Hi. I have a daughter who is now 17 but at the age of 16 was diagnosed with autism just as she had started her GCSE's. She has struggled throughout her schooling and has ran away, self-harmed and tried over-dosing on tablets. Now all tablets, razors are locked away after she self-harmed again this week. She had been under CAMHS for the past 2-3 years before her diagnosis. I just wondered if there is anyone else who has had this happen or happening with their child ? I know it is more common in girls to self-harm apparently

16 Replies

  • I have self-harmed, but it was related to sexual abuse, not AS.

  • Ok BearTree, I'm really sorry to hear that. Can I ask did you find you needed to do it to feel the pain, see the blood? I'm just trying to learn about how as the person who does the self-harming feels. My daughter can't express her thoughts and feelings so can never say why or what has triggered the need to do it

  • I can't say why she does it, obviously, and many autistic people self injure for reasons other than as a response to abuse of some kind, which is what it has been for me. Carly Flieshman said she did it (once she learned to communicate through a keyboard) because she was overstimulated by everyday experience and trying to block it out. Is your daughter verbal at all?

  • Yes she can speak but finds it difficult to say her thoughts, feelings and emotions.

  • Can she write them down instead? Some autistic people do much better writing what they think and feel. If handwriting is hard, keyboard writing works better for some people. Or, some other form of expression? Drawing? Dancing?

  • She has had art therapy in the past . I have tried to get her to write down her thoughts and her feelings but she doesn't know what they are. She has been having CBT and is just started to try to learn some of the facial expressions to help her

  • I'm sorry it is so difficult for you and your daughter. It sounds like you are doing a lot to help her. Has she always had the self-injury problems or is that new?

  • The self injury has been going on for probably at least 6 months and we had removed all razors except her dad's which is what she had used this week so now all razor blades are away

  • I have a diagnosis of Asperger's and I often used to self- harm and run away as a 16 year old. My teenage years were awful. I was undiagnosed. What helped me (in my mid 30's!) -understanding stress levels+ sensory overload and its effect on me. Running as a sport has helped me. Loud punk music also helped.

    If your daughter is so stressed that she feels the need to self-harm and overdose+ run away---I would say remove all stressors for a while. Help her understand how to self-soothe and calm down without hurting herself. Find something to help her centre her body and mind.

    Its not your fault though. It is a result of feeling we have no control in our world.

  • And yes, I did feel I needed to see the blood. It was a relief for me.

  • the torment of not being able to verbalise my emotions during those years was horrible. I really feel for your daughter. As a teenager I was overwhelmed with the impossibility of expressing emotions and distress---It is like being a caged animal. caged animals self harm too. they pull their hair out until they bleed etc. Zookeepers medicate them until they are numb, but the real problem is that they are not able to live freely and naturally as they are... its the same with some Asperger's people.

    Society is distressing and we may feel trapped in it, isolated, with no hope to be free. Thats why we also have addiction problems. Best thing is to find what we are good at, one or two others who have the same interest, and continue on that path. its like if we don't do what we were meant to do we self destruct.

  • Thank-you zipi and beartree, I really do appreciate your views about it and I hope that this will help me to try to understand what my daughter must be feeling, thinking etc I just wish there was an easy way to make everything better for her

  • Sorry to hear that. But there will be ways to help her out. I heard that a new "mini brain" research model providing an ideal environment for the study of Autism and now great progress has been made on it. It won't be too far for drug discovery ( organizations to develop an effective drugs for the cure of Autism. And there is news link on mini brain:

  • I am Aspergers and wasn't diagnosed until 18 months ago and I am 37. Also had an awful time as a teenager, self harmed, overdosed, listened to angry music and basically drank myself stupid with alcohol every weekend. But you sound as if you are a good mum who cares and that's the main thing. Has she been assessed for depression as sometimes the not fitting in leads to it?. I didn't even realize I had depression until I was admitted into hospital after an over dose. Pills are not always the answer but sometimes you have sunk that low you do not realize and they can help you to see thing clearer. Its basically one step at a time and what works for one person may not for the next. 

  • Hi Katiekatie, yes was diagnosed with anxiety and depression which she was given tablets for, she has recently had them increased which is better and no self harm since before Christmas which is fantastic.  I am really sorry to hear that you self harmed and drank so much in your teenager years, I think it must be a very difficult time.

    Thanks Lorry for the link, I will have a look at that now

  • Hi my son was diagnosed with ASD, finally after years of fighting after he'd sat his exams. He never self harmed (unless you include head banging and putting fist through door which I guess may count)but has threatened it in past and been very aggressive and violent when in a melt down. I've tried to help him to find ways of controlling his emotions, his involvement over several years in a small drama group really helped him, also with his speech and confidence but have had little support. CAHMS didn't want to know. It's really difficult to get help and support, and I empathise with anyone going through this. You just need to keep reminding them that you're there for them and not push them away in the process!

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