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supporting adult DD ( long term Mental health)

51 replies

atmywitsendrightnow · 13/10/2018 20:41

I don't really know where to start

My 29 yo DD has clinical depression and anxiety. She is vulnerable and unwell and lives alone, She is far from street wise IYSWIM and is generally a lovely generous person - those are the facts

She takes a lot of assistance. If we didnt assist her to appointments for example, they wouldn't happen, and then she would get dropped from the long awaited help. Me and her Dad funded private treatment for as long as finances would allow, however money dried up and she is now with the NHS treatment programme

This has been going on for over ten years.

It is not the physical support which I struggle is that can be quite rude to me in general at times, (which is not her personality at all) and cut of contact for days on end (which is when she is at her lowest) - which given her history, is worrying. ..and I myself and left in absolute turmoil wandering and worrying if she is OK. I know depression makes people focus on themselves, but this constant turmoil has got me on anxiety tablets and her dad on blood pressure tablets - none of that she knows BTW, but its an indicator of how her illness effects us

We have been down the road of me or her Dad, just turning up at her house, during these periods and it seems to trigger her further and I will get accused of making things worse - but it is done with best intentions, ensuring she is OK. These kind of- as she would call them - 'enforced' interactions never end well - and the last thing I want to do is make things worse if that is what i am untentionally doing

Thing is, all the mental health stuff you read, is when someone cuts people off, that is when they need help the most, but in the case of my daughter she literally gets furious if she is disturbed at this time

I work 60 plus hours a week and suffer from anxiety myself. Feel like I have no life other than working and worrying myself fucking stupid. We have got into debt by bailing DD out of various financial scrapes which seems to be common with mental health issues

I just feel like nothing I ever do makes the slightest difference and I spend half my lfe running ragged and when I see nasty posts aimed at me on social media, it is the last straw

I dont know what i want here, is anyone else in a similar situation?

BTW we are not planning to walk away from her or her situation, but what can we do to make things any easier other than this constant turmoil?

Any ideas welcome please x

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atmywitsendrightnow · 13/10/2018 20:43

I honestly do not think I can carry on another ten years of this. If this is all life is, worrying and working, and being exhausted...I dont think i want it . things are so bad i cant even consentrate at work for worrying about her and what may happen either today or in the future

I just cant see a future of where this is all still going on in another ten years. its not a life it is like an endurance challenge, see how much we can take before we snap

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FuckCancer · 13/10/2018 20:48

My heart just bled when I read your account.
You're not getting significant help.

She sounds like she's getting some(attempted) help from some mental health
teams .

Can you expand

curlykaren · 13/10/2018 20:49

Why do you intrude at these times when she has made it clear that she doesn't like it? Wouldn't it be better to have an arrangement whereby she can just drop you a little text when she is feeling more communicative?

UndertheCedartree · 13/10/2018 20:49

No wonder you are exhausted. The trouble is as Mental health services are so underfunded if they see someone has support from family they are often left to get on with it.

Does your daughter have a care co? Is there any chance of her getting into an assisted living place?

atmywitsendrightnow · 13/10/2018 20:54

Great question Why do you intrude at these times when she has made it clear that she doesn't like it - she definitely does make it clear she does not like it....however these are the danger times

From everything I have been read and told, when someone with MH issues cuts themselves off, this is when they are likely to self harm. This has happened before in my DD instance. Self harm repeatedly and attempted S, twice

So yes it may seem over the top...but in all honesty, no one is going to attempt to hurt themselves whilst another person is there

That is my best explanation of why we intrude even when she feels she does not want us these times, she is not herself - she is having a mental health crisis .

My DD would agree with you 100% - she isn't shy to tell me to 'go away' (to put it nicely)

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atmywitsendrightnow · 13/10/2018 20:58

Is there any chance of her getting into an assisted living place

I have investigated this at great length before, and then gently introduced the idea to DD...However she was completely against the a million percent.

It seemed a great idea to me, there is a local one, which runs an assisted living house for pple wth MH issues, and then if you are able enough they move you into a cottage or flat on your own - but she was dead against it. In a lot of ways she is fighting to be (dare I say it) 'Normal' and felt like moving in with other pple in her situation would be a step backwards - although I myself, could not see that, it seemed a very nurturing atmosphere

The fact she is in her late 20s means I have no say, other than 'floating ideas' with her, if she vetos them, they are out

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AnoukSpirit · 13/10/2018 20:58

I'm sorry you've all had such a struggle for such a long time.

