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Carers of family members with BPD\MH issues - are you out there?(143 Posts)
Hi - I have an 18 yo dd who is a recently diagnosed BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) sufferer. I am coping as best I can and working full time but could do with some support from some fellow carers.
I have had some brilliant advice on the Borderline Personality Disorder thread (thankyou SirBoob and Heffa) but feel we could all support each other in times of crisis.
I'm a single mum. My daughter, now 15, has had a hugely turbulent and troubled few years. Lots of issues with friendships, resulting in self-harm, depression. She was referred to CAMHS for the second time in June of last year and put on ADs (sertraline). She refused to 'talk' to anyone and thought her psychatrist was patronising, though made vaguely positive noises about art therapy...six months down the line a trainee art therapist, who was lovely but with poor English was finally made available and predictably my DD did not want to engage.
In my desperation I researched every type of therapy going and eventually found an intervention - Dialectical Behaviour Therapy - for adolescents with 'Emerging' BPD which sounded so good and something she might agree to do as it involved group therapy too (btw I didn't really think that she had BPD, just that this therapy sounded just right). I put this to the psychiatrist who agreed to refer her and after a pretty long wait, as there was a waiting list, we had our first appointment two weeks ago and DD had an individual session last week. They have up to 6 sessions to firm up commitment before signing up as there are huge funding costs I think. At this session she was told her diagnosis was now emerging BPD. I'm worried about this as I know she may use it as her 'identity' and that people will use this against her as many have done with her depression - she did kind of use this as her identity before. I'm also pinning my hopes on this treatment, but so worried that she will decide not to do it. I don't feel we can go on as we have been.
Life is a rollercoaster, At this moment she is lying in bed, Blackberry welded into her hand for reasons I won't go into. Every weekend there is a
drama episode of one kind or another usually triggered by something she has seen or a comment someone has made on the iniquitous internet/BBM/Tumblr.
I feel absolutely helpless, powerless, don't know what to say/do for the best, tearful at times.
I think it's great that you've started this thread Flora. Hope you're ok and if we carry on can compare and support.
Hi Fifi - I know exactly what you mean when you say life is a rollercoaster of emotion. I also get the weekend drama although that is probably because my dd has her therapy every Saturday afternoon, so she gets very wound up beforehand and very tearful and angry afterwards.
Someone on another thread has recommended DBT and has highly recommended it as she is a BPD sufferer herself. I am going to request it when the CBT has finished and see what happens.
My dd had a kind of breakdown in early February and the doctor said she was depressed and prescribed Citalopram which she was allergic to. She is now on Fluoxetine which seems to be ok and it has lifted her mood but obviously has no effect on the BPD behaviour.
She has been suicidal and threatened suicide 3 times this year and we ended up at a&e each time. The first time she came home and the crisis team came out and the second and third time she was admitted onto the mental health assessment unit.
This is the hardest thing I have every had to cope with and makes family life very difficult and impossible to plan anything in advance. I find it difficult to go to work every day because I am always thinking the worst and imagining that she is self harming.
Anyway , its good to know that there is someone out there that can really understand what its like to live with dd who has had a BPD diagnosis. I find most people just don't get it at all!
My dd is a lovely girl and I am positive she will learn to cope with her condition but she will need lots of support along the way.
Stay positive Fifi!
Hi, just popping in, hope that's okay. I recommended a few books over on the Borderline thread, Fifi, that might be worth having a glance at? I've found them useful, but they have also been useful to my parents / those closest to me.
DBT, CAT and STEPPS are the recommended therapies for BPD / EID, especially DBT and STEPPS, both of which have excellent results worldwide.
I won't intrude in your space, but if I can be of any assistance with recommendations or insight, give me a shout.
There is hope
Thanks SirBoob, I've had a look at that thread and have noted down the books...although I've read SO much already on various websites.
Flora, I feel the same about my daughter...she is lovely too, but so utterly at the mercy of all the nuances of relationships...and things seem to flare up just when you think things have been relatively stable for a while (a while can be a day or a few hours). I've felt slightly better about going to work recently, as DD has changed schools and is now attending - she missed most of the last term at her previous school, refusing to go because of what people thought of her, but there's always that anxiety that something might happen. You are right that planning anything is hard, as is inviting people to the house!
