content notes: specific functions of self harm, suicidal thoughts

I’ve been hearing a lot of things from both inside and outside my head. Messages that I will get through this and be okay. I’ve been through difficult times in relationships before; however this ends I will not only survive, but come out stronger.

I was also so tired today I thought about killing myself just so I wouldn’t be so tired anymore; I needed to scratch myself to stay focused on driving. The pain was so helpful, it brought me back into my body; these are my arms, I’ll scratch them if I need to and now I can feel them again!

I felt like my final guitar lesson of the semester was a disaster because I couldn’t focus on finding notes/chords in different positions on the fretboard. It became easier with time and when my teacher stopped doodling on his guitar to ask guiding questions such as “what note is your pinkie on?” Then I struggled with the rhythm exercises he gave me to do.

I’m really worried that all the time I’ve spent feeling miserable and thinking about my relationship with Fox and how much I’m hurting is interfering with my cognitive abilities (such as focusing on a task that involves memory and analytical reasoning). I also couldn’t sleep the other night; last night I slept fairly well but today I still felt completely worn out. I’m worried that soon there will be nothing left.

Mom and I went to a women’s group / life coaching session… thing. At first I was thinking, “This so isn’t for me, I don’t know what I’m going to say because I don’t belong here at all…” But I stayed and listened to the women’s stories and even felt empowered to come out as having depression and anxiety. I also shared that I’m not happy with my marriage and I feel like I’ve lost all my focus on who I am and what I want to do. Having that heard and accepted by the group was very healing.

I didn’t talk during the rest of the group time, but listening to others share their experiences and especially solutions was very helpful. For example, I’ve decided that I’m going to pretend I’m the best professional in my field at interviews; hopefully that will help me find an internship (and jobs).

At the end of the session we did a guided meditation that involved everyone connecting to each person individually with beams of light. It was really cool, especially when it was my turn and I got to just bask in the positive energy everyone was sending me. The best part of it, though, was learning I could be connected to others and send out positive energy to them, even in the midst of my depression.

Unfortunately, near the end of the meditation the life coach said someone had a blocked chakra that was disrupting the energy and asked if anyone had a headache. My skull felt like it was being crushed, so I thought she was talking to me. “Oh no, I’m ruining the energy for everyone else, I’m so sorry, I shouldn’t have come here!” I wanted to withdraw until I disappeared; it killed the whole sense of safety and belonging I’d found so healing.

In the end it turned out to be someone else; the life coach told me, “I know it seems like it’s you, but it’s not.” We talked a bit and I got to talk to a couple of other group members, who were very supportive. Talking to one in particular (who’s been divorced twice) helped me to clarify how I feel and what course of action I want to take for the near future.

To be honest, I’m not convinced Fox wants it enough to do the work necessary to heal our relationship. If that’s the case, nothing I can do will make it livable for me.

I can’t just walk away from our marriage, though, because to me it’s supposed to be sacred. I need to feel that I’ve done my part: that I’ve communicated my needs and feelings to him, worked with him to try and make things better, been responsive to the needs he’s expressed, etc. Who knows, maybe he’ll “step up to the plate” and we’ll have a really good relationship. I want to at least allow for the possibility of that happening.

If he doesn’t, my first priority needs to be my own well-being. I can’t spend my whole life in a relationship that’s keeping me from being a productive member of society, fulfilling my dreams, and most importantly feeling like a whole person.

Mom said a lot of really awesome things to me today; I wish I’d recorded them so I could replay them when I need a pick-me-up. I’m not sure of the specific words she used, but the gist of it is this: “You deserve to be happy. You’re important. I will stand up for you.”

Weekly Links

I’m finding it very hard to express myself in words right now, but I read some very interesting articles today. Please check them out and let me know what you think. (This may become a weekly feature to help myself post more regularly.)

On the Difference Between Trigger Warnings and Content Notes, and How Harm Reduction is Getting Lost in the Confusion – I like knowing about potentially-triggering material in advance so I can decide whether and when to read/watch/listen to something; it helps me feel safer.

The Social Model of Disability and Person-First vs Identity-First Language – I love the social model of disability and have thoughts about re-framing how I write about my anxious depression. For the time being at least, I prefer person-first language.

“Unhealthy” or “Inappropriate” Actions as Communication and Survival – permission to be, and interesting implications for raising children (especially, but not limited to, those with special needs)

The Uses of Negativity: Survival and Coping Strategies for Those of Us Who Are Exasperated by the Empty Promise of “It” Getting “Better” – a good reality check, and hopefully movement toward reducing stigma so people can be more honest with themselves and others and get the support they need (or at least engage in the self-care they need)

The Icarus Project “Hurting Yourself” Workbook – normalizes and contextualizes self-harm; asks questions to help one clarify the functions of self-harm, minimize safety risks, and consider alternatives

Suicide is an Act of Bodily Autonomy – Not Beauty. Response to “Suicide is Not Beautiful” – argues for bodily autonomy for all people, including people with mental illness. also argues that expressing suicidal thoughts (e.g. in poetry) can be a means of survival

Suicide is Not Beautiful – against romanticizing suicide by women; against limiting women’s acts of violence or disruption to self-harm and viewing those acts as more acceptable than any that would hold others (men) accountable / create societal change