This is going to be complicated...
For three years I've been coping with a teen (now 16) with emotional dysregulation disorder, who has panic attacks.
The stress of this (and other factors) has resulted in my relationship of 20yrs falling apart, but we have to live together until December & not tell the kids because the 16yr old is on trial at college which we can't risk as she's been out of education for the last 3 years (!). She will not cope well when we drop the bombshell that we're separating.
This morning there has been two hours of screaming, crying and insulting. This happens regularly and I don't think I want to cope any longer. In fact I'm scared of what I might do to myself.
I'm hoping that by putting it in writing I will stop the thoughts of suicide. I can't live like this any longer, I don't want to live with her in my face telling me what a bitch I am and threatening to hurt me. The only thing that keeps me putting one foot in front of the other is my other child (14yrs) who also suffers because of the monster that we've created.
I know I will get lots of replies about boundaries, but unless you've lived with a child with emotional dysregulation disorder please understand that boundaries are impossible to implement. My main aim is to keep her safe & alive. This is more about how I can keep myself safe & alive because right now I'm scared and I want out.
I have texted two people this morning in the hope that they will help but had no replies. Dh checked in on me after dropping dd at college but left for work & I couldn't tell him that I was scared.
I think I need coping strategies.
Sorry I don't have any experience to offer but do you have social services support?
Didn't want to read and run. I don't have any direct experience but in the short term could you call the Samaritans ? their phone no is 08457 90 90 90 or you can go on-line at http://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help-you/contact-us.
Please take care of your self and that why you can be their for your 14yr old DS
No social services support and I can't talk to anyone right now because I'm such a mess. I usually cope day in day out but I've hit a wall. I think maybe I'm having breakdown?
I don't have any good advice but really feel for you. Can you call your husband? It sounds like you really need someone to be there right now - can he not come home from work today?
Call your local children's services team now, someone will be in touch if not today, tomorrow.
And make a GP appt x
Dh came home, saw the state I was in and went to work. I understand why - he's been late a few times recently because of dd1s morning panics & we can't risk his job, money's too tight as it is.
On the other hand, I'm watching those pictures in my head that scare me. I can't even work out what's more important. His job or my life. Sounds ridiculous, doesn't it?
Sorry you are going through this OP. The priority is to keep yourself as mentally and emotionally well and strong as possible (as hard as that is) as this in turn will help you cope with your daughter.
You mentioned she has had EDD (prev catagorised as borderline personality disorder) for 3 years. Do you know what may have contributed to this? causes are unknown, thought to be genetic or environment or a combination of the two.
Severe anxiety is very common with EDD/BPD. Has she had proper help with this? and by proper I mean long term intensive therapy along the lines of dialectal behavioural therapy (this has been proven to be very effective). DBT is available in some areas on the NHS but you'll probably have to push for it via your local mental health services team...I'm not sure at 16 if she would come under CAMHS or not. Lean on your local MH team as much as poss, that's what they're there for, they have out of hours numbers too.
In my experience (and an opinion not shared by many others) for this specifically I don't think medication would be helpful. but that really is my opinion on this).
How do you react to her when she is experiencing the symptoms? Validation is key, try to remain calm (not easy) and tell her you love her, repeat it if necessary. By validate, I mean tell her that it's okay to feel the way she does. This may sound strange, but it sounds like she needs help dealing with and regulating her emotions. Emotions are complex and we often experience one emotion when its masking another ie feeling anxious/angry can actually mask being sad or depressed.
Research has shown that people do tend to 'grow out' of EDD/BPD and by the time they reach their mid thirties (sounds a long way away I know), symptoms have lessened to virtually non existent in some cases.
Sorry, mammoth post! Hope this helps in some way, this is so hard to deal with and live with; you absolutely need support I think getting that support will be vital in getting yourself back to feeling normal (and happy) again.
