Those Scars On Your Arms Tell Your Truth; A letter to my Grace, things I wish I could say

Dear Grace,

I look at the skin that has grown up and around the wounds you have all along your arms and legs. I see your truth. I see your pain and those emotions you have expressed in your own way. Although who am I to say I know your truth when, for so many years, I buried mine in alcohol and antidepressants. I know this, my Grace, I have taught you to keep it all in. And as a result, your pain kept all deep inside of you has built up into tremendous heat. You have found a way to relieve yourself of this pain by taking those razors you hide under your bed or carefully placed in the books on your shelf  into your hand. You slash your arms and legs to let out the pain, to release the heat of all those emotions.

Saying sorry to you seems unjust, ugly and so little of me, but those are the words that slip from my mouth quietly moving quickly through these hands and onto this page.

I am sorry, I am so sorry. I am sorry for hurting you through my angry words. I wish I could do things differently. I thought I was. My reactions to act as a caring mother have led to unruly, unkempt expressions of  control and rage when all it really was – was fear, my fear, fear of losing you or fear of you getting hurt.

So today, my Grace, I am going to hit that pause button and listen, listen carefully to you and get out of your way. Today, I am going to honor your strength, to acknowledge that you have lived the toughest year of your life. I honor that you have found your own way of letting go of those emotions with those razors hidden under your bed. You have found your way to heal and your wounds that are more visible than most people’s. I will gaze at those scars with love and amazement because those scars tell me your truth. I trust in your path. Just stay alive, just live.

 

Mommy Breaks Up With Her Therapist, a Rant

Life lines for parents with teens who injure can be costly. So how is a parent to find support in this dark world of self-injury without it breaking the bank? We have been with our parent coach for over 4 years now. I can hear her voice when I tell her the funds have run out, “Before the plane crashes, you put the oxygen mask on first before you put it on your kid.”

Day 3: flight to Yazd - inflight safety card

Right? Its stressing me out to think that  I am so dependent on this therapist for parenting a challenging teen.  She does not talk with my teen’s therapist, so what is the point?  I paint half a picture, my teen paints her half of the family dysfunctional picture and these therapists don’t share notes? What is up with that?

I am terrified of letting go of my therapist, but honestly – my medical credit card has reached its limit and it is ONLY June!  My husband is out of work and we have got to continue my teen’s therapy.  Twice a week, sometimes three.

I hate depression in teens – meds have not worked, talk therapy is slow and I often question how well that works. I hate my own depression and anxiety. At times, it feels as if my brain has gotten a life long sentence. Will my own anxiety depression ever end? I have been on antidepressants going on 5 years, with a therapist and coach for going on 5 years and life has only become more challenging as my child moved from a kid who self-injures to a teen who self-injures.

When I lay it out like that, I wonder how truly effective talk therapy and drugs are at getting rid of the the dreadful depression. Aside from all that wondering…I just want to find a cure.  I have read about people who have cured their depression. Going on 5 years of depression in both my kid and in me? Come on!  Enough is enough. This depression has gone on for far too long. And, because we aren’t in a parent support group and exiled to therapy, we know of absolutely no one else who struggles with these issues, therefore we just continue our isolation.  This isolation is depressing in and of itself.

So on to bigger things, I have got to find a place to get support where I no longer feel like some alien from outer space. And what about my teen – I wonder if she, too, feels the same?

Embarrassing parents - swan duckling

Embarrassing parents – swan duckling (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

Ah…What would it be like to find parents out there who have kids suffering from anxiety and depression? Would we be able to side step the “shame” and “guilt” and actually move forward and have honest talks? More importantly, not feel completely alone? Community, support, how about that for therapy and building parenting skills.

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A Mother Celebrates The Good Day All Day Long With Her Teenage Daughter

Depression presents itself differently in teens than it does in adults. Depression seems a bit different for most people though.  However in teens, depressions seems almost “normal” as teens are known for being defiant and moody. Their defiance is supposed to be “normal” as our teens search for their own identity. And we all know teens can sleep half of the day away. As for moodiness – that too, is what parents are told to expect.

So when are we supposed to know when our kids are depressed rather than one of those ‘stages’ they are just going through?

Well for some of us, our kids’ grades drop, they stay in bed and sleep till late afternoon on a Saturday. They wake up to only then listen to music while remaining on their computers in their bedrooms watching YouTube clips all night long. They may or may not bathe regularly and as for friends, they see them from time to time rather than all of the time. Some of our teens turn to self injury or attempt suicide.

Yesterday for us, was a very good day. The entire family made it to church. Yes, our teen woke up on her own well before 2 p.m., showered, dressed and went to church with her parents. She sat between her father and I during service, was at ease with her peers and spoke with the adult parishioners.

