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    Thread: Relapse as an adult

    1. #1
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      Default Relapse as an adult

      Hi, I'm Cherry and this year I turned 21, got promoted, began a degree and had my biggest relapse yet.

      I self harmed as a teenager, from age 12 onwards and couldn't seem to find any way of recovering. I would momentarily replace one form of self harm with other of self harm and often let eating disorder behaviours be my way of hurting myself.

      It wasn't till I was 15 that I attempted recovery for the first time, when I was in my first real relationship, during this time I went 6 months without hurting myself and it felt like victory. Of course we broke up and I returned to my old habits for a while, but for the most part my self harm remained dormant.

      I would self harm every few months, and I managed to almost control it. I entered a really long relationship after this, during which I stayed mostly clean, only hurting myself in really bad times of distress. I think being medicated from 16 onwards helped a lot.

      Unfortunatley after 5 years my ex and I split, which I dealt with quite well. After this I engaged in other risky behaviours, and found myself late on my period which is when I stopped my medication. After stopping my medication I relapsed and I relapsed big time. I hurt myself at least once a week and nothing I do seems to help or make the urge go away. Has anyone else experienced this?

      When I was younger it felt like a choice almost, but as an adult it feels like a compulsion I can't shake. How do you then come out of it when you feel so consumed?
      Last edited by Foxjo; 11-11-18 at 20:22. Reason: As per forum guidelines no self harm specifics allowed
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    2. #2
      Senior Member SomersetScorpio's Avatar
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      Hiya, i'm sorry to hear that you've had a rough time of things, and from such a young age too.
      My issues started when I was 12, so I can relate to your post.

      Have you ever got any professional input for you mental health?
      Or are there any mental health charities local to you (such as Mind or Rethink) that run any kind of groups?

      I began self-harming at 12 and really properly stopped at 23.
      I can't be specific about what I did as it's against forum rules, but I ended up doing self-harm much worse than i'd intended. I had to seek medical treatment and to be honest, it freaked me out so much that it put me off.

      Also, I found that getting older has helped me. I don't know if you've heard anywhere else before, but scientists tend to agree that the brain doesn't actually fully develop until someone reaches 25.
      I used to find that a bit insulting when I was younger because I was smart and very mature, but it's really nothing to do with your intellectual capacity.
      For me, I found that at around 24, I started to feel like I had more emotional 'gears'.
      So rather than have my feelings going from 0-100 miles an hour really quickly, I was able to take a step back and observe what was going on. I started to give less of a shit about things that used to really hurt me (and would subsequently make me hurt myself).
      The ability to regulate my emotions improved massively.
      I think that you may find in a few years the same will be true.

      But, for now, that doesn't really help I don't suppose.
      I do think you should be a lot easier on yourself about self-harming. It's a coping mechanism at the end of the day. Ok, it's not the healthiest thing, but perhaps if you start to accept it for what it is, it might start to lose it's power of you.
      I don't know if it's true for you, but the 'badness' and 'guilt' of self-harm easily made me want to do it more. Giving yourself permission and being safe about it might relieve some of that.

      When I was a bit younger, it was very easy for me to feel relationships were some sort of cure for my mental health issues and for how crap I felt about life. I suppose it distracted me from it all.
      But it's so important to keep working on yourself no matter if you're with someone or single.
      If you get to a point where you're strong in yourself, in future the ending of a relationship won't make you want to hurt yourself again. Build up some self-esteem and know that you are a good person who doesn't deserve to be injured unnecessarily.

      I'm going on a bit so i'll try to end the post but one more thing - have you tried distraction techniques and/or found any that help?
      Or making a box for when you feel like self-harming? Like a self-care box filled with nice things you can do for yourself (e.g. aromatherapy sprays, colouring-in book, favourite chocolate/sweets etc.)?
      Thanks Mayflower7 gave thanks for this post.

    3. #3
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      Hi, thanks for your response.

      I totally get what you mean, I feel like when I was younger my natural response to any negative emotion was to hurt myself. These days it seems less emotion based and more like a compulsion I need to do. The episodes are much further spaced apart now.

      I have had medical help over the years, I was with children's mental health till I was 15, and they diagnosed me with anxiety and depression. I was put on medication by my doctor a year after leaving them and now at 21 I'm being referred back into the system.

      My doctor thinks I have bpd, but for that you need a pschiatric diagnosis which we're waiting on. I try so hard to to rely on other people for my recovery, which is why I worked so hard when I left my ex but this year things have gone so downhill. I'm having to go to the emergency room frequently for medical attention to injuries.

      I guess when I start getting help again and maybe switch up medications of dosages things will improve. I'm taking a break from relationships now to focus on my health and I hope it also works to improve it.

      Thank you again for your response!

    4. #4

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      I am glad that you are working with your physician. I would encourage you to continue to work through the process. Know that you are not alone in this. Sometimes, the hurt on the inside gets so unbearable it feels good just to have an external expression of that pain. Have you ever heard of the movement to Write Love on Her Arms? Let me know if you would like some additional articles on the topic. Otherwise, please continue to keep us posted on your progress and how things are going for you. God bless.

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