Self harm and depression in teens(21 Posts)
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My daughter has always been a ray of sunshine, she's clever, articulate, kind, funny, hard working, she has a solid group of friends who (in the main part) are all pretty good kids. She did really well in her GCSE's and is now in college. Today is her 17th birthday.
She came home from this evening prattling on about the b-day cake I sent in and what a success it was and laughing, we got to talking and she started to cry, she told me she was depressed, she said she had strong feelings of inferiority and loneliness, she confessed to self harming. eventually she showed my her arms. I can not even begin to explain how tough that was.
We talked for a while, and planned to go and see GP on Monday and she's promised no more razor action. After some time talking and hugging, she washed her face and got ready to go to her Dad's for the weekend. When he arrived it was like normal, she laughed, joked, prattled on, made plans for the weekend all totally normally.
What can I do to help her? I'm in such shock, and so very very worried.
Thanks in advance of any help.
So she told you, that's the first step. Your second needs to be the GP, get an emergency appointment for Monday and get a referral.
The hard bit.....she may need the release that cutting gives. I made clean blades available to my DS but asked that he told me when he needed to cut so I could help. I think it is a cycle - feel bad...low....terrible...need to cut...do it..release...remorse...self hatred for doing it. Oh and before I am flamed, CAMHS supported that. (child and adolescent mental health service).
It honestly is the worst thing I ever went through and I send unmumsnetty hugs.
oh and i dont mean I wanted to help him cut...but to help him clean up and check he wasnt badly hurt.....
Thanks, I think it's off to the GP on Monday. We're lucky, our GP is an angel!
In the meantime I guess there's not much I can do is there? I just feel so heartbroken at the mess she's made of her self, she's such a beautiful girl, and I'm so ashamed I didn't notice sooner, but she's been snuggled up in long sleeved jumpers in all this yucky weather.
I didn't cry in front of her, I stayed really positive and reassured her there was nothing that we couldn't fix together and nothing that she couldn't talk to me about. I've been blubbing ever since though!
She's going "birthday shopping" with her Dad over the weekend, so hopefully she'll be fine until I can get her to the Doc's on Monday.
Please dont beat yourself up, I honestly think they have to tell when they are ready.
And you sound like you are doing the right thing. I suggest ....or your equivalent if you dont drink!
My daughter is coming up for 16 and self harms. We first found out 1 year ago after she raised the topic and initally we though we she was being mature in asking as she said she has a friend that does it. We talked and said all the normal things you would expect a parent to say and was happy that she has spoken to us. Later that same year we found it she was the one harming herself and the emotions were definately tested. She said she tried it through curiosity as she was aware of a number of kids who were also self harming and convinced us she had no intentions of continuing. Up until this time she had always been a real homely kid, loved her cuddles and although she only has a small number of friends was so i thought a fairly typical kid.
However it didnt stop there and we did go and seek help from the GP and got a referal to CAMHS. Although we have seen a counsellor 5 or 6 time now and she has been put on anit depressants i dont really feel that it has helped in the way i thought it would. The depressants have lifted her with out doubt but we only see the the counsellor every 4 to 8 weeks and she doesnt really open to them. The school have been great though i have to say and have been our only other point of contact. She talks to one particular teacher which is fine but i think it hurts me that she doesnt feel she can come to me but thats for me to deal with and i understand that its better for her to have someone rather than no one. Today's been hard. She didnt attend school today although she left as normal. Getting that call from school made my heart sink, not knowing where or what she is doing and the fear is instant. She also now doesnt want to continue taking the tablets and i have had to explain the consequences of taking herself off of them. She doesnt take them regulary and i have to constantly check with her. Anyway she was at home and i convinced her to go to school and told her thats it's okay to have bad days it's how we deal with them that matters. It's so incredibly painful seeing her go through this and just not knowing how to deal with it.
It makes my heart sink to read these messages. I am going through this at the moment but my daughter is only 13. I am staying strong for her and just keeping the lines of communication open but it is heart braking that she is doing this to herself. People who know her thinks that she is such a nice girl, gorgeous, kind, intelligent, emotionally intelligent but she has got caught up in this pattern and like rapidlygoinggrey said it was a curiosity thing but it has happened several times. We are limiting the time she spends on the computer and taking her phone off her now as part of the problem is that things don't get left alone to just pass. when I was at school we would have issues but we would leave them there and possibly forget about them the next day. Now, it is perpetuated by Facebook, etc and it is stressful for them.
It is something that we are just trying to get through, united but I have a feeling my greatest challenge is yet to come...
I was right, My daughter ran away from home at 5am this morning. She is home now after the police managed to catch up with her. I feel really helpless, school is saying to get professional help and they will do anything they can to help but I think she needs a break from it all....
