Security Blankets

My recovery from depression and anxiety seems to be moving in a positive direction. Yay me! Smiley face ?

While I am still – for now – taking medication to assist me, I am hopeful that over the course of the next year I’ll wean myself off and get back to my “normal” – whatever that is. I really have no idea…

There are habits I developed over the last couple of years that have become like security blankets. One of the major ways I dealt with anxiety was through self-harm – cutting in particular. And while I feel I have made big strides in this area – particularly this year – I am not ready to let it go.

I always – always, always, always – have a razor blade with me at every given moment. Just in case.

Just in case of what?!

I still live in fear the shit will hit the fan again. I’m finding it hard to let go of the fear someone will die, or my kids will get into trouble, or someone will become really ill, or I’ll lose my job, or I’ll be in a high-conflict situation, or we’ll have a financial disaster, or my marriage will fail, or any one of the other major stresses I’ve been struck with will knock me down again. And again. Despite the fact that so far in 2017, I have had nothing but positive news, I’m still fearful.

I feel the only way to cope with such stress is through cutting – immediately. I know it’s not a great coping tool. In fact really it’s an avoiding tool – not a coping tool at all – because it just delays the emotional turmoil and the acceptance of the situation to a later date. And yet – the thought of getting rid of those blades sends my anxiety levels quite high. I can’t bear the thought of it at this point in time. To feel safe – they have to be with me at all times. Which did make my recent flights slightly problematic as I couldn’t travel with razor blades on the plane. I survived those few hours without having a panic attack though.

I also developed the habits of avoiding and numbing my emotions through computer games (a lot of Candy Crush happening!) and writing. The first is purely pointless and achieves nothing. The second is more productive and does analyse my emotional state at the time – so I’m not convinced it’s all bad! However either way, I’m avoiding emotions at all costs and this is very unhealthy.

The final issue I’m still struggling with is procrastination. I avoid doing anything as I still have a sense of, Why bother?! Which is a hang over from my many, many months of suicidal ideation. What’s the point of worrying about cleaning the house, or cooking healthy meals, or doing anything productive at all, if you’re not planning on hanging around?! However I made the decision to hang around, so I need to participate rather procrastinate in life.

I do feel I’m getting better at this – but it is a steep learning curve.

I also had a large stash of medications put away for “just in case” and it has been very challenging to let that go (I confess… it is still there…) But I am making a conscious decision to start using the medications when I have a migraine so now the “stash” is getting smaller rather than larger, and there will come a point where it is no longer a lethal dose. That hidden cache however, also made me feel safe. Really safe. That at any time of my choosing – if the emotional and psychological pain became too overwhelming to endure – I could opt out. As that is no longer an option I am willing to accept, I am finding it a bit anxiety inducing to consider the burdens of a long life, without these safety nets.

The safety nets I have relied on in my disordered eating are purging and restricting, as well as constant weighing. I have made very little progress in any of these areas, but I’m starting to believe perhaps recovery is a remote possibility. Maybe. I’m still not convinced… The thought of not purging, restricting and weighing is so foreign I can barely comprehend it. And the thought of not engaging in those behaviours is severely anxiety inducing.

I am sure I have always had security blankets – I guess we all do. The difference being, my safety net became very unhealthy. I hope to discover what the healthy options are for dealing with the curve balls that are tossed out to all of us from time to time. I hope my future security blankets are soft and nurturing, not sharp and destructive.

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