I think DD may be suffering from bipolar or is depressed

(96 Posts)
womanofthehouse Wed 24-Jul-13 14:11:07

DD is 15, she used to be a very smiley chatty girl, she still is in some aspects and is pretty popular amongst her peers, with multiple groups of friends.
However recently she has become very withdrawn and introverted, she also has violent mood swings, she'll go from happy to teary to throwing things across the room and screaming. She's having problems with her older brother (16) who bullies her, now my DS is a lot bigger than her and she gets thrown around quite a lot. He also verbally abuses her too. I've told him not to but obviously being a teenage boy he won't listen to me or my DH.
I've noticed she's been wearing long sleeves recently and I have reason to believe she's self harming, however I am unsure how to approach her on that matter.
She's recently been in trouble with school for smoking on site and I know she's smoked cannabis before, but I am unsure whether she has done it more times since then.
I can't talk to her about it because she won't say anything or she'll scream at me. I want the best for her I really do but I have no idea where to start.
Can anybody who has gone through this before please give me a hand? I just need her to open up.

mumblechum1 Wed 24-Jul-13 15:20:30

And your husband's role is not that of a mediator ffs.

Twirlyhot Wed 24-Jul-13 15:23:32

Mediator???

From what you've said your daughter doesn't need 'mediation'! She's being verbally and physically attacked in her own home by someone who 'will go out of his way to hurt her.' And you think she has problems!!

Her problem is that she has to lock herself in her room to be safe.

Please get your head out of the sand. You have enabled your son's behaviour. Leave your daughter alone. You need to sit down with your son and tell him that if he lays one finger on your daughter again you will call the police, you will press charges and he won't be coming home again. And you need to actually mean it.

How have you let it get this far?

LittleBearPad Wed 24-Jul-13 15:24:51

Your daughter has a lock on her bedroom door because her brother attacks her!!! Do you think this is normal?

Your son sounds like a thug. How long before he's charged with assault for hitting someone else who does call the police?

Also don't ask your daughter what she wants to happen. Your the mother - you decide and be the parent here!

Floggingmolly Wed 24-Jul-13 15:25:17

She's being (very badly) bullied by a member of her own family, in the supposed sanctuary of her own home, and you suspect her lack of jolly good humour points to bipolar disorder??
God almighty hmm

mumblechum1 Wed 24-Jul-13 15:25:48

Exactly. You should be protecting your daughter as your first priority.

nenevomito Wed 24-Jul-13 15:25:57

You're DD doesn't have depression or bipolar. She's being horribly abused in her own home and knows that her own home isn't safe.

You need to tell your son that the next time he assaults his sister, or you, that you will call the police. He needs to learn that he can't behave how he is doing and your daughter needs to know that you will protect her.

Twirlyhot Wed 24-Jul-13 15:26:08

Having to lock yourself in your room to avoid being assaulted tends to make people 'introverted' hmm

womanofthehouse Wed 24-Jul-13 15:26:11

I know I have to deal with my son and I am thankful for your suggestions and I will tell him that next time he does it I will call the police and all privileges will be revoked and I will mean it.

Now that it being dealt with I would really appreciate some help with daughter, how do I talk to her about how she is feeling? I've always told my children they can tell me anything, but obviously she isn't telling me anything.
Should I take her somewhere away from home and talk to her there? Talk to her in her room?

MadBusLady Wed 24-Jul-13 15:26:37

"Stern chats" with a "mediator" are for when basically normal people have had a blazing row.

This is horrific.

ShadeofViolet Wed 24-Jul-13 15:29:07

She probably doesnt feel like she can talk to you because you are offering her no protection from her brother, your son.

If you dont do something, you relationship will be broken beyond repair, if it isn't already.

The problem is not her, its your DS (and you).

MadBusLady Wed 24-Jul-13 15:29:11

x-post. Maybe the first thing you can tell her is that you WILL be calling the police on your son if he does it again, and reiterate that from now on you WILL keep her safe.

Twirlyhot Wed 24-Jul-13 15:29:52

Maybe tell her you're going to deal with the situation so she's safe in her home again. That she is important to you and you are sorry you have failed her, because that's where the anger will be coming from, and she's right. That you will listen to her and protect her from now on.

RippingYarns Wed 24-Jul-13 15:30:00

you cannot treat both your DD and DS the same in this 'chat', your DS needs to understand that assaulting people is against the law, your DD needs protecting from him, not to be sat round a fricking table so you can thrash out their 'difficulties'

i cannot believe you're a teacher, OP

hmm

cory Wed 24-Jul-13 15:30:49

"I have thought about family therapy for a while but I refused to accept it had gotten that bad."

This is a bit of a jaw-dropping statement. Your dd is in fear of her life and self-harming; how much worse would things have to get? And would you have accepted a similar level of risk to your son without doing something? You yourself are saying you could not make him homeless because other people might hurt him. But your dd has to have a lock on the door in her own home to be safe. Is there a reason why he is the golden child and she is not?

Family therapy may not be the right format. But you need somewhere where you and your dh can go and talk about your parenting and your family setup.

"I am unsure whether their school has a counsellor (and if they do it's never mentioned to parents)"

But your dd is acting out to the extent where you suspect bipolar, a very serious MH disorder!!! So why have you not been moving heaven and earth to find out what resources there are to help her? How difficult is it to pick up the phone and say to the school receptionist "excuse me, do you have a school counsellor?"

