first response

For and about people who care for self harmers / people with other issues

first response

Postby obob » Mon Mar 26, 2012 10:11 am

HI there, I stumbled across this site today whilst googling around the subject. I am a carer for a teenager whose mother died a year ago very suddenly. I know she is at increased risk of self harm as she is of an age where grief is more difficult to deal with. I think she is disassociated from her emotions to protect herself from the pain of loss. She has never cried about it. Previous to the death she had some problems with bullying other kids and her siblings which her parents were exploring. Her very gentle mother was shocked by this behaviour and found it hard to deal with. This is still the case - she seems unable to see that she is causing pain or appears not to care that it does. Other times she is kindhearted and gentle though.

So - I know I worry endlessly about her and may be paranoid but when I go to her room for towels and crockery (!!) I have found things like badges/brooches with the points sticking out, brocken bits of sharp plastic, sharp dried apple core, pins, scissors...she is certainly cutting her hair and denying it. I have seen no obvious wounds and she wears short-sleeves. However she has an ongoing swelling in a hand/wrist that I suspect she is causing. This site suggests removing the onjects is counter productive though we were told by a bereavment charity that it is our duty to make sure she cannot self-harm. I can see what you are saying about choices but I fear involvment or referrals of some professionals as they are know to be very bad in our area (and I have personal experience via a friend of this).

I suppose I am just looking for thoughts. Neither she nor her family have a faith, I do.
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Re: first response

Postby Keziah » Mon Mar 26, 2012 7:01 pm

Hi Obob,
I am sorry to hear of this bereavement, and it sounds a tricky time. People are welcome here with a faith or no faith. I think it is really positive that you are looking into how to support and totally hear you when you say referrals are not always an obvious step forward as sadly care isn't always positive. However, it might be worthwhile seeing if there is any bereavement counselling the teenager could access, as dealing with the core issue can help prevent people from self-harming or to reduce its severity. I don't know if she is in school, but is the school able to provide any support?

It is a tricky one, knowing whether to remove objects that can be used for self-harm. Removing objects that are life-threatening (like no access to prescription drugs that could be taken, not having a large stock of pain killers in the house) can be very helpful. However, so many objects can be used to self-harm that it is not feasible to have no knives or pins etc in the house.

Self-harm is often used by people, as I am sure you have read, as a way of releasing pain or to prevent being too numb or being dissociated. Until the pain or issue can be dealt with (such as learning to cry, feeling safe enough with someone to talk to), then people can use self-harm as a (although not ideal) way of coping, as a way of feeling when they cannot cope with emotions or feelings.
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Re: first response

Postby Hash » Sun Feb 23, 2014 10:00 pm

Hey Obob,

I am glad you have found this site, if you don't get many replies its cos we're quite a small bunch of people and most of us hang in self harmers.

I am so sorry you know someone who has lost their mum not so long ago. I would agree with Keziah getting some bereavement counselling and some support from school would be really good.

Also I would say it is impossible to keep someone from harming themselves if they really want to I think talking to her and asking her whether she is self harming or whether she wants to would help. Communicating is key even if your not sure about it communication will really solve things.

Is her dad around?

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