Several years ago, my daughter was filled with anger and was cutting. It got so bad we had to send her away to a boarding school with psych. help. She has been home for 1 1/2 years, and this weekend she began cutting again. Unfortunately or fortunately, the cut was so deep she required stitches and received a hospital stay in the psch. ward. She is 17 years old. Apparently, several weeks before she had suicide thoughts and actually crushed percocets and snorted them. There were no warning signs to any of this. She will be attending a group session today and we have our first pscyh. appt for Monday. What can I do to help her through this?
[QUOTE=Missyluke;4370545]Several years ago, my daughter was filled with anger and was cutting. It got so bad we had to send her away to a boarding school with psych. help. She has been home for 1 1/2 years, and this weekend she began cutting again. Unfortunately or fortunately, the cut was so deep she required stitches and received a hospital stay in the psch. ward. She is 17 years old. Apparently, several weeks before she had suicide thoughts and actually crushed percocets and snorted them. There were no warning signs to any of this. She will be attending a group session today and we have our first pscyh. appt for Monday. What can I do to help her through this?[/QUOTE]
First of all, I have great respect for you for trying to help and understand your daughter. I used to self-injure, specifically cut, and I never would have gotten through it without my mother's help.
Cutting is something that a person never really forgets about. You pick up a knife to chop onions, and there it is, a knife in your hand. I am glad to see that the boarding school helped for so long, but almost every self-injurer WILL have relapses. A relapse doesn't necessarily mean things are going to get awful again, but it's an indicator that they could, so going to therapy is a wonderful plan.
Drug use is often associated with other self-injurious behaviors - I have always been a poly-drug abuser. Fortunately snorting a few percocets isn't likely to kill a healthy teen, so we can all be thankful for that.
Back to your question, all you can really do is try to understand. Don't be judgmental (which it doesn't sound like you are), and show her compassion. Another thing is to make sure that all sharp objects are out of her room. I got mad at my mom a lot for going through my stuff, but at least at that point I didn't have anything sharp in my possession.
Another thing is that cutting is not always (or even usually) a precursor to suicide - it is a cry for help or a way to relieve stress; to make life better - not end life.
I hope my post helped in some way.
I really do wish you the best of luck. Let us know how therapy goes if you wish.
i have been cutting since i was in 7th grade - 12/13 years old. I am now 20 and have experienced many, many ups and downs with cutting. this post can be from the daughter's point of view.
i started cutting when i realized things at home were a little off. i have it so much better than a lot of people, but when your parents are constantly fighting and you notice there is something mentally/emotionally wrong - you have no real support system to turn to.
i started cutting because i needed someone to notice and i needed someone to talk to, however i refused any professional help. i just wanted a friend. my mom has heard about the cutting twice through the school counselor. the first time she told me to was the marker off my arm thinking it was fake, the second time i got help but was VERY reluctant to talk. it wasn't until i was a freshman in college at age 18 that i really started wanting help. it took a good/new friend at school to encourage me to go. she came to every meeting, waiting outside, walked me to and from my dorm and never asked questions - she was just there for support. i was very lucky. (unfortunately i have recently lost that friend and that has been very tragic)
all you can do is be there. don't be pushy, but be observant. i honestly don't know what i'd do if my mom and i sat down and talked about my cutting. its a very private thing for me. its the one thing i could control in my life and the one thing no one could take away from me. understand that cutting is just as addictive as alcohol or drugs. i would crave it and find ways to do it with objects you couldnt even begin to imagine. don't worry and fret over taking away all dangerous things, if your daughter wants to do it - she will. be supportive and loving. my one wish was to have some one hold my arm in their hands and care for me and my cuts/pain rather than freak out and look at me differently.
i hope this helps. i know that your daughter will get through this. the pain lessens and the urge decreases with time and as coping mechanisms are found.
