[trigger warning for self-harm talk]
I have been reading people’s posts and comparing myself and my behavior because that’s what I do even when I don’t mean to, looking for similarities to try and understand myself and why my life seems so different from other people’s lives. It doesn’t help that I grew up in a community of people who prided themselves on being “in the world but not of it” so I don’t have a good sense of what is ‘normal’ for entirely too many really basic things. Plus I have always been fat, so most of my life every complaint or illness I had was diagnosed as a need to lose weight. Skin problems? Lose weight. Back pain? Lose weight. Feeling sad? Lose weight. Anyway, as an adult I have had some success in finding out the actual causes of my problems, but sometimes things pop up that I didn’t even know were problematic until I meet people who talk about things in ways that change my perspective.
I never thought of what I do as self-harm even though I have a ton of scars from it. I have a new doctor and she commented on the scratches and scabs on my legs. She was totally professional but I felt so much shame and guilt and wanting to hide them. It was really intense, but I only noticed it for the first time because she doesn’t make me feel ashamed for simply existing, so there was a contrast. I explained it by how it happened, which is scratching in my sleep, but I didn’t talk about the self harm part which is picking at any scratches and keeping them from healing. It’s something I’ve always done, semi-compulsively, with any skin imperfections. It’s why I don’t have more tattoos, because its incredibly difficult for me to not mess them up during the healing process.
I have had periods where I haven’t been scratched up but it’s always been because I haven’t been cut or bitten or had dermatitis or acne. I’ve never really cut on myself so maybe that’s why I never made the connection before coming to HS. I still don’t know if it isn’t some other kind of problem but I thought I would look at Rewrite and see if it applies.
The larger issue is It makes me feel of overwhelmed just because it’s one more thing on a huge list of defects or issues or problems. I’ve got decades of poor coping mechanisms to unravel and I keep finding more differences and then it’s hard to pick out what is pathological and what is natural introversion or different but perfectly legitimate preferences for things.
At least I have some healthy coping skills that I’ve learned once I figure out where I need to apply them. I have DBT skills for working on shame and guilt and emotions I want to change, and interpersonal effectiveness skills which work when I remember to use them. Sometimes I wonder if there is really any me to be uncovered in all this and if it is worth all the digging. But I feel like all this is to protect something so I guess I’ll keep trying even at this late date.