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.
Yup, I think that sounds like a plan too. Detach, detach, detach. It feels personal, but it isn't, even the 'bitch slut' stuff.
Well done for finding a bit more strength. And do give counselling a go.
Thank you Bunchof. Funnily enough I used the words 'This too shall pass' to a colleague when I got to work, once I could manage speak that is
I'm off to bed, but thank you for all the help I've had here, the support is invaluable.
Sorry Zarqoun, it's been a while since I read your original OP and I got my wires crossed.
Well, if the DDs are ok, then it definitely sounds like you've got a plan.
Your DD is getting to the age where she should be assuming some of the responsibility for her illness and I guess you getting on with your own life a bit should help to encourage her to do so. Perhaps that will eventually lead to her wanting to help herself a bit more.
Remember Zar, this too shall pass. She won't always be this bad. You are probably going through the worse now so hang on in there for the improvement.
Hi Bunchof, she's been assessed by consultant Psych. EDD is thought not to be a good sectionable condition. Kids with EDD apparently don't do well in hospitals I've been told it often does more harm than good. The GP & counselling suggestions are for me I think! .
I can leave the two kids together. I've never (& wouldn't) leave them together when dd1 was raging cos that wouldn't be safe but the rest of the time dd1 is quite protective of her sister. Dd2 has been shielded from 90% of the worst stuff but yes, it scares her on the few occasions I haven't been able to hide it from her.
What about your younger DC? Can you leave them alone together?
I'm really sorry to say this, but your DD's behaviour sounds like the onset of a quite serious mental health problem and I think you have to insist that she is properly assessed by a psychiatrist. If your DD will not agree to this then, if she is judged a threat to her self or anyone else she can be sectioned in order to be assessed. I know that sounds drastic but it might be the only way to get her the help she needs.
I think you and she have gone way past counselling or GP treatment. She needs a proper specialist assessment and urgently.
As you might assume, I do have experience in this area and I know how very hard it is to set the ball rolling in this direction, particularly for someone so young. But unless she gets proper help not only is she at risk but she will probably get worse until she is treated appropriately. If I were you I would focus on getting that assessment urgently.
If you feel she or you are in immediate danger ring 999 for police and ambulance. A referral can be made from A&E.
Thank you for your replies. I went to work not long after I posted, I've not been home long.
I've already seen my GP, I have to call the counselling people to see if I qualify for their help. They wouldn't help last time because of the CAMHS involvement but GP said to stick to my own issues when I speak to them this time. I will call when I get a minute during office hours.
There have been many agencies involved, can't even remember who half of them where but because she won't engage they haven't been able to help much. We have time & again described the worst episodes but they are almost never witnessed by anyone other than me & her dad.
I already have a lock on my bedroom door after many purse thefts. The last straw there was when she vandalised the wall above my bed scrawling 'BITCH SLUT' in red paint. Been with her father 4yrs longer than she's been alive with no infidelity, go figure. Anyway, she no longer has free access to my most precious (sentimental, mostly) stuff.
I was feeling powerless earlier when I couldn't get to work but I am taking that power back if just for a day. A couple days ago I had put in place a plan to get her to college tomorrow as I'm on a course all day but fuckit. I'm leaving early & won't be home until quite late. And I'm taking the car. Petty maybe but I WILL NOT BE HELD TO RANSOM. My phone will be off as it was for the 6hrs I was at work today (124 missed calls no less) and I will be entirely uncontactable.
If she kicks off again tonight I will leave to stay in a hotel.
Does that sound like a short term plan?
I'm glad you're still here. That's good.
You are under ridiculous strain. You can't keep it up for ever. I have been there. I am still ill with stress that was (mostly) over 18 months ago.
I had the blackmail too. He used to make me late for work quite often, and once, for some reason I can't remember, he threatened to come to my work (a big semi-public building) and create a scene. He didn't, but my stress levels were still sky-high.
You need to seek help. If you are like I was, I guess you don't want to and you're afraid you might not get it even if you bring yourself to ask, and then that would tip you over the edge.
But you really, really need someone to talk to about her more outrageous behaviour, and about how you feel. Partly that's because you need an outlet so your head doesn't explode... and partly it's because IME you lose the ability to deal with that behaviour after a while, and can be so overwhelmed by it you miss things that might seem obvious to an 'outsider'.
I will always remember talking to a counsellor about my son stealing from me. I hid my purse, but he kept finding it. He did it almost daily, and I felt angry and betrayed and confused and totally powerless. I was telling the counsellor I couldn't stop him, and she said very simply "You can put a lock on your bedroom door". It just hadn't crossed my mind...
There will probably be things your DD is doing, too, where you're not quite as powerless as you feel. Someone out there can help you work out what you can do...
It is unmanageable which is why you must seek help. Do what Alistrom1 says. Ring Samaratins and your GP.
Hi. No, I'm not ok. She has prevented me from going to work this morning so far by sitting in the car screaming abuse at me. She's come in house now but I'm scared of what she'll do if I make a bolt for it. She has form for setting fires & self harm.
I CANNOT lose my job especially as dh is supposed to be moving out soon, but I can't expect them to keep being as understanding as they have been so far.
Should I just go? (to work) or is that too dangerous? I'm not really in any fit state to be out in public anyway but I certainly don't want her to believe that she can hold me hostage like this.
It's totally unmanageable.
How are you Zarqoun ? Please come back and tell us you're ok.
Call the Samaritans. And then call SS, your GP - anyone. You need effective external support and you need it now.
Am thinking of you, OP. Please ask for help from someone in RL.
Zarqoun, phone the Samaritans. Now. 08457 909090.
You deserve some help.
Things are tough and anyone would struggle in your situation. Please don't bear this on your own.
Actually, I'm not ok. I thought I was doing ok but I'm not. I'm eyeing up my scarves & thinking about how I can hang them. Just like my friend did. Did she do the right thing? She doesn't have to stress & worry any more. Lucky her.
You are doing really well to have coped until now but you are at the end of your tether and need help in dealing with your DD. But I don't think there is anything to be gained by determination to go on and on coping till it's no longer physically possible. I couldn't have done what you do. Please get help. Especially worrying is the effect all this is having on your other child.
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!
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.
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.
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.
There's a thread here which you might find helpful:
I hope you will get the rl support you need x
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..
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.
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.
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.
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