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AIBU to be pissed off that my dd has to suffer emotionally after her friend committed suicide cos I can't afford private therapy?

139 replies

borninastorm · 20/04/2013 23:45

Last year my dd's friend took her own life. My dd was just 13 at the time and her friend 14.

Because they weren't at the same school dd's school didn't offer a counselling response. They did provide her with a counsellor but unfortunately this woman isn't trained in dealing with bereavement by suicide which I have since learned is a very specific type of counselling and it's even more specialised when it's for a teenager.

So, since then I've tried Winstons Wish - they only provide help for children directly related to the person who has died; Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide who don't provide counselling help and Cruse who have nothing and nobody in our area that could fulfil my poor dd's very specific therapy needs. ANd there's a waiting time of 6 months+ for counselling via our GP and no guarantee that she'll get the specialist help she needs.

I've looked into private therapy but it's too expensive for me right now. So the only thing I've been able to provide my dd with is some highly recommended books and a listening ear, but she needs so much more than that.

AIBU to be pissed that my teenager has to emotionally suffer because I can't afford to pay for private therapy for her?

And does anybody have any advice on how best to help her and/or get her the help she needs?

OP posts:
scottishmummy · 21/04/2013 21:01

In England,there Is iapt regions gp referral age16 is access to psychological therapies
In Scotland there's initiative to support mental health,but no iapt
Do go back to gp and ask about any youth support , ask if school has pastoral support staff

ilovesooty · 21/04/2013 21:09

This is not the right thread to start your crusade against counselling

Exactly. Start a new thread if you want to argue and stop being disrespectful to the OP.

sweetestcup · 21/04/2013 21:26

Im a Nurse Therapist working in an NHS psychotherapy clinic (adults) and I get infuriated when I see attitudes displayed ignorantly here about the purpose and success of counseling. A lot depends on the type of therapy as different therapies will suit different people and in our therapy the most important thing is the relationship built up between therapist and client. No not everyone will benefit and yes it can be really difficult for people but generally we provide a non judgmental safe environment for people to talk about their thoughts and feelings - we dont tell people what to do or give advice. Its not about "coming to terms" with tragedies either but hopefully helping people learn to live with what has happened to them - which is slightly different.

MrsDeVere · 21/04/2013 21:29

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

expatinscotland · 21/04/2013 21:40

BRAVO, MrsDeVere! My son started to display behaviours that were related to the loss he suffered and continues to do so. He was too young, only 3, when his sister died to even be able to understand the permanence of death. So as he grows, he will grieve her loss in new ways.

My daughter, who is 7, bottles things up because she doesn't want to upset Mummy and Daddy as they are so sad her sister died. She has irrational fear of illness and doctors and hospitals - that she told the ed psych and not us because again, she didn't want to burden us - as her little mind equates these things with death.

I have nightmares, flashbacks and panic attacks about what happened to my child. My mate who lost her son similarly dreams every night that she is running through mist, looking for her son, and then realises, again, that he is dead. She has tried to take her life.

I had a great uncle who was shell-shocked for the rest of his life after WWII. His life was cut short by the alcohol he downed in huge quantities as his sleep was permanently plagued with horrible nightmares of the things he saw.

borninastorm · 21/04/2013 21:44

I am going to check out all the links you've posted here.

And tomorrow after school I'm going to share with dd all your stories that you've shared with me of hope and positivity after tragedy. And let her know that how she's feeling right now is a normal reaction to a fucked up situation (to quote a movie!).

Then we'll decide together what path we'll follow and how we'll get onto that path.

Thank you all again for your support, great advice and kind words.

And for those who weren't quite so supportive - DD wants therapy to provide her with the tools to handle her grief and guilt. And I just want to do my best to help her grow up to be as emotionally healthy an adult as possible who understands her emotions and how to address them, not an adult who was permanently emotionally scarred by the suicide of a friend.

OP posts:
crashdoll · 21/04/2013 21:45

Urbane I had the great privilege of volunteering with several Holocaust survivors. There is support available now but many of them have suffered intolerably and it has affected their children and their children's children. How vile that you are using both this thread and examples such as the Holocaust to push your agenda.

