Many times, teens will go to google to ask a burning question. Usually, those questions are of a sensitive nature.
Ayushree is from India. She is very intelligent, cute, and very talented. It was last year when she reached out to me because she was distressed over her habit of self-harming when she was distressed. She knew it wasn’t the right way to cope but she wasn’t sure what to do to break the habit and she had distanced herself recently from a toxic friend group.
We emailed back and forth and the first thing I asked her to do was to remove what she was using to cut herself from her room. That means one has to follow multiple steps to retrieve the self-harm instrument before engaging in the practice. That might sound too simple to work but that move alone puts time between thought and action. Since it can be an impulsive way to manage emotional pain, sometimes that can be a good first step, especially if the person wants to stop.
It’s not something we can shame a person out of and if they’ve been doing it a really long time, moving a person to healthier coping strategies takes a lot of patience for everyone in the family. There can be underlying reasons that need resolving first and parents, usually baffled by the practice, are not always understanding. Many times parents want to yell their child out of it. Her mom never found out.
After that initial email, we sent messages about how she could make a self-harm safety box. She is very artistic and really liked the idea. How might she decorate it and what would she put in it?
So she created a self-harm safety kit and sent me photos and wrote an article about what she put in it which has already been read thousands of times by others struggling with self-harm. (Link to her kit below).
She also wrote me this sweet note and gave me permission to share here with all of you.
Today it is Poila Baishak for us Bengalis, it basically means Bengali New Year. So for that, I am writing Bengali thank you letters to people I feel helped me out. I wrote one for you too.
আজ বাংলা নববর্ষ। এই দিনে, আমরা অনেক আচার অনুষ্ঠান করি, তবে আমি তাদের সম্পর্কে জানি না কারণ আমি তাদের নিজের চোখে দেখিনি। সুতরাং, আমি আমার নিজস্ব রীতিনীতি তৈরি করেছি – যে কেউ আমাকে ভালোবাসা দেখায় আমি তাকে ধন্যবাদ জানাই। সুতরাং, আমার কৃতজ্ঞতা জানাতে, আমি আপনাকে এই চিঠি লিখছি। আপনার কারণে, আমি এখন আরও অনেক ভাল করছি। যদিও জীবন সহজ ছিল না, আপনি আমাকে অনুভব করতে সাহায্য করেছেন যে আমি মূল্যহীন নই। ধন্যবাদ.
This is written in Bengali. It translates to –
Today is Bengali New Year. On this day, we perform many rituals, but I am not aware of them because I have never seen them with my own eyes. So, I decided to make my own ritual – show gratitude towards whoever showed me love and helped me. So, I am writing this letter to you to show gratitude. Because of you, I am doing much better now. Even if life has not been easy, you have helped me feel that I am not worthless. Thank you, Ayushree.”
I shall treasure this note.