Emotions, PTSD, Self Injury, Sleep, Suicide

Trying to breathe

I’m sitting here again. It’s 2:00 AM. I’m on the verge of panic. And I’ve been that way for at least the last two hours. I’m trying to concentrate on my breathing. I know I need to calm myself down. But it’s proving to be an extremely difficult task.

Once again, the thoughts of self injury and suicide are running through my head like a run away train. Please just don’t let it end in a wreck. I tried calling a hotline, but hung up before anyone answered the phone. I can put my words on paper, but to speak them… I don’t know how to do it. Plus, the last time I called one of the hotlines (granted, it’s been a couple years), I got a person who was less than compassionate and told me that I just needed to move on. Easy for him to say. So I tend to shy away from the hotlines.

For whatever reason, tonight the flashbacks are multisensory. I can pretty much deal with the flashbacks when they’re limited to one sensory modality. But it’s like a blitz attack when they hit everything at once. It makes my head spin.

The worst part isn’t what I see or hear in my head. It’s feeling it in my body. I don’t know how many times tonight I’ve just been doubled up in pain. It feels like my body is being ripped in two. And then it gets combined with seeing and hearing and smelling everything. I just don’t know what to do.

I’m shaking so bad. I find myself holding my breath. I have to concentrate really hard to remember to keep breathing. And I’m so cold. It’s definitely not cold in the here. I turned up the heat for my grandmother. In all honestly, I should be sweating. But I’m sitting here wrapped in a blanket because I can’t stop shivering.

I wish I could get these thoughts of cutting out of my head. I’ve been trying to write an email to a friend explaining why I have the self-injury urges. But I’ve been failing miserably. I just don’t have the words to describe how and why these feelings arise and why I did it in the past.

I’m tired. But the thought of getting into anything resembling a bed is freaking me out. I tried going down into the basement and sleeping on the old porch glider. But even that was too much like a bed. I tried sleeping in the chair in the living room, but it ended up hurting my back so much that I had to move. So here I am.

I’m finding it more and more difficult to figure out reasons to live. I know I need to hang on… just a little bit longer. But I’m not entirely sure whether it’s worth the fight.

I know I’m not making any sense. But I just needed to get it out tonight before I completely explode.

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13 thoughts on “Trying to breathe”

  1. I think I screwed up your comment thing. My name is Kevin and I would be happy to talk to you. My number is –.

    (Removed phone number ~Kathryn)

  2. Thanks for deleting the phone. Wow, you’re quick. I didn’t mean to be forward, but my wife suffers from PTSD due to childhood abuse (her father raped her from age 4 until 12) and I have much milder PTSD from a gasoline explosion I was in a couple years ago.

    I want you to know there is not only hope but a future. Your post sounds a little ominous. There are many people–not just me (obviously)–who would be willing to give you the help and encouragement you need.

    If I can help you tonight call me, I’m still pretty keyed up from the day’s activities (son having a hole in his cheek that needed sowed up) and I will be up for a while. I will certainly pray.

  3. I am praying so hard for you Kathryn. I am praying for you to be given the strength you so need right now. I pray for your healing. Hang on please. Do whatever you need to do to stay with us Kathryn. Please e-mail me if you would like, you have my address.

  4. When you get into a calmer state, please put together a safety plan you can feel comfortable with — phone numbers, places to go, whatever. Things you will be willing to do when you get in crisis.

    I’m better at writing than verbalizing, too; you can write out your words and just read them to the hotline person if that helps.

    Have you done any prompting event worksheets a la DBT? Or anything where you can write down the fullness of the negative stuff you want to do, and get it expressed somehow… not just “I’m thinking about cutting” but describe what exactly you want to do and why and how you would feel if you did it, and all that. And don’t forget the challenge part!

  5. Marcy. It’s been a number of years since I seriously worked through any of the DBT stuff. I need to go to the library to get Linehan’s workbook because I lost my copies of the sheets.

    But working through some of those skills again probably would be useful.

  6. Maypoles.

    Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.

    I feel like I’m hanging on by the skin of my teeth right now. But I am hanging on.

    My allergies are kicking my butt right now. I’m going to take some Benadryl before I try to go to bed. Maybe I’ll be able to sleep with that.

    I really do think some sleep is going to help things.

  7. Good for you on your latest post, getting that stuff out of your head. That’s what I think those prompting events sheets help with, but even better that you could do it without. I have a category of prompting events at my blog, with the various headings / fields in bold, if you wanted an outline to work with before you can get to the library. I think you can also find some of these things online.

  8. Great to write. I was up all night also and just happened to read this as stuff starting up again right now…you’re not alone and I can so relate. Stay strong no matter how tough it is…am praying for you…

  9. Consider not letting a past “bad experience” affect you negatively in the present or future. I.e calling a hot line. I hopeyou’re doing better than you were a few days ago when writing this.

    Do you think reading stories about people FIGHTING to stay alive would be inspirational or discouraging?

    People are dying every day for all sorts of reasons, including suicide. It sounds like you are fighting for your survival, i.e. fighting (maybe your own mind) to stay alive.

    I’m offering you MAY be inspired by the stories of people fighting for survival.

    be well, and feel free to email me if you ever need someone to talk to…

  10. I can relate to exactly what you describe. To put it into words that a non-self-injurer would understand is almost impossible. I have been where you are and the only thing I can tell you is that it is important that you stay in the moment and literally take it one moment at a time. Find something to do that will occupy your thoughts for very brief periods: take the dog out, answer e-mail, flip through a magazine, take a shower, etc. Put yourself in a safe mental and physical place. If it doesn’t work and you end up self-injuring, know that you aren’t alone. Sometimes the urges are just too strong. But know too that it doesn’t make you a bad person. There is hope! I have struggled with self-injury for more than 30 years and have just celebrated my first year of being injury free. I never thought I would be strong enough to say that, but here I am! Don’t give up. Keep reaching out. There really is a light at the end of the tunnel and it doesn’t have to be a train.

  11. Congrats on your year without SI. That’s a huge milestone.

    Thankfully, things are somewhat better than when I wrote this entry. I still have the SI thoughts, but they are manageable. I still have the flashbacks, but my coping skills are stronger.

    Talking about the actual memories and saying them out loud to my therapist seems to have diffused some of their power.

    I just keep plugging along.

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