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Dd2 has been self harming and is also having panic attacks

(42 Posts)

I don't even know where to start with all of this tbh.

Dd2 is 13 and has always seemed slightly troubled tbh, but it just seemed how she was, which sounds bloody stupid now, but I just thought it really was just typical teen behaviour.

She has a big problem with social situations, and this has got worse over the last few months to the point where she will not do anything that involves contact with people she doesn't know.
When my brother bought his new gf round, dd sat crying upstairs. She was crying because she so wanted to come down and meet her but just couldn't do it.
She did eventually, after gradually moving down the stairs over the space of about an hour. Once she'd met her she was fine.

The other week she was supposed to meet a friend at the end of our road, but wouldn't go because there was people stood having a conversation by our house and she'd have to walk past them. In the end Ds walked her to the end of the road, she met her friend and as then fine to come back and walk past the people.

She won't pay for things in shops and if someone she doesn't know speaks to her she mumbles an answer, if she answers at all.

At school she is ok but is getting upset about having to read out in class or stand at the front and talk.

This morning all of this came to a head. Dd1 wasn't going to school because she was ill. Dd2 started to get angry saying she couldn't walk on her own (she has done previously sometimes). Then she got really upset and couldn't breathe properly, which i am assuming was a panic attack.
Over the next 2 hours i asked her about a million questions and figured out that there was something that she needed to tell me.
She wouldn't speak during these two hours btw, just used her hands and head to indicate answers to me.
Eventually I asked her if she been cutting herself and she nodded and cried and then had another panic attack.

It then took me about another hour to persuade her to show me her arms. Thankfully the cuts haven't been deep and i think most will fade, if she stops obviously.

I have an appointment with the doctors with her this evening, although she has said she won't speak to them.

I have absolutly no idea what to do next and i'm gutted that it has even happened. I had started to relax and thing maybe I was a good parent, and now i think I must be fucking awful.

Would really appreciate any advice anyone has to offer

Biltongmuncher Fri 17-May-13 13:45:39

I am sorry, that sounds like such a hard situation. I could not read and run but I really don't have any advice to offer you. Could only say that maybe a dr and a neutral person to talk to would help her, but maybe she won't talk to them? Sorry, wish I could add more but hope you can get her some help.

Thanks
I am assuming that the gp will refer her to camhs but I have no idea how long she'll be waiting which does worry me.

Been to the docs. Didn't think i was gonna get her to go in at one point cos she started struggling with her breathing again and just froze.

Doctor was lovely with her, had a good chat, and he is referring her to either camhs or open door youth counselling. He wants to see her again in 2 weeks or sooner if she wants to.

She is annoyed with me for making her go, but I told her i'd not be much of a mum if I didn't get her some help.

MagicBaguette Fri 17-May-13 18:30:08

You've done the right thing OP.

I was in a similar situation when I was younger and wish I'd had the support of my mum (she was abusive to me from a young age - the main reason I was cutting myself at around the same age as your DD.)

I'm trying to think back to what I would have wanted. It's great that you've been so proactive, and sought help as soon as possible. She sounds so deeply unhappy sad

I think now it's best for you to keep your routines as normal as possible.

Please please please don't force her to do anything she doesn't want to do if she doesn't have the confidence. Don't force her to talk to you about her feelings, it will only make her clam up more. Also don't over reassure her, it might make her feel more negative about herself and the situation and feel smothered when she doesn't want to think about it and wants to be left alone.

Give her lots of cuddles - you don't have to say anything but just quietly let her know that you're there for her. It's not up to you to make her better, it's best left to the professionals now as she's so fragile. You have done the best thing in finding her some help, so now you must just give her your love and support in a non claustrophobic way iyswim.

It's very likely that once she starts to see a counsellor or someone else she will find it easier to open up. It's so much harder when it's someone you're close to to tell them the horrible way you feel inside and the horrible things going on in your life.

