Recovery is an ongoing process.

major depression, ptsd, rapid-cycle bipolar disorder, self-harm, stigma, suicidal ideation, three hopeful thoughts

It’s been a week since my last slip-up.

Last Wednesday, due to a combination of preexisting emotional rawness and the news that a relative had been saying some less-than-complimentary things about me, I had a breakdown and ended up self-injuring. D. caught me before I was able to do too much damage, but it was a reminder to both of us that no matter how “okay” I seem, this is going to be a tenuous, ongoing process. There will be setbacks. It is going to be a struggle for a very long time. Just as a recovering alcoholic fights cravings, I’m going to have to fight against the urge to harm myself. I refuse to beat myself up over setbacks, however, because it requires an immense amount of strength to get better and stay well, keep my thoughts bright and positive and healthy. Some days, I simply do not have the strength, and that’s okay. I’m human.

Please excuse the fact that I have my legs splayed like a hussy in the background. 😛

On Friday, one of my very best friends from college came into town to help us move. Before we all headed to bed, he presented me with a lovely gift: a rubber band he’d decorated with his signature art style. I honestly didn’t know what to say—I was deeply touched by the gesture and really appreciated it. It’s a bit large, but I can wear it up near my elbow. (Snapping there hurts less and causes smaller welts, anyway.)

A close-up of the design.

I’m seeing my new psychiatrist for my second evaluation this afternoon, so I’ll put up a longer post about that later. But I wanted to acknowledge the overwhelming kindness of my friends and family and say that I am incredibly grateful for the people in my life who influence me in positive, life-affirming ways.

Ink.

self-harm, stigma

I have a consultation at Ultimate Arts for my thigh piece tonight at 6:00. Rad! As I mentioned in a previous post, I have some self-harm scars on my right upper thigh. The habit was actually very recently acquired (January of this year) and aside from two slip-ups, I haven’t done it since mid-April, so I’m making progress. However, I want to get a big, colorful tattoo to cover the scars and also to deter myself from doing it again.

My therapist was pretty surprised to hear I hadn’t started earlier. She thinks that the tattoos (the one on my wrist was basically a “suicide prevention” tattoo) are more of a Band-Aid than anything. However, I think anything that will keep me from hurting myself while I work on addressing the emotions that prompt the self-harm is a good thing.

I’m planning on getting a big paisley cluster with floral designs and tree branches/roots worked into the shapes, as well as the first stanza of “Elm” by Sylvia Plath. I’m thinking 5″ x 9″ is a good size, though I might go larger depending on the artist’s ideas and guidance. I know fuckall (pardon my French) about tattooing, so I prefer to defer to the experts when it comes to the specifics.

I know the bottom, she says. I know it with my great tap root:

It is what you fear.

I do not fear it: I have been there.

Aside from the text and the concept, I’m giving the artist free reign to experiment with paisley as well as colors. I have absolutely no color preference (aside from not-orange and not-yellow). Blues and greens might look nice, but I’ve been drawn to violet lately. It’s an adventure!

Readers, are you painted? Do your tattoos have any special meaning?