I’ve been trying to work out why I like bleeding. J and I have been talking a bit about self harm in my therapy sessions, since I’ve got back in the habit of it. I’ve been trying to get to the bottom of the compulsion for over a year now. It’s still not much clearer.
At the tattooist yesterday something did dawn on me. As I lay there being tattooed for three hours I had some time to think about pain. And I do like the buzz you get from something that stings, the goosebumpy tingling over your skin. But more than that, I just I like to bleed. It sounds really sick, but I get a kick from seeing blood come from my wounds.
Walking up to J’s today I was pondering this. I felt ashamed of the thought, it sounds really crazy. I suppose I put that into perspective by reminding myself that I am not completely sane, therefore I am going to have some disturbing thoughts sometimes. So I braved it and told her that’s how I feel. I didn’t want to shock or repulse her, so it made me anxious.
The discussion that followed helped me make a bit more sense of it. I explained to her that it’s like the concept of blood-letting to me. Yes I know that was all nonsense, but the logic applies to me. I feel as though I am full of all this toxicity, it runs in my system, so when I bleed it is a bit like I can let some of it out.
J did her usual routine and asked me what I meant by ‘toxicity’. She always wants me to quantify the unquantifiable. I meant the dark thoughts, the negative emotions, like hatred, anger, disgust and shame. That’s so many things, all intermingled. She suggested I think about ‘letting some of that out’ with her. Often, that feels pointless, because I’m so clogged with feelings it all gets stuck and then I can’t even speak.
That was different today though. I did manage to cry a little, to talk about some really painful stuff without getting horrendously anxious or dissociating. J thought it was important. She said it’s the first time I’ve talked in a very ‘real’ way about the abuse. Usually I can’t look at it though anything but a distorted lense. Today I acknowledged some of how I feel about my parents; the realisation that I can’t change them or my history, so I’ve got to give up on that. And spoke about the grief I feel at finally coming to the conclusion that my childhood wasn’t a happy one.
I recently read a book called ‘Strong at the broken places’, in which the author compares dealing with childhood abuse with going through the stages of grief. While I disagree with the principle of a standard five-stage model for every bereft person, I could see the parallels in my therapy process. If I look at it that way, I can see that perhaps today was important. Maybe I’ve finally cracked the denial.
Today was the first time in over twelve months of therapy that I really forced myself beyond denying my experience, my truth, my suffering. J would probably call that progress. But it doesn’t feel much like it. I’m left feeling lost, like I don’t know what I can believe about myself and my story anymore. It rocks the foundations of the walls I constructed around myself to defend against feeling and really knowing. It feels raw. It hurts on a level I wasn’t aware of before.
J says I need to fight for Little Laura, the wounded child. But I feel like I’ve lost a part of myself and I don’t want to defend what’s left. I want to erase her. Forget she ever existed. And I’m so tired, I just can’t fight for someone I don’t want to save.
Photo: Timothy Fenn, Creative Commons.