DD self-harming for two years - just told me! Please help!(26 Posts)
My DD has just come home in tears and told me the following: she's been cutting herself for two years, she has voices in her head telling her to do bad things, she's tried cannabis, tobacco and MDMA (once), and today she's been banned from Primark for shoplifting! It seems it's all about trying to fit in - she has a group of 'friends' who have been asking her to steal things for them and trying to make her take drugs, smoke, etc. These friends are all a year or two older than her and she met them through her older brother. She's lost all her friends at school because they say she's changed so much.
She's devastated about everything so my instinct was to hug her and love her and reassure her which I've done. She's having a bath now and then we'll spend the evening chatting. Luckily, DH is away and DS is out for the evening.
Advice, please. I'm thinking GP and meeting with year head tomorrow - she clearly needs a lot of help and support. Has anyone else had this all thrown at them suddenly by a 'good girl' (bright, top sets, excellent behaviour, etc.)? She's fourteen next week. She does have a lovely, supportive boyfriend and a few other nice friends out of school, one of whom has her own issues (bulimia).
Thanks, mindfulmum, I'll follow your advice. Thank goodness it's the weekend!
Thanks - I'll suggest the counsellor again and try to encourage her to go. She actually seems very pleased with her options for next year so I don't think changing school would be that helpful. I think this is more about her and getting to the bottom of what's wrong and then helping her cope in new/different ways. I'm sure you're right about dealing with things day by day. I tried a new tactic today. Instead of asking 'How was school?' which almost always prompts tears and upset, I tried asking, 'What was the best bit of your day at school?' and she happily told me about the lunchtime musical theatre club. I was feeling quite smug about this new approach until later in the evening when her brother 'high 5'd' her hand really hard and then she just crumbled into excessive tears again! Sometimes it's hard to know how much is just normal teenage mood swings, PMT, etc. and what is more serious. I haven't had a letter from CaMHS yet - do I go back to the GP or contact CaMHS direct?
Hope the GP telephone appointment went OK, Skaffen. My DD is now really struggling with school. She comes home in tears, saying she just doesn't fit in. She says there's no bullying but the thought of school makes her feel physically sick and she goes to bed in tears at the thought of school the next day. It's not the work, it's the lack of friends. She's happy out of school - she has a good social life and also has interests at school - orchestra, choir and musical theatre club. I don't want to keep phoning the year head but I don't know what else to do. I'm sure she thinks I'm over dramatising because DD puts on a brave face at school and only falls to bits when she gets home. DD won't see the school counsellor and she's pining all her hopes on CaMHS. I don't think she's self harmed again but as she kept it quiet for two years before I really don't know. Is there any way I can speed up the CaMHS referral? I'm afraid complete school refusal is just around the corner...
I've got a phone appointment with a GP for Tuesday (impossible to get an actual face to face appointment until the week after, although I've booked one of those too), and I spoke to DD's pastoral care teacher who will arrange for her to see the school counselor next week. I'll let you know how it goes.
Hi Skaffen, it's so good to talk to people going through similar things. Hope you and your DD are OK - let me know how you get on with the GP.
Hi notahotel, I thought I'd join you on your thread as there is so much good advice on here and we can support each other.
Thanks everyone for the great advice, I've also got a DD who is self-harming. I started another thread yesterday before I saw this one.
Thanks so much for all your support, mindfulmum - it's greatly appreciated. I'll keep you posted!
I'm reading the last two posts with interest. We saw the GP yesterday and DD has been referred, so we'll certainly try the CaMHS route first. Thanks for your comments. I've had a short course of CBT myself (for GAD and depression) but it was online and alongside anti-depressants. I'm assuming that DD will be treated face to face and without medication? She found talking to the GP quite traumatic and was very tearful afterwards but is also relieved that she's going to get some help. My hope is that she'll learn some skills for life which will help her to cope with some of her feelings and feel better about herself so that she is able to stop self-harming.
