I’m sure this will be one of many times I share about one of the young adults I work with. I wish for everyone to have a glimpse of their strength, struggles, and stories. As a social worker I’ve walked along some of “my kids” for 10+ years. One young woman who is dear to my heart, I’ll call her Beth, has a personal story that I explain this way…think of all the bad things that can happen to a little kid… that’s it. Due to the severe trauma she turned to self-injury. When a little kid finds self-injury and makes it her own personal way of coping it is a bit overwhelming. She did not hear about self-injury from a friend, at the lunch table, or on the internet, rather as an elementary age student she found a way to harm herself uniquely in a way that still makes me wince. 100’s and probably 1000’s of times she has tried to manage pain and memories. It is not exaggerating when I say that due to being removed from her family (safety-wise a good thing) and the subsequent care, but also trauma and treatment, she has had millions of dollars spent on her by the state… her surrogate parent. She did not find her way into a permanent home or family and by the time I met her at age 12 ½ they had stopped looking for a family (though technically they weren’t allowed to say this until age 14). I have been humbled to walk with Beth and she helped me grow. This past week I was visiting with her. She was feeling good and we were just shooting the breeze before we started a meeting. And then she said it . . . like we were talking about the weather . . . “Remember when I used to cut?” I looked at her and started laughing, she did too. Yeah, we both remember, it’s pretty hard to forget. There is not that much distance between the last time and our present day and I wonder if it will last. Today though I don’t want to miss celebrating…. she is healing. On the best of days Beth lets me into her world through her journal and some amazing talks. One of her life goals is to learn more about God and grow closer to him. This past year in simple faith she made a step to follow Christ. That story in and of itself is amazing (I’ll share another time). So Christ’s healing continues to come… and not just to Beth…and I don’t want to miss it. Beth has a long road ahead of her yet today I celebrate healing.
Treating Self Injury by Barent Walsh, PhD is a recommended book if you need more information on self-injury. Dr. Walsh is extremly knowledge and having sat in on an assessment I can say he is amazingly repectful and skilled.