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  1. #1

    Cutting after all these years - Need help

    I'm a 32 year-old single mother of two. I've been dx'd with Bipolar Disorder/OCD/PTSD and am currently taking Lamictal to handle symptoms. My 9 year-old son has also been dx'd with Bipolar Disorder/ADHD.

    My childhood was very extreme; physical/emotional abuse and emotional neglect by both parents, mostly my mother. Lots of self-blame, guilt, doubt. I suppose after hearing about other's childhoods, I didn't think that mine was that bad. I've felt that I either made too much of it in my mind or that I deserved it. Yet, the feelings are still there; that I'm bad, unworthy, unlovable, damaged in some way.

    Of course, this led to many, many other unhealthy relationships over the years.

    I am currently renting a house with my mother, which causes me no end of distress. I still walk on eggshells around her, trying not to set her off. She is very passive-agressive in her abuse. She's extremely negative and rarely has anything "nice" to say about me. She likes to tell people of my faults, tell me constantly how I'm doing this or that wrong, make me feel as if I couldn't do without her. She's always had a habit of ignoring me if I upset her (usually by walking away from me), she's never been what I would call nurturing, supportive or demonstrative. There have been many, many times in my life when I went to her for something, anything only to be told "I don't know what to say".

    I started cutting at 12. This went on until my mid-twenties. I've also struggled with drug/alcohol abuse until around the same time.

    I've recently begun to cut again. My living situation, along with past abuse, has created a maelstorm of emotions that I'm having a hard time dealing with. I'm also in a relatively new relationship, that is the most healthy that I've ever experienced. He is the most supportive, caring man that I have ever met and has been very helpful. This does bring up a lot of trust and abandonment issues however. My cutting has not been as severe as in the past; I used to use a razor blade but am now using a dull knife. I can't seem to help myself stop, though. Everything gets out of control and there seems like no other option.

    I need to know if there's any hope of getting better. I suppose that I don't see my being (or deserving to be) happy but I want to do something to help myself.

  2. #2

    Re: Cutting after all these years - Need help

    Quote Originally Posted by Ash
    I've recently begun to cut again. My living situation, along with past abuse, has created a maelstorm of emotions that I'm having a hard time dealing with. I'm also in a relatively new relationship, that is the most healthy that I've ever experienced. He is the most supportive, caring man that I have ever met and has been very helpful. This does bring up a lot of trust and abandonment issues however. My cutting has not been as severe as in the past; I used to use a razor blade but am now using a dull knife. I can't seem to help myself stop, though. Everything gets out of control and there seems like no other option.

    I need to know if there's any hope of getting better. I suppose that I don't see my being (or deserving to be) happy but I want to do something to help myself.
    Yes - there is most definitely hope of getting better. However, these two paragraphs to me highlight both the reasons you have begun cutting again (your mother and current living conditions; the fear you have about trusting your new partner; and your fundamental doubt that you deserve to be happy) and the chief reason you are having difficulty stopping on your own (do you deserve to be happy? or do you deserve to be punished?).

    On the other hand, your post also highlights some very strong additional incentives/motives for doing whatever is necessary to heal your scars and emotional wounds, while you wait to discover that you do truly deserve this for yourself as well:
    I'm a 32 year-old single mother of two.
    I'm also in a relatively new relationship, that is the most healthy that I've ever experienced. He is the most supportive, caring man that I have ever met
    I would suggest to you that you consider what is happening in your life now as a signal that it's time to return to therapy...

  3. #3

    Re: Cutting after all these years - Need help

    Thank you for the response, David. I'm afraid that cutting isn't enough right now. I'm having a very hard time staying afloat and I'm beginning not to care. Thanks again.

  4. #4

    Re: Cutting after all these years - Need help

    Quote Originally Posted by Ash
    Thank you for the response, David. I'm afraid that cutting isn't enough right now. I'm having a very hard time staying afloat and I'm beginning not to care. Thanks again.
    Ash, you mentioned you're on Lamictal - does that mean you have a therapist currently? or is this being monitored by your family doctor?

    You probably already know this, but there are now alternatives to Lamictal and sometimes people taking such medications may need to add an SSRI or something else at certain times as symptoms of depression or other symptoms increase during certain times (or certain seasons).

