Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Friday, May 03, 2013

No More

We forget the little things.

I sometimes feel an inordinate amount of panic when I think of all those really good moments that have escaped into the deep dark abyss of a perpetually overloaded Mommy brain. I used to try to chronicle everything. But it's impossible. There is too much.

The sigh gulp, sigh gulp cadence of  a nursing baby at your breast. The smell of diaper cream and baby lotion that permeates everything. The sweet ache of holding a sleeping child in your arms and how profound the trust that makes such a thing possible. The sheer delight on a toddler's face when he knocks down the tower of blocks. The way that never gets old or any less thrilling. How a storybook is just as captivating the hundredth time as it was the first. How fiercely little arms can cling. How deeply and unconditionally little hearts can love.

But there are things that stand out in my memory with such stark clarity that I will never forget, even when my babies are grizzled old men with histories independent of the one I have written for them.

Bloody t-shirt day was one of those.

There had been signs.

Repeated indignant calls from the P.E. teacher reporting that my son would not dress out for gym. I didn't find that alarming. He was a pudgy kid who had been incessantly bullied. Why on earth would he make himself so vulnerable as to expose to the world a body he had learned to loathe?

My kitchen shears disappeared. But there are always projects and cutting implements are in high demand when resources are shared. They bounce around from room to room and almost never reside in their rightful place.

Holes appeared in the cuffs of long sleeved shirts, through which to loop thumbs. As a child of the eighties, I knew full well that  fashion trends are often quite bizarre and arbitrary, so again, I didn't question. WE wore our clothing backwards for heaven's sake.

He began to eschew no show socks and opted for crew length instead. I didn't realize that socks held such significance. If there's anything that you take from this, make it that. Socks matter.

The bloody t-shirt though....that I couldn't deny.

I was in an irritated frenzy, pawing through books and DVD cases and crumpled clothing and empty chip bags and (dear God what IS that??? ) dirty underwear looking for a library book that had been missing for ages and for which we had now been assessed a replacement fee. I had worked up a full head of annoyed steam about the mess and the book. I muttered to myself and mentally drafted the dialogue we would have later.

From beneath the bed I pulled something stiff and brown.

At first I was confused. It didn't feel or look like any article of clothing that he owned. It was clearly a garment of some kind, but why the odd color? Why the strange texture? Why the....SMELL???

The odor that reached my nose carried the stink of truth.

Fresh meat.

Death.

BLOOD.

Ohmygoditscoveredinblood. Heshurtheshurtheshurt. Lotsandlotsandlotsofblood.

From my baby. From my baby. From. My. BABY.

I knew then. The suspicion that had been slowly germinating suddenly bloomed into full awareness along with the real scope of the problem. This was serious. There was a lot of blood and it was no small injury he was inflicting upon himself.

Dear God WHY??? Why??? Why, why, why, why, why?

I sank to ground amid the mess; crumpling papers, cracking cases and snapping pencils, not caring at all as I sobbed into that disgusting shirt. My tears mixed with the blood, which stained my hands an aged and putrid crimson. It was horrifying. Utterly, completely, inconceivably horrifying.

Those were very dark days. I can't even begin to describe the depth of despair, both his and ours. He was angry, ashamed and belligerent. We were terrified, confused and desperate.

I knew he wasn't trying to kill himself, only replace one kind of pain with another. But I feared he would one day cut too deeply and do too much damage. I feared finding him dead, his rich red blood pooled around him like a superhero cape; Captain Exsanguination lying in my son's bed.

I tried to hide anything that would penetrate flesh. But addiction and need spawn ingenuity and stealth. It was a wholly fruitless endeavor. The powerlessness was profound and paralyzing. I could not fix this. I could not heal the wounds on his body or the ones in his heart. I could not ease the torment in his brain. I could do nothing.

I needed people more knowledgeable than myself to deal with this. I had to trust the care of my child to people who knew nothing about him, other than what it said in his case history. I had to relinquish control and have faith, neither of which come very easily to me. But I had no choice and neither did he. He screamed and begged and raged, his tears both defiant and pleading.

"You don't care about me. You just want me out of the way. You can't make me. I hate you."

Then...

"Please don't make me go. I'm not crazy. I won't do it again. I love you."

I had to turn a deaf ear to the pleas of my child.

Think about that for a minute.

You can't even imagine a moment like that until you are in it. Every part of you that is connected to your child; heart, mind, body, and soul, compels you to do whatever it takes to stop the tears, ease the pain, offer comfort and provide protection...from the very thing that he needs to get well. You have to TURN OFF the part of you that makes you a mother and make decisions using only logic and reason.

Once, naively, I thought pushing his body from mine was the hardest thing I had ever done or ever would do.

I was wrong.

13 months have passed since he last hurt himself, something he is very proud of. He has worked hard to overcome his compulsion. He has developed tools to cope with the bad feelings. He has been committed to using them. He is getting stronger.

But he is not better.

Last night, as I lay in bed, nearly comatose with exhaustion but as yet unable to quiet my thoughts enough to sleep, there was a knock at the door.

I did not look up as my son entered.

"What is it?" I asked wearily.

"Mom, I fucked up. Help."

That got my attention.

