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Self harming teen

(28 Posts)
Anjelica27 Sun 21-Dec-14 05:35:18

Woken at 3 by teenage son, had cut himself - hands and legs. Is seeing CAMHS following suicide attempt 4 months ago, next appointment after christmas. Says is not suicidal now. Panic stricken. How do I help him and keep him safe.

colacola Sun 21-Dec-14 07:42:39

Oh you poor thing, you must be absolutely distraught.

What is the cause of his stress ? Is it school ?

I would make a appointment at the doctors today.

Sorry Im not much help. Keep strong x

Anjelica27 Sun 21-Dec-14 08:08:41

Not school they have been very supportive and he is taking time out at the moment. Nothing obvious to him or me which makes it even worse. Going to get some help this morning for him. Broken hearted to see him like this and not be able to help. Just want to hug him and make him better but he won't let me.
Thanks for listening

colacola Sun 21-Dec-14 08:17:30

I think going to your doctor is the best bet. It sounds like he needs to start on a course of antidepressants
Hormones are so finely balanced it doesn't take much to knock them out.

Does he do any exercise ?

How often does he go out?

Anjelica27 Sun 21-Dec-14 12:03:51

Been to casualty and sorted out physical damage. Got appointment with GP on Tuesday, just got to keep him safe till then.

Try to persuade him to leave the house but no luck at the moment.

Dreadful times

3teenageboys Sun 21-Dec-14 12:37:25

I understand your problem. My beautiful teenage son started self-harming. We went the gp & saw a counsellor for a few sessions. It really helped him. We would make him wear an elastic band & if he felt out of control he would ping the elastic. I don't know if it will help you r ds, my son hasn't self-harmed for 15 months. It coincided with a difficult time in his life,....... but it has now stopped. A big ((((((hug))))) for youx

Anjelica27 Sun 21-Dec-14 14:21:13

Thank you. Just so sad for him and don't know what to do. Feeling very helpless at the moment but will keep your message to remind me there is hope. Will try the elastic band idea. Glad things are better for you x

Selks Sun 21-Dec-14 14:36:24

It's completely irresponsible to suggest that OPs DS might need a course of antidepressants for self harming! Honestly!!

OP I am a CAMHS clinician. Given that it's Saturday this is my advice - try to stay calm although I know this is hard. You're bound to be very upset and worried but it's best to try to deal with those feelings yourself rather than let DS worry or blame himself for how you might feel. Encourage him to spend time with you over the weekend but allow him space too. Encourage him to share how he is feeling but don't press him too if he doesn't want to. Let him know the most important thing is that he tells you if he does feel suicidal and that you will stay calm and just act to keep him safe. If he does tell you he is feeling suicidal if you are worried he might act on those feelings then take him to A&E. However he may be using cutting as a way of NOT feeling suicidal - a way of trying to cope with difficult feelings.
I would suggest making sure that all medication and tablets are in your control at home, just in case.
As you are under the care of CAMHS rather than go to the GP I would suggest contacting CAMHS and speaking to your clinician / a duty clinician there, as the GP would probably just contact CAMHS anyway. You can ask for an urgent appt if you do not have one soon, and ask for advice.

Most importantly - if you are worried about your DS and feel he is at risk, take him to A&E.

Selks Sun 21-Dec-14 15:00:12

Sorry just noticed that you already have a GP appt booked. I am not trying to dissuade you from taking that up, if that is what you want to do. It might be helpful. But do contact CAMHS on Monday.

Anjelica27 Sun 21-Dec-14 15:26:07

Thank you so much. He is talking and said he cut himself because he felt suicidal, scary as that was, better than the alternative.
Will talk to CAMHS in the morning. Trying very hard to keep my wobbles to myself and stay calm. Also have been through the house and got rid of everything that might be dangerous.

Thank you all so much, means so much just to have someone to tell x

Selks Sun 21-Dec-14 22:17:45

It's good that he's talking. Well done, you're doing well. One step at a time. I hope that there is someone that you can get a bit of support from in real life, maybe talk to a friend or family member who could provide a calm ear.
Young Minds website has some good information and resources for parents of children who self harm.

wannabslim Mon 22-Dec-14 19:19:07

This will get better!
My DS was self harming, cutting arms and legs, burning himself and talked of jumping off the bridge into the river. Its awful...truly awful!
I took DS to doctors, I spoke with young Minds, and he was referred to CAMHS.
I personally have to say that our meetings with CAMHS did more harm than good, but Im sure every case is different.

I just want to reassure you it does get better. My DS hasnt harmed for over 6 months now. I was told by Young Minds that this unfortunatley seems to be a trend in teens.

