Self-Destructiveness

I get a daily reminder (on only weekdays, no weekends) of positive thinking. It usually hits my email at about 3am.

Sometimes, it’s hokey. Sometimes it is just too woo-woo even for me.

But, then again, sometimes it hits a note I really need to hear.

Today’s is:

When someone is so “desperate” to have what they want to have, do what they want to do, or be who they want to be, Cat, that they’d rather take little, tiny, teeny steps in the direction of their dreams than face one more single day of doing without, I just can’t help but open the floodgates.

It’s a bit on the woo-woo side, but struck me that that’s essentially what I’m doing, and how I’m living right now. I can’t rely on my brain like I am used to, and I have no promise that I will ever get back what I used to have.

But, there has been a little, tiny, teeny dream I have had – but that I’ve never even allowed myself to consider as a possibility. I’ve wanted to be a writer and an artist for decades. But, I had no confidence in my ability to do either. And I also had a lot of different people telling me that my writing and my art just didn’t measure up. That, if I was lucky, maybe one or two people might like it, but I would never be the kind of creative genius that my role models were.

And some part of me thought, if I can’t be like my role models, why should I try?

That bit of self-hate has haunted me for far too much of my life.

I had hidden that desire even from myself.  Enjoying the act of creation was not a good enough reason to create, so instead of creating what I wanted to, I created what would make me money.  Hell, even that ended up not being something I could dream of doing until my body just wouldn’t let me work as a secretary anymore.

You’d think I would get the clue brick.  You’d think I would only need one whack up the side of my head by the Universe’s cosmic clue-by-four.  You’d think that my body being in open rebellion against the person I was trying to be would make me understand what it was trying to tell me.

But no.  I was too focused on the “me” I had built around myself.  I was too focused on my head and not my heart.  I had created this idea of myself that the only way I can make a splash in the world is to support someone else’s talent for creativity.

And now, because I’ve taken so long to learn the lesson, I am left only with the ability to create.  I can only code some things for this blog, because actually creating a full website now takes me 10 – 20 times longer than it should.  It takes me that much longer because I make errors that even a newbie would be offended to have in their code.  Then, after I make the initial mistake, it takes me forever to FIND the mistake and fix it.

But, I am pushing myself because I do enjoy the act of coding.  I enjoy seeing a full website grow and being able to say: “I made that!” It may take years before I can say that again, because not only did I allow myself to be abused by someone else, I’ve abused myself as well.

I’m not a cutter, I don’t have suicidal tendencies (I can honestly say I have only given serious thought to suicide exactly ONCE, and that didn’t last more than a moment or two), and I don’t exhibit any of the other forms of physical self-harm.

But just like with abuse, self-harm doesn’t have to be physical in order to do damage.  Long before my ex even became a thought in my mind, I had already started being self-destructive in more subtle, less physical ways.

I’ve said before that I blocked off quite a few of my more chaotic emotions sometime in my 20s.  But, even before that, I had already been in the habit of doing so.  I was suspended from school my sophomore year for stealing from my roommate.  But the real punishment didn’t happen until I got back.  Instead of choosing to learn from my mistake, accepting that I was going to have to earn back the trust of my peers, I instead chose to ignore and hide the embarrassment.  I spent most of my sophomore year singing Melissa Manchester’s “Don’t Cry Out Loud” to myself, as I walked around the campus – which was normally all by myself. I felt it was the best way to deal with the fact that I had truly fucked up. Looking back on that, I can honestly say it wasn’t really the embarrassment I was hiding from. I eventually learned how to live with embarrassment.  It was the anger at myself for making bad choices and disappointing my parents that I was truly hiding from. I had already been telling myself I wasn’t “good enough”, I had to go a step further in order to hide the idea that I had somehow proven myself to be “bad” and “evil.”

I had to punish myself, but it didn’t feel like I was punishing myself – it felt like I was protecting myself.

Now, I’ve punished myself into a corner.  I have left no options open except that little, aborted dream from my childhood.  I can only hope that if I follow this path, that it will help me heal.

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Categories: Mental Retraining | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “Self-Destructiveness

  1. Please, don’t group suicide with other self-harming behaviors. The rape-like attitude of the anti-suicide people is getting scary.

    But so what if what we create isn’t great? If we won’t make a splash in this world? This world is pure dogshit, anyway. Besides, it’s better to create and fail then not create at all.

    A lot of the good creators are talented because, what, exactly? I don’t know but I can’t find out unless I try. If I fail, I’ll try again. It’s Sisyphus’ myth. There are only two choices – live the best you can, or die. Both are valid.

