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I'm a 30-something wife and mom. My boys are my pride and joy. Together, we are navigating being a forever family post international adoption.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Crisis - Intervention

When we first got home with Buddy, our "honeymoon" period lasted about three months. We were all nervous and eager to make each other happy.

Once we settled into a routine and were more comfortable, that ended. Buddy started to display behaviors that was not ideal but also not unexpected. Hubby and I were prepared for the honeymoon to end at some point.

We weren't prepared for Buddy to start self-hurting. When he became upset or overwhelmed, he would pull out his hair and eyelashes, scratch welts into his face, bite his nails until they bled and even bang his head against the wall. These were his coping mechanisms to deal with pain, hurt and anger.

Buddy had already started play therapy and was learning how to identify and manage his feelings. We signed him up for yoga to help him learn relaxation techniques. We started practicing short periods of silent meditation at home. When he got upset, we would put him in cotton gloves to keep him from hurting himself. No matter what we tried, Buddy found ways to self-hurt. It gave him control when he felt chaotic.

When Buddy's therapist moved her practice and couldn't keep him on, we were put in touch with a youth crisis service until we found a new therapist. This is one of the best resources we were ever given.

It is the resource that works.

When Buddy starts coming apart at the seams, mobile crisis workers are able to come to him and help support and stabilize the situation in the moment. Because he knows this option is available, he seems to need it less. It is a security blanket that is always there but seldom needed except on very bad days.

It has been a long time since Buddy self-hurt. He still gets upset, overwhelmed and angry sometimes. Who doesn't? Most of the time he is able to deal with these hard feelings in more constructive ways. His coping techniques aren't perfect, but they are a vast improvement over what they were.

What I learned from our journey to help Buddy is that mental health isn't one size fits all. It took more time than I would have liked and it was harder than it should have been, but I am thankful to have found a support that works for Buddy.

Do you need a crisis resource? Here are a few links:

Australia: Lifeline Crisis Chat
Canada: Mind Your Mind
UK: Samaritans
US: BoysTown National Hotline

For a list of country more specific helplines for a variety of issues, click here

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