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feeling sad and I need some advice


Lie_low
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I would like advice about what I should do because I am really not doing well. Nothing works anymore. I have all these scars and I am so ashamed of them. Eight years of self-injury isn’t a good thing. In the past few years I have avoided self-injuring on obvious places like my arms in the hope that my scars would fade, but I gave in last week. I am at a loss. I can’t give up but I don’t know what to do. I can’t tell anyone because I don’t want to upset or disappoint them. I am trapped with no way out.

I went to a doctor about my sinus problems even though I hate going and never do. I had never seen him before. I told him that I was drinking everyday but I was not truthful about the amount. I wore a tight shirt and the nurse didn’t make me roll up my sleeves, but stupid anxious me… my heart was racing because of the anxiety. The doctor brought up my high blood pressure and wanted me to come back in a few weeks to check it. I am young and of normal weight. He suggested that it was a result of anxiety about being around doctors and nurses. (That is the case but I know that the same thing will happen next time) I can’t calm myself down. It is so embarrassing. I was thinking about telling my doctor about what has been going on when I go back but I don’t know if that would be a good idea.

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You should see a therapist! Maybe not your general practitioner doctor as he may not fully understand what or why you SI. You must pick yourself up at your bootstraps and move forward. Just because you relapsed into SI again after so long does not mean ou should give up! Your years of no SI is such an accomplishment that noone can take away from you. But you must identify with a therapist why you were driven to relapse into SI again. Fortuneatly it is soner then later and you have identified that SI is a bad idea. Good luck and God Bless!

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Hello Meredith, while I understand you do not wish to share your SI issues with others, perhaps you should be forthcoming with this doctor you met for your sinus problem. Tell him about how much you drink, your anxiety around doctors, and your SI. The doctor will be able to give you the help you need or at least give you referrals to see a therapist to address your issues, and you do not need to share these issues with anyone else until you wish to. But, from what I gather from your post, I agree with you that something should be done to address your SI and whatever issues you are experiencing that are leading you to SI.

Please remember you have people who care for your well being both in real life and in this community. Feel free to share your thoughts with us here.

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Thank you both for taking the time to reply. Sally-I don’t have a lot to be proud of. I certainly feel better than I did a few years ago, and I am so thankful for that, but I am still self-injuring and the longest time I have gone without it is three weeks. When my family found out about it I avoided cutting my arms, but I began hurting my legs more because it was easier to hide.

My experience with medical doctors regarding self-injury is that they don’t understand it. They assume that people do this for attention. Maybe this is due to the fact that they are more likely to come into contact with the attention-seeking type because those people are more likely to seek help while the rest of us focus on keeping everything a secret. My cuts were sometimes bad but my fear of telling someone far outweighed my desire to get medical treatment that might reduce scarring.

As far as the doctor visit goes, I don’t want to discuss my self-injury issues with him, and yes, he probably won’t understand. Unfortunately, they normally bring it up because of the scars and I never come up with a good response.

Kaudio- thanks for your kind words. I am incredibly frustrated by the way that things are going. The term downward spiral comes to mind. I can feel myself becoming more desperate. I don’t know where to begin. I have problems with food, drinking, and self-injury, and when I attempt to stop one behavior I just seem to replace it with another. I just feel hopeless about the situation. I don’t want people to get the wrong idea about me. I am doing ok and I keep my problems to myself. I am just struggling to find reasons to keep on going. I am sad and angry that I have to keep on going even though I don’t want to.

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Meredith,

I think you have been given great advice and support from our members and I want to thank them.:)

I agree with them, you really should find a good therapist to help you deal with your problems. Also, I am one of those who is pro Alchoholics Anonymous. I know many are not but I have found that, over the years of my practice, it helped many people. You do not have to stay with it forever and you have to be careful to associate with sensibel people in the meetings but, overall, I have learned that people were satisfied.

No, medical doctors do not understand much about self injury unless they are psychiatrists. That is why a therapist works much better.