I looked up to see him holding his wrist in one hand, blood dripping from beneath his clenched fingers.

Calm, be calm, don't freak out, don't freak out.

"Well, let me see."

I set about the business of assessing the damage and dressing the wound. I was very matter of fact. He was mostly silent.

Only one cut. Not too deep. He stopped. He stopped. He stopped.

"Do you want to talk about it"?

He did. No more secrets, no more lies, no more shame.

No more bloody t-shirt days.


(Addendum: (not quite so) Diminutive One has read this piece and given his approval for me to post, which, in my opinion, makes him one of the bravest people I know. He wants to raise awareness and get people talking about self harm. We hope this post will help. He also wanted me to mention that the incident that prompted the cutting, didn't really bother him nearly so much as the cutting itself. He was angry with himself for relapsing. But he has resolved to forgive himself and determined to move forward.)






19 Comments:

  • At 7:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This will help. Please tell him thank you. One of mine has struggled with this. It was often overwhelming. For her and for me. So, again, thank you!

     
  • At 7:14 PM, Anonymous Paula said…

    Your son is truly a brave soul Christina. He bared himself to others to help others and that, truly and really, is the most unselfish act committed. My heart reaches out to all of you as you continue on your path of healing and peace.

     
  • At 7:15 PM, Anonymous Julie said…

    Diminutive One is brave indeed. So very, very brave! Keep going!!

     
  • At 7:54 PM, Blogger theSpacemom said…

    My child is 10. I am terrified of this. From days when she was 6 and scratching herself or biting to deal with hurt, anger, pain...

    Please let your DO know that he is brave. It is one thing to have a problem. It's another to accept the help and move forward. Relapses happen, but he can learn from them.

    Forgive, and learn. And love.

     
  • At 7:57 PM, Anonymous Emily said…

    Brave, brave boy for sharing this. As a mother, I thank you. Who knows what kid you may have helped?

     
  • At 8:31 PM, Anonymous jenjenners said…

    ((Hugs))

     
  • At 9:34 PM, Blogger Margaret said…

    He is incredibly brave and so are you. He wants to get better which is a very good sign. I have had students who have done this(one because she was being abused by her older brother); I don't know how all of them have fared, but I know that she is doing very well. She's married, they travel a lot and she sounds extremely happy.

     
  • At 9:52 PM, Anonymous Ida said…

    Many hugs! Being a parent is by far the hardest job in the World! Thanks to both of you for sharing the story!

     
  • At 11:57 PM, Blogger jess said…

    I'm in awe of your son's bravery and determination. Thank you for not staying silent.

     
  • At 12:23 PM, Blogger Christine said…

    Brave doesn't begin to describe you, DO. What you have accomplished, at this early stage in your life, is something with which many people decades older than you struggle. Admitting your weakness, asking for help, fighting for yourself and your future because you know you are WORTH it, and being willing to share your story to help others is such an inspiration.

    I am in awe of you.

    And I can tell you this for with certainty. You will be a man who does great things.

     
  • At 12:47 PM, Blogger Blog Antagonist said…

    Thank you everyone for the kind words. He has read them all and you have made his day. When I asked him for permission to post this piece, I really didn't expect him to give it. But he didn't hesitate for a moment. And when I suggested he take a moment and think about it, he said he didn't need to. He is feeling very empowered and I think, somewhat liberated by sharing his secret and seeing the overwhelmingly positive response. This has been a good thing. Thank you again for your support and encouragement!

     
  • At 12:48 PM, Blogger Sarah said…

    Next week there is a seminar about this very thing that parents and staff from our school district are encouraged to attend. I'm glad that we are finally talking about this because it has gotten too common among teenagers.

    And I'm glad that you and your boy shared this with all of us.

    xox

     
  • At 1:50 PM, Blogger vmoody@gmail.com said…

    We all struggle with inner demons. We all fuck up. His heart is good. Your heart is also good. I have to tell my son (and myself) every day that progress is more important than perfection. Peace and love to you and yours!

     
  • At 3:26 PM, Anonymous sharon m. said…

    Thank you both for sharing this very difficult experience.I agree with you that we need to bring the subject of self harm out into the open, so that we can understand and help those around us that are cutting and burning. You both are very brave, especially you DO.

     
  • At 2:58 PM, Blogger JFK Loves Belarus said…

    What an amazing kid for picking himself up and fighting on! Good for him, and good for you for supporting him the best you can (and not freaking out when see blood, lol!)

     
  • At 4:44 PM, Blogger Cathy, Amy and Kristina said…

    I just now read this, and ... wow. Please tell your son that he is brave and strong and should be commended for his willingness to share this part of himself in an effort to help others.

     
  • At 5:21 PM, Blogger merinz said…

    Congratulations to your son for sharing and to you both for your fine example of bringing problems out into the open and facing them together.

     
  • At 10:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Your son is helping so many other kids by sharing his story, thank you from the bottom of my heart. You brought me to tears with this post, thank you thank him, I wish him comfort and strength and the knowledge that this pain will pass with the help of his mum and his friends and most of all himself.

    xx Boliath

     
  • At 3:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    He's not alone. You're not alone. You are both very brave.

     

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