How Long Will It Hurt?

It’s been an interesting weekend. I have self-harm and suicidal thoughts again.

Symbols I'm Pondering: How Long Will It Hurt?

Anxiety rears its head. This time I’ve been able to manage the thoughts instead of their managing me, though it took all of my energy not to give in to the thoughts. I took several naps because I was so exhausted from keeping the thoughts at bay. Many thanks to all who talked to me on Twitter and Facebook over the weekend to help me manage the thoughts! Last night I talked with my doctor about them, and he trusts me with my safety plan, which I’ve been using.

So what is the anxiety about that triggered these thoughts?  Sadness at my mom leaving and then being on my own during the week again? Maybe on the surface, but what else? Identity issues, for one thing. What am I scared to find in my self? I already picked the wrong career, though I now get to pick a better one for me. Another thing triggering anxiety is grief about these identity issues, though I feel like I’m beating my head against a wall. I don’t know what will cause a breakthrough. But the anxiety that is causing dangerous thoughts has something to do with these grief and identity issues.

I thought that summarizing the last 9 months might help. A few friends had not heard yet and I wanted to ask for their support. Summarizing was quite hard, and so much got left out. I think it was a good exercise anyway, though it didn’t cause the breakthrough I was hoping for. I’m going to the pool later. I hope exercise will help decrease the anxiety or work it through.

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9 responses to “How Long Will It Hurt?

  1. summarizing is a good idea. I found that putting things on paper helped to see how far I’d come, even how far I had to go.

    Do you feel well enough to find a volunteer job? I found staying busy a couple hours a couple days a week in thrift shops helped. The women didn’t care why I was there, though eventually I had enough trust to open up. When my medical leave ran out, I actually worked p/t at one of the thrift shops where I had been a volunteer. Libraries are often good places to volunteer too.

    **I know that was a part of my journey, so take it as descriptive, not necessarily prescriptive, maybe it will spark an idea of your own.**

    (Another time I was off work, I helped demolish walls in a building that was being renovated. That was wonderful, hitting down walls, wearing a hard hat, getting really really physically tired and dirty.)

    I’m so glad your mom was able to come visit you and totally understand the anguish of having her leave.

    • Thanks, Suzi! I’m not cleared to volunteer yet, tho it is in the plan eventually. Even when I’m doing things I’m haunted by this hurt feeling and a need for a breakthrough of some sort. Good thing I see my therapist tomorrow!

  2. Chose the “wrong career.” Really? Wasn’t it the career that was right at the time and became less and less a good fit? Could be projecting — wouldn’t put it past me — but I was a college professor for a decade decades ago, couldn’t imagine being anything else and then couldn’t imagine another breathing minute in the classroom. Decades and other careers later, I realize that it was the right career at a particular time in my life and that the deeper identity (“teacher”) has been more durable. What, from your time as a pastor, is durable? Might be way too early to tell but I’m guessing your ability to care, love and teach has staying power no matter what you choose to do next.

    • I think you’re right – there are very many durable things from my time as pastor. As it turns out, the career of pastor exacerbated my illness. So I’m finding it hard to think it was right at the time. Just that I did what I thought was right until I knew better. Now I know I need another kind of job. I hope in the same field with some things the same! Would love to follow my interest in teaching and sociology of religion and my passion for inclusivity in church communities for all people.

  3. I am sorry about the self-harm thoughts. I have been there and know how difficult that can be. I reiterate that a friend stopped having suicidal thoughts by taking salmon oil pills (and her meds).

  4. chrissy tobias

    don’t forget deb….sometimes, there IS NO answer to “these thoughts”….you can work yourself up all you want and never find the answer you are looking for. that is what this illness does to you, to us. It rears its ugly head, and wants you to think you did something to cause it, but that’s exactly it, there is not necessarilly a reason for this. Sometimes…it just is….and it is causing MORE anxiety by trying to figure out the whys, and how to fix it, then if you, I all of us would just say, “ok illness, I hear ya, and I’m not going to let you take over my life. I don’t like you, but I accept you are here, and I can learn skills to live WITH you instead of against you.” I know you will get to this point sometime …. It’s still early, you seem to still be in the analyze everything stage…look for an answer to everything…. soon you will see there isn’t an answer out there….. if there was…. there would be no need for meds, or ECT, or doctors, or hospitals, or therapists, because we would all already know what was wrong. Now, don’t get me wrong…. I can see this from the outside in, but even in my own mental illness I often find myself doing the exact same thing…. it is no easy feat…but that is why we have a support system and why we have therapists and have to costantly remind ourselves that we are imperfect beings, and we cannont do this alone. YOU are loved Deb, and each day something good will happen…. just look around for it…. because it’s there…. even if it’s just someone smiling at you on the street.
    see you next week….I’m still in Canada until Sunday. Ttyl!

    • Thanks so much, Chrissy! I so appreciate your wisdom about this illness, just the time you’ve spent living with it, and to share it with me too. Thank you!

  5. chrissy tobias

    that’s what friends and support systems are for right? 🙂

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