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Thursday, December 17, 2015

What is Self-Harm? Another Mom's Story

As I continue through Mental Health March, I'd like to once again thank the bloggers AND non-bloggers who've stepped up and offered to share their experiences.

I am humbled and grateful to these wonderful people for opening up and sharing themselves on something so personal.

I've got some AMAZING guest bloggers lined up.

Today, I give you Jen from I Know Where the Village Idiot Resides.
Here is Jen's experience with self harm.
I am again, 
Thank you, Jen.  

What is Self-Harm?

I can give you a generic answer that lists a myriad of activities or I can give you the interpretation that comes from my soul; the very core of my being. 

Yes, THAT deep.

This topic hits really close to home for me. I know people that have self-harmed; I even tried it myself when I was a teen (I’m 38 now). 

In this post, I'll be talking about the day that the world as I knew it had changed forever...

It was summer-time and my 14 year old daughter had just gotten home from cheer practice.  I looked over at her and noticed a mark on her upper arm.  It struck me odd, but I knew the signs - so I asked her about it. 
“Are you cutting?”
“No mom.”

I began to notice her wearing real rubber bands around her wrist and thought to myself “that’s odd”.

Rubber bands are a coping method for cutters.
In theory, when the urge hits they don’t cut.  Instead they snap the rubber bands. Have you ever felt it? It stings. The harder you snap them, the more it stings. 

I thought to myself,  “but She said No”.

Later that day in the drive-thru at a local burger joint, she said, “Mom, can I talk to you for a minute?” 

That’s all I remember because what came next rocked my world. 

She WAS cutting.  The beautiful child that I carried for 38 weeks inside my body was hurting herself and bleeding on purpose.


This happens to other people.  Not parents like us.  We are awesome. We provided the right balance of attention and rewards (laptop, phone, ipod, etc).  How could this happen in our “normal” family?  We don’t even yell in our house unless it’s me yelling at a cat.  It truly is our kids’ soft place to fall.

Little did I know that behind that behind the evil bedroom door, bad things were happening.  I never once heard her cry. 

My daughter and I talked about why and it’s all a big jumble but it all boils down to her week-long visit that past summer with her bio dad, the feeling of r
ejection, weight issues and normal teenager stuff. 

I got her immediate therapy and she was lucky.  

Unfortunately, it didn’t last.  The medical facility that I used for her therapy was changing owners and had let her therapist go. How do you tell the kid that the person that she had grown to confide in was leaving?  My daughter took it in stride and we moved on to the next.  Again, the therapist was let go.  This time she had enough.  She said “No more!”  I have to say that I couldn’t disagree with her. I would have probably been pissed off too. 

Fast forward to winter 2011. 
She had been taking an anti-depressant for a couple of years but had stopped it due to the side effects.  She was almost 16 and was having some issues that caused her to start cutting again. 

All of those scars were literally and physically re-opened. 

It got so bad that the child begged me to hospitalize her. 

You know it’s serious when someone asks to be placed in a mental hospital.  I took her immediately and she was admitted.  Her meds were changed and she received intensive therapy.  She was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, a blanket diagnosis given to kids under 18.

I remember crying so hard -  and often.  My heart was broken. 

It's been a long road.

My baby will be 17 on Friday.  She has come such a long way and I am so proud of her.  The scars cover both of her arms. 

Some day we will shop for a wedding dress and those scars may show.  The scars that will still be there, because they are a part of her forever.

In this I learned that no matter how good of a parent you are, you can be blindsided in a heartbeat.  (Clothes lined comes to mind). 

My daughter said every time that she cut herself, she felt like she was letting me down.  The only thing that saved my daughter was communication and sheer willpower. 

One could even say my awareness to ask the question in the first place had something to do with it.

What I DO know is I love that kid with every fiber of my being and will always fight for her.  She has become a pretty cool teenager and I am enjoying this different phase of parenting.

I still advocate for self-harm because it feels like it’s the least I can do. My kid made it and I am so lucky.  This I know.  I hope my experience helps you, or someone you know to see the signs and help someone you love.
Thank You,


Thank you again, Jen, for sharing something so close to your heart.

If you or someone you know are harming yourself in some way, please don't suffer in silence reach out!

Please call the Self Injury Hotline - SAFE at:
1-800-DONT CUT   (1-800-366-8288) 

You may also visit the website:

Thank you for reading my blog!