from what I wrote in improv journal. (also, for improv we have to journal, and I told him in the first entry that I go overboard with journaling. He commented that that was the point. That entry was a page and half long in a notebook. Most students write half a page or so. The next week, my third entry, was five pages…I don’t think he was expecting to that when I said I go overboard.) I also had a friend say she was really proud of what I did in one of my theatre classes, and I had been doing really well with dealing with my depression and managing it. And so, I guess on Wednesday after I reached my goal my mind allowed me to relax and put my guard for those urges down, so then my mind attacked, and I just went directly back to, “No, they can’t be proud of me. I don’t like this. They shouldn’t be proud of me. I need to give them a reason not to be proud of me.” This has happened other times when I had made it to a certain number of weeks and told some friends about it who were also proud of me, and because they showed pride, my mind was just like, “No, you don’t deserve people to be proud of you. Let’s give them a reason not to be proud of you, so they can see the disappointment you really are.”