You may have already contacted your community mental health team, but just in case:
oaps! think I posted the CMH team info for Kent for some reason! but if you google your area, it'll come up
zarqoun So sorry you are going through this. I am sure someone more experienced then I will come along, in the meantime is there anyone you can call? You situation sounds very stressful but there must be help out there. Probably your DP did not realise your depth of despair. But he could loose his job so guess that would not help anyone, employers will only take so much. Hand holding for now
Have you found any other help? this is supposed to be a good book, helping people understand the disorder and how to stand some of their own ground against a very difficult disorder:
The causes can be partially genetic, partially enviromental. Childhood traumas can set it off - and one thing that isn't often mentioned is that these traumas can have been inflicted from outside the family and never spoken of.
I hope you can get some help from mental health teams and that you can take care of yourself as much as is humanly possible, as well as of her. I'd guess it's essential to look after yourself when dealing with someone with such an extremely difficult condition.
Thank you, all of you. Capitaltrixie, you seem to know what you're talking about! I'm feeling a little better having had some extra sleep. I'm not suicidal anymore anyway.
She has been under camhs for 3yrs. She won't engage with them so we are stuck in a cycle of referral/appointment/discharge. The re-referrals happen every time we end up in A&E when she hurts herself (cutting, overdoses & attempted hanging are her methods of choice).
There are no childhood traumas that I know of. There is one trauma post dating the behaviour when she was 15. Panic runs in the family & there is a history of BPD with one family member.
I feel like I'm beginning to mimic her symptoms with the suicidal urges & panic. I recovered myself from a panic disorder but it's returning because I can't cope with her behaviour. My younger daughter has her own anxiety symptoms brought on by living with dd1 and the consequences of her behaviour, to the point that dd2 is out of mainstream education.
How do I react when she's screaming & abusing? I generally leave it to her dad. They have a much closer relationship than I do with her & he has patience in bucket loads. If I have no choice then I stay calm as far as I can but (like this morning) if she is screaming in my face & likely to lash out physically I will ward her off with my arm. She hasn't physically attacked me for a year or so bug the threat of it is always there.
Dear god, she's kicking off AGAIN. Her dad was supposed to be home 30mins ago and he's not. I have no idea where he is.
Grrrrrr ngaaaaaa. ARGHHHHH.
OP do post on the MH Board as well.
I'm risking a flaming here, but if I were you, and were stronger than DD1, I would grasp her wrists and hold her arms still for as long as it takes her to calm down. Then enfold her in a hug if I could.
Screaming in your face is abuse. I know how terrible this sounds but you should call the Police. I have heard really good things about them being supportive in cases like this .they can also assist in getting you additional support which you need desperately. I imagine you already have contact with some agencies? Now is the time to make a fuss.
Call SS tomorrow and explain you urgently need an assessment and your younger children are suffering due to her unmanageable behaviour.
Poor you. Has residential schooling/ care ever been discussed? Sometimes parenting from a distance is the right and only way forward.
Do keep a diary of all incidents and tantrums to show the profs.
I sincerely hope nobody will criticise you. I don't suppose they would want to walk a mile in your shoes.
In the meantime, if she kicks off tell her you are calling the Police then do it.
Ps you may have secondary trauma. Please, please see your GP and get support for yourself .
Huge warm hugs to you. Hope you can sneak in a long hot bath and a glass of wine later.
I agree that if she is scaring you and her younger sibling it has probably got to the point you need to call the Police. Often after the CJS gets involved resources/treatment become accessible. Whilst she has problems she must start working for a solution and not lash out, ultimately she has to work at getting better. Take care.
Been there done that with the police. They fob us off every time. It takes a lot to call them in the first place!
She's gone out now, dh has driven her to see friends. He'll drive 20 miles later to pick her up too, the idiot.
Ok so it sounds like there may be a genetic predisposition. And it sounds like her self-harming etc is an outlet as she can't cope with the 'emotional overload' she experiences.
Glad everything is a little calmer now OP as your DD has gone out. You DO absolutely need support with this, but I don't agree with Matilda re: calling the police.
