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13 year old dd starving and cutting herself;

(58 Posts)
Spacecadet Thu 18-Nov-04 15:34:24

my 13 year old dd has been starving and self harming since feb and i dont know what to do anymore, im a regular poster on mn as I currently have pnd since the birth of dd2 in july, however this problem fist reared its head long before the new baby etc and she has a lot of other deep seated problems, we have tried everything, the school has provided counselling etc and now ive hit a brick wall, please help!

zephyrcat Thu 18-Nov-04 15:42:24

Is there anyone else in the family that she is close to or that could talk to her on a level that she would respond to? My sister is 14 and is very into drinking and lying but i talk to her like one of her mates and she has started to tell me everything (theres 13 yearts between us)

spacemonkey Thu 18-Nov-04 15:45:23

My 13 year old dd has been self harming too SC. Her moods are very up and down - things have been improving lately, but if she goes into a black mood she scratches her arms with a knife. She's also extremely bolshie in a typically teenagery way and has started smoking.

Does your dd have a trusted adult that she confides in?

Slink Thu 18-Nov-04 15:47:05

Hi i used to work with young girls that do this,

Will she talk to you, or a member of family??? have you asked the school if they know of anyone else is doing this?? does she have a ny problems in regrads to school issues at home??

It may not help but did not want to leave your thread unanswered.
If she will talk just let it happen don't say you understand coz at that age we are not meant to understand anything(according to them)
Big hugs to you. and to your DD tell her you love her and she is beautiful.

take care.xx

tortoiseshell Thu 18-Nov-04 16:01:16

Hi spacecadet - does she know that you know? Do you think she wants to talk about it (does she let you knwo when she cuts herself?), or does she genuinely try to hide it? If she is open (or deliberately enables you to know) then she probably wants you to help her. How often does she cut? And is it in relation to specific events/moods or does it seem random? Sometimes a new baby may make her resentful of things - like not being able to make a noise when the baby is sleeping.

Cutting is a way of making intangible feelings and emotions more real - emotional pain is harder to deal with than physical pain. And causing yourself physical pain can numb the emotional pain,and make you think (mistakenly) that you are dealing with the emotional pain. As can starving yourself. When you starve yourself, there are various physical effects that make you feel 'good', and that are also addictive.

It is a desperately hard situation to deal with - I think I would keep an eye on her to make sure she doesn't seriously harm herself - she will regret it if she has scars left, but try to deal with it in a more roundabout way - making her happier (I know, she's 13!). Is there anything she is particularly unhappy about? Confronting her directly about the cutting/eating may just make her pull away and be more secretive, and encourage her to lie as well, which you don't want. It's a myth that this sort of thing is always attention seeking, or a cry for help - it can be your own personal battle against your own demons, and often the sufferer will just want to be left alone.

Hugs to you - it is a hard thing to deal with as a parent, and I imagine it must be heartbreaking to see her go through this.

MummyToSteven Thu 18-Nov-04 16:15:16

i haven't really got much to add after that excellent and insightful post by tortoiseshell.

you/your daughter might find it useful to look at this website:-

(web site for Bristol Crisis Centre for Women)

has your dd been to the GP? is there any possibility of her being referred to mental health services/psychotherapy? are there any local young people's support groups?

that has a lot of information about self-harm.

Spacecadet Thu 18-Nov-04 16:16:51

we always get on well even now, shes always telling me shes glad im her mum cos im soo cool!!! apparently!! I was only 18 when i had her and ive always made it clear to her that despite my age at the time she was v wanted and ive alwys done what i think is best for her, shes had a stable ubringing cos I met a new partner who I eventually married 5 years ago and we now have 4 children all together!!,shes never been jealous of the new baby because I did expect it, as she detests her brothers! as she says that she is pleased to finally get a baby sister, she fusses over non stop and cant put her down at the mo. however she does have probs with her father, he sees her every weekend but since he remarried 6 years ago and had 2 children he treats her with contempt, never takes her on family holidays etc and told her once that the only important people to him are his wife and their kids!! Ive told her she doesnt have to go but she insists and her self harming has got worse since her dads ds was diagnosed with autism in september, she knows we know, we have talked about it, she begs us not to contact the school etc and promises to stop, but doesnt and as for the starving, she thinks shes fat! she did used to talk to my neighbour but when she told her I had pnd she turned aginst me and said I was a looney who didnt deserve kids, so I stopped her going round there

Spacecadet Thu 18-Nov-04 16:19:29

Went to docs yesterday, she has been referred to a specialist centre but the waiting list is v long,

spacemonkey Thu 18-Nov-04 16:20:11

How does your dd feel about seeing a counsellor? I ask because mine point blank refuses