    "beginning not to care" is, as I'm sure you know by now, another warning flag for you: please take it seriously. Make an appointment today with your therapist if you have one or with your family doctor to get a referral. There is no reason for you to struggle with this on your own or to continue to feel this bad -- there are many things that can be done to rlieve some of the anguish and despair you're currently experiencing.

  5. #5

    Re: Cutting after all these years - Need help

    Quote Originally Posted by David Baxter
    Ash, you mentioned you're on Lamictal - does that mean you have a therapist currently? or is this being monitored by your family doctor?
    I have a pdoc that I see once in awhile. I called yesterday and made an appointment on Monday to talk to her.

    You probably already know this, but there are now alternatives to Lamictal and sometimes peopel taking such medications may need to add an SSRI or something else at certain times as symptoms of depression or other symptoms increase during certain times (or certain seasons).
    I don't do very well on antidepressants. I tend to get manic, though that doesn't seem like such a bad thing right now. I used to take Neurontin but it's so mild that I had a lot of breakthroughs. I did the best on both Neurontin and Lamictal but it was getting too expensive.

    "beginning not to care" is, as I'm sure you know by now, another warning flag for you: please take it seriously. Make an appointment today with your therapist if you have one or with your family doctor to get a referral. There is no reason for you to struggle with this on your own or to continue to feel this bad -- there are many things that can be done to rlieve some of the anguish and despair you're currently experiencing.
    Despair is right. I spent the drive in to work considering how I can end it. This is probably the closest I've come to putting a plan together. I have no kids for the next three days and that would be the best time.

    The only thing that has kept me alive up until now is my kids. However, since I learned my "mothering skills" from my mother, I don't feel that I can give my kids what they need and deserve. I honestly feel that everyone would be better off without me. All I can think of is how I'm a disappointment to my family, I'm swimming in debt, I can't get my life in control and I don't have hope for a better future. Maybe that's the stress talking, maybe it's the Bipolar talking, I don't know. All I know is that I'm overwhelmed at the moment and deeply, deeply tired.

  6. #6

    Re: Cutting after all these years - Need help

    Quote Originally Posted by Ash
    I have a pdoc that I see once in awhile. I called yesterday and made an appointment on Monday to talk to her.
    Good - I'm very relieved to hear this, Ash.

    I don't do very well on antidepressants. I tend to get manic, though that doesn't seem like such a bad thing right now. I used to take Neurontin but it's so mild that I had a lot of breakthroughs. I did the best on both Neurontin and Lamictal but it was getting too expensive.
    Yes, that reaction to SSRIs is not uncommon for bipolar disorder -- I'm not familiar with the use of Neurontin for that purpose though: I thought that was a medication for pain?

    Despair is right. I spent the drive in to work considering how I can end it. This is probably the closest I've come to putting a plan together. I have no kids for the next three days and that would be the best time.
    Ash - have you ever known someone whose parent committed suicide? There IS no "best time" - they will have to live with it all their lives. It also doesn't have to be: It is NOT your only option and it's WAY down the list of options you could/should be considering. I do understand (believe me - I mean personally) why someone would think about suicide. That's a far cry from taking it past a thought, though.

    The only thing that has kept me alive up until now is my kids.
    If that's the only reason you can think of for now, that's ok. It's still an extremely powerful reason for staying alive, don't you agree? Aren't they worth it? Even if you can't yet believe that your are worth it?

    However, since I learned my "mothering skills" from my mother, I don't feel that I can give my kids what they need and deserve.
    You are NOT your mother. You are NOT the parent your mother is/was. You are YOU. And that means something - do not EVER forget that, Ash.

    I honestly feel that everyone would be better off without me.
    And by now, at least intellectually, you should know that is the depression distorting your thinking. It is not true. It never has been true and it never will be. Depressed, sad, stressed, or joyful - they are much better off with you here.

    Maybe that's the stress talking, maybe it's the Bipolar talking, I don't know. All I know is that I'm overwhelmed at the moment and deeply, deeply tired.
    Yes it is the bipolar, the depression, the stress, and the fatigue talking - it certainly isn't objective truth. Does your doctor know how low you're feeling? Is there any way of getting an appointment sooner than next Monday? Is there any possibiluty of taking some time off work to get some sleep?

  7. #7

    Re: Cutting after all these years - Need help

    Thanks again for your response. I've been working like a dog, which is good because it keeps my mind off of everything else...

