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How to support your child if they are engaging in self-harm

Updated: Mar 18, 2020

Self-harm is becoming more and more common, and there are ways for parents to support their kids and give their kids tools to support themselves!

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on unsplash

Self-harm is a subject I unfortunately have way too much intimate experience with.

I was suicidal from age 14-21yrs.

The only thing that stopped me from continuing to make attempts on my life (at age 21yrs) was when I was hospitalized over night in an Inpatient Psychiatric Unit, and I shared a room with a 40yr old mother of several kids, who had self-harm cuts up and down both of her legs. Instead of focusing on myself during my stay, I ended up holding a strong energetic space to support my roommate. Seeing this woman, who had everything I thought I wanted (children), in this state really made me think - If all I want is to be a mother, and she is a mother, and she is still cutting her legs, is self-harm really something I want to do?

It was that day that I vowed to stop trying to kill myself!

But I still had no solution for the emotional pain that I felt coursing through my veins.

When I was 26yrs old, I did 4 years of intensive psychotherapy.

This was an incredibly traumatic and unhelpful experience. The psychiatrists who met with me were hungry for my story. One of them even presented his version of my story at a conference, without my permission, with me in the audience, and denied it for weeks, until he finally admitted "yes I wrote about you", and you can read what he had to say here:

The psychoanalytic approach to self-harm is hurtful, not helpful!

Clearly, you can see from the above that there is no love, understanding, or positive solution provided through the psychoanalytic model for someone who has suffered, and is suffering.

I was already being medicated for severe social anxiety. And, by the end of spending 4yrs with this psychoanalyst, I was in a major depressive state, and unable to continue my education.

I had to take anti-depressant medication because I was literally drowning. And, because of the way I was reacting to the anti-depressant medication (it never really lifted my symptoms and increasing the dose only caused me to hyper-cycle), I knew I needed to re-classify my diagnosis from major depression to bipolar disorder, in order to get on more effective medication for my physiology.

See this article for more about why people with a bipolar physiology do not respond well to typical anti-depressant medication: Rapid Cycling in Bipolar Disorder

I actually do not have bipolar disorder, but my physiology was certainly in that state after the abuse I had experienced up until that point in my life.

I also think that a bipolar-type presentation is probably very common for highly spiritual people who have not found the right support to ground their knowledge in this 3D world.

In any case, spending 10yrs on effective bipolar medication allowed me to feel safe and stable for the first time in my life!

I got married and I had kids.

But the desire to cut my wrists when things got emotionally intense still didn't go away until I discovered an energy modality similar to Reiki and someone told me:

"I think you are here to feel pain, so you can guide people out of it".

Being able to use an energy modality, such as Reiki, allows me not only to hold a strong energetic space for my kids when they are having a meltdown or an outburst of anger, it also allows me to run the pain out of my own body (and send healing to the world instead) when the pain inside gets to be too much.

I realized that I actually transmute pain for myself and others. This is a gift. But without an energy modality such as Reiki, I was stuck with the pain inside of my body.

Learning a modality like Reiki is only 1/3 of the solution.

The other 1/3 is: for the child to understand who they are, what they are here to do, what their personal growth trajectory is, and what their personal self-care needs are.

The final 1/3 is: for their parents to gain this same understanding, so they know how to support their child, in a way that makes sense for their unique design.

We are all so unique. If we try to raise our kids using the techniques that work for us, or if we try to put ourselves in their shoes, without understanding how different their shoes really are, it is very hard to support them in the best way.

I am continuing to work with energy practitioners to see how we can transfer these skills to others.

If this is something that interests you to learn more about please feel free to book a FREE no obligation 15min consultation with me here.

You don't need to suffer any more, and your kids don't need to either!

For more on this topic, you can check out my article:

I no longer take any medication. I am symptom free. I know who I am. I know my unique self-care needs. And I do NOT have bipolar disorder.

Mental Illness is NOT the life sentence that the medical community will have you believe that it is! Mental illness is a state of crisis that needs solid support and understanding to get out of, and I know the way.

Love and Bless, Strong Family,

Alahnnaa Campbell

MSc Psychology (Stress & Health)

Family Dynamics and Life Purpose Specialist

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