How is she now Mallen?
Have you thought of taking her to the GP? They can refer for some professional help. In my area they help the family too so my exdh and me had sessions with a social worker to help us cope, because its bloody tough.
I am thinking of you. Let me know how she is.....
hello mums from me in OZ . First up : I can hear the pain in each of your threads and I am sending you all a very warm cyber-hug !
As a mum of 5 who has given her children everything and then some; SH and depression go with the territory of adolescence all we can do is to keep the love flowing ( sometimes a tall order )and to be in their corner of the ring to listen . There is such a thing as "stinkin' thinkin " where negative thoughts lead to negative behaviour etc . Break the cycle of negative and surround yourself and your teen with positive people thoughts and images , set realistic goals for yourself and your teen . I recall my own father taking me out for long walks at night until I was so exhausted I fell asleep instead of ruminating about the day's experiences. Hold on tight because this is the ride of your life .
No doubt about it this is one of the more unpleasant roles we assume as parents and it is a laborious task ( but you didn't think that the hard work was all over when you pushed that child out did you ? )
My DD 16yrs has just been throught some very difficult times including a girl she was aquaited with commiting suicide a couple of months ago. Terrible beyond words. I booked afew days away at the coast, just getting away from the local enviroment may help your girl. Just you two, no worries about what they look like, turn the phone off, no internet, walk and breath. Just knowing she can step away from a situation and have some space may help... the natural world can be very soothing. I also booked my DD in for a couple of massages creating a better relationship with her body as something to be cared for and emotional tension and pain can be eased in more postive way. Counselling of cause if she'll go and can open up. She clearly has a loving, caring mother and all the ground works there its just getting through this upsetting time.
Make sure she's not posting on Tumblr, these sites are a parents nightmare.
Last year I discovered that my DD1 was bulimic. We have been working through this together as she refused professional help. i was aware of her interest on websites of self harming but she said she had never done or considered it.
I now feel absolutely gutted to discover today that she has actually been cutting herself with razor blades for the last 2 years. The problem is I have found this out by reading through messages on her phone (she is confiding in an unknown person on Ask.FM - another cause for concern that comms has come offline and into direct texting...). i have spoken to her teacher at school today who has been fantastic/supportive - he is firmly of the opinion that i need to go to the GP with DD to seek professional help. Whilst i agree, i am worried about shattering trust and relationship with DD as I will have to admit to reading through her messages. (BTW a further rummage through her bedroom has revealed stash of razor blades and elastoplast.)
Any advice please?
Going through something similar at the moment with my 14yr old daughter.Think it's important for you to get help and not worry about your DD's reaction to your discovery of messages.My DD got referred to CAMSH where I was able to get a better understanding of why she wanted to cut herself.Her counsellor told her of different ways of getting the same feeling of release and relief that cutting gives.Fortunately,my DD had not been doing this for long and although she has other problems we are having to address,the self harming seems to have abated.I believe that this has something to do with it finally being out in the open and my daughter realising that we still love her and are not judging her for her actions even though it took all my strength not to fall to pieces listening to her talk about harming herslf in such a casual way.I really feel for you and hope you are able to seek professional help soon.
I am so upset and worried too. My daughter is 20 and away at uni and recently confessed she had been having panic attacks, some requiring paramedic help and was given beta blockers. Unfortunately they didn't help partly because she didn't admit to me or the GP that she had suicidal feelings. This Monday she collapsed alone in her student house and was unconscious alone for 5 hours before being found. The copllapse prob due to low blood pressure but GP is not sure. I went over to uni when I found this out 24 hours later and she is now on anti depressants but I am upset and wondering where to turn to for help. I want to help her but she is fiercely independent. She is doing well at uni and always seemed happy but maybe that was a front because she says she doesn't want to worry me. I am divorced from her dad so facing this alone. Any suggestions how I can help her please?
Blimey, confused - when I was a student 2 of my friends used to collapse. One had ECGs and was diagnosed with a form of epilepsy, the other just used to faint because she hadn't eaten anything other than pizza and chocolate for a week. Both are fine now. Don't wish to say this isn't a worry for you, but find out whether the panic attacks are brought on by nerves, too much caffeine (yes, it's true), low blood sugar or a phsyiological v psychological thing. big hugs
there are so many of going through difficult times at the moment. I'm so sorry, as i know what it is like, and there isnt a great deal of support out there , particularly for girls, but let them know they are not alone Please all of make sure you get support yourselves with some CBT via the GP. It really helps in knowing how to communicate with your daughters during the darkest times.