Thank goodness for Memorial Day weekend barbecues!   We were glad to be invited to a neighbor’s barbecue. We haven’t been very social as we are staying very close to our teen. That means we do not get out as much as we did in the past because we are never certain if we can get out.

When our teen is feeling down or overwhelmed, we know we are in for the night. It is a Redbox night, that is to say after running out to rent a film from Redbox, we know our biggest task is to convince our daughter to sit in the leather recliner and watch some films with us.  Redbox nights, I consider to be a big accomplishment because – as a parent, getting my teen out of her bedroom, away from her computer to watch a movie with the family is quite the challenge.

However, yesterday was not a Redbox night, it was far better than that. It was a night of interaction and fun! Our hosts prepared amazing food! Our neighbor, Anne, barbecued chicken  perfectly. The food was delicious, the weather was warm, the company of adults was so very needed. And then what made it a superb evening was watching my girl enjoy herself. She joined the rest of the kids and played basketball for most of the night. And when they weren’t playing basketball, they were jumping on the trampoline or swinging in the hammocks in pairs of two and three – just talking, laughing and swinging.

Yesterday was a good day all day long! Celebrating this good day the following morning just feels right. Seeing the happiness expressed in our daughter’s laughter is great cause for celebration. She had moments yesterday of pure joy. She so deserves these moments as it has been a rough handful of years. Pausing and remembering yesterday’s good times, the sound of my girl’s laughter, the sight of her smiles-these memories will be this mom’s medicine for the day. I am celebrating this with tremendous gratitude, I am so thankful she had a wonderful day. Our daughter, like yours, it our life, our light and we want for her the ability to move out of this depression and live the life she so deserves.

So this mom celebrates the good day I had with my daughter. It was a good day all day.

 

Psychologists – Our Children’s Therapists and Mistakes I Made

Have you ever visited your kid’s therapist and was told that you were not supposed to tell when your kid has injured his/herself because it goes against the psychodynamic theory they are experimenting on your kid?

You are told that your child and their therapist must develop a relationship of trust and it is up to the child to tell the therapist when they have injured.

You are told that if the injury is not life threatening, don’t mention it to your child’s therapist because this talk between your child’s therapist and you will damage their relationship.

Does this sound right to you?

Where was my head in all of this? I will tell you where…wrapped in so much worry and fear, looking to those who were strongly suggested to me by my kid’s pediatrician and  professors of child psychology from an esteemed university.

I did not see the big picture back then-nor was there the research there is today.

If any psychologist tells you not to tell them when your kid injures, it is my recommendation that you run away as fast as you can after you have told them they are full of it.

We did this therapy for far too long. We were told from our kid’s therapist that they had lively and engaging discussions. According to the therapist, her client-my kid-was fully engaged.

So what! Engaged in what? Why am I not able to ask the content or at least the topics addressed?

If your kid is like any other teen; afraid, easily embarrassed, keeping things secret, worried about what others think of them and a good conversationalist – then this is what could happen in an experimental psychological theory that is applied to these types of therapy sessions:  A time where a teen can talk about only those things she wants her therapist to know because she can do, act, say, flunk out of History, French and Biology whilst she is cutting up her wrists and NOT MENTION anything about what is honestly troubling her BECAUSE Dad cannot tell the therapist that this is what is really going on in his daughter’s life.

Get my point? The psychological damage that goes on when our family is dealing with this crisis is only furthered by this, “don’t tell” approach. Get those gatekeeper parents in check! We were told we cannot control our daughter’s life so get parent coaching and fix it on our end.

Be careful, beware and educate yourself as best as you can when it comes to teen depression and self injury.

SELF INJURY – WHAT IS A PARENT TO DO? Parenting teens who are addicted to the maladaptive coping strategy of self mutilation

Doing the best she can

Doing the best she can (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The number of teens who self injure in the United States is on the rise. What is a parent to do? Therapists, social workers and such have a wide array of suggestions. I have followed them all with little to no results. Truth be told, my teen’s self injury is only getting worse.  Partial hospitalizations, family therapy, individual therapy, medication, parent coaching-you name it, our family has been there and done that.

What is a parent to do?

This site is dedicated to those parents, friends of those who injure and professionals who struggle to find answers.  Why do people mutilate their bodies? Why are there so many children and teenagers taking up this painful behavior? What does the research say? What have parents found to be helpful? What can parents do to help prevent relapse?

So many sites out there are for the person who injures. We welcome those who wish to share their stories.

However…This site was created as a space to discuss and support those of us, who live in constant fear of their loved ones who injure their bodies as a coping mechanism.