Friday, June 20, 2014

Support team (trigger for self injury)

When I was little my support team consisted of stuffed animals.

When I was a teenager my support team was a box of matches I used to burn myself with and a broken bone handled hunting knife.

When I was in my twenties I had no support team.

I ended up in therapy in 1987....(You know I just need to post that whole story. Might be helpful to someone)

When I started therapy Richard insisted he was my support team.

I wasn't so sure about that at first. It took a HECK of a lot of work on his part to convince me that I could trust him.

Early in our sessions he gave me his home number.

"I want you to be able to reach me directly, without having to go through the answering service." He said passing me over a card.

I eyed him then the card.

His brown eyes didn't waver. "I want you to call me if you are going to hurt yourself."

I felt  my eyes narrow as my system mulled that over. "We wont call you." the broken part of me finally spat out. "You will not be able to stop me."

"Probably not, but a friendly voice couldn't hurt."

I flipped the card over and over in my fingers mulling this information over. With a snort I finally tucked the card in my therapy book.

I called him a grand total of three times at home.

About a year into therapy I called him twice one night. I had already hurt my self, but the desperate wanting to heal and stop the self inflicted violence behavior finally gave me the guts to reach out.

Now, important to know is, I DO NOT LIKE MAKING COLD CALLS. NOPE, NADA, UHUH. I just don't go there.

For me to reach out for help .....a huge thing.

I dialed the number with my hand shaking so badly I had to set the card down so I could read the numbers.

Before he could even get the H in hello out I hung up on him.

I walked around the room in anguish. A huge fight in my head. CALL HIM BACK!!

Returned to the phone and dialed again...this time I walked away from the base to stop me from hanging it up.

Dissociation is a wonderful tool for not dealing with life....I step back in my head and numb out to the gills.

"Hello?" I hear his accent and I can resume breathing.

"Richard, its P...." is all I can get out before my voice cracks.

""Are you okay?" He asks.

Looking right at the bleeding injury on my arm I respond, "I feel like hurting my self."

Keep in mind he had never worked with a client who self injured before. This was new territory for both of us. I have never reach out to any one before/during/after injuring, I have no idea what will help me in this head space, and neither does he. At this point in therapy he had not seen any injuries, or scars. I am not really sure he believed me that I actually was a self injurer at that point.

We muddle through it together.

Near the end of the call he asks. "are you going to hurt yourself?"

I am at that moment digging at the wound on my arm ripping it bigger. "No." I lie to him and we say goodnight and hang up.

That call set the ground work for me to be able to actually voice my needs.

Soon my support team consisted of Richard, N and I my hypnotherapist, and my pig.

Slowly over the years more and more people were added.

In my 30's my husband joined.

My three therapist are still on that list.

Any guesses as to who the number one person to reach out to is?

They are the only one who can reach me when I am going to hurt my self. The only one who knows what to say and do to help me 100% of the time. The only one who will drop everything and come running 24/7.


But I don't always feel like helping my self so I have learned to rely on others to offer help.

Can you talk me out of an injury? No.  So, what really helps me? Exactly what Richard said. "... a friendly voice couldn't hurt."

Simply talking with me will get me refocused. I don't need a therapist to talk me down, I don't need a lecture, I don't need threats of hospitalization, I just need to hear your voice.

human connection.

I can't tell you how many times I have called my house and talk with my husband for a minute or two. "hi , how your night going? Kids good for you?"

That is what he hears.

If I was able to put it into words it would really say:


He answers with a hello, quick update of what ever game he is playing that night, and a report on the kids.

Which I hear as this:

I love you, your family loves you, we need you, we are here for you, no matter how it may feel at this moment you belong with us..

and that is all I need from my support team.

Its that simple.

Everything else is up to me.

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