“I’m Fine.”

I promised my readers truth and transparency, even when things got tough. As difficult as it may be to read this, I can guarantee you it was harder to write and and even more challenging to live. I will share my struggles, candidly, in hopes of increasing awareness and decreasing stigmas.

Yesterday afternoon, I was made aware that one of my children acted on a poor decision. Logically, the behavior was developmentally appropriate, although wrong, and not out of the norm in comparison to their peers. Unfortunately, OCD is not “logical”. I began ruminating… “What did I do wrong as a parent, that my child made this decision?”, “What could I have done better?”, “Am I going to be able to stop this behavior?”, “Will they still be doing this in their teens, 20’s?”, “How will this affect them in the future?”. I’m sure most parents would ask themselves some, if not all, of these questions. The difference? The thoughts replayed, over and over and over again, for hours.

My husband is very perceptive to my changes in mood and behavior. He began probing… “Are you ok?”, “You seem really bothered?”, “Are you sure, you’re ok?”. I responded, immediately, with “Yeah, I’m fine”. “I’m fine” is my go-to for when I’m having difficulty processing the situation and/or my feelings. My anxiety was palpable. Adhering to my meal plan was a challenge; I couldn’t stomach any food. I was pacing around the house. My nighttime meds couldn’t come soon enough.

After the kids were tucked in, I went to the bathroom to brush my teeth and get ready for bed. The thoughts were screaming, “You’re a terrible Mother” and “This is all your fault”. I grabbed the tweezers, cold, hard metal, and began digging into my left forearm. Scrape, scrape, scrape until I could see blood and feel the pain. This is what I deserved. This was my punishment.

Self-Harm… my demon. It lurks in the shadows, making a move when I’m most vulnerable. It shows itself through cutting, burning, hair pulling, food restriction, over exercise and self-degradation. Up until now, this has been my secret confided in very few. But, the secrecy feeds it; makes it stronger.

Beep, Beep, Beep! Time to get up and act like nothing happened. A few months back, I signed a contract with my therapist, stating that if I had urges to self-harm I would inform him or my husband prior to acting. Fail #1 – I cut myself. Fail #2 – I didn’t inform him or my husband prior to acting. Well, for a perfectionist, this day was going swimmingly and, lucky me, I had a therapy appointment scheduled for 12:00 p.m.

The road to recovery is quite bumpy, but every time I try to do better. As much as it pained me, I looked at Chris, over chaos in the kitchen, and said, “Don’t be mad at me”. We’ve been here before. “Oh no, what happened?”. I was forthcoming with the self-harm, but said I wasn’t ready to talk about it. He gave me a hug and said, “Thank you for telling me”. This was my “better”. Previously, I would have waited days, weeks and even months before sharing with him.

At this point, I was racking up the disappointments. Myself, my husband and now I was about to walk into my therapist’s office to inform him that I didn’t meet my treatment plan goals, oh, and I cut myself too. As you can imagine, we had A LOT to talk about. In a nutshell, recurring themes… “Why was I, solely, responsible for the snap decision of a child?”, “Why was falling short of my treatment plan goal by 3% a complete failure?”. But, here’s the conversation that resonated with me the most, “Brooke, I have an idea. Let me see your arm. Here, I’ll cut it”. “If I did that, I would be fired, run down by your husband and, possibly, put in jail… so, why is it ok, for you to do it?”. Good question, hey?

The session wrapped with, “Are you ok?”, “Yeah, I’m fine.”, “What does that mean?”, “It means I’m not ok, but I’m not going to sit here and tell you that.”, “Ok, are you safe?”, “Yes, for now…”. So, here’s to the minutes, days and hopefully weeks of resisting the strong self-harm urges. I’ve done it before and I can do it again. Thank you, Chris, for being my rock. And, thank you, Damon, for grabbing the reigns of my OCD, when I’ve lost control.


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