Allan :)

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Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond. As far as AA goes, I found out about meetings in my area and I’m thinking about going. I don’t know if I need it or not. I see that I deal with alcohol differently than other people. I have put a lot of effort into keeping my drinking a secret from everyone, especially my family. It is difficult to think about giving up alcohol because I use it to help me feel better.

I am confused about what I should be doing. I really want to get better. Sometimes I am really depressed but other times I am really happy and enthusiastic about things. When I am depressed I feel like there is no point in trying and when I am feeling happy I think that I will get better and that I don’t need help, but then I get depressed and cope in negative ways like drinking and the cycle just sort of continues on.

Finals are over and I finally have some time to do things other than stress about what is next. Ok, so I am considering therapy. I know that this is probably a stupid question, but can anyone tell me what I should say if I call them? (My social skills are not great. Pretty bad. In high school I couldn’t even make myself say hello to another person. I am doing much better now but I still have trouble with talking on the phone and I normally get mad at myself for saying something stupid)

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Meredith,

You ask an excellent question and I am pleased that you asked it. Yes, lots of people do not know how to phrase things and then avoid asking for what they need. So, here is my advice:

When you call a therapist or therapists, tell them that you have been feeling depressed and need therapy because you wish to feel better and get on with your life. You can even tell them that you have a history of self injury and ask them if they have experience dealing with that. Actually and unhappily, this is a problem that many young women experience.

In terms of the drinking, you do with it what others do and in that way you are not different. Lots of people use alcohol to help themselves feel better. It helps temporarily but it then takes back all those good feelings and ends up rebounding into bad feelings. That is one reason why some begin to drink more: they are trying to capture that good feeling again. However, that is also temporary and the person ends up feeling ever worse.

I congratulate you for wanting therapy. Just tell the people you call your problem, do they have experience with this and with working with people your age.

Let us know how it goes...please...because we care.

Allan:)

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Thank you for the advice. I will try to do that. I don’t know how long it will take though because it seems like that would be a very difficult thing for me to do. It seems impossible that I could do that. I really hate talking on the phone. I was thinking of asking one of my sisters to help me but that seems kind of weak and maybe stupid. I probably should not involve them. I don’t know. This is really hard for me because I can’t really call anyone or answer phone calls other than those from my family or from my work. When people call me I get nervous and I don’t answer their phone calls and I generally don’t return their phone calls even though I know that I should. Then I avoid them because they probably think that I am being rude and ignoring them, and I guess that I am. I will try to work on getting help before I go back to school next month.

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  • 1 month later...

So I went to the doctor and the doctor didn’t ask me about my scars and I didn’t bring it up. The nurse saw them and she was really nice and gave me a hug. The doctor said that since I have a heart murmur and high blood pressure that he wants me to have an echocardiogram and blood tests done. I have a question about panic attacks. So pretty much every time I go to the doctor and they see my blood pressure and heart rate they ask if I have panic attacks. I say that I have anxiety but not panic attacks. One time the doctor even asked if I was on drugs (never!) because it was so abnormally high and the then asked if I had panic attacks and I said “yes” just to get him off my back. I know that the heart murmur is a separate issue but it probably wouldn’t be as much of a concern without the high blood pressure (which is mostly due to anxiety) and history of heart disease in my family. I know what happens during an echocardiogram because I have had one before. You have to take your shirt off and it’s really embarrassing. Not to mention the fact that I have many old SI scars on my chest. Basically I don’t want to go and get the test done if it is not necessary because I know how upsetting it will be to me. Should I make myself go anyway? I don’t want to go if they will just say that I’m having panic attacks because it’s not causing me any problems. It was just the doctor who thought it should be checked out.

Sorry if I am rambling here. I know it’s pretty boring stuff. I guess my question is, can a person have panic attacks and not know it? I don’t ever feel anxious I can just tell that I am anxious because I am having physical symptoms of it. I wouldn’t even give it a second thought if it hadn’t already been brought up before.

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I'm no expert, but I seriously doubt you could have a panic attack and not know it. It just doesn't sound like the medical community is clueing into you. How are you doing with finding other kinds of support lie low? I went to al-anon for a while and it saved me from the brink at a time when I had no other support. A therapist would know the most about anxiety management.

