Middle school is awkward for everyone! Don’t say it wasn’t for you, because we know, that’s just not true. Middle school is when everyone is going through body changes, hormone changes, trying to find themselves, etc. I remember how horrible middle school was for me. We knew with Emma’s mental illness and anxiety, the transition would be trying but we were not prepared for the hell that we were about to endure!
Emma has overcome so many obstacles in her life. She has dealt with things that would make an adult have an emotional breakdown. She was doing so well, she was excelling in school, she was making friends, she was living her best life. And then it happened, Middle School happened. Hormones happened. Friendships were lost. Emotions were confusing. Life was too hard.
We started getting phone calls about Emma’s behavior about the 1st month of school. She was getting into arguments with her peers daily, she was being disrespectful to teachers and administrators, she was having more and more emotional outbursts! We had several meetings with the Dean and her teachers. We were all at a loss as to how to help her! Her grades were horrible, she was failing EVERY class! She refused to do her schoolwork and homework. So, needless to say, home-life was very tumultuous because her outbursts were occurring here as well!
One day I received the worst phone call I have ever received! I saw the school’s name pop up on my phone, and the first thought that popped into my head (the thought I now regret & kick myself for having) was ‘Great!! Here we go again!!!’. But this call was different, the voice on the other line was a voice of concern and worry. And then I heard the words that made my stomach turn! ‘Mrs. Third, we need you to come to the school, Emma is ok right this moment, but it has been brought to our attention that she has been cutting her wrists!’ My heart sank, my hands were shaking, my emotions were all over the place! How could I NOT know this, I am her mother! I have failed her! My sweet girl has been hurting all this time and I just didn’t see it! These are thoughts that raced through my mind on the drive to her school. When we arrived at the school we were guided into the Dean’s office, as soon as I saw Emma, I lost it, I just grabbed her and hugged her. She was very emotional and was trying to be strong in front of me, but I could tell she was at the end of her rope and she was relieved that her dad and I were now aware of what she had been hiding. Looking back, there were signs I should have seen… Long sleeves ALL THE TIME… Hiding in her room… Freaking out if I came into the room where she was dressing/showering/etc (because she also had cuts on her thighs). But individually these signs didn’t raise a red flag.
We were then told (with Emma out of the room) that she was asked multiple questions before we arrived, the most troubling one was ‘Emma, do you have a plan?’ Emma’s response ‘Yes!’ (I thought I was going to be sick!) My daughter, had a plan… to remove herself from this world! She was 12 years old at this time! We were given all the pamphlets and resources they could give us. We started making phone calls that day! Most therapists had waiting lists or their hourly rates were outrageous!
In the meantime one of the resources they gave us was a number for a mobile crisis intervention line. One evening she started making suicidal remarks so we called the crisis line and they sent someone out. She was able to calm Emma down and referred us to a counselor that specializes in child & teen crisis situations. We started seeing her the next day, that first session was over 3 (yes THREE) hours long! This counseling center also has a housing unit for kids/teens that are in need of 24/7 care.
After about 3 months of intensive therapy, lots of crying, some minor & major setbacks, and everyone working together for Emma, I am happy to report that Emma has ‘graduated’ from intensive therapy, her grades are up, and she now has a behavior chart at school… This is the exciting part… the scores range from 1 (worst) to 3 (best)… and she has had ALL 3’s from every teacher the last month!
We still have daily struggles, but she has not had any more major outbursts or expressed suicidal thoughts!
If someone you or someone you know is struggling please reach out! There is help out there! Remember YOU matter!