Self Flagellation started as a form of discipline in some Religions obtained by flogging or whipping oneself for a period of time.
There is another definition that has evolved from this meaning, excessive criticism of oneself.
This one I know all too well. I do it often. I can’t tell you the exact reason. I can say I don’t believe it is all associated with Bipolar Disorder or mental health issues. Self-esteem probably plays a role also.
I do know that when I am in a Depressive Episode or there is a “trigger” I will do certain things to feel worse. I almost take comfort in the misery and pain. I’m more familiar with those feelings so it’s easier to exacerbate them and stay there. I often use the same tools to accomplish this.
My Emotional Self Flagellation
I have the same ways of accomplishing and inflicting immense emotional pain on myself.
I will watch the video for Blue October’s “Hate Me”. It is almost exactly like my mom and I were right down to a majority of lyrics. In the video he visits a cemetery something I can’t bring myself to do often. I’ve only been 4 times in almost 9 years.
I will look at pictures of my mom, of when my sister and I looked happy together, when my dad was healthy and happy and when my mom had oxygen on all the time, was bloated, pale, and dying.
I replay the phone call we received at 9:11 p.m. to come to the Hospital and what we witnessed when we arrived unnoticed.
I listen to Elvis, Brenda Lee, Patsy Cline, The Big Bopper, Kenny Rogers, Connie Francis, Tammy Wynette, all of my mom’s favorite songs that she would sing around the house. I know all the words to most of the songs from the 50’s and 60’s. My mom had a good voice and could really dance. I inherited none of these traits but I like to think I can sing when I’m in the car.
Then I have my own songs. Pantera’s “This Love” and “Hollow”, Pearl Jam’s “Black” and “Release”, Corey Taylor “From Can To Can’t”, Aerosmith’s “You See Me Crying”, “Cry Me A River”, “What It Takes”, “Amazing”, and “Seasons of Wither”, Skid Row’s “In A Darkened Room”, “Wasted Time”, Sebastian Bach still sings these songs amazingly.
Then there’s the movie reel on replay. Every unpleasant conversation, event, or action in my life is looped in my head without a pause or stop button. I’ve been told by too many doctors that I can’t be helped any further.
How would you feel after 20 years of alcoholism, suicide attempts, numerous hospitalizations, and a too late diagnosis, only to be told by some of the best doctors that you are “beyond help and have to deal day to day”.
You are told that you will only get worse as time goes by. You have already lost any friends you had, family members have distanced themselves from you since your diagnosis, you have trouble leaving the house as each day passes, the only human voice you hear most days is a telemarketer. You are afraid to talk to anyone in the “outside” world because they might notice that you are “different”. Even though the family that does speak to you says you sound “fine” but then asks “have you taken your meds because you sound funny”.
Where do you put all of these feelings? What do so called “normal” people do? I don’t even remember what “normal” is. I watch TV and everyone that’s stressed or upset has a drink at the end of the day. What does that tell us?