My wonderful daughter(9 Posts)
Just that really. Beautiful, adored, clever, funny, not sporty, a bit quirky, always suspected mild dyspraxia, been firm she's gay since she was about twelve.
Suspected nothing throughout the GCSE year until the call from the GP that we needed a joint appointment. She had been self harming for six months: cutting and small o/ds but I didn't find out about the latter for six months. GCSEs all good 11 A/A*.
Hated her school, we knew that, which is why she was switching for sixth form and we thought that the principal stressor. Loved new school but stressed by the work /new routines.
Meanwhile CAMHs closed case due to not meeting thresholds. Found a psychiatrist privately, had CBT - not great. Took another couple of ODs - discussed with psych. Started Fluoxetine in December. Seemed to work well.
Started cutting again around Easter, worry about exams. Took pills just before exams and took herself to A&E who admitted o'night for emergency CAMHs assessment - they hadn't turned up by 3.30 and we were allows home subject to assessment the following week. And they reported to SS. Case closed after a five minute conversation with me.
CAMHS recommended counselling (a ten week wait and now it's started have closed her case). Saw her psychiatrist day after CAMHs assessment who sorted counselling straight away which she found helpful and has now started the CAMHs counselling.
The psychiatrist also diagnosed ADHD (the inattentive kind) and started dd on Ritalin. DD says this has revolutionised her studying and stress levels and seems much happier. The CAMHS nurse said she couldn't have ADHD because she was too old for it to be diagnosed.
All the while dd is very tired and is now being tested for CFS (and I do wonder if she had mild glandular fever about 20 months ago with hindsight).
She seems better in herself, the mild dyspraxia has been supported at the new school, who have been fabulously supportive.
But I am struggling. How did I miss much of this? I worry so much for her. Will she always suffer from depression and anxiety? Will she always need medication. Life as a gay person may be more challenging for her. The ADHD was a bolt out of the blue but explains a lot. But never, ever did primary or secondary raise a single concern about her.
Part of me feels a complete failure as a parent, part of me stands in terror because she has nit really received an iota of support from the NHS and what could have happened if we hadn't been able to pay for the psychiatrist and counselling and testing/assessment for dyspraxia/ADHD. How did I not realise something was wrong much earlier or at all.
I worry for her future. She has MH issues on her record, a blot on the SS copy book, when she has children it will be in a single sex relationship and I worry so much about her and how people like hv's, etc misconstrue. Not as much as I worry about whether she will be truly well again and able to cope with uni and a career.
Please, is anyone else in this position. Can anyone reassure me. I live her so much and just want her happiness.
Thank you for reading.
You are an amazing mother.. It leaps off the page. I want to write loads and will later but know that your support for her is so obvious that anyone can tell how lucky she is to have you.
When things go wrong, it's so easy to look for where we failed as parents. Truth is that there's only so much in our control. She's got fab grades, she's found a way to dampen the noise at college so she can work and she has you. She will get through this, attitudes to MH are changing and opportunities for motherhood are just that, all to play for. When we have kids that don't 'fit the norm' there's a period of adjustment but I promise it gets easier. We work out how things can piece together and then we make the most of it.
Just breathe and look for the positives, they are very much there. Virtual hugs!
I can't help with the other stuff, but with regards to future grandchildren, I self-harmed in my teens and early twenties, and When I was 22 my GP refused to sign my health check for a job working with children (I'm still really pissed off about that, actually).
But I went on to train as a teacher, and have children and volunteer in schools, and I asked my HV to keep an eye on me in case of post-natal depression, and I was fine. My medical history didn't cause me any problems.
I have a friend with bipolar disorder bad enough for a hospital stay during her first pregnancy, and she was fine, too.
I sometimes see mums at school or toddler groups with tell-tale scars. It's not a big deal.
What does matter is her being as well as she can be, and it sounds as though she moving in that direction.
Thank you for two very kind posts.
Still trying to work out how I will ever stop worrying and why I just didn't notice. The psychiatrist said the depression comes from within in her case as she has a good life. I don't know if it's worse knowing your child has a congenital disposition to depression than if it was in response to something external that could be overcome.
Just feel so sad that she seems to have so much on her plate. She's just submitted her UCAS application.
It seems to me you are judging yourself unfairly and way too harshly.
Far from being a “failure” you have successfully supported your daughter through a very difficult period, such that she’s now taking the first steps into the adult world and applying to university. Congratulate yourself, as that’s no mean achievement!
