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DS is self harming(13 Posts)
He is 15, bright, good looking, and a talented goal keeper.... but he’s always been quirky, not a lads lad like his brother - but very kind, but of a dark Soh but a good friendset.....
So my world has collapsed this week finding out that he contacted childline who contacted the school who contacted me to tell me that he was very low and had been cutting himself since 2017 and frquently feels suicidal.
We are pretty close, I’m divorced and his relationship with his dad is a bit hit and miss and he does not want him to know.
I feel like shit. His arm is covered from wrist to shoulder and I have never seen it. How could I have missed this? He has been so clever at covering it all up - but even so!
His school are being great and he will be referred to Camhs .... he wants to get better and I am so proud he finally found the courage to seek help.
How do I forgive myself for failing him. I knew he’d become a bit reclusive and kept asking him if he was ok and he kept reassuring me he was fine.....
But since 2017?...... how did I not realise before?
Don’t beat yourself up too much, OP. The important thing is he has turned a corner and WANTS help.
It’s easy to hide something that no one is looking for.
The good thing is you know now, and you’re helping him. When I was a depressed tenn my parents couldn’t give a shit and it’s followed me through adulthood.
Be supportive, don’t push him for answers. Just be there and let him know you’re not judging or angry. It’s so good he’s seeking help, and with your support this is something he will overcome with the right help/medication/therapy. I wish all the best for you all.
I read this and thought it could have been written by my mum 15+ years ago when she found out I has been self harming for years.
Please, please, please do not blame yourself. It is not your fault. If he's anything like I was he's been putting so much energy and effort into hiding it out of a kind of embarrassment (I didn't want people to think I was weak and an attention seeker). It would have been almost impossible for you to know.
He's probably hugely relieved that you now know and can be there for him. Listen to him, tell him it's ok. Don't ask him 'was it anything I did' or 'could I have done anything', it might hurt him to think you think it's your fault and he's upset you. Instead stick in the present with 'is there anything I can do anything'.
From a previous self harmers point of view it gets better, I'm happy now and I don't ever think of harming again. I do however spend a lot of time thinking about the pain I put my mum through. As an adult wonder if she ever truely forgiven me. So later in life let him know that you're not hurt about it and that you're proud of how he fought it and who he became.
Sending you love.
Let me know if you want anymore insight.
Oh bless you but from a mums point of view please know there is nothing to forgive and I’m quite sure your mum would stay the same. I guess we just get sad that our children hurt so much but I don’t feel remotely angry at him or that there is anything to forgive.
I hugely appreciate that you and others have taken the time to write this early in the morning. I’d been awake for hours before I finally wrote it down. Thank you x
Any insight that you feel you could share would help me and probably others .... if you ever feel up to it. I’m at such a loss
Oh Violet I feel for you. My son is not self harming but has been very vulnerable. It is good that you now know and can support him . Do not blame yourself . I hope he has turned a corner.
First of all please don’t feel bad about not knowing. Your son will have done everything to hide this from you, it will have probably been the main focus from the first time he did it. He will have been scared, embarrassed ashamed, all kinds of things so you are not to blame for not knowing sooner. From what I know self harm is used as a release from emotional pain. This could be anything from depression through to nerves and anxiety. With the right help he will get better, it’s almost a given that he will self harm again- it will be a long process to recover but that is normal. I would suggest that you or someone he is comfortable with goes through with him ‘safe self harm’ sounds odd I know but it’s best that he knows the dangers so if he does self harm again it will be only artificial not dangerous. And also how to keep them properly clean. If he does self harm again don’t be mad or blame yourself, through any kind of recovery there will be relapses but that’s normal and doesn’t mean it will be like that forever. Be as open as possible and let him know you are in this together and you will beat it together.
Sympathy coming your way. I've just found my 13 year old daughter is self harming. I was given some advice on here to call Young minds who were very good. They have a very useful website with a section called No Harm about self harm. It is totally horrifying when you find out. We're waiting for the CAHMs referral to come through. I've told the school but they haven't done much. My dd didn't want to speak to them and all they've done is tell her teachers not to let out of class alone during lesson time which seems to only serve their own interests so they've covered themselves. The only good thing is that your son has sought help and is now talking to you. I've avoided making any of this about me, so no questions like 'why didn't you tell me before?' or telling her how awful I feel about it. We've come up with a few practical solutions like trying to work out triggers. For dd it's when homework gets on top of her and issues with friends. I have asked her if she feels suicidal and she says not. Young minds said not to hide scissors etc as they will find a way, but to be honest I couldn't stomach leaving them in her room so I have hidden them.
Don't beat yourself up. It's very easy to hide this away so the fact he now doesn't want too is a good thing.
I tried a private therapist because I didn't want to wait for Cahms but didn't feel she was right for dd. It's a bit of a minefield working out who to ask for help as Cahms are so overstretched on our area.
As someone who works with teenagers who self-harm, my only advice is don't stop him doing it/make him feel ashamed about it. It is an outlet for the way he is feeling, not a healthy outlet admittedly, but if it is the only coping strategy he has, you mustn't 'take it away' until he has learnt healthier strategies to release his emotions. CAMHS will help with that but there are also apps for support in the meantime. Or try Kooth or The Mix. CAMHS referrals take some time to be followed up on, dependent on area, so if you can afford a private psychotherapist or the school has a counsellor then do make use of that in the meantime.
My daughter has been self harming. It's awful, of course. The point I want to make with this post, after our experience, is to be cautious about letting the school know too much. My daughter's school banned her from a trip to Europe (a Battlefields tour she had been looking forward to for months) after she asked for an aisle seat on the flights (from Australia). When questioned why, she had to confess to anxiety. She was cornered by several staff members and coerced (in my opinion) to confessing to self-harm. At that point, her self harm was superficial. The school called us in for a meeting, expressing their concerns. They actually said that they were concerned about their reputation and how it would look if one of their students jumped off a building in Europe! Anyway, she got taken off the trip and her self-harm worsened after that.
I'm lucky that she tells me when she's done it. And I now know the triggers to look out for.
On a good note, her house leader invited my DD to be on the Student Council and she's been in a much better place since she's found some dependable teachers at school - specially her art teacher.
Please don't worry too horribly. I was a very active SHer as a teenager and as someone points out, sometimes superficial self harm as a means of releasing an unbearable emotion or tension is less destructive than bottling it up. I hurt so much for teenagers like your boy...I'm an old goth, so soon as I coulf I started dressing funny and wearing eyeliner and chumming around in nightclubs wirh other dark souls, but where do quirky kids go these days to meet other quirky kids IRL?