Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Thinking About Cutting

I've been thinking about cutting recently. Not really ruminating about it but it's been on my mind. I'll drift off, find myself staring into space and thoughts will meander to fantasies of reaching for some sharp implement--my preferences are for knives. Not at all good when someone in the house is a trained chef? We have far too many and one night, PA got a little out of hand and ripped the drawer right off the the cupboard grabbing at all of them.

Anyway, don't reach for the panic button or start calling Emergency Services. I'm okay. I just wanted to talk a bit about how this now seems to be(coming?) a more fundamental part of my Bipolar identity whereas before, I felt that suicidal ideation seemed to be more of the component that I might need to do battle with on a semi-regular basis.

When I first posted about cutting I questioned my status as a "reformed" cutter since I had only cut twice in my life. I have spoken with other cutters who self-harmed on regular bases and at times, since I did not, I felt like I didn't know what to say. I couldn't quite grasp the concept as I had not practised self-harm in the same way. I did not think that I was being biased within my own community, that is not me at all! Perhaps because I felt that I never would be able to be capable of cutting outside of my previous patterns, I couldn't identify with these other souls. I now feel differently. I now feel that I am capable.

Prior to this, suicide attempts and suicidal ideation were "my worst enemies." Once after a 72 hour hold in a psych ward I was asked if I wanted to go home after a suicide attempt--my worst. I did. The psychiatrist asked me if I was still suicidal. I told him that, yes, in fact I was but with a caveat. I explained to him that I would be suicidal all of my life. It was just something that I would have to learn how to deal with. I wasn't diagnosed Bipolar at the time or erudite enough (at that moment as I was still extremely depressed) to explain the complexities of dealing with the throes, the ups and downs, but I think he understood. Since I seemed to pose no danger to myself and they really couldn't keep me there any longer, I was free to go.

I don't know what keeps me from not cutting or trying to kill myself. Good supports, meds? Remembering some very key elements and conversations from the past and what I've been through? But the battle still ensues at times. Even though I would by relative, psychiatric terms be deemed "stable."

I know that there are very few things that you can control in life. One, your words and two, your actions? Not always can you control your thoughts. But that's okay. Sometimes you need to think about things to try and gain some clarity, even if they are not always so pleasant or are sometimes painful.


The Laundress said...

Hi PA,

I am glad you are thinking about and blogging about but not actually cutting.

Sometimes, at least for me, acknowledging things HURT and you need some sort of outlet and somebody else is out there in the world hearing and recognizing that... is enough. Hope that is what might help for you too?

Here I am, I hear ya and I wish you well. You are brave and strong.

Yours truly,

Patient Anonymous said...

Thank you, laundress, your comments are very much appreciated at this time and I also thank you for attributing the words "brave" and "strong" to me. I try.

Bipolar Blog said...

Hello PA,

I ran across your blog, it caught my eye. I too have been a cutter but not severely and not often. I have Bipolar Disorder. I have learned to realize that the strongest of the emotions, whether high or low, do not have to be taken so seriously. I try to overlook them with the realization that they will pass. And with the help of Lithium :)

Patient Anonymous said...

Hi bipolar blog, thank you for commenting and visiting. Yes, there is an ebb and flow to Bipolar. I do also try to hang on to the view that better days will be on the horizon.

I am glad to hear that you have found that Lithium works for you. It never made it into my personal pharmacopeia but Topamax/Topiramate seems to be my "magic bullet."

chrysalis angel said...

Be good to yourself P.A. I have a girlfriend that is struggling so hard to survive her cancer, and she is losing her battle. Some fight so hard to stay here, while others in pain don't realize what a gift it is to be here. I understand there are times it sure does not feel like a gift, but that's for reasons I won't get into here. Things won't always be dark. Laundress made an excellent comment. Your life has now woven into our lives, you matter, and we care about you.

Patient Anonymous said...

Oh my dear c.a., you make me almost want to cry. You live up to your name and really are an angel.

I am sorry to hear about your friend. I've never had to face the physical aspects of such pain as you and your "sisters" but I know the pain of the psyche. And I have stared into the face of death by my own hand more than once and woken up in a hospital bed hooked up to various pieces of equipment. I know I can't do that again.

Bipolar is a mind-body illness and I know it's not the same thing as cancer but I can imagine how the struggles of that disease can also affect the mind...I don't know if I'm making any sense here...

I guess I'm just trying to say that both are connected--they mind and the body. And both physical and mental illnesses can do you in.

wolfbaby said...

I am glad you have a place to connect with others and an outlet to help you through the harder times...

take care

Patient Anonymous said...

Thanks, wolfbaby.

HP said...

I'm reading a book about cutting currently. It's written by a clinical psychologist who is also a reformed self-injurer. Not sure if it would be helpful or not but thought it worth mentioning - called Secret Scars by V J Turner (not her real name).

Patient Anonymous said...

Thanks, hp. I shall try to keep that in mind. My reading is abysmal these days...I have scores of books just crying to be read. I do appreciate hearing perspectives from professionals that are of the "fellow afflicted."

Take care.