Spacecadet Thu 18-Nov-04 16:23:44

unfortunately she is refusing any help, she goes beserk at the mere mention of the word..sigh..its very didfficult to deal with especially when im not well myself

spacemonkey Thu 18-Nov-04 16:26:11

i do sympathise, it's bloody hard and such a constant worry

i really freaked out about the self harm at first, but feel slightly reassured that many people who know about this stuff have said it's incredibly common with kids of this age, and it's not necessarily linked to suicide

I think 13 is just an incredibly difficult age, and on the odd occasion that a chink appears in dd's armour I make sure I give her cuddles and tell her no matter what she does I love her and always will. I think it does help.

tortoiseshell Thu 18-Nov-04 16:26:58

I think sometimes (and obviously don't know in your daughters case) talking about this sort of thing can actually perpetuate it. Not in an attention grabbing sort of way, but almost because you feel you have to 'live up to it'. So if you have talked to someone about starving yourself, you can feel guilty for then eating. And the same for cutting. And sometimes you can feel like you have to get a lot worse to justify counselling. I think it can be terrifying to imagine going to seek help from a counsellor, only to be told you don't have a problem, especially if the 'problem' is your lifeline.

That's why I think moving away from the specific problem can help - then the behaviour can gradually correct itself. It's almost like talking about it will keep it on the agenda, but growing away from it requires no loss of self. (Obviously that is not the case when health is seriously threatened). xxx

tortoiseshell Thu 18-Nov-04 18:48:04

(Hope I haven't killed your thread!)

fostermum Thu 18-Nov-04 19:58:47

what a worry,my daughter used to self harm because it was cool and the in thing gggrrrr,if she wont except help its harder. with children before ive found writting them a letter sometimes works,often they feel they cant put thoughts into words and writeing it down in thier own time gives them time to think it through,tell them its not been writen to pressure them just to let them know how special they are and you would be more then happy to listen if they want to talk

Spacecadet Thu 18-Nov-04 22:17:33

She has actually started to lose weight which is really worrying

MummyToSteven Thu 18-Nov-04 22:29:06

what does your DD do to relax? it sounds like she needs to enjoy life more and feel better about herself more so that she doesn't get the urge to control her weight/harm herself. is she into drama at all - that might be a good way for her to meet people and for her to express herself. just wondering what would increase her confidence more.

sallystrawberry Thu 18-Nov-04 23:01:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Spacecadet Fri 19-Nov-04 20:11:15

Well she has interests outside school etc and school have told me that as a general rule she appears happy and settled at school and her work is of a high standard. which makes it all the more confusing , I have noticed thats she has become worse since she started her periods, dont know if its coincidental

mumwithnoname Mon 22-Nov-04 08:12:26

nothing to add really just to say that I'm thinking of you both.
I've self-harmed in the past and it does seem to "help" at the time, it's only afterwards that the shame and self loathing take over and probally lead back to cutting again and so on. Some times it's a very hard urge to resist but somehow you've got to break the cycle.I wander if it's in response to what she sees as rejection by her dad? As rejection (or percieved rejection) always played a big part in mine.I'm sure in time she'll learn to handle it in a better way if she knows that you and dh keep loving her. Maybe the starving is also a part of the rejection cycle- I staved myself as a teen because I was told by a Youth leader I was "chubby" and I wanted to be accepted!!Considering I said I've nothing to add I've not done bad!!!!

Spacecadet Tue 23-Nov-04 21:05:54

Well today we hit an all time low, she tried to overdose on paracetamol, luckily she didnt take enough and then she went and shut herself in the bathroom and started to cut her arms open, what can I do??

MummyToSteven Tue 23-Nov-04 21:08:46

very sorry to hear this, SC [[[[hugs]]]]]did anything in particular trigger her off?

only thing I can suggest is to drag her along to GP or even A & E and angle for referral to psychologist/psychiatrist, and get her bumped up that waiting list. other than that, guess just to try and keep the channels of communication with her as open as possible.

Spacecadet Wed 24-Nov-04 16:36:15

She has come home fromschool today and has started on at me straight away, she blames me for everything saying its all my fault and I dont think I can cope with this anymore.

mumwithnoname Wed 24-Nov-04 21:53:02

Think you need to push for an urgent referral.Surely someone must realise how serious it is if a 13 year old is trying to OD, cut herself AND starve herself!I know its hard but i think you need to take her to the gps or a&e and get stroppy with them until the do something!!
Txt me or phone me anytime if you need to talk, take care {{{hug}}}

munnzieb Wed 24-Nov-04 21:54:02

have you tried suggesting family therapy?

Spacecadet Thu 25-Nov-04 09:04:44

I think the referral thats been made is for family therapy, they phoned me yesterday and said they would send an appt after xmas, we phoned her father last night and told him what was going on.

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