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Adult DD says she is suicidal, what should we do?(25 Posts)
Some background -shes in her late 20s, lives independently in a city hundreds of miles away where she works in a well paid job . This recent crisis has been provoked by a broken romance .
She says she has a diagnosis of bi polar, although we have never seen her having Manic episodes. nor has anyone else we know among her friends and family. She won't tell us the name of her GP, her psychiatrist or her psychotherapist . In the past we have paid for private therapy for her , which we paid direct, so we know she attended .she won't tell us what medication she's on .
I'm sorry to say that she has a long history of making up things, telling dramatic stories etc that don't seem supported by facts, manipulating people and making unreasonable demands. We have no idea if these are part of a mental health problem or a personality disorder.
We have just returned yesterday from visiting her. She looks well, is smartly dressed and wearing make up, hair done etc, going to work, socialising etc.last weekends she went skiing with and next week she is going away on holiday abroad ( despite being suicidal ) .
None of this makes sense to us - can anyone help explain it? We have both experienced depression in the past and it didn't look anything like this. But we are not psychiatrists and we know you can't judge things by your of own experience , as everyone is different.
We know we must take her claims to be suicidal seriously , but don't know what to do .
She has refused to come and stay with us. She says she wants one of us to come and live with her, to be on suicide watch. This is impossible, we have jobs and younger children here and she lives hundreds of miles away . Yes of course we will drop everything in a crisis, but one of us can't move to live with her !
Sounds like a very difficult situation for all of you. Are there any other family and friends close by who could be with her?
Depression (including bipolar depression) can impact on people in different ways, so being well presented doesn't necessarily mean she isn't unwell.
If you think she is in immediate danger then call an ambulance for her. However even if you think she won't act on her feelings, she still seems to be reaching out to you for help. Is there anything you could do from a distance? Offer to phone someone for her? Maybe also arrange a time to visit her when you can so she knows when she'll see you?
It sounds more like her mood changes are more alike to borderline than bipolar I have both.
Definatly sounds like a personality disorder. If she has had long term mental health issue & you sound quite clued up yourself, you would be aware of some manic/low cycles.
Seems to be some manipulative attention seeking behaviour going on.
Is she still working?
Does she self harm?
Thanks for all your replies.
She self harmed a few times as a teenager, slight cut to arm. Psychiatric nurse referred her to a self help group, she went once and refused to go back . Said she had nothing is common with the other teenagers there.
Then she started to tell everyone she was Bi polar and had been for years and there was a family history of it. First wasn't true at the time, second is not true .
DH is just back from visiting her . He dropped everything and took 2 days off work to go down because she said she was suicidal, and found her the way I described in the OP.
We can't call an ambulance now as she's gone out for the evening with her friends. She's been at work all day. Doesn't make sense to me. She's busy tomorrow buying new clothes for her holiday abroad next week.
I'm worried sick and she is out partying and shopping. DH doesn't know what to think . He's just burying himself in work as he has lots of catch up on having taken two days off for the " emergency "
I never know if we are being conned by her or whether is a part of a mental illness. She has coined us out of significant sums of money in the past. That's why we only paid for her private therapy directly to the therapist. this was when she was at uni so a few years ago now. Well actually it turned out she wasn't at uni, she had been kicked out. :-( . But when she was about 20
This sounds so bad when it's written down :-(
The shopping, spending, holidays etc could be an indicator of manic behaviour. I'm hesitant to make any judgements like that as all I know of her is what you've said.
People with bipolar can also experience mixed episodes which have traits of both manic and depressive behaviours e.g. experiencing racing thoughts and suicidal feelings. Though some of what you've said does describe borderline personality disorder. Perhaps she has traits of both.
However, her diagnosis is less important than both her, you and your DH getting some help and support.
If she's involved with psychiatric services she'll have a care plan which will involve details of what she should do in a crisis. Maybe try asking her about it and see if she'll share it with you?
