I could feel how taxed, exasperated, and at wit's end this mother was through the pages. I kept having to check how much was left in the e-book because I was getting to the point where I wasn't sure I could keep going back for more - and I didn't have to live it. How Larsen was able to sit down and relive the darkest of days to actually finish this book is a testament to how devoted she is to helping others who are going through this.
Having been a high school teacher, I am familiar with the different ways kids can "self-harm" - reading this gave me an insight as to just how horrific a cost it is to the entire family. The amount of doctors, facilities, high schools, and medications that had to be juggled were enough to break down even the strongest willed person.
Throughout the book, Larsen refers back to her son's journal, giving everyone a glimpse into the mind of the person who is suffering. These were by far the hardest passages for me to read.
As an outsider, it is easy to look at these kinds of situations and think - "that person just needs to snap out of it" - or - "why don't the parents do something to stop this?" Unfortunately, the answer is neither that simple or logical.
I applaud Larsen for putting her story out there for others who might have to travel down this road. If you have a teenager who is depressed or self-harms, this book will let you know that you are not alone. Larsen could literally save you a small fortune by her insights as to what to look for in a facility.
More importantly, this book should give you hope. I am not going to call this a "spoiler," because a happy ending should not "spoil" anyone's day. In the end, Matthew seems to have gotten to a point where things were looking much brighter. There were parts of me preparing to read an end to this story that I really did not want to imagine. To Matthew's credit, along with the Larsen family who supported him along the way, that is a plot line that can hopefully stay forever in the "delete" file.
To Theresa, Matthew, and the rest of your family - my hope is that you may have many more good days than bumps in the road in your future.