Forum Archives

Return to Forum List

Self Harm how to deal with

You are not logged in. Login here or register.

tushnurse posted 10/7/2013 12:26 PM

Has anyone here dealt with this with their kids, and have they found any tips/tools/books/sites that help them deal with it better?

My son who had one incident late last winter, has had another, the weird thing is life is pretty good for him right now, he says he's just overwhelmed..... This is my kiddo that has ADHD/Boderline Aspie. Not sure if this is anxiety, poor impulse control or what. Anyone with personal experience, insight, or words of wisdome would be appreciated.

peacelovetea posted 10/7/2013 12:54 PM

I'm a mental health provider, and I think this is one of those things that you need professional help to heal, I'm afraid. Its usually a sign that coping skills are being significantly overwhelmed. The fact that he's a kid with complicated neurology makes that even more so.

While getting therapy going, work on finding other ways to cope -- its hard, because cutting or the like has pretty substantial hormonal payoffs, and can lead to addiction-like feelings. If he's ADHD he may also be having some compulsions around it too, but that would be for a therapist to untangle. Focus first on daily self-care -- enough sleep, good diet, exercise, emotional support systems. Then on building competence, finding what he's good at, and finding alternative methods of coping when the overwhelmed feelings get too much -- but you are probably doing that kind of thing anyway.

I'd also recommend, given the complicated history, that you see a psychologist and not a master's level therapist of any stripe. Though they are often very good, his issues would warrant a higher level of assessment than a master's level clinician is trained to deal with.

Poor kiddo. And poor mom. :(

[This message edited by peacelovetea at 12:54 PM, October 7th (Monday)]

tushnurse posted 10/7/2013 13:02 PM

Thank you peace

We did the whole Psychologist thing last year when this happened, and thought we had a handle on it, and I have a pretty good background in mental health, as well as good understanding of ADHD, and the quick to pull the trigger part of it, as I too have it, and have struggled to control.

We did discuss at length last night, getting his room cleaned up, brightened up organized, and of course getting back into the good sleep habits, that seem to have become an issue again.

As a 16 year old with all the stressors I had, and he has I get that life can be overwhelming, the thing that concerns me most is the fact that we were going along pretty well, no real indication of being down at the present time. I want to give him respect, but I also have no trust right now.

His PCP is actually better at talking to him, and helping him identify how to better manage his issues than the psychologist and psychiatrist were. Very similar guys. My son relates to him, and sees that even though he struggles now, he can become whatever he wants, as his Dr was brutally honest with him the first time he saw him, explained his own LD issues, and struggles.

Guess we need to step back, get on track again. Vitamins, good sleep, good study habits, good exercise. LIMITED time alone, LIMITED time on gaming.

Other thoughts, tricks, books, interventions that have worked please share.

sadcat posted 10/7/2013 18:07 PM

My dd is a cutter. She is in therapy which is helpful. I feel very helpless as a parent.

tushnurse posted 10/7/2013 19:52 PM

Sadcat. Does she do it even when life is generally good?

We have a great relationship in that he knows that nothing he tells us is taboo or off limits. He had a good day today and actually had an idea for dealing with the frustration. Hr wants to get some models to build. Something that keeps him busy and allows him to escape the pressure of life. So tomorrow I am off to Hobby Lobby at lunch.

Myname posted 10/8/2013 01:25 AM

Tushnurse, I am currently a self-harmer. It has to be so hard to know your son is going through this. It has to be such a helpless and scary feeling.

I do it for a million different reasons, depression, anger, control, release, frustration, punishment, and sometimes for no good reason at all. So yes. People cut when life is going seemingly well. I have cut for some of the stupidest reasons including spilled water and burnt dinner.

Cutting is usually a symptom of a bigger problem so IC is very important for recovery.

Short term solution: distraction methods to keep his mind off of the cutting. Having said that, I'm not sure if limiting video games is the best thing right now unless the video games are a trigger for the cutting. I do agree with limiting alone time.

Long term solution: IC to learn better coping methods and to deal with whatever the underlying issue is.

Ultimately though, the decision to stop has to come from your son. Does he want to stop? Has he said that he wants help stopping? If I read that correctly it sounds like he has only cut twice. Are you sure that he has only cut twice? Are his cuts hidden?

Feel free to PM me if you want.

dmari posted 10/8/2013 03:07 AM


My DD is 18 now but started cutting when she was 11/12. She did have to be hospitalized for 10 days not only for self-harm but for other escalating issues.

DD is an aspiegirl with mental health conditions. In regards to the self harm, I joined a yahoo group for parents of depressed teens which was a huge support. I read whatever I could get my hands on. My DD had a therapist and a psychiatrist. She didn't have to tell me when/if she cut but she was trained to take care of superficial cuts (first aid kit, etc) and had to tell me if it was deep or wouldn't stop bleeding (I promised to take care of her and not judge and yell at her during these times).

It's almost been one year since she has self-harmed. The urge to cut is always there. Until she digs up the root of why she self harms, I can expect a relapse. As we all know, replacing a healthy coping skill with an unhealthy one takes a lot of therapy and time.

You stated that he cut during times which would you would classify as "pretty good". Someone with aspergers may view that same time with feelings of anxiety. He states he is overwhelmed. Cutting brings relief. If he refuses to see a therapist then I would see one so that you are trained to support someone who self-harms. Learn some tools and insight, etc.

It's really really really hard and I'm sorry your son is hurting. Hugs to you both. Please feel free to pm if you have any questions.

tushnurse posted 10/8/2013 07:57 AM

Thank you all for sharing your very personal stories.

He has only cut twice, of that I am sure. We are a naked family, meaning we don't care who sees us without clothes on, just the way we are. I see him in various shades of undress several times a week, and since the first incident last winter, have kept my eyes peeled. So yah I am 99% sure that is the only 2 times he has done it.

Limiting the gaming is important because he tends to obsess over it. He can literally spend 12 hours at a time on the x box/computer if allowed. We limit it normally, and have always used the x box as a reward system. He only plays on line with his buddies about 50% of that time.

I am fairly certain some of the cause is from the bluster of Dad. Dad tends to be a yeller, when things piss him off, or upset him, and Even though my son knows when he's done with the yelling the event is over, sometimes he takes it very personally. So this is a problem that involves the whole family, and H and I had a discussion about what's productive, and not with him again.

AND CAN I JUST SAY: Why do schools have the little kids go in late, and the big kids while it's still damn dark out? Study after study, after study shows that teens don't do morning. Yet our district has them arriving at school at the bright early time of 6:50 with classes starting around 7:15. Getting his butt up and out of bed in the am is soooooooooooo hard.
This is with a good 8 hours of sleep, no electronics in the room, and multiple alarms, and mom prodding.

Is it socially acceptable to threadjack your own topic????

Return to Forum List

© 2002-2018 ®. All Rights Reserved.