Self-Injury: One Family’s Story

Self-Injury: One Family’s Story

A mother and daughter tell their story about self-harm and how they finally got the strength to get help.

By Jeanie Lerche Davis
WebMD Feature Reviewed By Cynthia Haines, MD

Dawn was a junior in high school when her secret was discovered – she was practicing self-harm, she was cutting herself. That was eight years ago. Today, Dawn is nearly 25, and has transformed herself and her life. She has focused her career goals on helping others with emotional problems.

Dawn and Deb (her mother) hope that, in sharing their story, they can help other families come to grips with the problem of cutting. A Sheltered, Strict Childhood Looking back, Dawn can see what went wrong. Things just weren’t right at home. “I always felt, when I was a kid growing up, a lot of anger, but I didn’t know what to do with it,” she tells WebMD. “I wasn’t really allowed to get angry at home, to express my anger.” Her father demanded perfection from her, Dawn says. “Also, I lived an extremely sheltered, controlled life as a child. I was real shy, real passive. I didn’t have hobbies or activities. I didn’t belong to clubs. I was always by myself, always in my room. I didn’t have a whole lot of friends.”

Continued HERE…


That crisis has passed. In May, Dawn graduated from college with a major in psychology and a minor in art. She now works for an area agency that helps the mentally handicapped and disabled. She wants to pursue a master’s in psychology, so she can be an art therapist. “Dawn found that art therapy helped her a lot with her own problems,” Deb says.

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18 responses to “Self-Injury: One Family’s Story

  1. A very long time ago I always had on hand a sketch pad and pen so I could doodle. I doodled instead of cut. It got to the point that I had hundreds of loose pieces of paper in boxes because I used doodling instead of self injury. Truthfully, I started to resent the drawings because it said to me that I was very sick. I’ve recently struggled with self injury again but I also went out and purchased a sketch book. It is my hope I don’t once again come to resent the little drawings.

  2. Like Dawn, I tcame from a home where feelings other than joy were not allowed to be expressed. As a child, I turned to self-injury as a way of expressing myself. Now, 30 years later, I have just celebrated my first year of being injury free!! I have used creative writing for many years as a means by which I was able to communicate to my therapist and that in turn allowed me to identify some of the underlying issues surrounding my behavior. I continue to write and have a self-injury blog. I would love visitors and comments!

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