Hi Mary-Anne, I first wanted to say that I am so sorry your daughter and for you that your family has to go through this. I have worked in the mental health field for many years and have seen this in adults seeking attention. I have not treated children and am not a physician. But felt compelled to respond to your post. As you stated you have done your homework on her "cutting" so you should know that punishment is not going to work to make this behavior stop. According to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry website:
Some adolescents may self-mutilate to take risks, rebel, reject their parents' values, state their individuality or merely be accepted. Others, however, may injure themselves out of desperation or anger to seek attention, to show their hopelessness and worthlessness, or because they have suicidal thoughts. These children may suffer from serious psychiatric problems such as depression, psychosis, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Bipolar Disorder. Additionally, some adolescents who engage in self-injury may develop Borderline Personality Disorder as adults. Some young children may resort to self-injurious acts from time to time but often grow out of it. Children with mental retardation and/or autism may also show these behaviors which may persist into adulthood. Children who have been abused or abandoned may self-mutilate.
I think that counseling is in excellent idea for you and for her and going together probably wouldn't hurt either. It is entirely possible that she may be doing this because she is acting out do the the restrictions put on her or that her friend has been cutting herself and she feels that it may be the popular thing to do. Or she could have a real problem here which if she is hurting herself it has progressed drastically and it is entirely possible. Whatever the reason for it, is it is important to remember that is your daughter that is going through this and she needs the support and attention.
I hope that everything gets better for you real soon, please keep us updated on how she is doing.
Thanks so much for all the replies - wow - I had to come to the site to see, it didn't come to my inbox to let me know.
It's hard not to blame myself, I have to get over that. Thanks, Bekah, for being so honest with me. you make sense in what you say, I have to really think about this and what is going to work. right now she is spending a lot of time in her room, she's been journaling, i think that is a good outlet.
I realize this is going to be a long process, today i think it all hit me, I've been crying all day, i feel like a prune. but i think it's a good healthy cry, I was in shock, and now i know that i, too, FEEL, and can move forward with her. We'll go one moment at a time.
i am curious about the comment about doing this maybe because of her friend...that is such a sad situation...i have wondered though...i am so anxiously waiting for that phone call that gives me an appt time to look forward too. I know the answers won't come over night, but I just need some frame of reference, I have none.
I found out about this on Tuesday, like i wrote. i have her screen name and password to check out her myspace page to make sure it is appropriate, but things had gotten heated and girls have been downright mean, that my hubby and i decided that at 12, she couldn't handle it, so it would be deleted, but first i wanted to read it. She knew i was doing that (her friend that cuts too said she had written something long and emotional to her and she wanted to read that - me too) and through that, i found out that the friend is deep in to this, and that my daughter was dating this boy we had forbid her to (she is 12) and she was calling him late at night and early in the morning, it was all there in black and white - i told my daughter that i was very angry and that she needed to go to her room because i didnt' know what to say right away, but that she wasn't going to sit next to me as i read the messages on her board. she left in silence and my older son (15) ran after her and his buddy said it's time to tell your mother... and that was how i found out. i was in shock. I went to the phone to call my hubby and went out in the car to call my former therapist because i didn't know how to breathe. i thought my daughter might have to be hospitalized, I didn't know when it would be to that point, i didn't know how to tell how bad it was or anything. All the info I read was FOR someone else, not for ME dealing with my daughter. it was like i had to read it all again because this time it was happening to me and it was my daughter.
My son got a bit reemed, he should have told me as soon as he found out, i have always told them to be each other's keeper, if one of them is doing something hurtful, tell, (I have 3 kids, 15, 12 and 9, b, g, b). he said he thought she would quit, because she promised him she wouldn't do it anymore, but one look at her arm, her left arm, from under the main vein on the inner elbow to her wrist, are slits, not deep cuts, some just white lines, some mottled scabs. I don't think I'll ever forget what it looked like to see her arm, and i wanted to cry, but she wouldn't let me touch her.
Today she seems okay, i don't think she realizes what she has done, i think she thinks because it's out in the open that it's over, but this is just the beginning, this isn't something to hope just goes away.
anyway, before i write a book, i will end here. thank you all for all your thoughts, and any and all prayers are welcome and appreciated and needed!
Again, thank you so much for your words of experience for me. I am really trying to work this through, trying to stay in the moment and not lost in everything. I am glad Thursday is over! But I think it was very good for me to get it all out, I had to cry adn grieve and be sad that this is going on when i've tried so hard as a stay at home mom to be there for my kids. my own guilt and issues gets in the way for me.