So far, thank God, she has not had to go to hospital, although she has frequently said she wants to go to 'be fixed', but I have found suicide notes to friends and just this evening the beginning of one to me which she had written yesterday when things were going wrong for her. I've also found notes she's written in school telling people she's tried to kill herself five times. I don't know how true that is or how serious the attempts were. At the moment her cutting is quite bad and I noticed lots of fresh cuts/scratches this evening.
I haven't yet told many people that DD has this diagnosis. I'm actually not totally convinced it's accurate, but if it has to be to access the DBT, then I'm prepared to go along with it. The worst thing about her depression has been people either saying that it's attention-seeking, or just normal teenage stuff....that has been very hard.
How long has your DD been feeling like this? Did it affect her when she was still at school? How does she feel about the CBT? Although DBT is a well-known treatment, I'm not sure how widely available it is and if there's more provision in particular areas. Whereabouts are you?
So glad you're feeling positive...I'm trying!
I must admit you daughter sounds exactly the same as mine! She is also very worried about what people think of her and that stops her doing a lot of things. She was quite good at going to school (despite the bullying) and got 10 gcses with good grades and then went to college and did a 2 year BTEC in Graphic Design and did quite well at that too.
The problems really got a lot worse when she left college and lost her friends. That started the downward spiral from last September until the end of January this year when she had her mini breakdown. She has been very up and down since then.
In all honesty I think she has suffered for a long time and I think it was all triggered by bullying at secondary school. It was then that she became a 'drama queen' and started to self harm etc etc. There were also friendship problems which made her turn to some very dodgy boyfriends!
I have written a letter requesting DBT as the CBT is ending soon. My dd hasn't found CBT to be much help at all. I think it has just aggravated the BPD symptoms rather than treat them! We live in Essex so I'm not sure if she can even get it.
My dd wanted the hospital to 'fix' her too but she soon came to realise that the only thing that will fix her is herself. The hospital was a very scary place indeed.
Stay strong! I understand exactly what you're going through
I've just had a job finding this thread again as it had disappeared from my 'I'm on' section. I'm not very good at this!
Flora I've just seen your tattoo postings and I'm so impressed with your reaction...as you said she is 18 and an adult and I'm sure she felt loved. My daughter nags relentlessly about piercings, which you can legitimately have before you're 18. I'm wavering on the nose as I actually quite like them but horrified at the idea of 'snakebites' which was her mantra for a while. Things have gone relatively quiet on that front though.
I had a call from her new school this week saying she'd had an 'incident' in a science lesson where she'd started crying, then asked to go out. I was relieved that she hadn't been loud about it as I'm afraid I often feel that she wants to be noticed. She told me she'd just not been feeling good and didn't know why - this is often her response, that she has very negative feelings and doesn't know why, but she tends to get angry when I suggest possible factors...I think she just can't bear discussing it with me.
Did you say your daughter has a boyfriend? Mine has been seeing a lovely boy, a year older, for about 6 months now. people ask why that doesn't make her feel better. I guess it does to a degree but she is still desperate for friends....
The similarities between our two girls is a bit spooky. My dd nagged me for a piercing when she was 14 or 15 and I kept on saying no and then on her 16th birthday she went and had her lip pierced ! I didn't like it but to be fair I don't even notice it now. Unlike the septum piecing that she had on her 18th birthday. OMG it was hideous ! she agreed in the end and she had it taken out. Phew !... I must admit I don't like the snakebite look either I can appreciate how you must be feeling.
I've not seen the tattoo yet but I have decided to be calm about it. We'll see!
My dd often cries when she feels down or having negative thoughts. If I ask her why she is crying she says its because she hates herself inside and out. However, that's progress because she always used to say she didn't know what was making her so tearful. I think all her issues started with the bullying and its not easily forgotten.
Her boyfriend is a year older and has been very supportive and spent whole days visiting her when she was on the mental health ward. The trouble is he often unwittingly triggers off self harming etc by going out clubbing and the resulting pictures on the dreaded facebook.
