Deborah fell asleep early tonight, and on the sofa too. Both of those - asleep early and falling asleep in the living room - are not usual occurrences for Deborah. She is on new medications to help her deal with several issues, poor sleep being one of them.
Deborah has had a hard year. She hasn't had an easy time making friends and she's been bullied. The bullying hasn't been terrible, but for someone as sensitive as Deborah, it's been life altering. Deborah started self harming this year.
[Self harming has been around for years and years but back in the old days, they put those who hurt themselves in institutions. In Canada, it's not terrifically uncommon. A workshop Gordon and I attended indicated over 50% of teenagers try it. Most of those move on, but 25% adopt it as a coping strategy. A study in Louisiana reported that nearly half of high school students surveyed had self harmed within the year.
Self harm is not the same as attempting suicide. Most self harmers don't want to "end it all," they just want some relief from the strong emotions they're experiencing. Self harm releases endorphins which provide that relief. Unfortunately some of the coping strategies self harmers use can be fatal even when suicide wasn't the intention. And it can be addictive, similar to eating disorders.]
Deborah is in therapy for depression, anxiety and self harm. She's had two good weeks and we are grateful. But it's been a hard year. She's been to the emergency room five times in the past six months. We are on a rollercoaster of emotions; sadness, anger, confusion and fatigue to name a few.
She is getting help and we've tapped into lots of resources. She hasn't cut herself since May 29. These two weeks have been the best in probably six months. But seeing her big almost-13-year-old body asleep on the sofa, totally submitted to medication, made my heart hurt yet again.
God, please protect and heal our little girl.