Thinking of you, and desperatley hoping this gets better for you both soon x

Anjelica27 Mon 22-Dec-14 22:21:45

Hi. Spoken to CAMHS today and full of reassuring advice, none of which of course son is open to, so no real help. The person he talks to doesn't seem to be helping at all. Son openly admits he doesn't tell him the truth and he refuses to attend appointment with psychiatrist next week. Not sure where to turn to next - son very hostile (not aggressive) but saying terrible things. Trying to convince myself it isn't personal and because he is ill but so hard. Sorry to moan

wannabslim Mon 22-Dec-14 23:55:42

My son also was very hostile and said the worst things ever to me. It hurts like hell, but you're right not to take it personal. I think they direct it as us.....cos they can....and they know deep down, as a mum, we will take it, and still love them....if you know what I mean.
Dont apologise for moaning. need to get it out too and be able to talk about it so you aren't bottling things up

Anjelica27 Tue 23-Dec-14 00:19:19

Never felt so helpless at the moment - can't reach him at all. Can't believe he is so different from a few months ago, so cold and cruel. Don't know what I've done wrong to deserve this. Understand completely this is not at all about me but there must be something I can do to help him.

wickedlazy Tue 23-Dec-14 00:25:41

As a teen that self harmed, usually on upper thighs so no one noticed, I would check his room/hiding places (school bag/ down side of mattress etc) for hidden blades. I had them stashed everywhere. He will be pissed at you, but he will look back one day and be glad you did remove them.

The path to recovery (no longer having suicidal or self harming thoughts) is often a long and hard one. For all involved. flowers To you and your family.

Anjelica27 Tue 23-Dec-14 00:40:59

Thank you so much. I always look but he still seems to find a way. Don't know how. He doesn't go out except to medical appointments so must buy stuff then. Won't let me go with him. I understand we are a long way to being well but just scared that we might just get lost

Snailinashell123 Tue 23-Dec-14 14:18:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Snailinashell123 Tue 23-Dec-14 14:19:14

Sorry, posted in wrong place. Will ask MN HQ to delete

anthropology Tue 23-Dec-14 22:25:57

He is probably terrified and pushing you and everyone away. As you say he is unwell. He probably doesnt understand where these thoughts come from, often they dont realise they are as unwell as they are.My DD thought everyone thought about suicide constantly.

If he is refusing to engage, its important they know if he is a danger to himself. Can you encourage him to meet with them (or at least the GP) just once to tell them he doesnt want to talk. ? At least someone can assess his responses but CAMHS can action support more quickly. Going to A and E will be harder, believe me. You also must tell them bluntly and clearly what he is saying and doing. Beds in units are scarce but if he is actively suicidal, he may need inpatient care as you cant watch him 24/7. Let him know you love him, whatever he is feeling, and together you will find a way to help him feel differently, whatever it takes. As Selks says, do things with him but dont push him to talk. Its so hard not to take it personally and not to feel enormous guilt, but when my DD was stronger, I realised that it really wasnt about me at all. If he wont go to the doctors and you believe he is at risk however, go to A and E. In the meantime, is there a relative or older friend who you think he might talk to if he cant talk to you and who can help you watch him over these difficult Christmas days? Thinking about both you and wishing you a better day tomorrow.

Anjelica27 Tue 23-Dec-14 23:03:49

thank you. Son not talking to anyone at the moment. Just the two of us here. Older brother came to visit today and ordinary day, as if nothing had happened, disappeared when he left and not seen him since. Son doesn't want christmas,so no tree or anything, very sad x

Anjelica27 Wed 24-Dec-14 08:02:38

Disappeared upstairs not left. Thanks for all the good advice, it is so helpful. have a happy christmas everyone x

crazyauntie Wed 24-Dec-14 18:48:55

I self harmed as a teen and the worse thing you can possible do its take there 'tools' away because if you want to self harm you will self harm, any way possible. All you can do is listen, react in a caring way and do not show you are shocked, just deal with the injuries in a matter of fact way like okay you need medical attention so let's get the hospital and get you sorted, we can have a chat in the car if you like. Do not press for answers, do not ask him to stop because he will start to feel guilty so if he does cut to deep then he will hide it. Keep chasing camhs, phone them every day and phone the his gp at least once a week so they are chasing them as well. He will get through this. I was self harming for 12 years, cutting for 7 years. Honestly just be a shoulder to cry on for now, also get school to chase camhs up!

Anjelica27 Wed 24-Dec-14 19:14:47

Thank u. I think even if I were to take everything away, you're right, he would find some way. When it happens I do as you suggested and deal with the practicalities, patching him up and so on. I wait until I'm on my own to have a wobble. I tell him he can always talk to me but I learnt early on that it makes him more anxious if I try to get him to talk when he doesn't want to. I only became aware of all this five weeks ago so still desperately trying to get it right and making horrible mistakes as I go I'm sure - I am trying my best. Really appreciate your help. Thank u x

anthropology Sat 27-Dec-14 08:15:26

you are a caring mum doing your best. like any parenting, mistakes will be made. The important thing is that you let him know he is loved, you are calm and trying not to express emotion around him, and let him although you dont understand how he is feeling, and understand he might not be able to talk with you you will find a way to help him. I really hope you have someone to talk to. I didnt, and know how hard that is. In hospital suicidal teens are put on watch and checked regularly. One thing I did was say to my DD, I understood she needed to be in her room alone, but for my peace of mind, could she leave the door ajar and I would call on her to check every now and then. If the presence of his brother is helpful, perhaps he can pop around again. Although he doesnt want Christmas, try to keep the house normal for you. It may make him feel worse if he thinks you are having to give up things too so let him know you are ok with it. I hope he will see Camhs or the GP.

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