I’ve had a lot on my plate lately, which means trauma work and blogging has had to be put on the back burner. Work has been so stressful, and, like I mentioned over the weekend: I’m anxious over the holidays, anxious over time with family, and anxious over having to go two weeks without therapy. It occurred to me last night that I’m also really anxious about saying goodbye to self-injury on December 6th.
I’m afraid that I’ll need cutting again one day, or that I’ll dissociate and start cutting before I even realize it. Last night, I realized that I’m also afraid of a potential relapse. The thought of relapsing is terrifying. And I get that I could relapse regardless of whether or not I say goodbye to cutting. This fear comes from past experiences with self-injury relapses though.
When I went 319 days in high school without cutting, and I cut again, my arms was literally covered. I made over 50 cuts on my arm. I couldn’t stop. Several should’ve had stitches. When I went several months without burning, and then had a bad fight with my now husband, I damn near set my whole arm on fire. My last “big” stretch (60 days maybe), I made over 20 cuts on my arm, at least two of which should’ve had stitches. It’s been almost 365 days. If I were to ever relapse at this point, I am so afraid of what that would look like. I think that falls under the category of “anticipatory anxiety.”
I think fear of relapse is probably kind of typical. In AA, I remember reaching a point in my sobriety where I feared relapsing. I was afraid of what a relapse would look like, who it would affect, and what the overall implications for my life would be. Eventually, that fear went away. The Big Book tells us we will no longer crave alcohol or fear it. I don’t think I believed that at first, but after over 4 years of sobriety, I do. Maybe the same will be true with cutting.
Like dandelion seeds, I need to just blow the fears away.