I have a HUGE history with self harm. This behavior began probably around age 11 and lasted through my late 20’s until I was able to name it for what it was and work on stopping it. I usually justified that it didn’t count as self harm because I wasn’t leaving any physical marks on my body.
I discovered this list the other day and without a doubt I have participated in most of the behaviors on this list at one time or another and couldnt recognize at the time that these were indeed self harming behaviors. I am glad they are being recognized as such because it will bring more awareness to others who are struggling with them as I did for many years.
While I am not actively self harming now, I am also glad I can refer to this list and check myself if I start slipping back to that place.
15 self harming behaviors
We had an unexpected snow storm which left us with nearly a foot of snow and the promise of being home bound for a few days. While inconvient, I am so grateful for the opportunity to slow down as I realize that I started to do what I always do—-make too many commitments and stretch myself too thin.
On top of all of that, I started taking the mini pill as a form of BC which was a terrible idea. Within 3 weeks of starting it I began to suffer SEVERE depressive symptoms like, WAY worse than the baby blues I had been having prior (which were pretty bad, but getting substantially better right before I started taking the pill).
It was pretty scary stuff, but I literally stopped taking the pills 2 days ago and feel completely “normal” again so I know the pills were what was causing my symptoms and not my own bio chemistry.
Back to the iud I go, I guess. Quite honestly I haven’t found a form of BC that doesn’t mess me up in one way or another, but I’ll take discomfort over depression any day.
“Same as it ever was…”
I am just full of contemplations lately. Maybe its because I don’t have a lot of adults to converse with at this time. Maybe its because I am transitioning into a new phase of life. Remember that “letting go” I was writing about last time? It’s starting to happen. My grasp is starting loosen. I am beginning to shift, ever so slowly into this new “mother” whoever she is.
I read that the transition from one child to two is harder than the transition from no child to one child. I can certainly see that now. You’d think it would be easier because you’ve “done this all before”, however because once you’ve already established your identity as a parent and your routine with your older child and finally have been able to carve out yourself in terms of parent and personal, someone new comes in and you literally have to start from scratch. You have to reestablish the family and time and resources (monetarily and energetically) The “mother” I was with one kiddo is not going to be the mother I am with two. The space I had for “other things” has shrunken in 1/2 in an instant. That isn’t to say that I am regretful or anything…it’s just not how I expected it to be. I thought, rather naively, that things would return to “normal” at some point (hahahahahahahahaha) but in reality I am starting to build a completely new “normal” which may or may not include elements from the “normal” of the past.
This is both exciting and terrifying all at once. I am leaning into it, and little by little it gets ever so slightly easier to be present. To be here with all of the uncomfortable feelings and in the process of change and letting go. It’s such an amazing opportunity to be here, and I am grateful for it, even in all of its madness.
Here are some pics of some more things I am grateful for:
For the last three days I’ve been seriously considering going into “semi creative retirement”
I feel completely pulled in two directions and don’t feel like I can give myself enough to either motherhood or creative pursuits. I want to fool myself into thinking I can have it all, but in reality we haven’t really evolved enough as a society to have childcare and matters of the home be divided equally and I find myself doing too much, exhausted as a result. I feel distracted by my own crazy big ideas when I should be doing nothing but encouraging my little ones’ own creative journeys. I don’t feel like I’m being a good mom and I don’t feel like I’m being a good artist.
I fantasize about going on tour in Europe with two young children in tow, mathematically trying to make it work somehow in my head, but it never adds up. I dream of traveling with the family and bringing entertainment and poetry and adventure to all of their lives, but the roots here run too deep. Raj starts kindergarten in the fall and soon we will be bound here for awhile. A part of me wants to drop everything and go—to escape my shortcomings as a parent and poet—to distract myself from the fact that I am still not where I want to be creatively, despite all of the achievements and progress I have made.
Ultimately I feel like I have been trying to succeed in my profession for 20 years and missed the boat somewhere. I feel distracted—-unable to truly focus on my craft at this time and it isn’t fair to my art or to my children. I feel like I have two ropes attatches to me, pulling in opposite directions.
What else do I want to do creatively? What am I moving towards anyway?
- I want to have a book of poems published by a legit publication
- I want to tour Europe one last time and say goodbye to that person I was when I was there, apologize to a few people, and give a fond farewell to a naive dream I once had that I could have belonged there somehow.
- I want to complete my NEWGODS project
- I want to become an established local playwright.
That’s really it. No other goals now swirling in my head. I’ve checked off most from my list.
I think for the next five years I’ll be heibernating. Damn it’s hard to let go. Damn do I feel like a bad mom and guilty for having my own goals that do not involve my whole family unit. Motherhood is so damn challenging. You’re expected to give up all part of yourself selflessly, but I’ve always wanted to save at least a bit for myself.
I had a dream last night where one of my counseling clients turned out to be one of my rapists
It was bizarre and he and I discussed what happened between us. He seems somewhat remorseful.
I turned off all the lights in my office and he whispered something to me in the darkness
I tried to feel closure in this encounter
I tried to feel like I have healed from it
Truth is that I will always be healing
Truth is so will he.