"...just for the attention,
'Cause that's just ridiculous..."
For those of you who don't know, I saw a counsellor a few times after my overdose on painkillers. Maybe four, maybe five. And also for those of you who don't know, I was not trying to kill myself. But, I liked this counsellor. I felt guilty for having to see her, when it cost my parents so much. But they wanted me to get better. And I wanted to get better. And hopefully even fix things amongst our family somewhat. However, most of you will know, as well as I, that seeing a counsellor is not something you do just a couple of times. If you want a quick fix, it's better to go in for drugs, or hypnotherapy, or crazy altering-chemicals-in-your-body type stuff. If you want to see a counsellor and work through problems, it is a long term thing. It takes time, and patience. Four or five visits to a counsellor is just the start.
I'm not crazy and I'm not suicidal; I don't even necessarily have depression, but yes, I have seen a counsellor. And, it wasn't actually a waste of time. It was helpful. Not every counsellor will be helpful to you personally, and different people "click" better with others. But that's all rather irrelevant. I'm just trying to do my bit to beat down the stigma our society associates with counsellors etc. But more on that another time.
Sometimes, I don't feel up to taking that responsibility that seeing a counsellor engenders. It means having to actually take action, to stop relying on others. Because you have to put in effort.
And sometimes, I don't feel like I have that much within me. I don't think I can keep going. It feels too hard and I want to give up. When, like me, you are desperate to know that you are loved, you will sometimes go to shocking lengths to be assured of this. It didn't begin as this, but the ways in which I hurt myself physically ended up serving another cause, when those around me found out, seeing how they were upset told me that they cared. I already knew they cared about me. They expressed it enough. But for me, that wasn't quite enough.
When I say that my friends "found out", I mean, generally, that I would tell them. Or I would drop hints or not quite hide what I had done. I hated myself for it, for making them upset. It was yet another thing to prove I was a terrible person; that I would let them know. More ammunition to use against myself. I didn't want to be attention seeking, but honestly, that is what I was doing, in that aspect of my self harm, at least. I suppose you could say I was slightly manipulative as well. But I didn't have much control over it. Each time I determined that no one would know, and almost each time, I would let at least one person know. Sometimes not for weeks, months even. But I would eventually fold.
I don't suppose I could have hidden the guilt I felt for betraying them, which is what I did every time I self harmed, even if I had truly tried. I let myself give in and tell them because secretly, that was what a large part of me wanted. Even when I didn't realise it.
Anyway, it is this need to be assured of others' love for me that led me to being heavily reliant on them. I needed their reaction to my actions as motivation to stop self harming, I needed them to help distract me when I wanted to self harm but was trying not to. I used my friends as a crutch (no one please think of the other crutch! >.<) and let myself go on feeling sorry for myself. That's the truth.
Sometimes it feels too hopeless, too hard to go on. But I know I am stronger than I think. It is up to me to keep going, not to give in as I did when trying not to tell my friends about my self harm. Because if I had wanted, I could have not told them. And if I had truly wanted, I could have stopped myself from self harming, each time. But I was scared to take responsibility, because that meant that things could be my fault. I hate being wrong. It's not that I feel I am better than others, rather, that I want to please everyone, and if I make a mistake, I am letting others down. It's why I hate team sport so much, because I was always the one who would let everyone down (apart from in soccer, I love that game C:).
In those respects, I was (and still am, in other ways) a little child. I still sometimes want to be the vulnerable one who will be in a position where (hopefully) others will protect her, and she can know by this that they care, and she matters. But I am learning to tell myself just how ridiculous that is, and do some standing up for myself.
There are the times I feel so weak and I want to hand over my problems to someone else and tell them to fix them, but that is not possible, and if I'm honest, I know I can hold out, even if it won't be easy. It is up to me whether I stand firm or break.
With all of this, I sometimes wished I would just be given anti-depressants or something. Not that I'm saying they are the easy way out; sometimes they are necessary. But I'm not keen on drugs and things that alter the body's functions and I knew I could do it otherwise, although it would be harder, longer, and more frustrating. So I was glad to be seeing a counsellor. They do help, but only if you let them, if you take on board what they say and apply it. And I was ready for that. I was ready to move forward, no matter how hard it was. And sort out stuff that I hadn't been able to sort out in my own mind. We all know the saying about not seeing the wood for the trees. A distanced person could lend a valuable perspective and I wanted that.
I had thought about counselling long before, but I couldn't bring myself to ask my parents about it. That would involve first convincing them I had things I needed to work through, and then that it should be done professionally, etc. So I was, in a way, grateful at the chance my overdose gave me. I thought that even this stupid thing I had done could be the very thing that helped me. I had to have follow up counselling. I had to confront things, I couldn't avoid it, and I didn't even have to bring it up personally!
I hadn't seen my counsellor since before Christmas as she was going away on holidays, and said just to make an appointment when she got back, whenever. Well, she's been back for a long time. I wanted to see her again, but Mum didn't bring it up, and I was dead against bringing it up myself. I'm not good at broaching certain (most) remotely sensitive subjects with my parents, particularly my mother, and I really didn't want to do this. She had made it clear she thought I was better. That I only "caused all this trouble during school" and she thought that when school started again, "her and Dad would have to endure the nightmare again". "You've put us through hell... you've caused us so much heartache... you've caused your dad so much stress that with his high cholestrol he could have a heart attack... (or, rather more bluntly) you'll kill your father..." And so it goes. My mother is not the most... er, understanding or tactful soul... Yet, while I am an absolute sucker for guilt trips (I felt guilty for eating or attacking in any other way my friend in some Wii game we were playing at his house, even though it was part of what my character had to do in order to beat him - Super Smashed Bros Brawl, if you were wondering), I refuse to let my mum's work. Of course, some still slip in past my barriers.
I didn't exactly want to explain to my mother that no, not everything was alright, and no, it had a grand total of nothing to do with school vs. holidays, but it was an ongoing thing with many issues and this matter with my friends was only a very small part of it. I made half hearted attempts to counter her nightmare statements by saying "it's not anything to do with school", and her "you seem just fine now that it's the holidays" with "how would you know"s, but I would back out and run for the hills the moment she demanded what exactly I meant.
I finally asked her if she could make a counsellor's appointment, and she was very reluctant. I was a bit stunned as she asked me how many more times I could go see the counsellor. I know it's expensive but there is absolutely no point in going a few times, it is an ongoing process! She doesn't see anything really wrong with me, which also contributes to it, but I know that I need this. I can get by without it, but to truly fix things, it would be of great help. And I love the chance to have someone get to know so much about me; practically everything, and accept it. I've realised that it is something I long for, because it would be a true mark that I am worth it, that I am an okay person; valuable, and all that.
This was over two weeks ago, and I asked her yesterday if she had made an appointment because in the end she said something which sounded like a grudging acquiescence, and she told me that she hadn't.
I don't want to say this, I don't want to feel this; but I'm disappointed and it feels like a betrayal on my mother's part. She should want me to get better. I know it is just because she can't tell anything is wrong, if I was physically sick her and Dad would spend everything they had to help me become well; but this is different and it's not as simple or as obvious as physical illness. Not that I'd say I'm mentally unwell, but still.