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school say dd 12 is self harming. and now she has shown me her arm.

(15 Posts)
nicolasname Mon 17-Sep-12 17:20:17

she belittled it in july, said she had done it in may to her leg. but they have offered her school nurse and counselling and between these 2 appointments she did cut her arm, which she showed me.
she says she is fed up with talkig about it. they want me to take her to the gp and they think she is depressed.
i have googled a bit about it so am less worried but will take her to gp but the school are not going to write to me as they say as it is confidential, hmm i am her mother, how can it be confidential from me when she is 12.

i am going to tell gp what the school have told me but cannot tell gp what the school have done as the school wont tell me.

apart from being annoyed with the school and feel they are in someway encouraging it. say i am wrong. she also has a friend, who is older, who self harmed too! how can i help my dd?

Hopeforever Mon 17-Sep-12 17:26:01

So sorry to hear that your DD is self harming.

I know it can be hurtful when the school won't tell you stuff, but they can't. Save your energy to do something positive ths will help her. You are right to contact the GP and offer to take your DD, but she may want to see the GP on her own initially or half way through the appointment.

There may be something she doesn't want you to know as she doesn't want you worrying or is trying to protect you in someway. Forcing her to tell you is not going to help her.

She needs you to be calm, to know that you live her no matter what and then to help her. This may be accepting that she needs help through medication, individual counselling or family counselling. She may need you to check on her regularly or for you to still give her space and trust her.

Hope others are along soon with more advice

nicolasname Mon 17-Sep-12 17:28:53

yes, thank you. she did say she wanted to talk alone. and i know i am probably unjustified about the school.

Hopeforever Mon 17-Sep-12 17:38:58

Live her?! Sorry that should read 'Love her'

I get to hear about teenagers self harming as my work as a Vicar, sadly it is more common and the mums find it hard to cope as they have no one to talk it through with usually.

The school will have much more experince and will not be encouraging her in anyway but they too have a limit on how they can help.

It may help you to help her if you find out more about why people self harm, what leads them to do it, the triggers, how they feel afterwards etc. I expect there are websites.

nicolasname Mon 17-Sep-12 17:40:47

thank you for your words. i will look further. i only looked briefly.

purplepenguin86 Mon 17-Sep-12 18:36:39

Self harming is nearly always a coping mechanism for dealing with other things going on in your life - usually upsetting/difficult feelings. I know this may not make sense to someone who hasn't been in that position, but in my opinion the self harming itself is not the problem - it is indicative of deeper problems. I have had severe depression, and have self harmed at times, but generally only when things are so bad that I don't know what else to do with myself, for example there have been occasions when I have been acutely suicidal and feeling unsafe (am by no means suggesting this is what is happening with your DD, I'm just giving an example) and for me cutting myself has been a way of hurting myself, and relieving a bit of the pressure without resorting to overdosing for example. Now that really is just an example, but the point I am trying to get across is that it isn't the self harming itself that is the problem - it is more like a symptom of the problem.

Definitely take her to her GP, and they should either refer her to CAMHS or arrange some counselling for her. Let her know that you want to support her, and that if she ever wants to talk to you then she can, but also that if she wants to speak to someone else without you being there then that is ok too, and that you won't be offended or anything. Try not to make too big a deal about the actual self harm (don't try to put her off by telling her she will have scars or that people will see or anything like that) but instead ask her what she was feeling that made her want to hurt herself. It is important she can talk to people without feeling like they will tell you everything she says, hard as that is for you, as she is far more likely to be open if she knows what she is saying is confidential. If there is concern for her safety they would break confidentiality and speak to you.

nicolasname Mon 17-Sep-12 18:42:13

oh thanks. it is horrible.

nicolasname Mon 17-Sep-12 18:51:22

and now she is refusing to go to gp. says she doesnt want to tell her life story t anyone else.

purplepenguin86 Mon 17-Sep-12 18:54:08

Tell her she doesn't need to tell them her life story - just what is going on for her at the moment.

nicolasname Mon 17-Sep-12 18:59:28

she is so difficult as well. she makes it hard to love her sad. am tryign to be tolerant but she pushes the boundaries.

purplepenguin86 Mon 17-Sep-12 19:23:30

In what ways? If she is feeling unhappy then that is very likely to make her behaviour more difficult - I know that when I feel bad I get very irritable and grumpy.

cory Tue 18-Sep-12 08:38:25

I would be very matter of fact about the doctor's visit. Tell her you appreciate that people self-harm when they are under pressure and that the GP has access to the kind of people who can show her techniques for handling pressure so it is bearable.

She probably has an idea of therapy as the stereotypical setting where you lie on a couch and reveal your most inner thoughts to someone- which would be most teens' nightmare (not all that attractive to all adults either). Explain that that is almost certainly not the kind of counselling she'd be getting: that it would focus on putting her in control and help her find ways of managing her stress. It's not about giving power over her to the therapist: it's about giving her power over herself.

My dd has been having successful therapy for some time now and I know she doesn't tell the therapist every last detail (I am sure there's plenty she doesn't tell me either). What she has been asked to do is to keep a diary over her moods for a period of a week or longer at a time so she can see for herself what the triggers are (e.g. she gets very stressed in the mornings). Also to fill in charts rating her mood at different times.

That first GP visit will only be to establish that she is in fact suffering from severe enough anxiety/depression to need a referral to CAHMS. So yes, either she or you will need to tell the doctor that she self-harms.

The first CAHMS session will be a booking-in session, so she will be asked a few general questions about her health, family (just the mere basics, who is in your family etc), where she goes to school, then probably fill in a mood chart and the therapist will explain what kind of work can be done. She will be given time to speak to the therapist without you present and that is essential: many children (however outwardly surly and ungraceful) try to protect their parents by covering up how bad they feel.

nicolasname Wed 19-Sep-12 08:08:37

thats helpful. thnk you.

mindfulmum Fri 21-Sep-12 00:30:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

quirrelquarrel Tue 25-Sep-12 18:38:39

Do understand that things are probably incredibly confusing at the moment for her. Just give her lots of hugs and ask specific questions, not just "how are things today?" (not that you would, bad example maybe), because that might spark something in her mind, something might 'click' and she might identify a trigger. My mum always has insightful things to say and sometimes it's really helped, just in getting my own situation straight.

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