So, it’s been a long time since I last blogged. Lots has changed.
I am now living in supported accommodation yay! It’s very good here. I have a lovely support worker and I’m doing pretty well. I’m in a relationship with my ex again, and it’s going well so far.
I’d like to talk about a few things today; firstly about my diagnosis and secondly I’d like to talk about self harm.
My diagnosis is Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder. I’m not sure how many times I’ve mentioned it already… But it would mean a lot to me if you could wrap your head around it, dearest reader. I have extreme mood swings. I may look fine on the inside but something may have changed on the inside. I’m very sensitive. I have extreme lows of depression, but, as I feel things very strongly, my highs are correspondingly very high; I feel both extreme joy and extreme sadness. I can be impulsive, and not in ways that are necessarily noticeable or overly obnoxious. I decide very quickly that yes, I will have ten cookies or no, I won’t leave the house today. I have many unhelpful coping strategies for toning down my extreme emotions. I sometimes get really anxious about seemingly small things, and have to fight hard to face my fear. Having EUPD really affects my every moment of every day.
Now, back to unhelpful coping strategies: today I’m going to talk about self harm. Self harm seems very scary to outsiders, I appreciate that. I’m not hurting myself for attention, if anything I DON’T want you to know I do it. My emotions, as I have said, are very extreme. I’m not just saying this; I feel things strongly! Sometimes, too strongly. Sometimes I want to tone it down, or let my mind go blank. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed. At these times, I may turn to self harm. Self harm is very ingrained behaviour, sometimes I don’t realise I have self harmed until after the event. I KNOW self harm is bad and unhelpful. But the point is, it is very effective at calming me down.
Types of self harm; it’s not all ‘angsty teenager’ stuff. There are many ways of self harming, some are quite subtle! The most obvious and widely known form of self harm is cutting/burning the skin. This can be done to any part of the body; often in places that are not ever visible to others. Pain can be grounding and the act of self harm releases endorphins; this behaviour can be very addictive.
There are less well known forms of self harm; binge eating or overeating as a form of self harm is something I am ashamed of, but suffer with. The effects are less immediately visible. But often eating rubbishy food in vast quantities is accompanied by lovely self-loathing thoughts such as ‘I deserve to be fat’ and very uncomfortable physical sensations of being bloated etc. One can alternatively self harm through neglect of oneself; by restricting food or water ‘because I deserve it’ or by not looking after oneself – such as taking less care in my appearance, letting chores build up etc. Another form of self harm, one that I only recently realised I do is deliberate sleep deprivation; forcing myself to stay up beyond a reasonable hour, knowing my eyes hurt, my brain hurts, I’m drained and that tomorrow I’ll have a sleep hangover!
Phew. Those are all the self harms I can think of, but the take home message is that ANY self-damaging act can be seen as self harm. It can be very subtle, or blatantly obvious. I am not proud to say I self harm often, to regulate my emotions. But my aim today is to shine a light of awareness on it.
I hope you have found my post interesting or educational. Feel free to ask me any questions (I think you can be anonymous!) in the comments.
Thank you for reading,