Keep us updated OP, thinking of your DD x

Thank you MB. I have told dd that I am here for her if she wants to talk, but equally, I understand if she doesn't want to talk to me.
Her elder sister (15) is aware of whats gone on and came to the doctors with us, as dd wanted her there, so she might open up to her a bit.

Ive told her dad, but she asked me to tell him not to ask her anything about it and he is fine with that.

I'm going to speak to a member of the pastoral team at school on Monday, as I feel her teachers need to be aware of it, because things like speaking in class are making her feel very unhappy.

I just hope she can get through this. She is such a lovely girl and I'd hate to think this could take over her life.

Gingerbreadlatte Fri 17-May-13 21:05:38

No real advice but wanted to say what a lovely mum you sound. It would be easy to give up when your dd didn't talk but you didn't. I hope I am as good with my DDs when they are older

All the best xx

I'm wracked with guilt now about dd. I split with her dad 7 years ago, and while it was the right choice to make, it must have affected her more than I realised.
Also dd1 recently had surgery and I think dd might have felt pushed out. I also started a new job around the same time, so haven't been here as much as I used to be.

Fuck sad

Thanks gingerbreadlatte (that sounds lovely btw lol).

I feel like I have hugely fucked up tbh.

Gingerbreadlatte Fri 17-May-13 21:08:53

You are doing your best. Parenting = guilt at all times ime. Be kind to yourself xx

Gingerbreadlatte Fri 17-May-13 21:10:23

<<< opens wine and passes theoriginal a glass>>>

Thanks gingerbread smile

mindfulmum Sat 18-May-13 11:36:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ChubbyKitty Sat 18-May-13 12:12:29

I couldn't read and run on this, but not sure if I can offer much help. But I was on the other end of this when I was 13. My poor mother got twisted in circles not knowing what to do with me. She thought it was her fault or my dads fault etc etc and it really wasn't. Just like I'm pretty sure it's not yours.

Best thing they did for me, my dad went out for a drink and pool game with his uncle (great for me to see him getting out, but that might not even apply to your situation) and me and my mum sat in the living room with Top Gear as background noise and she said I could talk to her about it or not when I felt ready. It really helped, and I see from your posts you've already said this to her which is great.

So long as communication channels are kept open(does that sound right?) then your DD should come through this as I did. At one point I even resorted to just chatting to her on fb, so I could be in my room and still cry but then she wouldn't be upset by my crying iyswim?

And wrt the cuts themselves - Savlon cream stops them scarring so badly.

I went on to get a tattoo over mine which means a lot to me so I know I'll never do it againsmile

Hope I was some help, I appear to have rambled blush

I have social anxiety and have experienced very similar things to your daughter. I am on medication (sertraline, brand name Zoloft) which works extremely well for me, and I have CBT once a fortnight.
I just wanted you to know that there is hope - once I didn't leave the house for 7 weeks but now I have a great job in senior management.
You have done absolutely the right thing in seeking help. And it is not your fault - my parents are still together, there was no divorce or anything that triggered it. I was just disposed to social anxiety.
Best of luck xxx

IdentityInCrisis Sat 18-May-13 22:05:35

Hi OP,
I have joined this site so that I can post a reply to you.
Your post is very similar to what I have been through with DD1 in many ways.
I will tell you my story in the hope that you can get some help from it.

DD1 is a very anxious girl and 13 years old. She wouldn't go to the shops or speak to strangers. she wouldn't get the bus to school. She would never have gone past a group of people chatting and like your DD, she would have had trouble meeting a stranger in the house.
She suffers extreme anxiety, high expectations, low self esteem and confidence although she is a very bright girl and doing brilliantly in school...academically, not socially!
She also had panic attacks and hated presentations in class!

DD1 was being very strange back in January one weekend and to cut a long story short, ended up sending me a text to say she was cutting.