    Quote Originally Posted by David Baxter
    Yes, that reaction to SSRIs is not uncommon for bipolar disorder -- I'm not familiar with the use of Neurontin for that purpose though: I thought that was a medication for pain?
    Basically, there was a lawsuit against the manufacturer because it was being touted for conditions that it wasn't tested/approved for. I found that it's not bad if you have mild symptoms, which I don't.

    Ash - have you ever known someone whose parent committed suicide? There IS no "best time" - they will have to live with it all their lives. It also doesn't have to be: It is NOT your only option and it's WAY down the list of options you could/should be considering. I do understand (believe me - I mean personally) why someone would think about suicide. That's a far cry from taking it past a thought, though.
    You're right. I'm doing much better right now. A little more optimistic. My basic problem is learning how to cope with the stress that life dishes out.

    If that's the only reason you can think of for now, that's ok. It's still an extremely powerful reason for staying alive, don't you agree? Aren't they worth it? Even if you can't yet believe that your are worth it?
    Yes, they are worth it. They're my reason for being. I get down on myself because I know my family doesn't think I'm a very good mother. I also question my reactions when they stress me out. I try to be patient and I usually succeed but I've been known to yell, be impatient, throw things... I would never harm my children but again it's a matter of having a good coping method. I never learned that.

    You are NOT your mother. You are NOT the parent your mother is/was. You are YOU. And that means something - do not EVER forget that, Ash.
    You are right. I'm not my mother. Although it's frustrating to see her in some of my reactions. The funny thing is that though she doesn't approve/respect who I am, in effect I am what she made me. I don't think she understands that.

    And by now, at least intellectually, you should know that is the depression distorting your thinking. It is not true. It never has been true and it never will be. Depressed, sad, stressed, or joyful - they are much better off with you here.
    Yes. *sigh* Unfortuntely when you're in the grip of depression/anxiety it's hard to tell reality from distortion.

    Yes it is the bipolar, the depression, the stress, and the fatigue talking - it certainly isn't objective truth. Does your doctor know how low you're feeling? Is there any way of getting an appointment sooner than next Monday? Is there any possibiluty of taking some time off work to get some sleep?
    My pdoc has no openings until next Monday so I will have to wait until then. I'm hoping that she can help; if not to dig things up, at least to help me learn how to cope better.

    I'll try to get some sleep tonight. Since the kids are out of town I am free to spend the night at my bf's house so that I can get away from my mother. She is definitely the root of many of my issues. To the point where I hide myself in my room and avoid her at all costs.

  8. #8

    Cutting after all these years - Need help

    That sounds like an excellent plan to me -- take a break -- with someone who loves you and isn't dedicating his life to putting you down.

    I get down on myself because I know my family doesn't think I'm a very good mother. I also question my reactions when they stress me out. I try to be patient and I usually succeed but I've been known to yell, be impatient, throw things... I would never harm my children but again it's a matter of having a good coping method. I never learned that.
    But remember that "my family" doesn't mean your children, right? And being a good mother doesn't mean being a perfect mother - it just means trying to do your best, recognizing what isn't working well, and getting help to learn alternate ways of handling those situations. Of course, it isn't good to be yelling and throwing things, for anybody. But you're trying to do something to change that - that makes you a pretty good mother, if you ask me.

  9. #9

    Cutting after all these years - Need help

    Quote Originally Posted by David Baxter
    But remember that "my family" doesn't mean your children, right? And being a good mother doesn't mean being a perfect mother - it just means trying to do your best, recognizing what isn't working well, and getting help to learn alternate ways of handling those situations. Of course, it isn't good to be yelling and throwing things, for anybody. But you're trying to do something to change that - that makes you a pretty good mother, if you ask me.
    I guess I shouldn't say "my family" in that respect. More like my relatives. My family consists of my kids and my boyfriend. Period. As soon as they are the only ones I have to deal with on a daily basis, things will improve.

    I've gotten much better about the yelling, etc. I really have to be set off to do that anymore. I will usually kick my kids out of my room before it comes to that. I just can't stand to think of myself dealing with my kids the way that my mom dealt with me. Geeez, she's the root of most of my issues!

  10. #10

    Cutting after all these years - Need help

    Quote Originally Posted by Ash
    My family consists of my kids and my boyfriend. Period. As soon as they are the only ones I have to deal with on a daily basis, things will improve.
    I suspect you're right -- what can you do to expedite that, or is this something you just have to endure for now?

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