One of her best friends is a lad she met while in hospital who is an alcoholic. They understand each other completely and when they see each other its like a kind of therapy for both of them.
Its certainly a very difficult thing to live with but at least your daughter is getting some treatment at a younger age so hopefully should have learnt some coping strategies by the time she gets to 18.
Good luck and wishing you a drama free weekend!
I'm struggling again.
DD is self harming badly and says its the only thing that makes her feel better.
Its all so upsetting - I'm just gonna get in bed and pull the covers over my head. Not allowed to show too much of my own emotion because it makes her worse.
I'm sorry I haven't been on for a while or commented/replied to your last post....things have been difficult here too. How are you? It is such hell when our DDs are doing this and I really feel for you that this has been happening. Do you comment on it when your DD self harms? I find that, in some ways, it affects me a bit less now than it did when she first started doing it, when I was distraught (even though she has scarred her beautiful skin) and I think this must be a defence mechanism thing kicking in. DD gets angry when I mention her SH, although she doesn't try much to hide it from the world. She broke up with her boyfriend just over a week ago and cut herself badly last Saturday. She now seems to have forgotten him completely and I'm worried because I think to some extent he kept her on the straight and narrow and she seems to be hanging out with some girls I'm very wary of.
Everything I know and everything I read and that others advise is to try to detach and look after ourselves. Don't you find that almost impossible?! At times, unless DD is with other people, I can't go out without her being constantly in my thoughts...is she lying in bed/bingeing etc. And as you've said it's so hard to plan anything...
Just wondered, how did you DD eventually get her diagnosis?
The group part of DBT started this week. DD hasn't said much about hers except that it was okay. I think the parents group is going to be good. It is hard not to wonder how all our respective children ended up like this though. I was looking at each of the parents for signs!
Do you have any other children Flo? And a DH or partner and is he supportive?
I know I haven't been a good poster, but would like to keep this thread going!
Take care of yourself and sending you lots of love xx
Feeling awful as I think DD is taking money out of my purse. I'm so scatty myself at the moment that I'm never 100% how much is there, but think I've lost £20 and now £5 or £15. I've asked her straight out and of course she's denied it. It's the most horrible feeling. Her behaviour seems to be further and further beyond my control. She's incredibly powerful and I feel any sanctions - like grounding - would simply be ignored.
Is there any way this thread could be posted in more than one section?I.e. in teens as well as mental health?
Its nice to hear from you but I'm sorry you are going through such a bad time. I can identify with that .
My dd has now started self harming on her legs which I didn't know about until last Saturday when she put her shorts on. I didn't say a word but she knew I had seen it and that I was upset. I just got the hoover out and did a bit of violent hoovering until I felt calmer. Her left forearm is a mess of scars but I don't talk about it now unless she does. Its not worth it because it just ends up in rows and bad feeling.
She was diagnosed with bpd by the hospital psychiatrist and I have written a letter requesting DBT but haven't heard anything yet.
In recent months she has realised that she was raped by a former dodgy boyfriend - it happened 2 years ago now. Anyway last thursday she asked me to report it to the Police which I did. This resulted in a home visit by 2 Policeman and then a trip to the police station so that she could give video evidence. Police have advised that she have rape crisis counselling too. I'm not sure what will happen next or whether the boy has been arrested yet.
To answer some questions....
I have a fairly unsupportive DH and another 24 year old daughter who lives in London.
I understand its hard to detach yourself from it because it is all consuming - I can't do it either!
Sorry about the money going missing - is it anything to do with the new crowd she is mixing with? Do they smoke and drink or do drugs? She might be taking it for them.
How is it today? I broke down at work today because a colleague told me that its not my job to solve all this. It was a difficult day......
Anyway, take care and you know where to find someone who understands what you're going through. I will check this thread everyday just in case!
Hi again Flo,
I'm sorry it's been so long again since I've posted...sometimes I'm just too exhausted!
