How do I start talking about a deeply embrassing secret?
June 22, 2012 8:30 PM Subscribe
I occasionally struggle with self-harm. While my support system knows this has been a problem in the past, they do not know that I sometimes still self-harm. I am deeply embarrassed, but would like to start talking to my therapist about this. How do I get over the embarrassment and proceed?
posted by Meat Puppet to human relations (13 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Some background: Between ages 11 – 16 I regularly engaged in self-harm. Between ages 15 – 16 I was admitted to a psychiatric hospital twice, and received a total of four months inpatient treatment and four months outpatient treatment. I have been in therapy since (going on 10+ years) and have grown into happy and relatively healthy young woman. I’ve completed my undergraduate education, am gainfully employed, and have been in a loving and fulfilling LTR for the past several years. I regularly see a psychologist, the same psychologist that has treated me for the past ten years. We have an excellent relationship.
The problem is that I have continued to self-harm. In the last three years I have burned or cut myself around six to eight times. I have been unable to discuss this with my family, my partner, or my psychologist. I am deeply embarrassed by my behavior. I am able to discuss all aspects of my life and mental health with my support system, but this is something I cannot bring myself to talk about.
Part of me has accepted that this is a coping mechanism that will be with me for the rest of my life. The instances where I have cut or burned myself in adulthood I have done so to prevent escalation to disassociation and/or more dangerous and destructive behaviors. I get to a certain point where it’s like, well either I hurt myself or I go off the deep end (not suicide). I do a superficial cut or burn, am able to collect myself, and go about my business.
Yet, recently I experienced something very traumatic and I had the feeling of “cut, burn, or loose it” but after several days of emotional pain and turmoil I was able to stabilize without self-harming. I found myself wanting to celebrate and analyze this triumph with my psychologist but have been unable to do so, as I have not told him about any self-harm for the last four years or so. This makes me really sad. I think if I were able to discuss this in therapy I would have the chance to learn a lot about myself.
How do I begin to talk about something that is so incredibly embarrassing, and have been hiding for the past three years? I have no idea how to even begin.