I recognise in your post, the signs of a habitual worrier as I am myself.
Regrets about the past , the “what ifs?” You can torture yourself endlessly about those, or accept that you did the best you could AT THAT TIME with the information you had AT THAT TIME. You have already proven you are good in a crisis, trust that you will be able to do the same again if needed.
You ask “when will I stop worrying?” My suggestion – step back. Let your daughter do HER job to move towards adulthood, and do YOUR job which is to manage your anxiety and learn how to tolerate uncertainty. You mention several possible future scenarios with health visitors, social services and so on. If they happen, you can deal with them then. If they don’t happen, you’re wasting the energy that you need to deal with today. I’m not religious but do agree with “Give us today our daily bread” – deal with the things that need your attention today, don’t try and eat tomorrow’s bread as well.
Some things that helped me:
Detach from the outcome – I have realised to my surprise that inputs do not equal outputs. I do not have control over my child, none of us do and nor should we. You ask how could you “miss the signs”– I would suggest that it’s because you’re a perfectly acceptable lovely mum, not an all seeing eye (correct me if I’m wrong!) There’s a wonderful omnipotence when you’re the mother of a baby and you really do know everything about them, what went in, what came out, and how every minute of the day was spent. But our kids grow up and apart , and have their own thoughts and ideas that they may not want to share with you- all as it should be.
CBT – to challenge unhelpful and incorrect thoughts, such as your own judgement that you have “completely failed” at being a mother when there’s ample evidence to the contrary. If you have to wait for counselling, there are good books you can work through yourself such as “The FeelGood Handbook” by David D Burns. A cheesy title but has practical exercises to challenge your fortune telling and judgements.
Finally – are you just plain exhausted? You’ve been through an extremely stressful time. Good sleep is invaluable. Have you considered ADs for yourself?
I really do wish you well. Anxiety and endless rumination is a wretched way to live. Your post shows you as a thoughtful, loving mother doing her very best. Now would be a really good time to start being kind to yourself for the good work you’ve done in the past, and be firm with yourself to give the unknown future the small amount of attention it deserves – not the whole of your head!
Highnoon that is one of the best posts I have ever read on MN
OP I can't really go into too much detail but I'm a teacher, and it's quite common for girls to 'present' as coping and for this to obscure any SEN/issues. I recently helped a student gain a diagnosis extremely late in her A-level course; she'd struggled all through primary and secondary but it was a really specific set of circumstances that set alarm bells ringing. So don't be hard on yourself, it's just so difficult to get to the bottom of things sometimes
That made me tearful HighNoon. In a good way. I did have a couple of counselling sessions but they just affirmed my discontent about the failure of MH services and that the system was reprehensible. I'm not a great talker.
DD hasn't been great tonight. Something upset her re a friend and it went on and on. Fortunately she had a counselling session tonight because I don't deal well with this sort of angst.
Somewhat similar situation here: though in our case it was a chronic pain disorder/disability that masked the fact that dd was also genetically prone to depression and anxiety.
Several years of school refusal, self-harming, SS involvement, couple of suicide attempts, fluoxetine, masses of parental guilt, the gradual realisation that this is part of who she is and probably always will be.
But also the slow realisation that she is growing into a strong aware adult who is learning to cope with who she is- and that dh and I have played a big part in this. Because like you, OP, we never gave up on her, we kept pushing for more support, we were there for her. This is not what parental failure looks like.
She must be a few years older than your dd as she has already applied for HE twice (very competitive course) and not got in. She is currently applying for the third time. But I have learnt to see that this is not a failure: it is an enormous achievement to have gone through what she has and still have the confidence to keep trying. And she is holding down a job, which a few years ago I would hardly have dared to hope.
I don't see why MH issues or SS involvement will be some kind of blot on her copy-book: it's not something you have to declare when you apply for a job, and your employer won't have access to your medical records. Dd didn't even declare her physical disability, as she judged she would be able to cope. At university (speaking with my lecturer's hat), while we are always keen to know if a student might need extra support, it is purely about that- being able to offer support; it's not something we would ever judge someone on.
My confidence was badly shaken for a long time, but now I find I am, if anything, more confident: knowing how much dd has come through, I am developing a great deal of confidence in her resilience. Life is a trial, at some point or another, for everybody. She has already been tried hard- and she has come through. I find that very, very reassuring.
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