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AIBU to be pissed off that my dd has to suffer emotionally after her friend committed suicide cos I can't afford private therapy?

(140 Posts)
borninastorm Sat 20-Apr-13 23:45:43

Last year my dd's friend took her own life. My dd was just 13 at the time and her friend 14.

Because they weren't at the same school dd's school didn't offer a counselling response. They did provide her with a counsellor but unfortunately this woman isn't trained in dealing with bereavement by suicide which I have since learned is a very specific type of counselling and it's even more specialised when it's for a teenager.

So, since then I've tried Winstons Wish - they only provide help for children directly related to the person who has died; Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide who don't provide counselling help and Cruse who have nothing and nobody in our area that could fulfil my poor dd's very specific therapy needs. ANd there's a waiting time of 6 months+ for counselling via our GP and no guarantee that she'll get the specialist help she needs.

I've looked into private therapy but it's too expensive for me right now. So the only thing I've been able to provide my dd with is some highly recommended books and a listening ear, but she needs so much more than that.

AIBU to be pissed that my teenager has to emotionally suffer because I can't afford to pay for private therapy for her?

And does anybody have any advice on how best to help her and/or get her the help she needs?

borninastorm Tue 23-Apr-13 10:58:43

expat your dd's picture sounds so sad and so telling of her pain and her fears.

My dd drew some pretty 'dark' art in the immediate aftermath of her friend's suicide. Some she's shown me, others she keeps to herself. And I think the ones she doesn't show me are the one's that are the darkest, the ones she thinks might scare me or worry me or even hurt me.

The same goes with her words when we talk about it. I can see her sometimes choosing her words carefully so as not to scare me or hurt me.

She doesn't understand that I don't care how dark or scary her words or art are I just want to support her, while she in turn wants to protect me from her sadness and grief.

MoaneyMcmoanmoan Tue 23-Apr-13 08:58:08

flowers ithaka.

You are lovely - in a "I like the cut of your jib"" kind of way. Not a "weirdo stalking you on the internet" kind of way grin.

cory Tue 23-Apr-13 08:55:59

I've done if myself often enough, started reading a thread and got so incensed at something on page 3 that I forgot that there were still 15 pages to go.

ithaka Tue 23-Apr-13 08:53:14

Sorry Scheherazade, I see what Cory means (thanks Cory!) Scheherazade's question seemed so out of tune with the tone of the thread, but I can see it might have seemed appropriate in response to earlier posts. This is such a sensitive subject, I hate to think of anyone being unnecessarily upset.

cory Tue 23-Apr-13 08:50:06

ithaka, I think Scheherezade might still be on page whatever-it-is been reading Urbane's posts which were quite aggressive and so have missed that the conversation has since moved into mellower, more supportive channels. I also found Urbane's comments quite upsetting, but am glad to see that this thread has moved on.

ithaka Tue 23-Apr-13 08:47:33

Scheherezade, your question sounds quite combative, which I am sure wasn't your intention. On this thread we have been sharing our different ways of coping with bereavement, accepting there is no right and wrong and recognising everyone's different needs at different times. No one has to tell their thoughts if they do not wish to and we can all disagree and all still be 'right'.

Scheherezade Tue 23-Apr-13 08:24:57

Urbane, are you dismissing all psychological therapies, or just counselling? Please tell your thoughts on CBT, CAT, DBT (which is considered the only effective treatment for BPD, after large scale scientific evaluation), EMT, psychoanalysis.

All very different from counselling.

ithaka Tue 23-Apr-13 06:44:37

Thank you Moaney. I do have family support and some good, long term, wise and caring friends. I realise not everyone has this support.

I also empathise with your dog comment. When my son died I bought a horse! I have had her for over 10 years and she is now seeing me through my father's sudden death. In grief we have to do what is best for us and our family - for some it is counselling, for me it was a horse...

MoaneyMcmoanmoan Tue 23-Apr-13 01:27:55

Ithaka I totally get where you are coming from, and I am so sorry for your massive, massive loss.

PERSONALLY (and I accept this may not hold true for everyone) I find that when I need to talk something out, I get better advice from talking to a wise friend who has been through similar experiences, or who is just very empathetic.

