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Self harm and depression in teens

(30 Posts)
Madoldlady Fri 30-Nov-12 19:24:56

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.

mermaidbutmytailfelloff Fri 30-Nov-12 19:32:26

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 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.

mermaidbutmytailfelloff Fri 30-Nov-12 19:35:04

oh and i dont mean I wanted to help him cut...but to help him clean up and check he wasnt badly hurt.....

Madoldlady Fri 30-Nov-12 19:49:59

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.

mermaidbutmytailfelloff Fri 30-Nov-12 20:06:19

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 wine ....or your equivalent if you dont drink!

rapidlygoinggrey Wed 12-Dec-12 15:30:59

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.

Mallen21 Wed 12-Dec-12 22:38:35

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...

Mallen21 Fri 14-Dec-12 12:51:23

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....

mermaidbutmytailfelloff Fri 14-Dec-12 22:27:21

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.....

HeatherHeather Sat 15-Dec-12 13:29:38

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 ? )

moonmoth88 Sun 23-Dec-12 00:50:49

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.

roseyfuture Tue 05-Mar-13 23:46:22

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?

dumaurier Thu 07-Mar-13 09:33:52

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.

confusedmumofunigirl Thu 07-Mar-13 16:00:08

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?

coatonarack Thu 07-Mar-13 20:06:30

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

mindfulmum Fri 08-Mar-13 17:04:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

flow4 Sat 09-Mar-13 09:17:31

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.

targaryen24 Sat 09-Mar-13 09:33:12

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. thanks

mindfulmum Sun 10-Mar-13 18:11:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Paddie Fri 15-Mar-13 22:32:13

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

mindfulmum Sat 16-Mar-13 12:51:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

liveoutloud Sun 11-Jan-15 18:06:01

I know this is an old thread but I wonder two years later what is going on? Are the things better or the same? I am going through the same thing with my DD who is 13 and I am very pessimistic about it.

littleolwinedrinkerme Thu 15-Jan-15 17:07:24

Wow liveoutloud you stopped me in my tracks...have not been on here for years but you can guess what I am going to say. My DD also 13 has started self harming (although she promises only once) but more worrying has been posting lots and lots of negative messages and pictures re self harming and suicidal feelings on Instagram. Two of her friends were worried and went to the teacher and it snowballed from there - school have been brilliant, she has seen a counselor already but my god I am absolutely petrified. Like other posters she was is a normal happy intelligent girl, this has knocked the wind out of us. Her self esteem took a hit last April when she was diagnosed with dyslexia and had affected her more than we realised - when I read her posts on Instagram I sobbed (she does not know I can access) and just want to ban all access but fear that's totally the wrong thing to do. We talk, cuddle, cry - would love to hear some updates from the posters last year etc.. How are things with your daughter?

littleolwinedrinkerme Thu 15-Jan-15 17:09:10

Sorry meant to say DD also 13

liveoutloud Tue 27-Jan-15 16:59:12

Oh, dear, thank you for posting, it feels a little better to share these things with other people. I was just reading one other post about the same thing; it seems to be the epidemic amongst the girls mostly 13 years old. It is very interesting the way you describe what is going on with your daughter as it is very similar to mine. She has always been struggling with school and I have been pushing her to study not knowing what else to do. Two years ago we insisted on psych ed eval and we were told that she has learning disability. It seems to have hit her hard. She said she did not want to be “mental”, you know how kids are. Although I was explaining to her that it is not mental illness.

For us it all started going downwards from there. She also got her period around the same time, and her hormones were raging. Her school suggested she joins this class (she was grade 7 going to grade 8) for kids with learning disabilities where she will get more attention and she hated it. I believe this is when she started cutting. I blame internet for it, to be honest with you. She was on instagram with some kids who were self harming and then she started herself. Her posts are breaking my heart too, talking about depression even suicide. We did not get too far with her. She joined a group of teens with anxieties last summer, and after was seeing therapist, but she never talked openly with these people or us. Right now she is not cutting so often but except for going to school she dropped all her afterschool activates, has no social life (mind you she never really had one), does not do any homework at home, spends most of her time in bed on Instagram. I could take it away but I am afraid that she will start cutting. I did not get much from her for these almost 2 years but she did tell me that it was my fault that I was pushing her too much to study when she could not. I am sorry about this long post but I have so much to say.

My heart is broken, I feel sick, I have two more kids but she is all I can think of. I read in her post recently that she does not believe me when I say I love her, that she hates me, she mentioned that when she was grade 4 I made her write “I am stupid and do not know anything”. I do not remember doing it but feel that she has no reason to lie and think that I must have done something like that because I would get very angry and start yelling and shouting at her when she would not do her homework and stuff. Guilt is eating me alive. I feel like I have cancer and it is dissolving my body slowly and painfully.

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