How bloody awful that your DD was raped. But brave of her and you to decide to report it and for her to have to give video evidence. The positive I see in that is that she has talked and confided in you about it, so I wonder if she does talk to you much?
Every day brings another challenge with DD. I absolutely dread coming home from work and finding her usually at some screen or other (often in bed with her blackberry) and barely able to respond to hello and then if she does being hyper-aware of her tone of voice - is she down, okay, pretending to be okay? I'm afraid I've become obsessed with the general unhealthiness of internet and phone use and can't stand seeing her 1. waste her life away on screens 2. create and follow depression/self-harm/bpd blogs on tumblr and think that people on there really need her or she needs them - such a skewed view of relationships, though I also understand that they are easier to manage than real ones. 3. people say things by text and on the internet that they would never say face to face. And either I have to act and remove the BB some of the time or put up with it I guess, but I fear her response...I'm sure you can understand that!
She didn't go to school for her last 2 days on Monday and Tuesday. She had her individual therapy on Monday and seemed sort of okay when I got home, but suddenly had a huge downer - found her in her room and she had clearly cut herself but was hiding it. She said she didn't want to live anymore. she will never say what has happened, just that she's angry and upset. It turned out it was the boyfriend she split up with 3 weeks ago. She said she had to go to the park to meet him and off she went. I then had a phone call from the dad of one of her friends who said that his DD was on her way over as my DD 'was going to kill herself'. I found 2 suicide notes on one of her tumblr pages (1 to her family, one to boyfriend), then had a call from him asking me to come. So I ran to the park where he was holding her - she shouted at me not to touch her - and she then ran off. Poor boy had clearly been crying and handed a craft knife, her anti-depressants and a bottle of ferrous sulphate to me. Eventually, with my neighbour's help, we found her sitting on a 15' wall and after a while she came down.
As far as I know, this is the first really over-dramatic, desperate attempt she's made to keep someone, although she has certainly talked of/written things to others.
She seemed okay, but when I spoke to my link DBT person the next day she said DD had to have a blood test, so we spent 5 hours in A&E on Tuesday evening. She told the psychiatrist there that she'd also taken paracetamol - I didn't know - and it was spelt out to her exactly how dangerous that is.
Yesterday she tried to get out of group DBT for the 2nd week running (this is the problem, we are so lucky to be accessing it, yet she has past form on backing out of things at the last minute) but I and the therapist managed to get her to go. She was vile to me afterwards when I said no to getting MacDonalds - ruder than she's ever been and was picking leaves off hedges and throwing them at me. When she said she wouldn't go to last week's DBT I'm afraid I said that she'd made an agreement and that if she didn't follow through I wouldn't follow through on my agreement to provide her mobile phone and I would pay her £5 if she went! It worked, but the trouble is I worry that I'm reinforcing manipulative behaviour. We can't do right can we?!
I'm so sorry, I seem to have rabbited on and on. Once I started every detail just came out. I hope you don't mind and hope you will do the same if you want to.
Have you read this book? It's on my reading list and I think I may get it. It has good reviews though some said it was better on the 'understanding' than 'coping'.
Borderline Personality Disorder in Adolescents: A Complete Guide to Understanding and Coping When Your Adolescent Has BPD by Dr B Aguirre.
I hope you're managing to get some enjoyment from this lovely weather! I'm afraid on Monday evening I enjoyed lots of !
I am trying to enjoy the weather but its very hard to be as enthusiastic as everybody else seems to be!
It sounds like you've had a stressful time recently and I'm sorry to say that I have too. My DD seems to be re-living the feelings that she suppressed after her rape. Usual bpd symptoms have gone into overdrive with lots more tears, cutting, self hatred etc.
On the upside she has been allocated an ISVA (Independent Sexual Violence Advisor) who has recommended a (yet another!) counsellor and will be on the end of the phone whenever needed to advise about benefits, court procedures etc etc. She seems lovely and I think she will be helpful.
DD has been saying that she wants to go back into hospital because the suicidal thoughts are coming back. I hope she doesn't because its her 19th birthday soon. Its not a nice place believe me!
She is still with her boyfriend who is a bloody miracle worker. He helps me a lot. Although she does tell me most of her worries eventually.