I find the lack of response from many counsellors irritating. I realise they are just there to listen, but really? I could talk to my dog if I just wanted someone to listen. Not trying to be flippant, but that's how I feel! At least she occasionally licks my hand in sympathy. I get that some counsellors are able to give tools to cope - ike CBT etc but I have unfortunately never experienced that.

Please don't hear what I'm not saying. I know some people have had terrific experiences with counsellors. But equally, some of us have found them less helpful (or perhaps have just encountered particularly shit ones).

Anyway, IthakaI just wanted you to know that I get where you are coming from - not downplaying the importance of counselling in general, just suggesting it may not be for everyone.

cory Mon 22-Apr-13 21:16:56

But ithaka, letting people grieve in the way that comes natural to them isn't always very good for the people around them. My friend's poor little ds took his grief out by banging other little boys' heads against the pavement. He couldn't be let to grieve in his own way because other people got hurt. It wasn't that anybody wanted to stop him from grieving: the counselling he got was more about channelling his grief.

I wish my mum had had bereavement counselling when her parents died. Instead, the family dealt with it in the traditional style- which basically meant that I had to substitute for her mother. I was a child, I shouldn't have had to do that. My dad was just helplessly sweet and my brothers kept their heads down. She went through a patch when she was shouting all sorts of odd accusations at us. No doubt a natural reaction to grief, but very frightening and confusing for a young teen who had nobody to turn to.

Of course, we should all be more tolerant of people needing to take time to grieve. But sometimes families may need a bit of help to deal with grief.

expatinscotland Mon 22-Apr-13 21:15:54

My child drew a huge picture after her sister died. Of a child in a hospital room and bed with wires coming out, surrounded by all these people, and people going in and out. And all the people were black. Their clothes, everything. Outside was all black. And the child was all in white. She drew another, of a family, outside, children riding scooters and bikes, rainbows, sunshine, trees and flowers. All the people wore smiles, and from all their eyes were tears flowing out.

She cannot say just yet. She's too young.

Counselling, play therapy, art therapy, etc are vital for such children, IMO.

expatinscotland Mon 22-Apr-13 21:11:02

I agree with SGB when it comes to someone as old as the OP's DD, who can make that choice.

For me, I rely on the support of other bereaved parents, and hope I support them, too, because from my point of view there is no way to really help me, IYKWIM, short of the impossible, and the only ones who truly can understand and with whom I feel comfortable expressing my feelings are with those who walk this road, too.

For our children, however, we have chosen the help offered because of their ages at the time their sister fell ill, the circumstances surrounding her condition and her death. The 7-year-old, in particular, has lasting memories of her sister and certainly of us following her death. The 4-year-old, too. And although we are as supportive as we can be, things came out during play therapy, particularly for the 4-year-old, and art and play therapy for the 7-year-old that they can't really express in words yet, they are just too young.

They can't say, 'I'm scared that if I get sick enough to go to hospital, I'm going to die like my sister. It makes me really anxious.' Or, 'I feel really out of control.'

Some close friends of our family, one of their two sons, the elder, he drowned when he was 6, 33 years ago. The other son was 3. I got to have a long chat with him, the first time I'd ever been able to in person with the sibling of someone who died as a child.

His perceptive meant a lot. His brother was not spoken of in the home. It was thought that, as he was too young to remember, it was best not to 'upset' him. This was the prevailing thought at the time, but it damaged him.

For those who do not believe grief and loss damage people look no further than Queen Elizabeth I's childhood and adolescent letters to her friend Robert Dudley. She made a vow to herself early on never to marry or have children because all that she perceived and experienced of it around her was death for the woman. She stuck to that promise.

ithaka Mon 22-Apr-13 15:52:30

I do agree that society is crap at letting people grieve -everyone wants a fix, when there is no fixing it.

DIYapprentice Mon 22-Apr-13 11:27:17

Grief is a process - and it can take a very long time. Society, as a whole, are completely crap at letting someone grieve. The first year is terrible, there are all the 'firsts' to get through. Your first birthday, their first birthday, first Christmas, first holidays, first Easter, and then the first anniversary of their death. So many things that have the power to hurt you suddenly, when you just think you've getting a handle on it.

borninastorm Mon 22-Apr-13 11:05:25

Maryz I've just reread one of your posts and I think she may be at the point now where she thinks she should be feeling better and she's not she's feeling worse. I think that's troubling her and worrying and upsetting her.

