Updated: Sep 22
“What can we do,” we ask?
The parents of these beautiful children intent on destroying themselves.
“How can we make them stop"?
"How can we understand,"we plead?
You stare at us for a long while and give us useless, yet well intentioned advice.
“Lock up the alcohol!”
“Secure sharp objects!”
“Give them space!”
So we do this with fervor.
We give away the carefully chosen bottles of wine.
We ask our neighbor to come get the beer out of our fridge.
We lock away the razor blades, the steak knives, scour the recycle bin for broken glass.
We listen, we comply, and we believe what you are telling us.
Even though we have never seen our child drink.
Even though we don’t know what they continually cut themselves with, but we know that they do.
Even though giving them space seems like giving your bed to someone who wants to have sex.
We do these things because you are the professional.
We do these things because we don’t want to chase the ambulance, and you have the answers we need.
We do these things because we want them to get better, to heal, and to be in the game again.
Until we realize that the things you are telling us may be your truths and what you believe will help, but that our children are not case studies in a textbook.
Until we realize that our children have begun to master the counseling hour with all their half-truths and distorted views of themselves.
Until we realize that like those who commanded the Titanic, you think you have the technical answers. But deep in our bones, we know that you can’t stop this.
We know that what you see in your appointed hour, in your antiseptic office with its neutral colors and benign artwork is only what they want you to see. We know you feel secure shutting us out with your HIPPA armor and your belief that we must be to blame for some of this.
We know that the real truth does not reside in the locked box of sharp objects.
Because we moved the bedframe and found the jagged seashell from a beloved beach trip nestled in the dunes of blood soaked tissues.
Because we picked up their journal and loosened a crafting blade they had secretly jammed in the pages.
Because we know that thumbtacks, jewelry, and even a plastic spoon are sharp objects to a self-destroyer.
So you offer us support groups and self-care advice.
You offer us another appointment which we gladly take.
You offer us Help.
BUT WHAT WE REALLY NEED IS HOPE!