Thanks Geordie. She doesn't go on shopping sprees, she is very careful with her money . Her job is very well paid , she has the money to pay for this holiday. She has no debts, in fact she has savings.
She is always asking us for sizable sums of money. It's not £50 here or there, it's thousands .
For example she has some damage to the ceiling in her fiat from the one above. She told us that the insurance wouldn't pay for it to be fixed. She agreed to let Dh speak to them and of course they accepted the claim.
Then she said that she had to pay an excess of £1000. We spoke to the loss adjuster and he said that wasn't correct.
Then she said that the builder had asked her for a large deposit before doing the work and could we pay that. So we spoke to the loss adjuster and arranged for the builder to be paid direct.
Then she said she had got rid of all her furniture, because it reminded her of her ex, and could we pay for new stuff. We said no and she was very annoyed.
She conned us out of several thousand pounds last year so we are very wary now
So it means that basically we don't believe a word that comes out of her mouth. But we are scared to ignore this latest thing, for all the reasons you pointed out. It might be true. All the way she behaves might be part of a mental illness. Maybe she can't help it. Maybe she doesn't even know she's doing it. She doesn't seem to remember later . What if all the things she says are delusions???
Thanks for the care plans advice, I will go and read up on this
I appreciate everyone's advice and apologise if I say something that is offensive or upsetting. We keep trying so hard to think the best of her and be supportive
Supporting a family member with mental illness is hard work. The ones doing the supporting often get forgotten and it can be really hard to know how best to help someone. I know it isn't easy but try to make sure you're taking care of yourself and getting some support too.
As your DD doesn't want to give you the details of her psych team, maybe you could contact a mental health charity like Mind or Rethink for advice and support?
Thanks Geordie, I was wondering about that, as I'm just reading on minds website about joint care plans .
We just feel at a loss with her. So much of what she tells us turns out to be not true, it's very hard to deal with her at all. It's like we are acting in a play that she writes, but we don't know our lines or what we are supposed to say or do. When we get it wrong she is very angry and punishes us by periods of no contract, followed by things like " I'm about to kill myself " totally out of the blue
That must be so hard for you, but I suppose the question is, how much do you have to give emotionally.
No one could diagnose anyone on here, but maybe reading up on personality disorders and getting some help and advice for yourself on how to manage her behaviour would help more than trying to work out what the problem is.
Mind has a lot of very good information. BPD Family bpdfamily.com/ gives good advice and support for the parents / partners / families of people who have BPD.
If she has a diagnosis of bipolar it would have been a psychiatrist who diagnosed and who hopefully supervises her medication. It would be really helpful if you could get her to give you some details for people to contact in difficult situations. Or at least ask her what type of bipolar she has which will give you more information.
If she is in immediate danger you could call an ambulance or police to find her and get her assessed.
Regarding the money I would be tempted to separate that from any mental illness. I am sure there are many people who may ask or not tell the truth about things in order to get money from parents. And if it is part of her illness then it could be part of a manic phase and therefore not helpful for her to have it. Saying no, clearly or letting her use her savings for large bills sounds like getting her to take responsibility as an adult. I am sure many parents say no to handing out large sums of money to adult children who have good jobs and savings.
Hi silver stars, the thing about the diagnosis is very confusing. When she was in high school ( and still living at home obv) she started telling people that she was diagnosed with bi polar. We know this wasn't true because she hadn't seen a psychiatrist. Then when she went away to uni she maintained that she WAS seeing a psychiatrist at uni. She also told us she needed private therapy and we have her money for this. Then we discovered that she had left uni and was using the money we had given her ( for uni fees, hall fees, therapy etc ) to live on.
She said us she had been given an extra year to do her degree because of her mental health problems.
Then problem all along is that uni, doctors etc won't deal with us, of course, because of confidentiality. She just says she needs money but we have no idea what for or what she does with it. We still don't know if she was kicked out of uni or took a year out and on what grounds.
