Saturday, November 11, 2006


She was curled up in her bed, I standing in the bedroom doorway. Only her face showed above the duvet. And her one arm looked deeper than under the duvet than the she was hiding something. Her cellphone, I thought, after we'd confiscated it. "What's in your hand, L?"

A hesitation. Then she pulls her arm out from under the covers, a pair of open scissors in them. Tears start swelling in her eyes. And mine. NO, NO, NO I'm screaming to myself. This CAN'T be happening. Not THIS. THIS belongs to the recurring nightmares I've been having the last 3 weeks. And the ugly premonition that's played through my mind a zillion times in the last few months.

She throws the duvet right off her now, and the fresh red all over her other arm stikes my whole being, knocking a neighbourhood-range howl out of my lungs.


But she's OK. It was just surface cuts. We're over the worst. A calm is starting to settle on the house now. And, I honestly believe that the emotional outpouring from last night, and the heartwrenching talks the 3 of us had this morning, have finally penetrated.

As to her psychologist: I phoned yesterday morning, just after writing yesterday's post, about 8 hours before the event, telling her that serious trouble was brewing... well the psychologist was out of town. "Phone her psychiatrist" she said.

So I phoned the psychiatrist, left a message on her emergency number. "Miss L's Dad here, we ARE having an emergency, please phone me urgently."

Only after the blood had been wiped off (8 hours later) did Mrs M finally make contact with the psychiatrist. In fairness to her, she was caring and very re-assuring when we did get her. But we already knew that, in the final analysis, we were on our OWN. Which she confirmed, accuractely, I guess that our only 2 options for Miss L were:

  1. Admission into a clinic
  2. Fight through it as a family unit.
She, highly recommended option 2. And it's no surprise. Psychiatric wards in South Africa are not exactly first world, and it would have destroyed Miss L to go there. "Make her know that she is in a very safe and secure environment."

So we fought it together, as a family.

And so far we're winning.


  1. I made a comment a while ago that the most important person in your life is yourself. You need to be there for your daughter when she needs you the most. Now she needs you and you are there for her. WELL DONE! It is easy to see that you have been making definite measured progress in your life, don't let this setback knock you down completely. Be strong.

    I know you must have a wealth of knowledge on the subject of Self-Harm. Here is UK organisation site and a list of self-help books that might be helpful.

    Sincerely, I wish you well.

  2. I'm really sorry about what happend for your precious daughter. I believe in the same way you chose to cope with and solve this problme .That should be the first option to be considered specially for a young lady in her age.
    finding the root of such self-harming behaviours and removing them can be a great help ,but usually enough time and proper talks should be devoted, both sides should interact. she's very young ,not aware of how to express her loads of feelings , still alot to learn , try to spend more time with her , you're her genius dad BPG and she's your one and the only Miss L on earth .
    help her to find how to get power over her emotions and control them in a proper path .
    wish you the best

  3. Greetings from a fellow type 1. I too used to cut. my one is a very visual cut on my forearm that serves as a reminder of times gone by. I am so glad those days are over. It is 2 years since that night. It is almost 2 years since I found a treatment that works for me. I have had no manic or depressive episodes since feb last year!! YAY!!!!! I went the natural treatment way.

    Anyway, good luck. I feel for you. May Jehovah help you.

  4. My best thoughts and wishes go out to you and your family. The small mountain of cut paper that my daughter has managed to accumulate on our floor over the past few weeks seems awfully small in comparison with what you and your daughter have been dealing with. May you both find strength in the love you have for each other, and take solace in the presence of your wife and daughter's step-mom whose patience must be that of a saint. :-)

  5. does your daughter read this blog?
    i'm just wondering. if she knows you talk about things, even though we don't really know you at all, how does she feel about that?
    blogging is such an odd allowed invasion...

    anyway,i hope you get things stabilized soon, for everyone's sake.

  6. Sorry to hear about your daughter; I hope with your support she feels she can stop sooner rather than later. Cutting is an addiction, and it is not worth it (I'm sure you already know that, but make sure she knows it too). Good luck.

  7. I am so sorry to hear this story. I know only too well where self-injury and suicide come from.

    I wish I could do something for miss L, her being my age and all, but I can only offer your family my prayers.

    I'm glad you're winning this battle and even gladder you're winning it together with them.


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