Add to Technorati Favorites

Friday, December 5, 2008

Sometimes following directions is just stupid.

When I was visiting the special place for people like me at the hospital eighteen months ago, one of the things I was required to do before I could go home was sit through therapy and videos (not fun ones) and take psych tests and do jigsaw puzzles. Actually, the doing puzzles part was my own requirement because I had to do something to fill the time and that was the only thing I was allowed to do. The first night I wasn't even allowed to have a phone or something to write with. Darrin brought me some books, but I was watched the entire time I read them. So...puzzles seemed to be a better choice. 

I mention this visit because during one of the eternal therapy sessions I was required to make a "survival kit", which was basically a list of things I should do when I begin to feel overwhelmed to the point that self-harm of any kind seemed a logical step. I need to say, that since my release, those impulses have been virtually non-existent, and I've gone through some fairly overwhelming times. But this is number 3 on my list:

If I begin to feel deeply sad (or angry, or frustrated...just fill in the blank with whatever delightful emotion seems to fit), I need to tell someone--more than one person if possible. 

I asked the psychiatrist why. She said sometimes just saying what we feel to another person helps the emotion seem less daunting. She also explained that then I have some accountability. I'm probably not going to do anything unhealthy if I know other people are aware of what I'm feeling. 

This theory has been seconded by my first counselor, my interim counselor (who met with me between my times with Therapist), and Therapist. So--given that I've been told to do this by four mental health professionals, you'd think I would have tried it earlier. But I haven't.

When I'm feeling sad, the last thing I want to do is tell someone. I'll run till I drop. I'll work nonstop. I'll run some more. But I don't want to talk about it. At all.

But the past few weeks have been rough. And two days ago I found myself feeling deep sadness, more intensely than I can ever remember experiencing. So, I pulled out my "survival kit" and remembered that everyone I've counseled with highly recommended number 3. So I chose three people and told them I was sad.

Notice--not one, THREE.

And I have to say--it doesn't help at all. It's a stupid, stupid, stupid thing to do. I don't feel less sad. I just feel embarrassed that I confided in anyone in the first place. So...embarrassed AND sad. That is not better.

I'm crossing it off my list. It is much better to just be sad and wait till it passes, than to be mortified that I actually told someone and sad at the same time. 

Stupid number three.

1 comment:

  1. Sam, I don't know why you would feel embarassed -- you shouldn't.

    As someone who deals with self-harm issues, I couldn't begin to think to judge you, just like I don't judge my sister, either, when she tells me of what she's feeling along those lines.

    Don't be embarassed...and, you know, you've told a lot more people now, too.

    If you need to tell someone who you shouldn't feel embarassed about telling, you may 100% tell me.