My daughter was a cutter. She’s 12.
The start of the struggles we’ve had this year, didn’t start with the cutting. The struggles we had started with my daughters poor choices with friendships. When you’re a preteen, friends are so incredibly important. My daughter’s world seemed to revolve around her friends.
As a Christian, it’s a struggle every day to remember that we are not defined by the world, but we are defined by Him. It’s a struggle to remember what and who God says you are when you are bombarded by what the world says you are. As an adult, I know who I am. I know who made me and I know how precious I am to Him. I know that I can rest in Him and find peace in Him during my storms. I know all that and I still struggle sometimes to remember that I am loved and precious in His sight (even if I flipped off that driver this morning because he cut me off). I know I’m not perfect and I know that God loves me despite my imperfections and sins. But a preteen who is just learning about who she is, is not as secure in her relationship with Him and so she seeks outside validation
As a mom I want to shake her and remind her that the world doesn’t define her. That it’s okay to be different. That it’s okay not to be popular. That it okay to just be herself. But the world tells her she needs to dress a certain way. She needs to have certain things. She needs to do certain things. It really is hard to be a kid in today’s world. The world we live in today is so far removed from the world I grew up in. Sure somethings haven’t changed. Bullies are universal. But the way kids cope has changed. Cutting, according to her therapist, is a common coping mechanism for kids nowadays. Say what now? Yep , they said it’s common. It’s a learned behavior. They are learning it from the other kids at school or via social media.
These kids may see it as common. They may see it as cool (even though it so very much isn’t). Parents definitely don’t see it that way. The first time, I saw cuts on my daughter, I flipped out. I panicked and I froze. My husband made the executive decision to take her to the crisis intervention center. That was a long and stressful night and I’ll talk about it in another blog post. Needless to say, I needed to go out and buy another bottle of hair dye to take care of all the grays that seemed to pop up overnight. And I’ll tell you, the cutting doesn’t just leave the child in bondage, it leaves the parents in bondage too. It leaves a lingering cloud of anxiety.
But if you remember, at the beginning of this post I said she “was” as cutter. It took almost all school year, countless therapy session and medications but I can proudly say that she is better. She is so much better. Shes making better choices. Shes doing better in school. Shes made new and awesome friends. She has learned better coping skills. Shes just better. Don’t misunderstand me, she’s still a ornery almost teenager (Gah shes almost 13!!! I’m old!). But shes happier and brighter. Shes more of the kid I saw a year ago than the kid I took to crisis intervention in December.
But this is just the beginning. This is where our story starts. There are so many things that happened this year, that I could never put it all into one post. So stay tuned and see how we went from clinging to the side of the mountain during an avalanche to standing at the top and shouting, “We did it!”.