Madoldlady. you are doing really well. stay calm and consistent , and blub with friends or alone. You may have some problems as camhs finishes at 18 and then its adult services. is there a walk in service for teens in your area ? dont make her promise anything as it will be hard to stop if she doesnt learn other strategies, just suggest alternative she could try http://www.siriusproject.org/alternatives.htm and run her baths, and let her stay quiet if she needs to . dont ask why, as it will probably be a combination of things. do tell her lots of girls/boys go through difficult times and its an illness and there IS treatment available . Let her have duvet days if she needs time out. check with school if she is coping/check she is sleeping ok. It is worrying, and she will put on a front, as she has evidently been very convincing that she is happy (my DD was the same) but that will probably exhaust her
rapidly going grey,/ camhs should see her regularly if she is on medication. Medication is always an experiment with our DDs, especailly if they cant diagnose, and your DD might be right, it might not work for her, so read up on it, but help her get off it gradually and tell camhs you need more regular sessions . If she is absconding school, camhs should take that seriously.
mallen21. If she is running away, you should get an urgent camhs referral. If she is not coping at school, she may have undiagnosed learning issues, more common that you would think. push them into giving her a WISC 4 assessment if you can.
already stretchedCamhs services have been cut by up to 30 per cent this year, so you may have to fight harder than I did, and its important girls find the right person to talk to which is hard. But you do have the back up of hospital if thing s get really bad, and for my DD, hospital helped her understand she was not alone. My DD will be 18 next month and has experienced so much , but all of you, it does get eventually better as she and you and the family learn more about ways to cope and thrive together .
This is all so sad to read. There are so many unhappy teens out there, and very little help.
They seem to go down one of two very different routes: depression, eating disorders and self-harm; or 'going off the rails' and getting involved with drugs, anti-social behaviour and crime. There seems to be a bit of a gender split - not always but often. As one professional once said to me: "Boys act out and girls act in".
I find it difficult to believe that teens really have it harder these days... So it must be that they have fewer coping strategies and less emotional resilience. I wish I'd known how to teach my DS1 to deal with difficult emotions and situations. I wish I knew now, cos I have a DS2 who's a young teen, and I don't know if he has learned resilience either...
I wish all of you well - those of us who are struggling with unhappy teens. OP, my DS self-harmed only once, and I took him straight to the GP and got a CAMHS referral (tho unfortunately no support after assessment because they judged he didn't reach their threshold for it)... So I hope your DD's self-harm may be a one-off too.
It's worth asking her about bullying OP.
Or why she thinks about herself that way? Where did it all kick off/what caused her to self harm for the first time.
I'm 22 now but from ages 13-17 self harmed and ended up in hospital (suicidal). I never told anyone about the above and no one asked but I wish they had as I felt too weak to myself & like I should just 'pull my socks up' etc.
In truth I was just really depressed for a long time and a bit young & out of my depth with it all. Plus the bullying.
Really hoping the best for you two. She's done something very good in confiding in you...bottling it up magnifies it quite badly.
Sorry to put a downer on the thread btw but felt it may help to hear from someone who's come out the other side.
if it helps, a few years down the line after some very helpful therapy (to replace that method of coping with others), a stint on medication & a beautiful DS, I'm now happier than I'd ever thought I'd be and would never dream of SHing ever again.
targaryen. thank you for posting on this thread. I think it really helps mums to know those who have been through the worst and come out the other side. I'm so glad to hear that you are doing so well.
My dd school telephoned this afternoon to tell me that dds friends had spoken to teachers about her, that she's self harming.
School said she's in no immediate harm but refused counselling.
I'm in pieces at the moment worrying about how I've failed her by not noticing that she was hurting to the point where she had to cut.
How oh how do I help her put this right and not be so unhappy.
I haven't spoken to her yet because she was going to a dress up function tonight and I didn't want to spoil the occasion for her.
Have been holding this in for hours and just want to help my baby
Tell her you love her, whatever happens, and dont force her to talk to you, just explain you know she is hurting and , and you will help her find the support, the right person to talk to and learn the skills to cope differently. Dont be shocked at the injuries, just give her advice on healing. Dont ask her to stop immediately, Ask her maybe if she cant talk with you, is there someone else she feels she can talk to, but importantly let her know you will be there, whatever happens. The truth is, you or she may never know what combination of things led to self harm , and its probably complicated, but its not your fault(I found believing this extremely hard). Self harm can be for many reasons, you just need to put her in the hands of experts to understand what is going on She may be worried that school found out, and how you will react, so I would raise it so she can see you are not shocked and angry. If she doesnt want to talk to the school counsellor, maybe suggest the GP and a CAMHS assessment. Assure her that many young people go through this, but its best to learn some other ways of coping . You can help her, but you may have to fight to get professional help soon. thinking of both of you.