A Mother's Perspective.
- Posted on: 21 December 2010
- By: Chris Youngblood
Last week a mom posted a comment on our Facebook. She shared about a trip with her daughter and her daughter's friend to a our event at University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. I left a comment below hers, asking her to email us so we could get her contact information and give encouragement to her family. She replied to us with the email below. We found inspiration in her words, and a reassurance for everyone here in the office. Another incredible reminder of why we do the work we do every day. Be encouraged.
My thirteen-year-old daughter has been struggling with self-harm (cutting) for nearly a year now. She has been seeing a therapist for the last six months at her own request; before that time we had no insurance coverage, and I promised her that as soon as we did, I would see that she got the help she needed from a professional. The months beforehand were difficult, but not impossible. She hid things very well from me most of the time.
A few weeks ago she called me into her room and said, “I want to show you a shirt I’d like.” I saw TO WRITE LOVE ON HER ARMS in huge letters, and my face must have blanched because her next words were “No, Mom, it’s not what you think. It’s a really good thing.” She explained the website and the mission to me as best she could, and I told her I would check it out for myself. I was surprised to find out that one of her friends had told her about it. As I read the blogs, and the calendar, and the links, I knew this was something that could potentially help her. Then, I saw that you were coming to UW-Oshkosh. Uh oh—a school night, and it’s a two-and-a-half hour drive for us. No matter; I told her that if she and her friend wanted to go, I would take them. We’d have a “chicks only” road trip, we’d have dinner out, attend the event, maybe get shirts or wristbands or a CD, and be home by midnight. They were both ecstatic at the idea.
So, I picked them up after school and we hit the road. All the way up we listened to CDs: the soundtrack to The Crow, the soundtrack to Cool World. My daughter loves both, and I wanted her to be comfortable with her friend along. It seemed to work. We arrived at the venue with a few minutes to spare. She was concerned that we’d be the only ones there. I chuckled and said I doubted very much that would be the case, and in we went.
I will guess there were 400 people in attendance, just from my rough seat-count calculations. The girls were very surprised and happy that “we weren’t alone.” Little did they realize just how not alone they were. We greatly enjoyed Jarrod’s set, and I was very, very moved by Jamie’s story. I knew the girls were listening to every word, because my daughter silenced her cell phone as asked at the beginning—and then put it away so she wouldn’t be interrupted during Jamie’s talk. That spoke volumes to me.
We couldn’t stay for the Q&A because of the time, but I would have loved to. As we were driving home I could hear them chatting quietly in the back seat. Then my daughter spoke up.
“Mom? Would you be mad at me if I changed my Facebook status tomorrow morning to say ‘Because of TWLOHA, I am ready to admit I am addicted?’”
I managed not to choke up. I looked at her in the rear-view mirror and smiled, and said “No, honey. I wouldn’t be mad at all. I’ve told you, I know that cutting is an addictive behavior, haven’t I?”
“You won’t make me delete it or anything?”
“No, I won’t. You know people are going to ask you addicted to what, right?”
“Yeah, I know. But I don’t have to tell them. I can just admit that I am, and that’s enough.”
Indeed. It’s enough. She’s taken another step for herself—thanks to you. Tomorrow morning when she meets with her psychiatrist for the first time I expect she’ll tell him all about last night. She wore her TWLOHA hoodie and wristbands to school today with pride.
Thank you. All of you. You’ve done something for her that I could not.