I posted in this thread early last year and I just wanted to say that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Our daughter was self-harming herself, horribly. It took a while to find the root cause (assault from a boy at school). She had counselling and they gave her strategies for how to handle the urge, but she didn't confide in them or divulge ANYTHING to her counsellors (though I think the avoidance strategies helped, as much as she denied it at the time). I said to her "I know what you're doing, I'm so sorry that you feel in pain to the extent that you want to hurt yourself; it must be horrible for you. If you ever want to talk to me or to anyone else, you just let me know or write me a note, or let someone else know... it doesn't have to be me. You're a gorgeous girl and this is not your fault, it's something that is happening TO you, and you're doing a good job trying to wrestle with it. We're immensely proud of you. It is really tough to go through what you're going through."
She eventually confided in me (about the assault) and we took her out of school (not just her school but all school) for 18 months. We have had such a wonderful unschooling/home-schooling time and she has just decided to go back to school, of her own volition (she's now 15). She's going to a different school and is back to the cheerful, energetic, hilarious, carefree, creative and affectionate, kind, communicative and loving girl she used to be, but with added strength. She seems smarter than her peers who have been in school all this time, and people are always commenting on how mature and smart she is for her age. Hang in there! Let them know you're on their side. I did my best to read everything I could and stay ahead of her game, so that when anything new came up (switching from blades to burns, or telling me about the assault) I was prepared ahead of time, as much as I could be, and had a calm and loving response already in my pocket. She speaks freely about how much we helped her during that time, and is an incredible young woman.
Good luck to you all. Try and feel confident that it will pass and there will be beautiful times ahead, I think if you have calm faith in them (and, lord knows, I had to FAKE that sometimes!) they will believe it too. Get them out into nature and busy and active; read movie reviews ahead of time so you can see light and positive movies only, play happy music (that they can stand!) when you play music. We made sure to hang out with lots of family and friends who made few demands on her but modelled how lovely life could be (genuinely) and made her feel loved and part of a big circle of support (none of them ever dwelt on her sad demeanour, and none of them knew about the self harm) we all just swept her along as part of something loving and positive, to which she unquestionably belonged. We removed every sharp and burning thing from her immediate grasp (we live on a small farm, so this was not easy! The list of things they told us to get rid of read like a list of the contents of our barn!) But we kept them out of her immediate reach, so that she had to make an effort to go and find something, by which time we could usually distract her. Hang in there. It's a violent and awful ride, but the view on the other side is beautiful.
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Hi, I've just been reading your message thread about your daughter self-harming, and I wonder if you could reply with an update about how she's doing now? We're going through an almost identical situation with our daughter now, and I'd be interested to hear how you and your daughter are now. Thank you x
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