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Suicidal DD (15)(20 Posts)
Wasn't sure whether this was most appropriate here or in teenagers, so apologies if it's in the wrong place.
Brief history: 15yo DD began self harming a year ago, struggling with depression exacerbated by her DF being diagnosed with terminal cancer Sept last year, dying in May this year. Has been having private counselling (CBT style) since Nov last year. Increasing levels of suicidal ideation - one attempt at OD'ing late last year (I wasn't aware until long after the event as she threw the tablets back up).
Spent Tuesday night in hospital due to the severity of her suicidal thoughts - didn't feel that she could trust herself not to attempt suicide. Released Weds am, with no psych evaluation. Saw CAMHS yesterday morning for an assessment - clinical psychologist will get back to us in "a few weeks" with a suggested way forward - in the meantime advised to take her back to a&e if we're worried about her.
Caveat: I totally understand that CAMHS has huge pressure on its resources and that there are young people in a worse place than she is, so of course their resources go there.
However, what the hell do I do now? I've been living in a house for some time that has knives, razors and medication hidden away. She's desperately low and feels that no-one is taking her seriously, and that they won't until she "tries to kill myself". I've been doing this for over a year and I'm exhausted. Of course I'm doing everything I can to support her and keep her safe, talk to her and love her but it doesn't seem like that's helping.
CAMHS' view is that maybe a change in talking therapy might help, maybe medication might be appropriate (but with the risks of prescribing SSRIs to teens it's a big 'might') but if that's the case it'll be 6-8 weeks before she sees a psychiatrist etc etc.
I know there's no magic bullet for depression but I (and she) feels so stuck. I feel like an utter failure for being unable to help her, she's taking up huge quantities of my emotional time - quite rightly, but I have another DD, her sister, who has also just lost her DF as well, and also a DH, who's being wonderful but would occasionally like some time with me... Does anyone feel about to share thoughts or experiences?
I can't offer any practical advice but I'm sure someone will come along with something to help you.
Is there anyway you can pay for the counselling to get the ball rolling?
Be kind to yourself and try and take a break, remember your not super human and we all need time out xxx
Do you have any resources to go privately? It sounds to me like she needs to see someone sooner than 6-8 weeks.
Sorry, I don't have any experience with this, it sounds like an impossible situation and I really feel for you. Fwiw I think you sound like an ace mum who is doing everything they can for their dd. You wouldn't feel like a failure if she had diabetes and the drs were struggling to get her insulin doses right. At the moment she has a mental health issue which is failing to be treated successfully, in the meantime you are providing a loving, stable home which will be worth its wait in gold to your dd.
Take Care and I do hope your dd gets the help she needs soon.
Thank you both for your responses. I'm considering paying for a private referral to a psychiatrist but I have no clue how to go about finding one, other than just googling and crossing my fingers Briefcase your diabetes analogy made me smile - it's the exact one I use with DD!
I really feel for you Elle.
I found my therapist here: http://www.bap-psychotherapy.org/content.jsp
I would also think that going private is the best way forward. You have no choice over who you see on the nhs. Some are great others not. At least privately you can have some freedom of choice. I've heard of others going privately and it seems that once they have the right medication it is prescribed by their GP so they don't have to continue paying b
Phew - after a long morning on the phone I've got her an appointment at our local Priory next week!! I'm so pleased - thanks for the support
Look at the mental health charity websites. I think Mind have a section for young people called young minds.
What a place for you to be in, you must take time to look after yourself too. So much has happened, you've done so well to keep it together for your family.
It's probably of little use, but I was exactly the same at 15, not for the same reasons, but it came out in the same way.
I loathed myself for not knowing what to do with the overwhelming pain I was in (psychologically), being distressed for an amount of time makes you feel like crap, and if you can't recognise where that feeling of crapness comes from, you can end up (without realising you're doing it) feeling the only way to demonstrate/communicate it is to do it physically.
'This is how much I hurt, I just can't say it out loud.''
I couldn't pinpoint what it was that made me so angry at myself, and if I couldn't do that, there wasn't a chance in hell of me putting it into actual words to explain it to someone else.
It's so frustrating, and for you too.
It was CBT which helped in the end, but only after a long time of struggling, and only when I made the choice myself. If I had the formula to help you flick that switch so she'd want to help herself, I'd give it in a heartbeat. I just wanted you to know it's possible to come out the other side, hang on in there.
Oh Agent thank you so much. It's really, really good to hear from someone who came out the other side. I just needed some hope to cling onto and you've given me some!
If you are considering private therapy then I would recommend DBT -
lots of stuff on internet
Just wanted to come hold your hand. I have a 16 yr ds with history of self harming, depression, and suicidal ideation. He seems to be doing well on mix of talk therapy and Prozac( very well monitored, took us some time to fine tune dosage)
I was welling up reading your posts and then so happy to see you called the Priory. Thank god you have the resources to do that.
I was suicidal on and off age 15-20 until I spent 6 weeks in a Priory after a failed attempt. I've been well ever since (though on meds for life, which is fine by me).
Some people need more than CBT and it sounds like your daughter is one of them. It did nothing for me and being prescribed drugs by a GP did more harm than good. You need a proper psychiatrist for this job. You are doing the right thing. Good luck.
Saying what's worked for each person, it's important to remember (as you probably already know) not to get disheartened if something doesn't do much good (either as quickly as you'd like, or even at all), just dust yourself down and refuse to give up.
There will be something that'll help you both, you might just have to try out a couple of things before you find it.
Your DD will recognise how much you've supported her before long, if she doesn't already of course, I know you're not doing it for gratitude, but she'll be thankful when she's living a more content life (house/job/DP/children etc).