    • I understand why you think that way, but there is a difference between suicide due to emotional pain and euthanasia (even self-euthanasia). Suicide is always self-harm. Why? For the same reason cutting is self-harm. There are rational reasons for it inside of the person’s head, whether it is cutting, suicide or any other form of self-harm. Most self-harm is a coping mechanism, even the thoughts of suicide to end the cause of the suffering.

      What helps most people survive self-harm is usually going after the root cause of the serious, long-term suffering. It doesn’t matter if the suffering is due to abuse, molestation or even physical issues. Even being able to learn to manage the suffering, if it is intrinsic to your body, allows the self-harmer to cope without turning to their self-harm.

      But, some people, no matter how hard they try and no matter how many people help them, end up – like Robin Williams did – going the route of suicide, because for him, the fight never ended and all his other coping skills failed him.

      • This is a very disrespectful view of things.

        Suicidal people, despite their blasphemous thoughts still have rights. They were born without consent (like we all do) and unlike some of us, decided to reject life. It is no different than rejecting a person or a job offer.

        There is no reason to keep someone living against their will. The idea that suicidal people ‘don’t really want to die’ is hostile. In truth, suicide prevention is despised in the suicide communities. We view it the same way feminists view the patriarchy or black people view racism.

        You cannot help a person by taking away their most basic choice of living or dying. If society wasn’t so anti-suicide, then suicide wouldn’t be so harmful to society.

        It’s not our place to choose for someone to live or die, it’s theirs.

      • Not really disrespectful.

        Why?

        Because one’s behavior and who one IS are two different things. Self-harm, no matter what kind, is a behavior. It is a choice. And I am not judging the person by stating it.

        Let’s go with my example, Robin Williams. Now, not only do I respect his work but I also have a great amount of respect for him in and of himself. But, like so many comedy greats, his comedy came from a very dark place – his monologues were described by one critic as being just short of a full emotional meltdown. It is created from a deep need to cope with emotional issues. Mr. Williams fought against his emotional issues, sometimes winning and sometimes losing. He tried self-medicating not only with his comedy, but also with drugs and alcohol. And he fought a valiant fight – because with all of that pain, with whatever it was he was dealing with (because unless you were him, or a confidant of his, I don’t think anyone has the right to dig into what those issues were), with all of what he carried, he made it to age 63. That is a victory.

        But, he harmed himself, and he himself admitted it. Cocaine, alcohol, other drugs. But, he survived them, and found other less harmful ways to cope.

        And, he came to a point in his life where his mental abilities and physical abilities were being defeated by disease, no longer reliable and expected to only get worse. His wife stated clearly that if he was lucky, he only had 3 more years – and with a man so proud of what he had done (with good reason to be proud), I’m sure he couldn’t stand the idea of his family having to witness his degeneration.

        I understand his fears. My own concerns with the loss of mental reliability (although, mine are due to excessive amounts of depression and anxiety, as well as the depression that comes along with chronic pain), makes me wonder sometimes who I will be even six months from now. Will I get it back? I don’t have any clue, nor do I know how long it will take to return if ever.

        But self-harm – no matter what form of it – is a behavior. And it in no way means that the person who commits the self-harm is intrinsically “bad.” It makes them human. No one has the right to judge the kind, level or severity of someone else’s pain. What may be something that can just roll over my back and be left in the dust could destroy the next person. Does that mean I’m somehow better than the next person? No…fucking…way! I’m just differently strong.

      • Self-harm and suicide are different, though. The cutter isn’t always aware they can cause permenant nerve damage, or even aim for it. The suicidal person WANTS to die, they want death. And any time we view suicide as something that should be prevented, we’re taking agency and bodily autonomy from them.
        The demonization suicide goes through is no different than homophobia or anti-abortion. No one should stay alive more than they want to.
        Besides, suicidal people are alienated because of suicide prevention, so it doesn’t work.

      • There are two kinds of people with suicidal ideation: people who will eventually follow through, and those who find excuses not to do so. The hot-lines and other resources are for the latter set.

        Rarely will you even know about the first group until after they succeed. They’re very good at hiding exactly how much pain they feel.

        Must of the demonization tends to be directed at a sub-set of the excuse-finders: the manipulative users. They use their suicidal ideation as a threat to control others.

        Self-harm is an umbrella term used in a clinical fashion to describe behaviors that are harmful, regardless of whether they are physical or emotional. My self-flaggellation is a form of self-harm.

        I learned a long, long time ago that the excuse-giver version only commits suicide accidentally. These people tend to set up their attempts so that someone can stop them.

        Those who are truly suicides plan it out to limit any chances of being saved.

        If someone chooses death, it is their business. But, then again, I’m a reincarnationalist. To me, a suicide is really only putting themselves back at the end of the line.

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