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12 year old DD - Depression, self harm, suicidal thoughts, how do we cope as a family to help her?

(9 Posts)
SMJP Mon 30-Apr-12 11:48:57

My 12 year old DD has been, up to a couple of months ago, an extremely happy, sociable, girl. I have never had to tell her off, pull her up on anything, she is just amazing really. But a few months ago I discovered that she has been cutting herself. We had a long chat and she told me that she's been hanging out with girls a couple of years older than her in school, girls who seem to all display some kind of dysfunctional behaviour. I put it down to her following the older girls and things seemed to improve. Until a couple of weeks ago when we found out she'd had a sleep over at a friend's house and they stole alcohol from our house and weed from the friend's parents. She reacted very badly when we found out and said she did it because she doesn't care and just wants to die. We dealt with that incident, she was grounded for a week. i thought things were improving again but made an appointment with GP to be on the safe side. GP has referred her to CAMHS, but last week she took 4 dihydracodeine tablets, not enough to do any harm but enough for us to see it's a cry for help. So, took her to A&E which has speeded up her CAMHS referral (we're seeing them in a couple of days). This weekend she was up and down like a yo-yo. She says she's hearing voices that make her do destructive things to herself.

I am desperate for advice on how to manage it in the home. I have a 15 year old DS and it's taking over everything, which isn't fair on anyone. I am terrified to leave her alone incase she does something that will really hurt her but I don't want to let her wallow in it all. I'm trying to motivate her to get involved in things around the home, simple things like helping me cook supper, play a board game with her, just anything that will occupy her mind so she isn't getting mixed up in her own thoughts and anxieties.

But I'm finding it so upsetting to see my DD who seems to be a different person than the one she's always been...I just want her to be happy.

Has anyone been through anything similar? Can anyone offer any advice?

mindfulmum Fri 11-May-12 06:07:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lazymum99 Fri 11-May-12 22:32:58

Mental illness suffered by one member of a family cannot help but affect the other members. Your son is 15 and for a whilehe is going to have to take a back seat, he is old enough to understand. adolescents with mental health issues often use drugs and alcohol as self medication not as a call for help.
Rather than grounding your daughter needs some understanding. What is she feeling at the moment? what made her take the DHC and where did she get it. They are opiates and very addictive and will have given her a feeling of euphoria.
I don't think an 'educational' psychologist is appropriate. Take up your CAMHS appointment and hope that they refer you to either a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist. If there is any chance you can afford to go private it will speed things up.
All the above is said with experience of a son who self medicated because of extreme anxiety and ocd,although he was older than your daughter. The drugs, drink and bad behaviour are probably covering up the underlying issues.

mirry2 Fri 11-May-12 22:42:33

I was your daughter many years ago. I self harmed from 14 - 21years on and off and spent time in several mental institutions. I won't go inot my problems but the main thing was that I couldn't talk to anyone about what was troubling me.What would have helped me would have been some very close firneds or non judgemental older people (ie a young adult who could relate to me) I just withdrew further and further into myself. Eventually I 'grew out of it' for want of a better phrase - so don't think your dd won't

EclecticWorkInProgress Mon 14-May-12 16:00:30

SMJP, I am having the same problem with my dd (17) in as what to do at home for her to have a safe environment. She has been diagonosed with Major Depressive Recurent Disorder; hospitalized twice in behavioral healthcare unit; she self harms and her thinking is not logical so I know that it is really something I will never understand no matter how much I try to "figure it out".

Good posts from mindfulmum, lazymum99 and mirry2. Thanks for sharing your stories; you have helped me as well.

I agree with lazymum99 about letting go of 'punishment/consequences' and try to give her as much compassion and empathy as you can. It might feel, as I felt/feel, like you are being manipulated, but on the balance-can be literally your child's life.

Mirry22, what can a parent do? My instinct says to hover over her-I can just be in the same area sewing or something; or should I still respect her right to privacy (which I will admit scares the bejeebers out of me)?

Good luck, SMJP, and I hope your DD feels better soon.

SMJP Wed 23-May-12 17:34:23

Thankyou so much for sharing your advice and experiences. things are a little better in that the CAMHS referral came through so quickly adn now my DD is seeing a counsellor weekly. She has also been referred to a psychiatrist because of the voices she hears. She hasn't self harmed since the first meeting with CAMHS so I am tentatively optimistic. We're being very open about it so that it isn't a secret and we've turned it around so that she doesn't think or feel that what she's doing is wrong or naughty but that she needs love and support from everyone around her. I explained things to my DS, what had been going on with his sister and he understood and is looking out for her in school and just in general really.

After talking through a lot of stuff with the CAMHS team I realised that she has actually been through a lot in the past couple of years and we have just expected her to 'get on with things' rather than checking in with her now and again to make sure she's ok.

EclecticWorkInProgress I know what you mean though, if she's on her own in her room I do check on her more frequently now, I can't help it. i'd rather she was cross with me and accuse me of being overprotective than her hurting herself.

We've also encouraged her to try and express herself creatively, so she's doing lots of painting with her Grandad (he's an artist) and she's making a film with a couple of friends. I feel like the more outlets she has the better.

Thanks again to you all x

racingheart Thu 21-Jun-12 22:10:44

I think you're definitely right to find creative outlets. They really will let out some of the emotion in a healthy way.

I'd be REALLY worried about friends with parents who use cannabis. It's a well-known trigger for schizophrenia, and her 'voices' could be the result of trying it. She probably won't listen to a lecture but if you could find some ex-users who talk about it in a way that would put her off - on you tube or Frank or somewhere, it might help.

Try and keep her away from those girls. They sound a nightmare. At 12 we want our DC to have independence but if they make really bad choices I think it's still OK at this stage to step in and intervene. Not in a bossy way, but just to steer them back on course.

Maybe try and get some CBT to help her deal with the self-harm pattern and chat to her every day, about lots of stuff, not focusing on her problems but taking a general interest.

cocolepew Thu 21-Jun-12 22:17:29

The voices could be OCD and intrusive thoughts rather than actual voices. Just a thought my DD has this.

I would highly reccommend CBT my DD had it with a private theraspist and it was incredibly helpful.

Dawnie75 Thu 06-Dec-12 02:10:52

My daughter told me in July that she was self harming and limiting what she was eating, by 6pm I had her at my GP who referred her to cahms. Shes been undergoing therapy since then and it seemed she was doing really well. On Monday I was cleaning her room and found her diary I was devastated to see she was planning to take her own life, she had every detail wrote down a checklist if you like as to what she was going to do. She had collected over 100 pills to take, I'm worried sick about her now shes my baby I got her back to cahms today and shes now been prescribed Fluoxide (Prozac) but it takes up to 6 weeks for it to work. I may sound useless but I do t know what to do to help her, I support her in every way possible I make sure we have 'us' time everyday but I'm frightened now she has these thoughts in her head they will never go away sad

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