Thanks tired - I'm familiar with CBT but not with DBT, I'll have a read.
Little oh thank you. I'm aware there are problems regarding prescribing SSRIs to U18s, and I realised that prozac was one of the licensed ones. I'm very glad that and talking therapy is helping your DS. And thank you for the hand-holding. I don't know anyone in RL who's experienced this, so the comfort from strangers is really appreciated!
Moppet I'm so glad you got help, but so sorry things had to go that far - that is exactly what I'm trying to avoid. I really hope she's not looking at in-patient status though. I don't think she's that bad
yet but also Priory start at £5k per week for that. Not sure the savings will stretch that far. If the consultant recommends that though, we'll have to find it (not sure how... sell everything??)
The therapy she's been having for some time is supposedly CBT but it seems a bit more... free flowing? It has helped with the s/harming for sure, but I think it's kind of run its course and therefore it might be time to try pulling a different lever. Which seems to be what Agent is saying.
DD is astonishingly grateful already - it almost seems to be making things worse though; she spends a lot of time saying how much she has and objectively how good her life is, which makes her feel guilty and thus makes her feel worse...
One of the things that's difficult, I think, is she's a mature 15, she has quite an old head on her shoulders, so when she's talking to HCPs she's very able to express how she's feeling calmly and rationally and she seems so together. I know I should be pleased that she can hold it together but I kind of feel that if she was crying or visibly upset that they'd take it more seriously, if that makes sense? Having been in therapy, she also knows the kind of psych-speak as well - sometimes I want to yell that she isn't this together all the time, by a very long way.
I feel a bit like I've been screaming into a void thus far. Like I said above, I get the NHS has limited resources but I'm trying so hard (as is she) to be proactive about the feelings she has, and the risks that go with it - I wish that there was resources we could access for support now now if/when something worse happens.
Anyways, sorry to vent. I'm holding out some hope for Thursday and thanks again for all your support
Really sorry to hear you are going through this, Elle.
We were luckier than you in that we did get dd treatment on the NHS- though we did have to do the waiting list thing.
One thing I think you do have to be prepared for is that it will take time even if you go private: they may have to try different types of therapy to see what works for your daughter, they will need to take their time before they put her on medication and medication takes time to kick in.
Also I'm afraid even treatment there are no quick fixes: dd has been having medication and CBT therapy for 2 years and I couldn't swear for sure that she is safe from suicide. She has made two attempts since she went on the treatment.
What I do feel assured of, though, is that she is far, far safer than she would have been without it and that she has a better quality of life than she would have had without it. And that we are moving in the right direction. It has been so worth doing. Now I really do believe she is going to come out the other end.
Are you getting any help for yourself? You have been through so much and must be absolutely exhausted. Is there anywhere you can go and talk and will be about you?
cory -again, thank you! Ohh the relief of hearing that it's not just me is indescribable (I knew it wasn't really, but sometimes it feels like it is!)
I know that it's a long process, even though I dearly wish for a magic wand, I know there isn't one I'm so glad that your DD managed to get help, I guess what I desperately need is hope that eventually, she'll believe that the world is a better place for her being here - right now she thinks it would be better if she was gone.
I'm really lucky - DH is wonderful, as are my DParents and my ILs. I have lots of people to offload onto. The thing that's tiring is that it's just me that she wants. I know that's being a mum but it means that my life is effectively on-hold - I don't feel like I can do anything, make any plans etc in case I have to drop everything at the last minute if she feels bleak. My friends are awesome, but there's no getting away from the fact that, for the last year, this has been occupying a huge part of my life (sometimes it feels like the only thing in my fucking life, tbh) and that puts a strain on even the strongest of friendships.
My DM suggested that I had some talking therapy... we just can't afford it for both me and DD and she really needs it more than I do. I should really get googling and see if there's a self help or support group in my neck of the woods, but again, it's about actually being able to leave her. Le sigh!
I'm so sorry to hear about this. Apologies if any of these suggestions are things you've already tried:
- Have a look for local support groups, either for depression or people who have been affected by cancer.
- Have you considered art therapy or music therapy? I think Nordoff Robbins is the place for music therapy and I've heard of them doing work with the children of cancer patients. Not sure about art therapy.
- Sorry if this is obvious but have you spoken to Cruse at all?
- Definitely consider some counselling for yourself. Some private therapists have sliding scales, concessionary rates etc, and see the above re support groups.
I was the same at 15 and I wish I'd had a mum like you. But you do need to look after yourself too.
I was just like that - so calm and rational 99% of the time - my parents didn't have a clue until the week I was admitted (I.e. after 5yrs). But the 1% of the time was extremely dangerous and holding it all in was building pressure.
Re SSRIs, I tried five of them, three did nothing, one caused constant crying (think leaky tap) and one made me worse and prompted a suicide attempt. The good thing about a private shrink is that they can prescribe drugs not licensed in the UK - Wellbutrin was a magic bullet for me and that's what I still take. It is actually licensed here as Zyban - it's just NHS won't prescribe it for depression (they CAN but most won't). As a plus point I stopped smoking too!
In conjunction with the new drug after about 4 weeks of no progress, the shrink gave me specialist therapy with him - I.e. not fobbing me off to the CBT therapist - which unlocked some childhood memories that had led to abandonment issues. The childhood thing was nothing that bad to an adult but as a child I had been affected by it and it made me susceptible to abandonment panic later on. Abandonment issues are common in children whose parents have dies I believe. I know 15yrs isn't a child really but could be worth considering.
Just read that back and realised I sound rather insensitive about your DH - sorry. It must be so sad for you too even without being worried about your daughter.
You sound like you're doing ever so well considering. Your DD is very lucky to have you - especially as you have noticed and acted on how she's feeling so quickly.
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