Just to say, if you can afford to pay for really good private counseling, you should consider it. CAMHS are not necessarily the best option, as they are overstretched. I have a friend who is a therapist and has worked for them for years, and she is so stressed and upset about the cuts to their services that she is leaving to work privately. I have another friend who's daughter was suffering from anxiety and school refusal, not helped by a CBT (quick, cheap fix) from CAMHS, and is now in much worse shape, and refusing to talk to another therapist.
I don't mean to be rude about CAMHS, as of course there are many wonderful people working for them, just wanted to say they are not the only option.
I'm so pleased to hear this about your DD, mindfulmum, you must have supported her a lot for her to recover so well. We've had a good weekend and I'm feeling more positive about things now. The year head at school has offered DD a last-minute place that's just become available on a residential trip at half term, hoping that this will help her to make some new school friends. I agree with you that most people are still in the dark about self-harm - I certainly was but I've started to educate myself now. Thanks for suggesting the youngminds website - I think it's really good.
Thanks for that, paris. I'm much older than you (43) but I was never able to talk like that with my own mum, either. Possibly for this reason I've always tried really hard to make sure my kids know they can tell me ANYTHING and I won't overreact, and I'll always love and support them no matter what. It still took her two years to tell me - thank goodness she finally has. I don't feel angry at all - if anything I feel guilty for not realising something was so badly wrong. It's such a relief to get supportive messages from people who have been there - thank you. I hope all is going well for you now.
You should feel so proud that she has opened up to you. She obviously trusts you a lot and you must treat her like an adult and with respect for her to be able to speak to you. I am 24 and self harmed when I was 14 as a way of dealing with bullying issues and trying to fit in. My mum seen the scars and hit the roof. She grounded me and confiscated my guitar.
Whatever you do, don't be angry with her. You sound like a brilliant mum and it is amazing that she can have that kind of conversation with you. I still can't tell my parents anything and im grown up and moved out.
GP will be brilliant there are loads of great support groups there for you both. Hope it goes well
Thanks, everyone, for your wonderful, reassuring advice and good wishes. The year head has been very supportive and has offered counselling at school. We've also got an appointment booked with the GP so hopefully we'll get a CAMHS referral. Thanks for all your advice, mindfulmum - I hope your DD is on the road to recovery now. I'll get on the youngminds website and read up about self-harm as this is one thing I really didn't come across in my own teenage years. It's all been a horrible shock but we are lucky that we do have a close relationship so I just hope I can help her through this. I'm a bit worried about DH's reaction - I think I'll take him out for dinner and make sure he's had a large glasss of wine before I tell him!
This sounds like she has some serious self esteem issues.
First off, I am so pleased she felt she was able to come and talk to you about this finally, even if it has been going on for a while. Self harm is a sign of some serious misery going on inside her and her other actions sound like she's not only trying to fit in, but she's also trying to be liked, not realising that the others are taking advantage of her by getting her to take the risks.
Yes, go and speak to her head of year or the head of pastoral care at the school and explain the situation. A lot of schools can arrange counselling to students who are having problems. Yes to taking her to your GP to ask for a referral to get help with her self-harm and self-image problems.
The difficult one is what to do about her 'so called' friends. Are they at her school? Could you look into her changing schools so she can make a clean break from them? I know its a bit drastic, but its always an option if the first two don't work out.
I think it is good she is opening up to you (as difficult as it must be to hear)
I also think your two pronged approach is good. She needs pastoral support at school and assistance in working out how to get her re-engaged in her education
And also medical and psychological help with the drug use and self harming.
Good luck, and keep those communication channels open x
You do sound lovely,and i'm sure having a quiet evening chatting will help enormously.
I don't have any experience of this either but maybe you need to talk with her brother too if they are his friends and she's finding herself in so much trouble.
As for the cutting,well,this is miles outside my experience,probably the GP will be your first port of call.
I wish you all well.xx
Your instinct sounds perfect.
I'm afraid I don;t have much experience so I'm kind of bumping for you - there's a lot of wise words on here.
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