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The Miry Clay

Drawing by Grace


The day of discovery and for years after, I read self-harm forums and all varieties of medical websites, but I never found a book written by a parent that described the initial discovery and day-to-day or month-to-month experience. Reading about this from a clinical perspective was one thing; reading about it from a parent who was living it would have been entirely different.

I was part devastated, part sad, part sick to my stomach, part defeated.

This was almost a full decade before mental health was openly talked about, and before words like triggered became mainstream. As I look back at this time, and in fact each time I re-read the various chapters I’ve written, I am struck by other decisions I could have made, but did not see as options at the time, I am struck by parenting choices I would not make now, and I’m struck that we actually got through it. My alternate book title could have been: Don’t Do What I Did.

In some ways, the story is also one of confluence of evangelical Protestantism, and mental health – and the difficulty in managing the one (mental health) to fit the hard lines of the other.

One thing I can say right now, if you are currently in the situation is this: Above all, do not walk in fear.

Chapter One: The Trap Was Sprung

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