When we have a chat tonight I'm going to explain that it's ok to feel how she feels for as long as she feels it. That she doesn't have to be her version of normal anytime soon.

I hope your DS has got through the anniversary week ok? It's so hard when you're child is suffering, no matter what age they are.

CinnabarRed Mon 22-Apr-13 10:53:02

My father killed himself when I was 16. I threw myself into my GCSEs, which started the next week, and by the time they were over it was too late to get support because everyone had witnessed me 'move on' by getting through my exams.

My brother, 13 at the time, was also not offered any support, and our mother was herself too bereaved to do anything for us. (She was offered counselling via Cruse, and in hindsight I'm surprised she didn't ask about any equivalent help for us - I guess she simply couldn't process our grief as well as her own at that time.)

I've been lucky in life on the whole. My brother hasn't, and is still to this day horribly damaged by the events of his late childhood and early adolescence (my father saw DB as the scapegoat and me as the golden child, but that's a whole separate issue). I hope I'm wrong, but I fear that DB will never be able to form a normal, sexual relationship because he's too scared of being hurt.

I honestly don't know if I've processed it, or buried it.

borninastorm Mon 22-Apr-13 10:38:57

Totally SolidGoldBrass I think counselling should be a personal choice. It is perfect for some people and others really don't want it.

Nobody should be forced into it because it's 'the right thing to do' in the circumstances.

borninastorm Mon 22-Apr-13 10:36:19

cory wow, you are amazing! It must be so hard to give her that freedom but I agree it is a must. I give dd lots of freedom and I know she's not suicidal but as you know teenagers sometimes make sudden bad choices when life and their emotions become too painful. Your poor DS, what a trauma for him too. How's he coping now?

I've found it so sad to read that so many teenagers and parents have lost so many friends and family to suicide sad

And I've also found it uplifting to hear how everyone's children have coped with and without counselling.

Mrsdavidcaruso I'm so sorry for your loss and that you got a counsellor who didn't help.

ithaka I'm so sorry for your loss and you're right counselling doesn't bring people back, but it can help them get themselves back, the selves they've lost in the pain of grief. I do agree that we have to experience our grief, feel it and live it. And that mostly what we feel in grief are normal emotions at an abnormal time. But sometimes, we need more to help us get out the other side of the grief so it doesn't scar us for life. So we can learn to live with it. Some people can do this themselves, others can't.

MoaneyMcmoanmoan Your counsellor sounds horrible.

I have contacted Cruse in our area and they've nothing they can offer DD.

DD did see her school counsellor but didn't feel a connection with her which made it hard for her trust her and really open up. And sadly, I think this coloured DD's view of our the counsellor as she then told me she felt like the counsellor wasn't comfortable with hearing her talk about the suicide and wanted her to talk about other things. She stuck with it though but didn't find it helpful. Unfortunately she is the only counsellor within the school so she couldn't ask to see another.

"Nobody thought it would give him back his mum; if it could help him to stop punching his mates and shouting at his grandma that was good enough"

Yes, yes to the above cory that's what dd wants.

It's the practical solutions that therapy/counselling could give her that you've all referred to that DD wants.

The tools to help her help herself.

I think another important point to make is: if a person doesn't find the counselling s/he is having to be any use it doesn't necessarily mean a fault with the person, or with counselling in general: the particular counsellor may simply not be the right one for the person. You have to feel that you 'connect' with a counsellor, trust him/her etc.

But also, if a person doesn't see the need for counselling it's not a good idea to pressure him/her into having it. A couple of people suggested it to me when my dad died: I didn't look into it because I didn't need to. My father was dead and I was sad, but also able to accept it as a natural event and one that would get easier to deal with in time (he was 78 and had a sudden heart attack).

cory Mon 22-Apr-13 09:34:26

It is all invidiual isn't it, ithaka? You felt seeing a counsellor would be shunting off your grief to somebody else so you made the right decision for you.

But that doesn't mean somebody else who does see a counsellor does it because they or people around them don't like having to face overwhelming grief- that might have been true of you but not of them.

