UPDATED : Trying To Resist Old Bad Habits...not Winning At The Moment

Chava

MyPTSD Pro
I've been feeling quite lost since I've stopped dissociating...I'm feeling more than I'm used to and I don't think I always really know what to do with the feelings.

I relate to that...and also wanting the constant ability to numb out or dissociate to come back. I actually slipped back into drinking after many years sober (now sober again a couple weeks). It's hard to remember we're on the right track when there are these challenges. But it really is that I'm in a new, better place, and don't always know how to cope since my old (destructive) methods no longer serve me. Hang in there and keep sharing this struggle with your therapist too. You will find ways to manage, but it's hard in the in-between, I know..
 

LuckyDuck

MyPTSD Pro
I understand now knowing how it stopped. I don't know for myself either. It might have been me scared straight, or possibly the facts about gum recession. I'll never know. With OCD things will feel stupid and disgusting. Most things with OCD are. I still have grooming issues but they've gone down much more in the past few years.

Passing the threshold of telling your T about this is part of the OCD. You want to feel calm.

I use teething numbing agents, like the stuff they put on before the anesthetic after a rough dentists appointment. It's a gel. The pressure is real and the anxiety with it, too so when I apply that it gets rid of the feeling for a little while. It tricks my brain out of wanting to scratch.
 
I relate to that...and also wanting the constant ability to numb out or dissociate to come back. I actually slipped back into drinking after many years sober (now sober again a couple weeks). It's hard to remember we're on the right track when there are these challenges. But it really is that I'm in a new, better place, and don't always know how to cope since my old (destructive) methods no longer serve me. Hang in there and keep sharing this struggle with your therapist too. You will find ways to manage, but it's hard in the in-between, I know..

I understand this so, so much. And sometimes, I notice the urge to dissociate before I notice the attached feelings . As in, weeks before, sometimes. Stuff can be so intense at times that I am already dissociated from my feelings - so my actions feel disproportionate to the perceived situation.

The urge to self-harm (and thus dissociate) is all a part of this - noticed, often, before I realize I'm even feeling upset.
 

barefoot

Sponsor
Just an update....

So, I ended telling my therapist yesterday. It just sort of came up because I was telling her that I'd been to the dentist and I've been referred to the hospital because there's a lump in my mouth. Dentist wasn't overly concerned about it - and I've had it for years - but we both agreed that I might as well just get it properly checked out. But hospital consultations/examinations are triggering for me and my therapist and I have worked on other appointments together this year so I was letting her know that this would be coming up.

The she started talking about how she loves flossing (!) and I said I didn't floss and she suggested that I get some of the floss sticks with the pointy handles as they're easier than the long bits of floss/tape. I said I knew the ones she meant but that I didn't floss anymore. (Irony is that my partner just randomly bought some of these spikes floss sticks at the weekend so there are now loads of them in the bathroom cabinet)
So then she did a bit of digging and then I told her what I used to do and what was going on now post-dentist.

I found it really mortifying telling her. She asked me what I used to do it and I didn't want to say. And eventually I did say and I felt like such an idiot.

The thing is, she seems to be taking it really seriously, as though it's a really big deal. And it really isn't a big deal.

At the end of the session, she asked if we could make an agreement. And the agreement was that I would stop myself from doing it. So I would throw away any things I might use to do it. And if I felt like I wanted to do it, I had to find a way to stop myself - by distracting myself, going and doing something else, going for a walk, telling myself out loud that I didn't need to don't anymore because I have another outlet (ie therapy) etc. And it just felt awkward and like she was making a mountain out of a molehill. And then I found it hard to speak. So then she said that if I wanted to do it and felt like I was going to do it, can we agree that I'd text or email her. Apparently, that's the arrangement she has with her clients who self-harm or are suicidal.

Anyway, I didn't agree to it because it's ridiculous - I'm not a self-harmer and I'm not suicidal so I don't see the point and don't get why she's blowing it out of proportion. I feel quite pissed off about it actually. I feel like the fact that gave her an honest answer to why I didn't floss has just ended up biting me on the arse. Wish I'd have just said 'yes, I love flossing too' and that would have been that!
 

joeylittle

Administrator
What @digger said.

I still don't consider myself a self-harmer, even though I absolutely know that I am one. I don't cut for relief, I do it to punish myself, and I do it for practice. I'm not very often compelled to do it, most of the time I'm 100% in control of it. And so, I would - just like you are - not call that 'self-harm'.

Except that you are, at least right now, expressing compulsion.
I keep thinking about it, I keep feeling that achey pressure that just seems to be screaming out for some relief and I keep fiddling with my gums. I really, really don't want to get into that bad habit again. But it's driving me mad - it's like I feel absolutely compelled to do it even though I think it's horrible and disgusting.

I understand why you'd be upset and think she was reacting out of scale - but you and she are actually on the same side here. You want to stop doing it - she wants to help you stop doing it. I'd strongly recommend accepting the help. You might find that agreeing to be helped actually makes the thoughts easier to manage - I know it does with me.
 

barefoot

Sponsor
Thanks for the replies @digger and @joeylittle
I'm finding it difficult to wrap my head around this and feel stupid and disappointed with myself that this has just sort of snuck up on me again after all this time.

My therapist texted me yesterday to check in and see how I was doing - I just replied saying I didn't feel great. A few hours later I saw that I had a missed call from her as my phone had been in my bag on silent - and at that point I was out and surrounded by people so I couldn't have spoken to her then. And, to be honest, I didn't want to speak to her anyway. So she probably thinks I'm being defensive and am deliberately ignoring her - which, to a point, I suppose I am but I genuinely did miss the call when she rang.
 

Neverthesame

Not Active
I use teething numbing agents, like the stuff they put on before the anesthetic after a rough dentists appointment.
That is a pretty good idea. Benzocaine is the most common one, usually packaged as Orajel.

I also wanted to add that I think I understand what you mean by "pressure" I don't know if it's the same thing. I get it at random, as far as I can tell. Might be related to my sinuses, but that is the best way I could think to describe it. I don't cut my gums, but there is an urge to release the pressure.

This may not help at all but what about drinking really cold water, like painfully cold. Would that maybe help?
 

barefoot

Sponsor
Thanks @Neverthesame

In the past few days I seem to have moved from panicking that I'm doing it again and wanting to stop but finding it hard to resist to actively wanting to do it and feeling defiant about it as though it's my right to do what I want to my body.

I've started flossing hard so that I bleed and have bought a load of other sharp dental things. I haven't used those yet. But I notice that I say 'yet' so I guess my intention is that I will.

It feels like quite a childish defiance that I'm not used to feeling in myself.

I've got therapy on Mondayand am dreading it because I'm sure she'll ask me about it. And I'm sure I'll lie.

Sorry - I know you were trying to offer me some support to help me to stop. And I do really appreciate that.
 

barefoot

Sponsor
So…I asked to have this thread re-opened because the challenge is current again.

I feel so mortified and appalled at myself and ashamed.

I’ve been struggling for a few weeks…lots of reasons why stress has been building…but I think the thing that has tipped me into a bit of a meltdown is a new work project, which feels so overwhelming and I’m totally stressed out about it.

The last few days I’ve felt the throbby/pressure feeling in my gums and I’ve really been trying to ignore it but it became so unbearable.

And now I feel so utterly pathetic. And my whole mouth hurts, and I can still taste blood, and I just feel so stupid and so disappointed in myself.

I haven’t done this for ages. Wondering if this will ever really go away or whether the urge will always be lurking, ready to bite me on the arse when I’m least expecting it.

Anyone got any words of support/encouragement?
 
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