I agree about Gaby being able to earn her priviledges back, but I can't go back on my word about the boy, or dating in general. We are trying to follow the courtship method with our kids, and for my oldest son (15) it seems to be working, and that's more the reason why i don't want her dating. At 12, I think she can know boys at school and they can get together outside (when she earns that priviledge back) but not a one on one. As an observer, she can see the qualities thta she likes, but I think it's too early to zone in on one boy and see how that goes? I might be wrong in this, but it's where i am at right now. I do have an open mind, I'd like to think so anyway.
I think she is still talking with this boy on the phone anyway - if he makes her feel so good, why is she still cutting herself? And this girl that she is friends with who does cut and her mother and the school are in the know...I wonder if she brings Gaby down because it's a one-sided friendship? I see Gaby get off the phone with her (I give her limited use, like 15 minutes, when she asks) and she is so sad. I really will be glad when the appt comes through (I am calling TODAY, can't wait any longer) and Gaby has an objective party to hear her.
This weekend hubby and i went out and we left her with my mother, I didn't think that my son should have to concerned with all that is going on with her anymore, too big for him, too adult for him, we need not rush thigns. So she was with my mother, which at first she objected to, saying she didn't need to be watched, but then i told her that i felt she did and she needed to make the best of it, or not, her choice. She did enjoy herself, my mom was trying really hard to keep her spirits up. I don't know if we should try so hard, i don't know what to do, but i am glad the weekend went well.
Gaby has come home from school very happy except for Friday when she said she was a loser, none of her friends invite her to do anything anymore, and she'd like to be asked. I guess that would be them tired of hearing no because of her grades. I am hoping that she changes that, report cards are this weekend.
I don't know, i am trying all that i know, listening to everything i hear and trying to be as gentle as a dove and as wise as a serpent (do i have that verse correct?). it's not easy, and I know it's hard on the person doing the hurtful things to themselves, but it's so hard on this end too, wanting to make everything better, and feeling so helpless.
Anyway, have to run off to an appt (My own psych appt) andi i am asking for a recommendation from him for a child psych., i figure it will go hand in hand with therapy and the psych can judge just how deep this issue goes. She showed me her arm this morning and it is healing nicely, looks like she hasn't cut since we found out last Tuesday? All my fears aren't gone yet though, so i thought this might help. we shall see.
thanks everyone, your support and sharing your experiences is really helping me, I am my own worst critic and hearing your words helps keep me off my own ledge, so to speak...
I just wanted to give a quick update - my daughter has a psych evaluation next Friday...I don't know if she needs meds or not, and i don't even know what meds they give to 12 year olds? Does anyone know where i can find out this kind of information or anyone that has tried and what works and what is not good? I have tried every anti-dep out there except for prozac and zoloft, and i know which ones i'd stay away from (I am not a fan of paxil, very horrific experience coming off of it) and wellbutrin makes me jittery. I have anxiety, severe right now probably due to all the stress with this, but the psych guy is aware and i am under care.
i have called the clinical social worker that is in this area that takes my insurance...but she hasn't called me back yet. how long is a reasonable amount of time to wait? she is a christian, i thought that would be important, but i am stumped because i haven't even gotten a return phone call and it's been an entire week. i don't know if i should keep waiting or start looking again? i am disappointed. iwth her being nearby, it would help tremendously when the family therapy comes into play, my hubby won't have such a commute, and i did like her voice on the voice mail when i left my message, but i am sad that i haven't heard back from her.
i, myself, really need some guidance on how to handle what is going on. Gaby did tell me that she ended it with the boy she was seeing, told him she needed to work on herself and her family and that if things were really meant to be with him, he'll be around when she's ready to date. i told her i wouldn't put an age restriction on her after she was 14, she could date then but i would want to know the guy and have him over here, and supervised. i can't force my kids to do courtship if it isn't what they want to do, but i can let them know my feelings about it. i think Gaby has seen with all the drama her friends are going through that it would be a good idea to wait, her friends are in over their heads, there are girls having sex at the age of 12. well, I remember when i was 12 and i thought i was pretty wise myself, but now i know better. i hope Gaby is taking this time to work on what needs fixing in her life, concentrate on her grades (she is still bringing home D's and she CAN do better).
i struggle with whether her teachers should know what she is going through? one of my friends said i should call the school and tell the school counselor and her teachers, but i haven't yet because i am not sure if that is good advice?
i don't know what else there is to do?
I am seeing a lot of peer pressure going on through reading your posts. Her grades have dropped, you said that she was getting D's. I wonder if she is cutting because her friends are. I think that the counseling is a good idea and that you are doing everything humanly possible to help her.
You are in my thoughts and my prayers. I think that with the help of the counselor she will come around.
Luv and hugs,