Sorry, OP not fair to derail your thread but I couldn't let this go unchallenged.

Trazzletoes · 21/04/2013 21:49

born you sound like a wonderful mother who is trying to help her child deal with stuff that adults very much struggle with, let alone teenagers. Your DD is very lucky to have such an understanding and supportive parent.

MrsD and expat massive hugs.

IntheFrame · 21/04/2013 21:50


That is a really moving post.

cory · 21/04/2013 22:34

Borninastorm, I think it really does sound as if your dd is struggling and could do with some extra help. Could you get the school to get onto CAHMS for you? If it is affecting her sleep and could therefore affect her chances of doing well at school, that is kind of their area and an extra prod from them might just make a difference.

Also, as the mother of a child who has made two suicide attempts, I would like to say the same to your dd as an earlier poster: if her friend was going to do it, then there is nothing in the world she could have done to have stopped her.

I was terribly, terribly upset when I found my dd (who thankfully did not die). I was angry. Angry with her and angry with life that had thrown this at me. But I knew it was not my fault: I could not watch her 24/7 and I will not be doing that.

I do hope all goes well for your dd who sounds a lovely caring person.

borninastorm · 21/04/2013 23:09

cory, mrsd and expat I can't begin to imagine what you have all gone and are going through.

You sound like incredibly strong, wonderful mothers and I really appreciate your words of wisdom and your posts really resonated with me.

OP posts:
borninastorm · 21/04/2013 23:15

cory how do you manage to not constantly worry that your dd will try again?

Im sorry if thats a question too far or if it upsets you, I ask because I worry that my dd might just get too sad and be unable to cope. If she wakes up really late at the weekend, sometimes I have a little sudden fear y'know the kind that grabs at your heart and takes your breath away for just a second that perhaps she's done something and that's why she's not here having breakfast with me.

And then my rational brain kicks in and I remember that she's not sleeping well and she's exhausted and that's why she's still asleep.

But I can't stop that second of sheer terror.

OP posts:
cory · 21/04/2013 23:30

No that's fine, you can ask.

The answer, I suppose, is that I manage to shut the worrying away for most of the time but not always. When I'm at work I am usually ok, but if I have to ring home in the afternoon and she doesn't answer straightaway because she is in the bathroom or asleep, then I do have that horrible cold moment when I wonder if the phone is ringing in an empty house...

The reason I go on like this- giving her freedom and not watching her obsessively- is twofold. The first is that I recognise that her suicide attempts have both been sudden impulses rather than a plan carefully carried out. It doesn't mean she is safe, it is still bloody dangerous behaviour, but it does make the odds slightly better on a day to day basis.

The second reason is that I recognise that CAHMS are right and that this is her only chance of staying safe longterm. If we cannot manage to make her feel that she is responsible for her own safety then she will never be safe. She is 16, in a few years' time we will have to let her go. Besides even now, we cannot watch her 24/7: we have to sleep, answer the phone, go to the loo, keep dental appointments. She has to be the one doing her own watching, taking responsibility for her own moods, recognising the warning signs and acting on them.

It is hard, particularly because I know it is laying a heavy burden on her little brother who would be the most likely person to come in and find her (he already has once Sad), but then it is in his interests too that she should be helped to manage her problems; we have to take that risk.

GymBagHighHeels · 22/04/2013 04:38

childline - can do longer term work with children as well if needed. phone or msn type service

Mrsdavidcaruso · 22/04/2013 07:18

I would agree with that in times gone by people had counselling from different sources and sometimes it would work and sometimes it wouldn't.

When my baby died I was offered counselling but HATED the woman I found her patronising, didn't like the way she called me by my first name without asking permission and certainly didn't like the fact that she kept calling my husband my 'partner' ( I have a thing about that)

But I am lucky I have a strong faith in God and used him as my counsellor. Standing in Church and yelling at God and calling him a complete and utter bastard for taking my baby from me was for me the best therapy I could have ( I knew he wouldn't take it personally) And talking to my lovely Vicar who completely understood why I did so helped me come to terms with my loss.

