It Felt Good
Marian (not her real name) was extremely bright, with a high IQ and a nearly perfect GPA. She told some friends at school that she had been molested for over a year. And that is how we came to know her.
As her therapy progressed, she was able to draw and journal and talk about her feelings in more and more depth. As she began to express herself, letting go of the secret was such a relief that she started to feel better in short order.
One day, I saw a scratch on the inside of Marian’s forearm. She freely told me she had “played with a razorblade.” I asked if she had ever done that before. No, she had not. But she heard some girls talking about it at school, so she thought she would try it.
She said, “I don’t know why, but it felt good.”
After discussing her experience she decided it relieved the pressure. What kind of pressure? She couldn’t explain in words.
Later she told me she felt guilty. We discussed guilt over several months every time it came up: how did it feel, what was it like, where did it come from, and so on. The scratches were not getting any deeper, but they didn’t seem to heal either.
Some time later, when Marian came into my office to start a session, she announced that she felt better. I inquired about it. She replied, “I’m tired of feeling guilty for something I didn’t do.” A step in the right direction.
We kept working.
She divulged that she had written in her journal about how badly she wanted to kill the perpetrator What a load off her young heart. No wonder she felt guilty!
She talked; she drew; she wrote; she talked some more. Over time she grew less anxious.
One day, I noticed the scratches were healing. She was coming to terms with her feelings. Expressing them in a safe and non-judgmental environment brought peace. Though her therapy was not complete, Marian didn’t feel the need to cut herself any more.
Do you know anyone who is cutting? If so, at Bill Jacobs LPCC, we know how to help. Give us a call.