Kids Who Cut – The fallout of self harming behavior

My daughter cuts herself.  We first found this out a couple of years ago via the school nurse.  I’ll never forget the day.  Sucker punched, right in the gut.  She did what? If you have a child who self harms, you will understand this feeling.  I left work. I raced towards her school while speaking with her father on the phone.  He convinced me to not frighten her with a surprise visit (I was a mess) and I went home instead, and cried all afternoon. Heart broken.

Fast forward two years.  We’ve had her in therapy, she has a mentor, she seemed to be doing really really well.  Until she wasn’t.  Some events in her life were upsetting her, and she initially decided to keep them to herself.  This led to her second round of cutting.  She came to us to tell us her secrets because she said it was her only hope to stop hurting herself.

She showed me the towel that she used to mop up the blood.  She showed me her folder of drawings, sayings and poems about self harm.  She even has a Pinterest board about it. Heart broken.

The first thing that parents of self harming kids do, is blame themselves.  I still argue with myself about this on a daily basis. “What did I do wrong”, “What didn’t I do enough of?”, “What does she need from me to keep from doing this?”

I started this blog to create a place where self harming kids, and parents of self harming kids, can come to share their stories of heartbreak and healing.

If you would like to submit a story for publishing please submit it here.

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Something amazing is happening…

hope 086_peThe other day I attempted to breathe some new life into this blog. I have big visions for it, I want it to be a place to go for people to share and hopefully heal even if in tiny small doses. The day that I shared this blog’s address on my Facebook page and on Twitter @KidsWhoCut, a couple of people came out of the shadows to ask question and share pieces of their stories.  That was amazing to me.  I took a couple of things away from the experience.

1. Struggle, pain, heartache…they are all very relative things. You can’t compare yours to others, it all !@#)(*%$@# hurts!

2. Talking/sharing is a very healing thing to do, especially when you are a parent feeling hopeless and helpless, or a young person who has fallen into the world of self harm.

3. Social Media is the real bully in our children’s lives.  I think sometimes we feel guilty removing our kids from their connection with Social Media.  We don’t want them to feel cast out or disconnected.  We want them to fit in and that’s such a hard thing to do today, why should we make it harder on them?  Well….here’s why.  Social Media gives kids 24/7 access to each other. It gives bullies 24/7 access to their victims.  The internet and media today in general has the power to expose our children to so much more than they were ever meant to see, nor have the tools to comprehend.

We have chosen to the be parents who don’t allow a Facebook page, we don’t allow her to even have a computer anymore in fact.  We don’t allow her to watch certain types of movies or TV shows and we have even filtered out her music.  Yeah, we went there. Yeah, we’ll stay there, until we are sure that the pieces have been put back together.

Now please, don’t come barking up my tree about how social media isn’t bad, and it has it’s purpose and blah blah blah. I get it. I get it better than most, I make part of my living in Social Media as a matter of fact. I’m just saying that it’s harmful to children and young adults, and I’m wondering when and where and how we have educated them to steel themselves against the barrage.

I’ve strayed a bit, but please, share this post, create some traffic, spread the word, there are SO many of us out there struggling with these issues, why not help each other out?

 

7 Precious weeks….or has it been 8?

I always thought I’d be able to keep track of the timeline with precision.  You always hope that the last time is really the LAST time… I’ve been afraid to be hopeful because so many times I have been hopeful and the rug has been ripped out from under us.  Finally, after 2 months or so, hope has crept in, and his curled around my feet, holding them steady.

Her struggle is not over. OUR struggle is not over.  There are still times when we are afraid to leave her alone in her room to listen to music.  We are afraid that someone will say something to upset her temporary smile.  I’m ashamed to admit that I am afraid of her in that respect.  It’s a damned tough job to refrain from getting out the bubble wrap and protecting her from every sharp word, unwelcome touch, or uncomfortable glance.  She has to experience these things, she has to be able to redevelop her shell to cover and protect what has been so raw and so fragile all year.

Since the last cutting, we have experienced extreme disruption and misbehavior in school, resulting in all but failing the 2nd quarter.  I’m really hoping that repeating this grade is not going to become a necessity.

Cutter’s don’t kill themselves. (usually)

This was the message we took home from the emergency room trip that started last night and stretched into this morning.

Yesterday was the first day of school, and it was an unexpectedly GREAT day for her. She was surprised at how the day had gone for her.  She had a busy evening; therapy, dinner out, a lengthy proactive hair treatment for nits that have plagued us for weeks now…and then she said she was ready for bed.

Literally FIVE minutes after she’d left the bathroom and closed her bedroom door, she was coming down the stairs shouting to me in that panicked voice: “I can not be trusted to be alone with myself” She had a shirt wrapped around her left forearm, and it was bloody.  *sigh*

We did as we’d been instructed from our previous trip and called the crisis hotline for guidance.  The two concerns were that she said she “zoned out” and didn’t think before, or about why she was cutting, it just happened. This alerted our crisis worker to the potential disassociative aspect of her episode.  The second alarming factor was that she had stashed a razor blade in a trash bag in her bedroom.  Disassociation was ruled out in the ER.  They offered to keep her in the ER so that one or both of us could get some sleep, but I knew I wouldn’t sleep without her in the house so I declined that offer.

Right now we are in survival mode so to speak, just trying to keep our eyeballs peeled until Friday mornings Psychiatric Evaluation.

And again…

The more that we go through this, the more that we understand about self harming and it’s make-up, it’s MO, it’s usual haunts, it’s triggers etc.

Last night I was delayed by about 20 minutes getting home because there was a massive bridge truss on a tractor “trailer” making a 3pt turn at the end of the road. It took forever.  I backtracked and detoured, getting home late.  I came home to her hollering to me from upstairs, “Mommy I need you really badly” I go upstairs two at a time, to find her sitting with her leg in the bathtub, bleeding.  She had inflicted horizontal slash marks from her knee to her big toe and there was an awful lot of blood.  So much in fact that I didn’t know what she had done. The emotions that flooded through me were like this:

1. Anger
2. Panic
3. Amazing clarity with anger swirled in

To the ER we go. Crisis intake. Kudos to the hospital, despite a full house (with several suicide attempts strangely enough) they had us in and out in under 3 hours.  

Today she is one sad, tired, sore little girl….she is not to be left alone except for showering and sleeping, and even then I’m up there on an hourly basis checking to make sure she is still breathing.  

That’s really what it comes down to isn’t it? Life.  I don’t believe she cuts with the intent to kill herself, but then again, I didn’t’ think she’d ever cut again and I was wrong.

I don’t know what to say to her.

It’s so confusing to me.  I’m caught somewhere in the middle of scolding her and holding her.  She seems to be sensationalizing her wounds. Yesterday she retraced all of them with brightly colored Sharpies because it “made her feel better”

As a parent, there are times when you know that you “should” punish your children for things that they have done wrong, but you just don’t feel in your gut that it’s necessary.  This is our pitiful habit of conformance as humans I suppose…but cutting is different.  They haven’t done something WRONG., and helping them through it is much more important than scolding them for it. That would be like scolding someone for being OCD.

I really have enjoyed her need to be so close to me lately, I just wish it were under different circumstances.

Talk to me. You, out there. Do you have a kid that cuts or self harms in some other way?  Submit your story to our blog.  My daughter takes great comfort in reading about the experiences of others, she can’t be the only one.

Thanks,

Marie