She did graduate from university in the end and got a series of well paying jobs. Although she is messing about her current employers and we think she will probably lose it soon. They have been very very good to her and she has taken a lot of sick leave to get over her broken relationship. We just got another text from her last night saying she is in a fight with HR and occupational health .
For years aftre she moved away to uni and then work, she was still registered with our family GP. When she came home to visit she was going for appointments and getting some medication prescribed ( we don't know what ). Then she was ordering repeat prescriptions by phone and having one of her friends pick it up. We only discovered this by accident when a new GP in the practice sent a note saying she was not willing to give repeat prescriptions without seeing the patient and that she had to register as non resident .
When we asked DD about this she said that it was very hard to find a GP where she lives now. We also discovered that she has used a different surname with the GP where she lives now. She claims she has changed her name at work because our name is too " difficult " ( I think she means foreign ) on the phone.
So we have no way of knowing whether or not she actually has a diagnosis of bi polar now or ever. She certainly does a lot of things that most people consider odd or inappropriate , which she says are due to her bi polar disorder. When anyone complains or suggest she should do things differently, she says they don't understand and accuses them of prejudice or bigotry or discrimination against her.
And she's right in the sense that we have NO idea what is wrong with her, we don't understand her or know how to cope with her. DH is just despairing, he said last night that he is resigned to the fact that she will have killed herself before the end of this year. I can't accept this .
I know no one on mumsnet can diagnose her,but I've been her long enough ( name changer obviously ) to know that you will have good suggestions as to what we can do , especially when she's telling us she's suicidal and demanding that we move in with her to be on suicide watch .
This seems like nonsense to me, how can we watch her 24/7 ? She could throw herself under a bus on the way to work.if she's that ill, does t she need admitted to hospital? Not to go on a holiday abroad.
This sounds very familiar a person I know ,best I say knew showed similar traits and was diagnosed with munchausen syndrome later in life. Her parents went through similar situations regarding money and demands and lies. I am NO medical person and this might be a wild goose chase but reading your posts some sounded very similar.
That's interesting rosa . Can you say more about the person , without anything identifying of course ?
I think if you know where she lives you could ring the community mental health service (they have a crisis line usually) and tell them of your concerns. If she is known to them they would visit I would think? Or you would hope so....
And definitely call mind.
How very difficult for you, it sounds awful.
Thanks for the Pm rosa, I have replied
Permanent headache -yes we know where she lives , although we are not sure if she actually does have contact with MH services or just says she has. Also we know she has registered with more than one GP at a time using different names.
So sorry you're going through this. It sounds extremely tough for all involved. There's a part of me that can hear her crying out for love from the behaviour you have described, especially if she's recently had a relationship breakdown.
There's another part of me that finds registering at GP's under different names very worrying! Could she be trying to get duplicate prescriptions? xx
We thought the same about the GP. Or that she has different illnesses at each GP. Or one who prescribes for psychiatric illnesses and one where she has a " clean " medical record for insurance and employment medicals
Our own family GP is onto her now though
We have emailed her tonight, asking for details for her GP, psychiatrist, key worker etc . We've also asked about any joint crisis plan and advance directive etc , as suggested by someone down the thread. So we can contact the right person in a crisis.
It sounds very strange that she has not shared any helpful details but is saying she is suicidal, so gives out some information. I guess if she refuses to give you any helpful contacts and she does not change then there are several things I would consider:
- obviously she has issues but I can not trust she has an official current diagnosis
- I would not hand over money. She has a job and savings and needs to take responsibility for herself; if she can afford a holiday it is up to her how she spends money. But that is just me.
- I would consider calling her bluff - she makes you worry and say she is suicidal so maybe considering phoning the police straight away next time giving as many details as you can and say you are concerned for her safety. Then she will be assessed etc. if seriously needing help she would get it then. Also tell the police about her using different names so you cannot contact a gp, so they can sort out her Id and medical details. Or contact adult social care and request an assessment of her giving all the details, change of names, suicidal tendencies, all the services she has told you she has accessed.
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