I also self-harm by cutting, although at present I have not cut myself since Dec.15, 2009. This is the longest i've ever gone without cutting. I've self harmed since I was 13, that would be 29 years. Up until 3 years ago I was able to hide it from everyone. But unfortunately or fortunately, however you want to look at it I fell into the hands of a really good team of Psychologist and Psychiatrist. During one of my weekly therapy session with my Psychologist she noticed a "not normal" looking wound on my wrist and just came out and asked me if I hurt myself. At the time I was going through a bit of a breakdown and I just kinda lost it, it was too hard to keep it all in and keep hiding it, so I said yeah, I do. Then I told my husband of 20 years, my mother in law and my best friend. During the last 3 years I've had to get 74 stitches over various trips to urgent care for cuts. I even cut myself in my sleep during what my Psychiatrist calls "amnesiac dream states". I am also Bi-Polar by the way, sorry should have mentioned that. I can tell you though it has felt so incredibly good the last 10 months going without harming myself. Not having to hide cuts and scabs all the time...
I began self harming as a way to get the pain and hurt "out". I was being molested by my father, and my mother and father were constantly fighting/arguing....it was a very hard time in my life, I was 13. I couldn't talk about it, but for me cutting and seeing the blood flow was like watching the pain/fear/anger flow out of my body...it was how I learned to do that, so over the years it's just how I did it for every hard situation.
Your daughter cuts for a reason, there's something behind it. Seeing a therapist/psychiatrist will bring that out, once she admits what it is, she can begin to work on other ways to deal with circumstances. The advice of making sure her room is "sharp" free is great, with one exception. Have her go through her room with you and rid it of any sharps. Do it in a kind, non-judgemental way. Let her know that you are doing this, to keep her safe, that you love her and don't want her to be hurt in any way. By allowing her to help you, she won't feel violated, or that you've "stolen" something from her. Don't make a super big deal about it, just a calm presence.
I hope that things begin to work for you and your daughter...please don't think that this is something that can be fixed quickly. It will take a long time. There are also other types of therapy that help, such as CBT, DBT or medication. You can talk to her therapist about these.
I wish you well.
From experience of cutting, if you try to get her to stop cutting, she's going to want to rebell harder and do it more.
I'm astonished that you have the strength to keep up with all of this. I too am a teenager, who used to cut, and this always worried my mother as well.
Try talking to her about what's going on in her life. If she doesn't want to talk about it, or to you then don't push the subject on her. It may cause a trigger(urge to cut) and would irritate her.
My daughter began therapy immediately after being baker acted. She began with 9 hours therapy, 3 hours of family therapy. I believe that she has shared her problems with her therapist. The therapist has told me during group therapy that my daughter has alot of respect for me and that we have a wonderful relationship. Going by the little information I get it appears her issues are with her father and her brother. The therapist has indicated that there are many issues with them. Unfortunately, her dad lives in CA and her brother is in college in CA and her dad does not believe he has done anything that could be construed as an issue. My daugher has indicated that she was very much so verbally abused by her dad and she is right. This is one of the things that led to my divorce.
We have a system down now. She does not want to talk to me about her issues and I respect her wishes and do not push her. She talks a little about things but not much. I do ask her what her stress level is and if it is high we try to work through it. She has had one melt down and punched a telephone pole and brused her hand. This was right before Christmas before her brother came home.
She has been diagnosed with ADH and anxiety disorder and depression. She is now on Lexapro and Stratera. They seem to be helping, but I have to very observent especially when her dad or brother come to the area.
Through therapy she has made friends and seems to be doing ok for now. I know this can change at any time, and I look for the signs of stress/hurt building.
She knows I am there for her and support her 100%. I believe this will be a life long process for her. Unfortunately, I also know that some of her issues will never be fully worked out with her dad and brother.
You are very correct in that it is a lifelong issue.....I've been battling it since I was 12, when my father began molesting me, and I am now 42....once you begin using cutting or self injury as a tool for dealing with your pain, it tends to become the "cure" of choice until you find other ways to cope. I've been "cut-free" since Dec. 15, 2009, after going through CBT, ECT and DBT therapies.
How is your daughter doing now, I hope she is continuing to get better and stronger. Thank you for being such a great mother to her and being strong for her and helping her....not all of us had that growing up.
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