Two days ago, I found Carrie in her room in the strangest of situations. She was sitting up in bed with tears rolling down her cheeks. The worst part was she had wrapped the cord to the window blinds around her neck and tied them there.
I know, babyproofing 101…wrap up the cord to the window blinds. But she’s almost ten years old! I didn’t think I still needed to do that!
Carrie had intentionally wrapped the cord tightly and tied a bulky knot, so as we worked her loose and firmly explained that she can’t do something like that, her crying got worse, probably because she was being scolded in addition to whatever situation made her do that in the first place. I laid down in bed with her for over an hour, listening to her cry and talk, while I tried to make sense of anything she was saying.
Everything she said was in English, but it was so disjointed that it might as well have been a different language. Her mind jumped from topic to topic in a series of cries that didn’t even make sense. Taken as a whole, the only common thread I could find was that she’s very stressed out at school, not by peer interaction, but by the actual schoolwork.
None of her sayings explained the leap to wrapping the thick cord around her neck. Was it a suicide attempt? Was it something she had seen on TV? Was all of the medication she takes causing depression symptoms? Was she playing a game where she was the doggie on a leash and her stuffed animal was taking her for a walk? We can’t know, because Carrie can’t tell us. With nothing else to fall back on, we have to go with the worst case scenario and protect her at all costs, so of course we alerted the school and her doctor.
My biggest fear isn’t that Carrie was trying to kill herself, because even I’m having trouble making the leap to that situation. What really worries me is thinking about Carrie sitting alone in her room, knowing that she wants to tell us something important and let us know how overwhelmed she feels, but also knowing that she can’t. I’m heartbroken that she may have had to resort to a drastic demonstration just to try to get her point across.