It was the summer of 2014, when the mother of 14 year old Ally, caught her cutting*. She had more than fifty self-inflicted slices on each of her thighs. Mom was terrified and confused and reached out to Crossroads for help. We scheduled an assessment for Ally and her mother. It became clear quickly that the teen was dealing with more than most kids: a difficult relationship with her dad, the death of a beloved aunt, questions about her own sexual orientation, and being bullied at school. She revealed that cutting herself was a way to release tension and cope with stress.
Ally was diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and began regular counseling sessions with her counselor, Ashley at Crossroads in September. Ally found comfort in her conversations with Ashley stating “it felt good to get it out.” Ally identified several sources of pain including being bullied to the point her mom removed her from school and home-schooled her for a year. She returned to public school in 2013. The bullying, while less severe, did continue primarily rumors and teasing over Ally’s sexuality since she is pansexual. **
In January of 2015, Ally attempted suicide. She tried to hang herself and was admitted to Windsor Laurelwood where she was prescribed medication to manage her depression and anxiety. After her hospital stay, Ally continued counseling with Ashley and began working with Joy, a Crossroads Case Manager at Ally’s school for additional support and Crossroads’ Clinical Nurse Specialist, John managed her medication. Ashley worked to put Ally on a path to positive thinking, teaching her about how thoughts and feelings are connected and how to change them for the better. Ally is no longer cutting and has completed all of the therapeutic assignments Ashley gave her. She has blossomed socially and become more active at school joining the Marching Band, Softball, Art group, Chess Club, Pride Club, and Improv Club.
Now 15 years old, Ally is confident in who she is and no longer struggles to see the positive. She currently has a loving transgender boyfriend, supportive friends, and an active social life – something that Crossroads is positively pleased to have participated in.
* Cutting is an act of self-harm to cause physical pain distracting the individual from the emotional pain they are suffering.
** Pansexual is a person who is not limited in sexual choice with regard to biological sex, gender, or gender identity.