Need Advice About SH and Teaching Job

Discussion in 'Self Harm & Substance Abuse' started by OldGuy, Sep 13, 2014.

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  1. OldGuy

    OldGuy Active Member

    I'm 59 year old married male and currently a high school biology teacher. I've taught for about 10 years. Burned out and quit and have returned after working in IT for 15 years and air transport for 18 years.

    I quite teaching about 20 years ago and in the meantime I've been 5150'd over a dozen times and seriously attempted suicide (variety of methods) at least 6 times (I don't keep track as it isn't important to me). I've been cutting since, I think about early 2006. (every couple of weeks or so pretty continually. I again keeping track isn't important).

    Recently (Oct 2013) I returned to teaching. Last year some kids noticed the scars on my arms but I was able to deflect their curiosity. I'm an African American male so scabs and scars tend to blend in with my skin color. This year; however, many more kids have noticed and asked about my arms. I think in part because a week into the start of school I made a fair number of cuts on both arms (half a dozen cuts of around 10-12 cm length on each forearm) on a Friday so the scares must have been more noticeable to on Monday.

    I've told my students that I will tell them about my arms. But I'm at a quandary about just what to say. I don't want to lie and I don't want to unduly shock or distress my students but on the other hand I'd like to address self harm in a professional manner.


    Old Guy
  2. Freya

    Freya Loves SF Staff Member ADMIN

    The truth is that I would take some advice from management on this. Speak to your line manager and get their input, that way if there is any backlash from parents at least you are covered. Speak to the guidance counsellor as well and get some advice on how they suggest you approach the topic. Addressing self harm in a professional manner is a good idea and hopefully will help some people. That said, I would be inclined to wear long sleeved shirts etc in future to avoid it coming up with other students/in subsequent years.

    I hope it goes well and it doesn't cause any fallout for you.

    Take care!
  3. Decode

    Decode Well-Known Member

    I also think you need to speak to your employers/boss etc for some advice on how to handle this. Though i would suggest you be cautious about saying you are still self harming, if possible you may want to think about saying the scars are from the past. While at work making sure your cuts are not on display would likely be a good idea to avoid future difficulties. I hope it goes well.
  4. dontquitever

    dontquitever Member

    Just keep them covered. I work in healthcare and I do this. I don't want patients/ colleagues to see. Work is about work. The less people know about your private life the better. TRUST me. You don't want something like past self harm to change the way your pupils and colleagues perceive you.

    You can buy camoflage make up online.
  5. dontquitever

    dontquitever Member

    And if you have to cut, from now on, non visible areas are the best. E.g. shoulder/ thigh.
  6. FMyLife

    FMyLife Chat Buddy

    I work in healthcare and see people on a day to day basis. My arms are a mess and so are many other areas. I think that as you work with kids its best that you seek help from your superiors as far as how to handle the questions asked by your students, as your explanation can spark parent complaint as well as questions to your stability as a teacher. As far a the actual act, I think you need to find a way to stop the habit and channel that urge into something more constructive, not just for your job, but mainly your own safety. Finding less visible areas to sh isn't the answer and in the long run will only open yourself up to later issues and the inability to control.

    I wish you the best of luck trying to figure this out. Its a very tough situation and I really hope that you can find a way to figure it out, as well as find a way to stop harming yourself.
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