Here's a question, can you get used to anxiety so that you don't even appreciate that it's way too high? I don't mean panic attacks, just high levels of anxiety. Maybe that's what the medical tests are picking up on. They just are not giving you the right help on what to do about it.

Oh, and you are not boring us. Wouldn't you say most of us here struggle with anxiety? I know I do. Lately I've been feeling like I have an ulcer or some such thing.

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Finding my way,

Yeah, I don’t really think I have panic attacks. I know I can’t really be objective about it but I did look at the symptoms for a panic attack and I only seem to have two or three symptoms and it says that four must be present. I think that your question about the anxiety makes sense. I deal with it so much of the time that I only notice when it really peaks, like it did yesterday.

I don’t have any support in real life. I was referred to a therapist that specializes in self-injury and related issues so I should probably call but I feel stupid about it. Sometimes I wish that I could tell someone in real life about it but I doubt that it would help. I am just so private that I can never tell anyone about what is going on or that I am feeling anything other than good. I get really uncomfortable when I think that people know too much about me and if I do share something I normally regret it. I guess an example would be when my grandma died last month. I didn’t tell anyone but I needed to ask for time off to go to the funeral so I reluctantly told my manager after she rejected my initial request for time off. I felt bad that I said anything about it and I didn’t like it when my coworkers found out and asked me how I was doing. Being emotional is not fun and it’s just easier to keep on going and pretend that everything is fine when nobody knows about it.

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Can it be that lying low is what you know? I ask that with utter respect. You have survived up to this moment using the best strategy you could. Those surviving mechanisms get developed way early when we are too young to really have the tools to do any better. And being so deep seated, they are very hard to change on our own. When the relationships around us have not helped us find a new way that lets us come into our own, we stay clamped down. That is why we really do need help. At least that is what I had to do anyway. I have deep respect for my young self that was doing the best she could in a difficult situation. I bear her habits and limitations with me and together sometimes we get to discover new ways. That's something I've learned from therapy. Not to hate myself, but work with myself.

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Thanks for the reply. I’m not offended, and what you said made me think a little. I guess I had to deal with some things and maybe I was doing the best I could. I don’t know.

I really don’t want to do the heart test and I don’t know if I can make myself go through with it, especially since they probably won’t find anything wrong anyway. It’s mainly because of the scars on my chest. I feel extra ashamed of them. I know I shouldn’t care because it doesn’t really matter what they think but I’m still afraid.

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It just seems to me that you need more support for these things than you have. I would need a therapist to help me. By the way, I would never have gone in on my own initially. I was tricked into it by a friend!! He said I would be talking about him, since I had questions about why he was seeing a therapist. When I went in, the subject was me:eek:. Luckily, the therapist was good, and I knew he could help me, so I kept coming back.

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Guest ASchwartz

Lie_low,

You are very hard on yourself. I say that because you so often describe what you feel and what you are going through as "stupid." It is not stupid and you are not alone in these things. If you have the name of a therapist who can help then call and ask for an appointment. You need not have a discussion on the phone.

I want to point out something that you may not realize but other people make the same mistake: Psychotherapy is real life. You said that you would rather talk about your cutting to someone in real life. I have heard that type of thing before. I jokingly ask a patient who says that to me, "so, what am I, chopped liver." Most people appreciate that and go on to explain. The point is that the therapist is real and therapy is real life.

I really want to urge you to call that therapist and go into treatment.

How are you doing?

Allan:)

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Thanks to both of you for replying. I think I have been doing a little better lately. I thought about what you said and I will try to do that soon but I’m feeling overwhelmed right now and I don’t think I could handle that with everything else that’s going on. It’s silly but it doesn’t take much to stress me out. I know it’s unreasonable but I’m really afraid of doctors, and I start feeling sick because of the anxiety. I avoided going for 7 years because of it. I wish I could be more rational about it. I have 2 more appointments and hopefully none after that. I know nothing horrible will happen, just embarrassment. It’s frustrating to be aware that something is not actually a threat but still feel overwhelmed by the situation.