I think that you and I and our girls have a long road to recovery ahead. Us mums have to stay strong and try and keep a sense of humour. If we stay consistent and continue to be there when needed that will be a massive support to the girls.
Meanwhile all we can do is sneak the odd glass of wine or watch a funny thing on telly or a have a hot bath and try and relax when we can and conserve energy for the next drama.
We're doing a bloody brilliant job! and from my point of view its truly the hardest thing I have ever had to cope with.
Take care and keep your chin up
PS - I will try and get hold of that book, knowledge is power.
I'm so sorry that things are so difficult for you at the moment too. It's incredibly painful to watch our DDs having such a hard time getting through life. As you say it will be a long road to recovery, but we have to (all we can do) is hang on in there and believe it will happen. I guess your daughter's rape must have contributed to her being unwell, even if she didn't interpret it as rape at the time...to be thinking about it 2 years later it must have been horrible time. Having the ISVA to advise on practical stuff when often that's enough to put anyone off going through a court case is seems really positive - someone who knows what they're talking about.
I don't remember whether you've said, but is your DD on medication?
I've been so impressed by the DBT team. I think I mentioned that I have a link person who has already spent quite a bit of time talking to me on the phone, along with DD's therapist. They are so skilled and systematic about working through every aspect/step of events, behaviour, thoughts, feelings etc. I know DD is going through the motions at the mo, but hope she will begin to feel that this might be a way forward for her if she keeps going.
Do you find things are better when you are both out of the house? We had a lovely day yesterday, shopping for holiday stuff and going to IKEA as DD wants to change her room. We even managed to laugh together which is SO rare.
Oops DD alert. I will try to do more later.
I still haven't heard anything regarding DBT. Mental Health services are rubbish in our area so I won't hold my breath!
You're right about things seeming better when we are out. I put that down to the fact that I am usually buying her stuff that she wants and that lifts her for a short while. Not so when we went to a family wedding ! she found it a struggle to keep up her 'happy and normal' act and ended up with stomach pains and spent the reception in and out of the ladies loo. Needless to say we had to come home early.
DD is on 40mg of fluoxetine daily plus the occasional Zopiclone when she can't sleep.
News just in...... Her boyfriend is buying her 2 new tattoos for her birthday. One on each thigh.
She went out clubbing last night and stayed out all night. Still not home but is safe and well at her boyfriends house. I'm hoping she had fun!
I am glad you managed to have a laugh together with your dd. Is she on any medication? Maybe they are kicking in.
Have a good day
I'm sorry, I did laugh when I read your news update! I'm waiting for the day DD turns 18 - when I'm sure she'll be camping outside the tattoo parlour. She is mixed race but has always wanted blonde hair and that became particularly pressing recently as she's devastated that she can't dye her hair different colours. So pressing in fact, that she got a friend to bleach it and put the colours in. Now of course it's as dry as straw and looking green...
I'm very aware that the good trips are the shopping ones, although usually DD flags after about an hour and I spend the rest of the time trying to gee her up in some way. Arranging to do anything else is touch and go. She used to love going to my parents but that has now changed completely, particularly since they confronted her about her depression which she really wasn't up for (it's her age too of course). They are not the most subtle. WE've got a family lunch tomorrow which I'm keeping my fingers crossed for. Two of her cousins will be there which is a bit of an incentive. But she often says she feels like an outsider because of her colour.
She's been on Sertraline for over a year and her first psychiatrist put it up from 25mg to a 125mg eventually. It seemed to do something for a few weeks but I think that was placebo. She's back down to 25mg and is going to come off it soon. We'll see if her DBT skills will help (if she keeps going).
I hope your DD reaches home safe and sound.
Enjoy your weekend,
P.S. Fifi is actually the name of our cat and it doesn't come easy for a 50-something woman to be signing off as that!
I just wanted to say that it's early days, but if I learn anything really helpful from the DBT sessions I'll pass it on. No substitite for treatment but there may be some things you could try...
Thank you ! Please pass on anything that you think might be helpful. I would appreciate that.