So I as very lucky to have that to fall back on, BUT I do understand that people nowadays look to man to help and comfort and would back the OP all the way to get the help and support for her DD she knows she needs.

Maybe I was unlucky with my counsellor I don't know. But for me I know I wouldn't have got through my grief without my faith.

MoaneyMcmoanmoan · 22/04/2013 08:04

Mrsdavidcaruso Flowers I am so sorry for your loss.

I saw a counsellor when I was a student for some traumatic events and my counsellor was horrid. Truly horrid.
She would calmly eat her lunch while I was pouring my heart out. Grim.

But I do know there are some marvellous counsellors out there who have assisted friends of mine over the years... I guess it's the luck of the draw.

eminemmerdale · 22/04/2013 08:11

Just to mention Cruse again. They are wonderful. My sister has just trained as a cruse counsellor specialising in children, so there are people out there. I'm so sorry.

lotsofdogshere · 22/04/2013 08:25

agree with the many positive posts about helping young people cope with the suicide of close friends. OP you are doing all the right stuff, and you are the best person to judge whether your daughter could benefit from therapeutic intervention given her anger/sleep issues. My daughter's then boyfriend lost his older brother, then his best friend, then his younger brother's best friend to suicide over a 4 year period. This sounds as though the children were surrounded by instability, and that is so far from the truth. It was a dreadful time, fast forward 12 years, those young people are in their late 20's now and what an emotionally intelligent group they are. It must be tough for your daughter to be in a different school group than the one her friend was in, as I know our young people gave each other so much support and were able to develop a language for talking about their feelings. I agree, the GP and a CAHMS referral sounds the way to go. I hope your daughter can talk to her GP about this, maybe with your support. Is there a bereavement centre near your home? They offer professional counsellors, free of charge, but no doubt will have a waiting list. I wonder whether it's worth you phoning your local NSPCC - it's just possible they may have a drama/art therapist available, or be able to recommend one at another charity. All best with this OP it is so scary isn't it.

ithaka · 22/04/2013 08:29

Counselling is a broad term covering many different approaches and grief and our responses are so personal. So what is right for one person will be wrong for another. I do not believe counselling is always the best (or only) approach and in some cases it can makes things worse.

In may case, when my son died, I resented the 'you should go to counselling' approach. As far as I was concerned, my behaviour was completely within he range of normal for a bereaved mother, but some people don't like to have to face overwhelming grief and want to shunt it off to a 'professional' to deal with.

It reached the stage that when someone said 'you should see a counsellor' I would say 'why, will they bring my son back?'. Which rather silenced them.

cory · 22/04/2013 09:34

It is all invidiual isn't it, ithaka? You felt seeing a counsellor would be shunting off your grief to somebody else so you made the right decision for you.

But that doesn't mean somebody else who does see a counsellor does it because they or people around them don't like having to face overwhelming grief- that might have been true of you but not of them.

For me, I have never felt these sessions were about shunting your grief off to somebody. More about finding practical solutions: how do I manage to cope with my grief without having a negative impact on other people who are also suffering? Not wanting to offload to your family and friends is often about protecting them because you perceive that they are just as vulnerable as you are.

I didn't like the first counsellor I saw, so I asked to see another who turned out to be very helpful.

When ds' friend had counselling during his mother's terminal illness it was to help him find ways of dealing with it that enabled him to get on with his education and did not make life too difficult for his poor mother and for his grandmother who was already heavily burdened with watching her beloved daughter die. Nobody thought it would give him back his mum; if it could help him to stop punching his mates and shouting at his grandma that was good enough.

A friend of mine is having bereavement counselling now. It won't bring her sister back, but it may just help her with getting on with her work and bringing up her nephew. If it helps, that is good. If it doesn't help, then it doesn't. But at the moment, it is clear that she needs to try what she can because other people depend on her.