I took her to the Drs and we got a CAMHS referral (still waiting to be seen). She was so bad that I couldn't get her to school at the beginning of this year which meant i had the attendance officer on my back.That was pretty stressful!!
I got hold of the student support/welfare lady in the school and had a meeting. DD refused to go to any meetings btw.
Our GP wrote a letter to the school which was given to the attendance officer and gave me a bit of back up.
I also emailled every one of her teachers and told them what was going on and asked them not to make her do presentations etc and to be aware of the situation and treat her kindly.

I then found a CBT therapist who specialises in teenage stress management. She had been absolutley brilliant !!
She is also having mcTimoney chiro on her back cos it is full of stress knots in her muscles and she is due to see a homeopath.
I got a letter this week from CAMHS telling me we will be waiting months for an appt sigh

DD said that she didn't know what she was thinking when she started SH, her emotions were all over the place and she couldn't find the words to express. She knew that she felt awful and felt she couldn't tell me cos i wouldn't understand. She felt ashamed to feel the way she did. she felt that she should 'get a grip'.
She thought she would only cut the once and feel better, but it didn't last long until she cut again.
She told me that she was scared when she told me about the SH because she was coming to rely on it for relief and so how what she going to cope...what was she to do instead of SH.
I told her that the SH was a product of what she was feeling and that we needed to sort the feelings out so she didn't need to cut. If she needed to cut while i was finding help, then she could and that i would be there with the plasters and a shoulder. She felt much better knowing that and actually hasn't cut again!
I turn her bed clothes inside out every day to check for signs of blood..

I have taken the pressure right off DD and I never force her to do anything now that she is uncomfortable with.
The CBT has helped no end and school have been great and taken the pressure off there. she has even dropped one subject that was causing her huge anguish and sleepless nights.

I have felt like the worst parent on the planet and cried myself to sleep for weeks.
But now, a few months down the line, I realise that I am so lucky that DD told me. There are SO many kids out there who don't tell their parents and suffer in silence.
DD is MUCH happier and is becoming much more confident as each day passes. She even put a bit of foundation on her face the other day and a clip in her hair...totally unheard of from her in the past!
I was driving her to and from school daily, and now she is getting the bus and chatting to friends. I remind her there is always a lift if she wants.

She was in a terrible state about her exams, worrying that she would fail them, but she is in the middle of them now and doing and coping well.

Don't be hard on yourself OP and be thankful that at least you know and can now help her. You sound like a great mum!

I wish you and your lovely DD all the best xx

Really sorry ive not replied sooner. I typed a long post out yesterday but then dd came in the room so i closed the page down.

Thanks so much for all the advice given. It is really helpful to have advice from a parent who has been through this and someone who has self harmed.

I still feel totally out of my depth tbh with you. Have just been for a shower and found a compass in the bathroom sad. I think it was left there deliberatly. Dd has no new marks on her arms, but one cut has had the scab scratched off. If thats not what she used it for then she must have cut somewhere else.

Oh, i spoke to someone at school, although she didn't fill me with confidence in her ability to deal with it, so we'll see.

mindfulmum Tue 21-May-13 07:55:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LalaSalama Tue 21-May-13 09:14:01

Hi, just to offer moral support as dd1 age 14 has similar issues, although her self-harming is not very serious, she hits herself on the head over and over which looks alarming. She has selective mutism at school, does not like leaving the house and has a lot of social anxiety. I also split up from her father about 8 years ago amid bad circumstances (DV). We have been going to CAMHS for several years now, but it is only now that they finally seem to be getting to the root of it all - the divorce seems to have been a bit of a red herring which they focussed on a lot, so please don't blame yourself about anything, we all have done the best we can at the time in difficult circumstances. Dd now seems to have ASD traits, along with some non-verbal learning difficulties. I am just amazed at how many years it has taken to get to this point and we still haven't got a definitive answer.

I hope you get a quicker answer than we have. Her school have been very supportive, I agree school input can make CAMHS take things more seriously and speeds things up a little.