Its funny that you should mention your dd's hair. My dd went bottle blonde when she was about 15 with occasional pink bits. Then bright red and now its dyed black. She sometimes wears a long blue wig (don't you dare laugh!) because she says it makes her to feel like a different person. This is helpful because she says she hates herself and she can pretend she's ok.
She's still not home and I haven't had a phone call or text. I am assuming no news is good news!
I will enjoy the peace and quiet while I can.
Flo (Not my actual name but v v similar!)
Forgot to say good luck tomorrow at the family lunch. I am constantly on edge whenever family are present.
They can be quite cruel with their comments without really knowing they are doing it.
Anyway - really going now
I would love to join your thread but not sure I have the time or energy. Dd1 17 is currently residing in a unit for adolescents with mh problems. No diagnosis as yet but self harms and eating disorder etc. Took an overdose so has ended up in the unit. Very very lucky to get the bed as they kept offering her an adult bed. She has been in fluoxetine for depression since xmas and under camhs a bit longer than that. She is being changed to sertraline (sp?) and being assesed for bipolar or bpd. She is the eldest of 4 and I work full time and am finding it all so hard. DH is away a lot too. She was supposed to be home for 3 nights from Thursday but ended up going back Friday night as she/I couldn't cope with her. She is coming out for the day today and has asked to sleepover but we shall see. Life is currently revolving around her and DD2 (13) isn't coping to well with it. We are trying to keep as much away from the ds's who are 6 and 4. I am rambling sorry! Your dds sound so much like my dd even down to changing hair colour all the time!
Please join us! I can completely relate to not feeling able, sometimes, to write anything down, but just keep checking in and comment when you feel you can. It must be so difficult looking after the rest of your family when your DD is the focus of your emotional energy and DH is away. It really is so hard navigating and finding ways to relate to our DDs with their changing moods.
DD has just come in the room - don't think I'm meant to write in the mornings. Will be back later...
Hope your day is peaceful.
You are very welcome to join our thread. I can't imagine what it must be like trying to take care of dd1 with 3 other children to look after. You must be exhausted with it all!
At least dd1 is getting the help she needs in the unit. Is it ok in there? My dd had two spells on the MH assessment unit but because she is 18 she was in with all the adults. I found it a very scary place and I know she found it a difficult place to be. She even managed to SH in there with a broken plastic spoon and barely ate anything. She has issues with food but hasn't been diagnosed with an ED.
Try and post on here as often as you are able - we can support each other through the tough times.
Fifi - I am hoping all was well at your family dinner. My dd is still away at her boyfriends and apparently not gracing me with her presence until Tuesday night - after she gets the new tattoos!!!
Thanks, lunch was fine in the end, despite my initial tension. We were at opposite ends of the table but I was hyper- aware of what DD was up to and whether she was okay and kept checking with her - I MUST stop doing that. At one point she was lining up cutlery and glasses, including her cousin's in a very obvious way and, I think, to be noticed. This is a facet of her character that I find so hard to deal with (and keep my mouth shut about) as it simply adds to people's view of her as attention-seeking.
Flo - I hope you managed to have a good weekend without too much worry with DD away. Sorry to say that, although I miss her, it is a break from constant anxiety when DD is not here! I'll look forward to hearing what you make of the tattoos...
Sky, if you're still here, hope yesterday was alright for you. Did DD stay over?
Thanks. We had a good day apart from a bit of aggression towards her sister who was being a pain but it caused tension, arguing and tears (mine too!). She did stay over and slept ok apparently - unlike me! Her boyfriend has just made her pancakes and she is going back at 11 as she has chocolate group this afternoon! The unit is a god send and only 10 mins down the road. She was so close to an adult bed about 15/20 miles away and they even offered us one in Northampton - about 2 hrs away! There are 12 residents of which she is the eldest, the youngest being 12! She has done yoga, digeridoo therapy and lots of art therapy. I am worrying now watching her eat as she is stuffing her face and will then hate herself for it! It is such a viscious circle. Its bad to say but at the moment I feel relieved when she goes back! I think we must all over analyse everything they do!