How can you explain relief from pain when you’re inflicting it?
I guess the best way I can explain it is when you’re little and you get hurt and start complaining about how you hit your ankle, your parents tell you, jokingly “I could punch you, then you wouldn’t be worried about your ankle?”
We inflict physical pain to distract us from our emotional pain. Although it’s not our brightest plan, it’s the one we have. And when you do this, every time you’re emotionally hurting, it becomes a ritual, to the point where it yes it numbs the pain, but you also become numb to the ritual. Just like an addict, you can’t smoke the same amount of smack and expect it to get you high. You’ve got to increase the amount you smoke and how often you do it. Just like cutting. Soon you find the affects wear off faster than you wished, so the more often you have to do it. There are times, yes, when you don’t answer right away, also like an addict, you go through withdraw. You become anxious and shaky, where’s my blade? You don’t have time to find it, so where is the next closest, sharpest item? Okay, nothing sharp. You’re desperate. At this point you need anything you can find. In desperate measures, you search for anything, anywhere.
I remember when I was younger, waiting until everyone was in bed sleeping, I didn’t want anyone to interrupt. I snuck into my closet, sat on the floor, took out my pink box cutting knife and began.
Unfortunately, my sister loved to have sleepovers in my room almost every Friday. One night, I had to cut and I couldn’t wait for her to fall asleep. So I again, snuck off into my closet and cut. Ashamed that I was tucked into a closet, hiding from a little girl who looked up to me, I began to cry. First quietly, then I was bellowing. It scared my sister so she got my dad. I heard him shuffle into my room, yelling my name, I quickly pulled my sleeves down and hid my pink little box cutter knife and opened the door, drying my tears with my sleeves. My dad, upset, loudly tells me that I am upsetting my sister and to get out of the closet and get over it. What “it” he was talking about, I don’t think he knew. But no scaring his daughter, that was final.
I guess that even now, five years later, I still get the craving. Sometimes it’s over nothing, sometimes I am feeling numb, but mostly when I want to feel alive. I get the urge when I feel like dying and I don’t want to die. So what do I want? I want to cut. I want to feel. I want to see the blood that flows through me, keeping me alive, just give me a taste of life. But I haven’t, you know, done it. I think a year ago I slipped up and brought the kitchen scissors into my room and began to, but I was caught. I didn’t remember the event at all, not even if I actually went through with it. But we’re sticking to the 5 years story.
So today I was writing notes on what I want to discuss with my therapist and I wrote, “How can you explain relief from pain when you’re inflicting it?” I guess I answered my own question. I guess that’s what therapy is also about – how you can work through things when your therapist isn’t there. You learn to be insightful. I think my therapist would be proud for my problem solving skills.
I guess my follow up question, is why do we experience relief from inflicting pain? How do we know to do it? I don’t remember bringing home a pamphlet on how and when to cut? So where did I come up with it? Sorry Jody, but I will be coming to you for this one.