SolidGoldBrass · 22/04/2013 10:20

I think another important point to make is: if a person doesn't find the counselling s/he is having to be any use it doesn't necessarily mean a fault with the person, or with counselling in general: the particular counsellor may simply not be the right one for the person. You have to feel that you 'connect' with a counsellor, trust him/her etc.

But also, if a person doesn't see the need for counselling it's not a good idea to pressure him/her into having it. A couple of people suggested it to me when my dad died: I didn't look into it because I didn't need to. My father was dead and I was sad, but also able to accept it as a natural event and one that would get easier to deal with in time (he was 78 and had a sudden heart attack).

borninastorm · 22/04/2013 10:36

cory wow, you are amazing! It must be so hard to give her that freedom but I agree it is a must. I give dd lots of freedom and I know she's not suicidal but as you know teenagers sometimes make sudden bad choices when life and their emotions become too painful. Your poor DS, what a trauma for him too. How's he coping now?

I've found it so sad to read that so many teenagers and parents have lost so many friends and family to suicide Sad

And I've also found it uplifting to hear how everyone's children have coped with and without counselling.

Mrsdavidcaruso I'm so sorry for your loss and that you got a counsellor who didn't help.

ithaka I'm so sorry for your loss and you're right counselling doesn't bring people back, but it can help them get themselves back, the selves they've lost in the pain of grief. I do agree that we have to experience our grief, feel it and live it. And that mostly what we feel in grief are normal emotions at an abnormal time. But sometimes, we need more to help us get out the other side of the grief so it doesn't scar us for life. So we can learn to live with it. Some people can do this themselves, others can't.

MoaneyMcmoanmoan Your counsellor sounds horrible.

I have contacted Cruse in our area and they've nothing they can offer DD.

DD did see her school counsellor but didn't feel a connection with her which made it hard for her trust her and really open up. And sadly, I think this coloured DD's view of our the counsellor as she then told me she felt like the counsellor wasn't comfortable with hearing her talk about the suicide and wanted her to talk about other things. She stuck with it though but didn't find it helpful. Unfortunately she is the only counsellor within the school so she couldn't ask to see another.

"Nobody thought it would give him back his mum; if it could help him to stop punching his mates and shouting at his grandma that was good enough"

Yes, yes to the above cory that's what dd wants.

It's the practical solutions that therapy/counselling could give her that you've all referred to that DD wants.

The tools to help her help herself.

OP posts:
borninastorm · 22/04/2013 10:38

Totally SolidGoldBrass I think counselling should be a personal choice. It is perfect for some people and others really don't want it.

Nobody should be forced into it because it's 'the right thing to do' in the circumstances.

OP posts:
CinnabarRed · 22/04/2013 10:53

My father killed himself when I was 16. I threw myself into my GCSEs, which started the next week, and by the time they were over it was too late to get support because everyone had witnessed me 'move on' by getting through my exams.

My brother, 13 at the time, was also not offered any support, and our mother was herself too bereaved to do anything for us. (She was offered counselling via Cruse, and in hindsight I'm surprised she didn't ask about any equivalent help for us - I guess she simply couldn't process our grief as well as her own at that time.)

I've been lucky in life on the whole. My brother hasn't, and is still to this day horribly damaged by the events of his late childhood and early adolescence (my father saw DB as the scapegoat and me as the golden child, but that's a whole separate issue). I hope I'm wrong, but I fear that DB will never be able to form a normal, sexual relationship because he's too scared of being hurt.

I honestly don't know if I've processed it, or buried it.

borninastorm · 22/04/2013 11:05

Maryz I've just reread one of your posts and I think she may be at the point now where she thinks she should be feeling better and she's not she's feeling worse. I think that's troubling her and worrying and upsetting her.

When we have a chat tonight I'm going to explain that it's ok to feel how she feels for as long as she feels it. That she doesn't have to be her version of normal anytime soon.

I hope your DS has got through the anniversary week ok? It's so hard when you're child is suffering, no matter what age they are.

OP posts:
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