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Chapter 6: Jello and Soap

Matthew 15:11

What goes into someone's mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.

And back to the storyline:

Grace was now back at the house for the first time since the evening I took her in for the evaluation that was supposed to shock her into a reassessment of her choices. Stepdad was also there, but no one else, just we three.

Her demeanor was hard to categorize. I remember her sitting on the kitchen counter, talking to us. Her posture said she was comfortable, her legs were crossed at the ankle, but there was a bit of a Cheshire Cat quality about her. Who was behind the smile and the talking?

She shared with us that her diagnosis was major depressive disorder. She talked about the symptoms. She had learned some things, some terms, some other information she knew we did not have, and she seemed to relish that she knew things that we did not. She had a whole set of experiences that no one else in the family had. This is so very hard to describe - perhaps as if she had made an interesting object in art class and was describing it to us, while pointing out the features she particularly liked and thought interesting. She was the content expert.

She had to sleep in our room that night in a big green oversized chair because we needed to make sure she was not going to harm herself. The night passed uneventfully.

That next day, Friday, we were behind on things we were to do make a secure environment. We had to purchase the kind of locks that require keys and install those same locks, and we had to purge our household. We had to remove as much as we could from easy access for her, this included, don’t forget, paperclips, scissors, anything that could be used for self-harm. Think about your own household; this is an enormous task. Every room, every drawer. It was easier to put locks on doors and simply close off her sibling’s rooms, bathrooms or the office. But what do you do about the kitchen? Or all the other open areas in your home? And drawers? And even knick knacks on shelves? And what about the garage?

Stepdad set up a special painting area for her in her room. It was large butcher paper taped one blank wall in her room. Grace painted that day. Stepdad praised her; he told her that now we could see what she was feeling whereas before, we had no idea because she was very hidden from us. He told her that he would help her hang the ones she wanted to hang and they did.

There was one drawing that was really dark, however, and Grace said she didn't want to hang that one. She wanted to throw it away. So, she crumpled up the paper and put it in the trash. He told her he had a better idea.