I agree with the other posters though: before you start looking into counselling etc, your first action must be to ensure your dd's safety in the home. Not by wet threats of no holiday, but by telling your son that violence is unacceptable and that if you will do whatever it takes to keep his sister safe.

Floggingmolly Wed 24-Jul-13 15:31:18

What do you want her to tell you? You are already aware of the problem and seem helpless or unwilling to address it; why do you think your daughter talking about how it makes her feel will have any impact on the situation at all? confused
Why don't you stop her abuse, then she might trust you enough to talk to you?

Twirlyhot Wed 24-Jul-13 15:31:32

There's no way in hell to tell if she has any problems that need help when she's been treated this way at home. She needs a good 6 months free of verbal and physical abuse.

mumblechum1 Wed 24-Jul-13 15:31:48

*Now that it being dealt with I would really appreciate some help with daughter, how do I talk to her about how she is feeling? I've always told my children they can tell me anything, but obviously she isn't telling me anything.
Should I take her somewhere away from home and talk to her there? Talk to her in her room?*

Is it actually being dealt with, though? Where is the evidence of that?

I think you should take your dd out for dinner, either just the two of you or with your husband, tonight, and tell her that you are very sorry for having failed to recognise the seriousness of the situation, acknowledge that she has been the victim of crimes in her own home, and that you have made the irrevocable decision that if her brother assaults her one more time, you will phone the police and fully support any charges they bring against her brother (they won't charge him, they'll just caution him but she needs to know you are taking this seriously.

You and your husband, in the absence of your daughter, need to tell your son that he has committed criminal acts against your daughter and that if he lays a finger on her again you will phone the police and his feet won't touch the floor on his way to the police station.

You absolutely must follow this through and give him absolutely zero tolerance from now on.

MadBusLady Wed 24-Jul-13 15:34:24

Agree with Twirly, I'm not sure there's anything to be gained at this stage from a discussion that begins "I've noticed you are behaving in xyz ways, do you think you might be bipolar/depressed?" or similar. It's not going to be news to her that she feels like shit - the (probably) main cause is right there in her life. This doesn't sound like the kind of teen depression where there isn't an obvious cause and so it's a bit of a relief to have a diagnosis, or a discussion about one. The biggest single thing she lacks at the moment is a safe home environment.

mumblechum1 Wed 24-Jul-13 15:34:29

And as for not letting him go to Cornwall next week as punishment, the poor girl is probably counting the hours until he goes away and leaves her in peace!

cory Wed 24-Jul-13 15:34:49

Cross-posted again. Doesn't matter where that conversation takes place, all that matters is that it contains the following:

DD I am very sorry. I have not been protecting you and I am sure you are angry with me for this. You have a right to be. But I love you and I will put a stop to your brother's violence. Next time he hurts you I will ring the police.

Then let her see that you follow through.

And then talk to her again. Say that you understand she must be feeling very unhappy after all the things she has been through, that you want to help her, that you are always willing to talk, but if she feels she can't talk to you, how about the school counsellor/Childline/Samaritans etc? Tell her that you want her to be ok and that this is the most important thing to you.

HmmmmNeedToDecide Wed 24-Jul-13 15:36:17

Do not involve your daughter in tonight's conversation, she has not done anything wrong.

Tell your son what PP said - it's wrong and you will call the police and kick him out.

Why are you more worried about him than her?

Seriously I've lived this life, you have no idea what it does to your self esteem and self respect and relationships with others.

When I had my DS, my brother started on him when he was about 4, as he was jealous of the attention my mum gave him hmm he was 23!

I told him calmy and firmly that if he ever did that to my son again I would call the police, I pointed out if it was a stranger doing it they would end up in prison, he got the message and my son saw me defending him (my brother is 6ft 7 and 16 stone, I am 5ft 2 and 8stone if that puts it in perspective)

YY to filming him and showing him.

Does he treat others like this outside the house? I doubt it! He's fully aware and in control of his actions.

He chooses to treat his sister like this. And you let him, stop making excuses and be a mother. Unless you want your daughter to grow up and get into relationships where she has seven kinds of shit kicked out of her and called names, why wouldn't she? You let her grow up thinking that it was normal and acceptable for her to be treated like this angry

Think of the bigger picture and out your daughter first, for once.

cory Wed 24-Jul-13 15:36:30

mumblechum put it much better than me. That is what you need to do. You need to commit yourself to this so that you cannot go back.

Inclusionist Wed 24-Jul-13 15:37:26

I agree with others but I also think you should self-refer both children to CAMHS.

Neither of them are behaving normally. Has anything happened to them?

antimatter Wed 24-Jul-13 15:37:31

I think you should call police, find out what it may happen if you report him and tell your son what awaits him.

You need to prepare him and yourself for the steps you have to take then.

Also other members of your family must know.

Do not sacrifice your dd for your son!!!

womanofthehouse Wed 24-Jul-13 15:41:11

mumble

It is being dealt with as of now, when kids and husband return home we will speak to each of them respectively, and tell them what is going to happen, and I will not allow him to continue his disgusting abuse towards my daughter and also his attitude towards me.

And about Cornwall, I was thinking to let him go so DD can have some peace and quiet.

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