Tuesday, June 3, 2008

what can i do..

all i want to do is help. i have been through so much and experienced a lot of trial and error that i feel like i am in a spot where i could really make a difference. it's all i want; i've said this. people aren't learning the proper coping skills early enough, so too many of them are finding their own paths: starving, purging, cutting, burning, smoking, drinking..

when it comes to eating disorders, i have received so much guidance and counseling that i have a starting point. i've seen the foundations, i've seen the paths, i know how to talk to others suffering and i'm a few years of medical school short of being an ED-specialized licsw. (ok, slight exaggeration, but i've been given good feedback on the way i help others when it comes to that.) i'm not saying i know everything about ED recovery, but i know where the starting point is.

the other day, my friend told me she had a fellow employee that admitted to cutting herself and i thought, "oh, been there, how about..... well, what if you....." and i realized i don't know what the hell to do. i was never helped. i was never guided. i was never in treatment for my SI behaviors. yes, self-destruction all comes back to the same points: outlets, control, and coping mechanisms. but, for some reason, i draw a blank. i'm being pretty hard on myself for it, which, we all know is in my nature.

the weird thing for me is that, as possessive as i was about my AN, i was aware there were other people around me hurting themselves in the same way. there's a whole community of eating disorder support. it's not all positive, but there's a community. when it came to SI, it was about being alone and being the only one. i didn't want to share it, i didn't want to talk to anyone that "knew what it was like"; it was mine. how do you get into that? it took me four years and being crazy in love to finally let someone break in and i just.. quit. i quit cold, and i quit for the wrong reasons. i was lucky that i went through a lot of unbelievable growth since then, but i was never given replacement tools until i went into treatment for AN.
i didn't want any. you like it. it grows on you. it grows into you. how do you break that wall??

should i accept that maybe i can't help everyone that takes a path that looks like the ones i took? because i can't. we don't learn life lessons to keep them to ourselves; that doesn't make sense. i should have been a psych major.

to be continued..


Anonymous said...

You seem like a creative person, and I don't know you well enough to know all of your talents and skills, BUT, one thing is bibliotherapy for kids. Yep. They have all these books out there for kids whose parents are going through a divorce, or illness or just about everything you can imagine. I don't know if there are any out there about what to do with feelings and coping. There are some on feeling angry and sad, but again, not sure about the coping skills part.

I agree with you that this is an important area. It's not just eating disorder prevention or self-injury prevention. It would work for any kind of poor coping skill. I see it every day in people with whom I work. They never learned. Neither did I. Until way down the road, anyway.

You could write books for kids and use your photography skills (maybe others) for illustrations.

Just a thought.

I would bet there's a lot of stuff out there to try.

Way to think proactively.

Anonymous said...

Geez, I feel sorta stupid. I just fully reread your post and realize my response is NOT what you were talking about.

Oh ... sorry!

Musta been in a different world or something.

The issue of self-harm is interesting to me, too, but not necessarily for the same reason as you. While I had the e.d., I didn't cut. I didn't get to know it intimately, I guess you say.

However, now as a therapist who works with hardened criminals who also happen to be mentally ill, I find it interesting to see how many of these men are cutters. Most are.

Granted, in my field, there's a great deal of manipulation to get what one wants, criminally, in the cutting act, but then there are the genuine cutters who do it for that release that's so often described.