Edited by Lie_low
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lie_low, I participated in a kind of therapy that was incredibly helpful for me. It had me look at the different "parts" within and the roles they perform. I was actually encouraged to give them names and dialogue with them. Sounds strange perhaps, but it was incredibly effective. I bring it up because I sense you have a very strong protector part, perhaps another that is the critic, and that is something a lot of us have. They are keeping a tight reign on things, believing it is all in your best interest. It becomes a problem when they disallow your other parts to flourish, and sometimes protector and critic are so strident that vital parts of you are completely suppressed (exiled). That's not something we can ultimately tolerate. Without more of the fullness of who we are, we lose interest in trudging on, get depressed, etc. I just wish for you that you had some help getting to the fullness of you. With better support within and without, you could have some help processing the experiences that bother you, like seeing a doctor. I sense there's a belief in you that you have to tough it alone. That notion got there from something in the past perhaps...those around you couldn't help you so you steeled yourself and became independent and tough. But now where has the rest of you gone? The rest of you that tough one cannot tolerate? In a session I would actually contact the protector part and assure it so it wouldn't go into a panic, but also let it know that I was going to let in other parts. Eventually, with a bunch of negotiation, I was able to create an inhabital (is that a word?) environment for more of me to coexist in. Probably sounds nutty. It's just another approach, one that worked well for a right-brain type like me:)

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Thanks finding my way. You always have something thoughtful to say. Yes, I am very independent, and I do sometimes feel trapped and stuck in the same way of doing things and I wish there was another way. Growing up my mother created enough drama for the whole house. I remember my father telling me to be careful and not upset mom because she was threatening to kill herself. Her anger was scary and we all learned to be quiet so as not to upset her, but it was frustrating because she was often so unreasonable and we could never say what we really thought.

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I can so relate to that!! My mother wasn't suicidal, but those other descriptors sure fit. Of course you would have to lie low!!! I did not get much of anything in the way of "mirroring." My parents couldn't reflect back lovingly who I was. They just seemed to absorb in who I was and reflect back what they needed (in my mom's case) or reflect back a confusing deflection (my dad). I was so unavailable to myself as a result. This may not make sense to hear, because at the same time I was developing my go it alone style, as if "I" was all I needed. But that was a survival mode, a coping mode, and I was running on very little resources. It wasn't until I got help and years of work, that I started to be able to be less defensive and more open to help and to the rest of me. Sorry, I'm kind of going on about me. Anyway, what you say makes a great deal of sense for why you ended up coping the way you did.

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It’s fine for you to talk about your experiences. I can defiantly relate to them and I’m sure others can as well. It was hard because I would often be accused and punished for things that I didn’t do. If my father was home he could stop some of it but he was at work most of the time. I understand where she is coming from but it’s frustrating sometimes. Unfortunately we are very similar in some ways and obviously we have some of the same problems. I just resent the way she took it out on everyone else. I have tried really hard to not let my problems become everyone else’s problem, to not take my anger out on other people, but at the same time I have worried other people with my self-destructive behaviors so I know that I haven’t really been able to do that.

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi lie_low,

One of the worst things a child can experience is "random punishment." What I mean is that when a parent takes problems out on a child, that the child never understands what is going on and, therefore, never learns how to avoid punishment. For example, if a child is punished for "swearing" they at least can learn not to "swear" around the parents and it gives the child a type of control or sense of control. But, when punishment happens for no reason, then, there can only be confusion and helplessness.

Allan

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Thanks for the reply Allen. It was very difficult for me but I finally did what you guys suggested and I’m going to see the therapist next week. Thanks to all of you for your encouragement about it. I really don’t think I would have found the energy to try without the extra push. I’m not looking forward to going and I don’t know if it will work out but at least I made an effort.

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I feel so sad and desperate today. I was so rattled by a jerk customer who was mean to me. I know it wasn’t my fault and I tried to hold it together but I was so upset that it left me trembling and I just hope that nobody noticed. I wish I could have been stronger and handled it in a better way but I get scared when things like that happen. I really wish I could just forget about it and feel better. I really want to hurt myself but I’m trying not to because I know that won’t change anything. I hate that I get stuck thinking about these things that don’t really matter.

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