For me, I have never felt these sessions were about shunting your grief off to somebody. More about finding practical solutions: how do I manage to cope with my grief without having a negative impact on other people who are also suffering? Not wanting to offload to your family and friends is often about protecting them because you perceive that they are just as vulnerable as you are.

I didn't like the first counsellor I saw, so I asked to see another who turned out to be very helpful.

When ds' friend had counselling during his mother's terminal illness it was to help him find ways of dealing with it that enabled him to get on with his education and did not make life too difficult for his poor mother and for his grandmother who was already heavily burdened with watching her beloved daughter die. Nobody thought it would give him back his mum; if it could help him to stop punching his mates and shouting at his grandma that was good enough.

A friend of mine is having bereavement counselling now. It won't bring her sister back, but it may just help her with getting on with her work and bringing up her nephew. If it helps, that is good. If it doesn't help, then it doesn't. But at the moment, it is clear that she needs to try what she can because other people depend on her.

ithaka Mon 22-Apr-13 08:29:40

Counselling is a broad term covering many different approaches and grief and our responses are so personal. So what is right for one person will be wrong for another. I do not believe counselling is always the best (or only) approach and in some cases it can makes things worse.

In may case, when my son died, I resented the 'you should go to counselling' approach. As far as I was concerned, my behaviour was completely within he range of normal for a bereaved mother, but some people don't like to have to face overwhelming grief and want to shunt it off to a 'professional' to deal with.

It reached the stage that when someone said 'you should see a counsellor' I would say 'why, will they bring my son back?'. Which rather silenced them.

lotsofdogshere Mon 22-Apr-13 08:25:20

agree with the many positive posts about helping young people cope with the suicide of close friends. OP you are doing all the right stuff, and you are the best person to judge whether your daughter could benefit from therapeutic intervention given her anger/sleep issues. My daughter's then boyfriend lost his older brother, then his best friend, then his younger brother's best friend to suicide over a 4 year period. This sounds as though the children were surrounded by instability, and that is so far from the truth. It was a dreadful time, fast forward 12 years, those young people are in their late 20's now and what an emotionally intelligent group they are. It must be tough for your daughter to be in a different school group than the one her friend was in, as I know our young people gave each other so much support and were able to develop a language for talking about their feelings. I agree, the GP and a CAHMS referral sounds the way to go. I hope your daughter can talk to her GP about this, maybe with your support. Is there a bereavement centre near your home? They offer professional counsellors, free of charge, but no doubt will have a waiting list. I wonder whether it's worth you phoning your local NSPCC - it's just possible they may have a drama/art therapist available, or be able to recommend one at another charity. All best with this OP it is so scary isn't it.

eminemmerdale Mon 22-Apr-13 08:11:11

Just to mention Cruse again. They are wonderful. My sister has just trained as a cruse counsellor specialising in children, so there are people out there. I'm so sorry.

MoaneyMcmoanmoan Mon 22-Apr-13 08:04:44

Mrsdavidcaruso flowers I am so sorry for your loss.

I saw a counsellor when I was a student for some traumatic events and my counsellor was horrid. Truly horrid.
She would calmly eat her lunch while I was pouring my heart out. Grim.

But I do know there are some marvellous counsellors out there who have assisted friends of mine over the years... I guess it's the luck of the draw.

Mrsdavidcaruso Mon 22-Apr-13 07:18:08

I would agree with that in times gone by people had counselling from different sources and sometimes it would work and sometimes it wouldn't.

When my baby died I was offered counselling but HATED the woman I found her patronising, didn't like the way she called me by my first name without asking permission and certainly didn't like the fact that she kept calling my husband my 'partner' ( I have a thing about that)

But I am lucky I have a strong faith in God and used him as my counsellor. Standing in Church and yelling at God and calling him a complete and utter bastard for taking my baby from me was for me the best therapy I could have ( I knew he wouldn't take it personally) And talking to my lovely Vicar who completely understood why I did so helped me come to terms with my loss.

So I as very lucky to have that to fall back on, BUT I do understand that people nowadays look to man to help and comfort and would back the OP all the way to get the help and support for her DD she knows she needs.

Maybe I was unlucky with my counsellor I don't know. But for me I know I wouldn't have got through my grief without my faith.

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