bestbirths- that is such great news about your ds. Is he in therapy?
LizD- I also cut as a teenager. I started cutting one day when I was 14 (seems a common age). I ended my cutting career when I was hospitilized for being suicidal when I was 18 (almost 19). I would have continued cutting, I'm pretty sure, had it not been for the fact that I met my husband the week I got out and fell in love and were engaged in two weeks and married two months later and had a baby right away. The reason I started (and continued) was becasue I just had so much pain and anger inside...there was no way to tell anyone about it and there was no way to prove it was there. I was not sexually abused as a child, but believe I came to earth with a lot of anger and more and more anger piled onto that through my childhood because of various things. I felt so different than my friends who were genuinly happy inside. I needed some way to prove I was different and that I was not happy, as I so succesfully portrayed. I started out cutting on my foot, then my arms. But then people started asking questions about the cuts. I made up really convincing excuses. Then I started cutting in places (mostly upper thighs) where no one would ask me questions. so the proof was for ME to know what was inside...not others. Like Mand, I did not know this was something other people did. I did not even find out it was something other people did until I was 18.
I think one thing that would've helped me would have been having a counselor/therapist that could create a really emotionally safe, SAFE environment for me in which to REALLY express my anger and hurt and get it all out for reals...not just through seeping blood on a cut I created.
With my own children, I let them be angry when they feel angry. I let them feel their own feelings and express them the way they need to (as long as it does not cause damage or harm to anyone or anything or themselves) and get it all out. I try and talk to them after the fact about what happend and guess with them about why they had such strong feelings, etc. I always tell them it is okay to feel the feelings they are feeling and it is good to get it out and talk about it when they are ready. I hope we will be able to continue with this as they grow older. I just feel so strongly that I want our home to be a safe place for ANY feeling to be expressed and want my kids to know I am a safe person to share those feelings with...that I will not judge them for having "negative" feelings and that I will always be available for them.
I hope your friends daughter can get the help she needs to begin her journey to healing. I still have an urge from time to time to cut. And probably if I were not married with children I would. I also have given myself more ways to cope with feelings of depression and the desperation that ensues with those feelings...but it has been a long journey. I'm so glad she is getting help now rather than years from now.