To get better, your daughter needs to feel safe, loved and accepted. It may sound counter-intuitive if she is being violent, but believe me, it's the only way to aleviate her symptoms. And you're right; as a science postgrad and former EDD/BPD sufferer who has been through the system, I guess I do know my stuff on this (though would never profess to being an expert!)
In my experience, the community mental health services team would be most helpful to both of you.
If your daughter has been through CAMHS and if she was diagnosed 3 years ago, that's very young to get to get a conclusive diagnosis of EDD/BPD. The community mental services team should have a cons. psychiatrist attached to them; at 16 it may be worth now going down the adult route if available to you.
You'll get through this, hugs. Try and look after yourself as much as poss.
Oh and yes; for some strange reason, the symptoms of EDD/BPD do seem to 'rub off' on other people such as other family members..I think its just something to do with living in that volatile, highly emotional environment..
There's a thread here which you might find helpful:
I hope you will get the rl support you need x
zarqoun, I am sorry you are feeling like this. I haven't got to the point of feeling suicidal, but I have felt like I was having a nervous breakdown, and I have got to that gut-wrenching, desperate I can't stand any more point.
One thing that helped me was understanding that it wasn't me failing or being pathetic. The origins of that massive panic state are quite simple and universal: you are under threat, your body and mind experience the 'flight or fight' instinct, but you can't fly or fight, so you are left with a huge terrible overload of panic instead.
IME, powerful feelings of stress are quite common among people dealing with difficult teens. You are put into 'flight or fight' mode frequently - often many times a day - and you can't run away and abandon your kids, or knock them down, even though that's what your instincts are pushing you to do. Often, just as you start to relax slightly, there'll be some other incident, and your stress levels rocket again. Your adrenaline and anxiety levels stay high, and you feel permanently 'wired' and often a bit unreal.
Ironically, I think people with good self-control suffer most. If you lose so control and do one or some of the things that society tells us make us 'bad parents' - shout or scream or hit or storm out - then at least the 'flight or fight' impulses have had some release, though the problem won't be resolved. Those of us who don't do these things - who stay outwardly calm - have no such release.
You may be able to 'go on going on' for a bit longer. Most of us dealing with troubled teens cope with very, very much more than we ever think is possible. But if you have reached the point of suicidal thoughts, you are past any reasonable limit. Don't let yourself go on coping alone. Please get some help.
I really do understand the feeling that there IS no help. I ran around frantically trying to get anyone at all to help, and didn't have much luck. But keep trying. You will find it helps even to try, I think because you get at least a bit of that release of tension I described above.
I phoned parent line, now called Family lives on 0808 800 2222. They have web chat too. They weren't phased by me weeping and railing down the phone, and they sorted out some useful regular phone counselling for me quickly, which saw me through while I waited for a GP referral.
Also, do something nice for yourself. I say this a lot here, but it isn't a luxury: it's a survival essential. It will help 'balance out' the sh*t you're dealing with, just a bit.
Zarqoun I hope you are feeling positive today and have found someone to talk to. There's been some good advice with phone numbers on here, so I hope one of them is good for you. I also wondered whether Young Minds Parentline - link here - might be helpful.
My own DD had pushed me to the edge this week and I'm in the process of organising some counselling for myself through my workplace occupational health scheme. Could you get access to anything similar?
flow4 - that's a great and thoughtful post.
Thank you so much for all your help. I went into shutdown for 24hrs or so but I'm back on track now. I've found a solution for the morning panics for now & I've been clear about what I can & can't do. I will explore all the links & I'm very grateful for your time & effort helping.
Thank you. I was in a very bad place on weds but for now I've dragged myself out.
capitaltrixie she wasn't diagnosed as EDD at 13, she was diagnosed about 3 months ago but the signs have been on the wall for a long time. We (her parents) are being trained as parent therapists. It's hard work but if we can turn her around it would be a wonder! I'm sorry you've been through it but your knowledge as someone who'se been there could be invaluable. I hope you're persuing a career in this area!
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