Thanks both, they were really great posts smile I'm glad your dd is getting some help Lala.

It's kicked off aagain here today. Dd should have had drama and a talk in geography today, and so last night she started saying she felt sick. She is always feeling sick, and I dealt with it the same as I always do, was sympathetic, asked what I could do etc and she went to bed.
She woke me several times in the night saying she still felt sick, and so I knew what was coming this morning........school refusal.

I just could not get her out of bed, nothing i said would make her move. She said she hates her life, has no friends, is crap at school work (untrue), and is never ever going back there again.

School btw have been rubbish. Her pastoral worker rang me the other day and basically didn't seem to give a toss. She said she'd speak to dd, but apparently all she did was tell her off for wearing pumps to school, and then say 'oh but don't stress about it'.

I am trying to get through to school again now, and have another docs appointment at 10:20.

IdentityInCrisis Fri 24-May-13 11:05:28

I absolutley sympathise with your situation. When you find out your DD is in such distress and taking such drastic measures, your whole world seems so spin off its axis.
It is so gut wrenching to see, and that feeling of utter hopelessness you feel.
And then the frustration of feeling like you are banging your head against a brick wall trying to explain the situation to people who have no clue at all...the whole thing is a living nightmare!!

Can you get your GP to write to the school to explain the situation and to tell them she has a CAMHS referral?
That should make them listen and be a bit more helpful.
Also, ask for a meeting with her head of year and the pastoral person. Leave DD at home as she probably wont cope and ask them to firstly understand anxiety and then sort her lesson plan out so she can miss the lessons she finds particuarly stressful at the moment until she gets the help she needs. Perhaps she can do some independant study somewhere?
Go through each lesson with DD to find out exactly where the problems lie.

Follow up your meeting with a letter about what you discussed and what they have agreed to do and arrange a followup meeting for a week or so.

I know it is hard, but try not to stress your daughter about going to school because until she gets CBT or CAMHS, she will struggle. No amount of reassurance will help her...she won't we listening!!
And dont stress yourself about her attendance, it's no biggie in the grand scheme of things at the moment.

Try and keep as much contact you have with the school in writing so when they start complaining about attendance, you have proof about what you are trying to do.
If they are still not helpful, tell them you will speak to the governors and then the LEA...they should jump straight into action!!

You need to be strong and fight for what you need for your DD. You will piss people off on the way but hey ho, that's just the way it is. bang on every door you can, loudly, and you will get there.

If you want to talk properly, then I will send you my number if you would like.
Hope you got on OK at the docs. xx

KateF Fri 24-May-13 11:26:28

I have every sympathy with all of you as I am in an almost identical situation with dd1 who is 13.5. She has refused to go to school since before Christmas and CAMHS would not accept the referral from school or GP. Eventually I have found another agency and she has just started CBT.

I feel huge guilt about divorcing her emotionally abusive father, going back to work and anything else I might have done to contribute. She is very difficult to live with, unkind to me and her sisters and occasionally violent. I have just resigned from work as her appointments are a 40 minute drive away and school insist that she goes in for at least 5 lessons a week which involves me driving her and staying in the reception area.

I lie awake at night wondering how we got here and how we will survive this but she is still my little girl, I love her despite the things she says and does, and I will get her through it.

Hugs and brew to all of you.

IdentityInCrisis Fri 24-May-13 11:48:14

I remember my DDs first CBT session which was with both of us. I told the therapist the reasons i thought my DD had lost the plot.
My DD said that those things hadn't affected her as much as I thought they did.
The therapist leant towards DD and said quietly "That's the thing with mums, they always like to try and pinpoint a reason for anxiety, but usually, there isn't one particular reason"

It was then, that I understood and accepted my DD for who she is. Someone with anxiety who needs to learn how to manage it without it managing her. We are getting there.

Once these girls realise how their way of thinking is affecting them and they work with their therapist, you can start to see light at the end of the dark tunnel I think.

((((((hugs))))) to you all.

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