I just had to write a post about this because it is very disconcerting that this is going on in schools throughout the USA and it is very upsetting to me.
My friend has a daughter who is just about 13, her child is a very happy kid who suddenly fell silent and became very sullen during a recent car ride. She could tell her daughter was upset about something and asked her what was going on. Her daughter began crying and told her that she knew something that would get someone into trouble and was sworn to secrecy along with several other friends who were there at the time. She said one of her friends was “EMO”. Having no idea what EMO was, my friend had to ask. Her daughter said it meant her friend was emotional. EMO she said also relates to a style of music. She also said that people who are EMO tend to wear dark, drab colors, but it is not like being “goth”.
The thing that really was upsetting was the next part of what her daughter shared she spoke through her tears. She said that this friend of hers who was EMO was cutting herself, self mutilating. She shared that people who are EMO sometimes dabble in this type of behavior. She made my friend swear that she not tell anyone this little secret she shared with her mother.
Now I know this girl, who is “EMO”, she is very sweet, I like her a lot. She is a great student and seems like an overall good kid. She confided in my friend during a conversation that there were some real family issues going on. Her father was an alcoholic, her parents divorced, her mother worked too many hours trying to make a living to take care of her children. Running a single parent household with teenagers is no easy task, by any stretch of the imagination.
We just had our spring break from school. Before the break her daughter and this friend had a fight and are not talking, not sure why. My friend has not seen the girl in a few weeks. I know that some of the kids in the class were checking her to see if she was still at the cutting. It sounded to me like it kind of turned into a game, with one kid chasing the girl throughout the classroom before school to check her for marks. The girl ran from him. What a HUGE burden for 12 and 13 year olds! The girl told my friend daughter that because of the fight she thought she may go back and cut herself again. I totally understood why my friends daughter was crying about this, but yet she needed to get it off her chest and swore my friend to secrecy.
So now for the past couple weeks I sit here with this huge burden on my back. I have not had a good nights sleep in over a week now. Do I break my daughters trust and tell someone who can help? Do I forget about it and see what happens?
Breaking the trust as my friends daughter is entering her teen years will cut my friend off from communication with her and then when her own child may be in danger, she will not know and not be able to help. Losing her daughters trust and confidence in her would completely alter their relationship. Breaking the special bond they have would be devastating to both of them.
After doing some research from online sources and family members in the medical field, the case of EMO or self mutilation is not typical. This type of behavior is usually secretive and not shared with others. The fact it was shared to me is the girl crying out for help. I also found that after a while of cutting in the same spot the feeling in that spot dies and it does not hurt anymore, so the cutter goes deeper, or moves onto another part of their body. The possibility of hitting a major artery and bleeding to death with no one around to help is very real, and quite scary.
So here my friend is, very upset and confused about this situation. She and I have asked a bunch of other friends what would they do without mentioning names. None of them have an answer, but yet they keep calling us to see what we have done. Guess one of us has to undergo a major situation like this first. We then share the results and the outcome with one another, and hopefully all become wiser in the end so we can better deal with a situation like this should it ever arise again….which I pray not, but likely this will not be the end of hearing a story like this. As this method of self mutilation seems to be common in our schools and parents and teachers alike are blind to it. The kids make a great effort in hiding it from us all. My friend asked her daughter, which do you think would be easier to live with;
1. If you lost your friend because she found out you told, but you helped get the help she needs so she stops this torture to herself.
2. If she cut too deep and hit and artery and died, and you knew about this problem she had and did nothing?
The answer was of course losing the friend. So that being said, she still does not know what to do with this info. Anyone have any advice?