The bullying and self harm, it all started for my little girl in the elementary charter school that we jumped through hoops to get her into.
It wasn't my idea to send her there. There is an elementary, middle, and high school within walking distance to my house. I thought she being able to get herself to and from school on her own would have been good for her. It was for me. I learned that I had to get out of bed and leave at a certain time to get to school before the bell rang. I did this on my own from the 5th grade through high school.
Perhaps it would have happened at the schools closer to home, but at least I wouldn't feel like I was going out of my way to make sure she was getting her daily dose of abuse from her mean classmates.
I ignored her early complaints about the kids picking on her. "Dad, they say it is kick a Ginger day." I didn't even think they knew who Ginger was. I blew her off thinking elementary school kids couldn't be that mean.
She would always be chewing at her finger nails. I even noticed her picking at them with a thumb tack. I found out later these were early signs of self harm.
Self harm being the way she dealt with the pressures at school, and the conflict at home watching her parents struggle with her older brother and sister.
Self harm was simply a coping mechanism for her, not much different than drugs or alcohol.