When you say "days on end", how many days are we talking? Quite honestly, that jarred for me, because it's perfectly normal not to be in contact with somebody every single day. If you had said weeks on end I could have understood your concern.

I'm writing as a service user here.

Dealing with people when you have depression/anxiety can become exhausting. Even before you factor in that most people will want to see you looking "fine" and that brings a great deal of pressure when in actual fact you feel far from fine and despite you best efforts you can't reach fine.

Needing breathing space from the people in our lives from time to time is extremely normal. In context, I can understand why she would be so upset that when she tries to take a breather from daily contact with you (which sounds tiring for both sides to maintain without any break), she then finds herself with you on her doorstep.

I would get very upset if that happened to me. It would feel suffocating and controlling, and more than a little disrespected that I can't even have a few days to myself without an unannounced check up.

By not contacting you for a few days she is implicitly requesting a bit of space, and you violate that request by invading her private sphere and turning up on her doorstep. Can you see why she gets so upset with you?

Unless she withdraws contact in the middle of a crisis, as the culmination of a long period of deterioration, or after other specific warning signs (eg saying goodbye, giving things away), or it extends for weeks, you need to let her have that space.

I have friends also under mental health teams, and these are the points where I would start to worry. They often go quiet for a few days, as do I, because we all need a bit of time and space sometimes. If things are difficult it can be hard to deal with people, so reducing contact can ease the pressures you're under and help you get your head back above water again. I don't panic unless there are other factors in play to cause me concern. A few days of silence alone is not one.

If you keep turning up on her doorstep things are only going to become more strained - you'll be more stressed and anxious, and she'll be more resentful that she feels under surveillance at your beck and call (to communicate). She's 29, living independently albeit with support. She needs to feel trusted, respected, and that her space is hers.

It sounds like you've done a great deal to support her over the years. I'm su she does appreciate it, but the current dynamic is inevitably going to cause tension if you keep reacting in such a dramatic fashion to normal things.

Give her some space, respect her boundaries, and if she's open to it you could talk through her crisis plan to reassure you all that you all know when to worry and when not to worry (plus how to respond) or do a bit of reading on warning signs. If she doesn't want to talk about it though, respect that.

In the nicest way possible, I think you've lost a bit of perspective here to be assuming the worst if she's quiet for a few days. It's understandable, but I suspect a lot of the resentment and stress would ease up if you stopped reacting like that.

atmywitsendrightnow · 13/10/2018 21:01

she can just drop you a little text when she is feeling more communicative

Yes that sounds ideal, and in the past we have accepted her position on this, and the next thing we heard was a call from the hospital saying she had walked out mid treatment, she had harmed herself , someone called an ambulance, and she had walked out of a&e

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atmywitsendrightnow · 13/10/2018 21:06

AnoukSpirit - thanks for your message

Days on end, I didnt mean to sound overly dramatic, but we do speak at least once a day - and by 'days on end' I mean four / five days. It is not normal for our relationship, but I understand that most pple dont speak to their mum that much

I would get very upset if that happened to me. It would feel suffocating and controlling, and more than a little disrespected that I can't even have a few days to myself without an unannounced check up - she has said exactly the same...but the fact we have tried to let her have space before and she self harmed, it really does worry me to death that something could happen.

I dont turn up on her door step anymore - I was just highlighting that I have done but when withdraws telephone contact it is a worry

Maybe I am being dramatic. In fact I think you have a good point there. Because i suffer from anxiety myself, it is likely true

I appreciate your message - thank you

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atmywitsendrightnow · 13/10/2018 21:11

I just struggle with how someone goes from wanting to speak every day - Hi mum can you help with this / that

To cutting contact for a few days

Things have always been very up and down though with no warning signs of a crisis or problem, one day she will be fine and next day cutting herself

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AnoukSpirit · 13/10/2018 21:13

You seem to be looking for ways to control her more effectively. You need to change your behaviour here. If you continue to behave like this you will lose her - not because of suicide, but because your relationship will break down completely.

She is not a prisoner, and you are not her prison warden. Acting like that is the case however will not be helpful to depression or anxiety. It will only make them worse.

Going quiet for a few days is not a mental health crisis.

Self harm may be part of a crisis, but for lots of people it's part of how they cope with difficult feelings. It's often "protective" in the sense that being able to do that can reduce the urge to cause serious harm.

People manage self harm in the community all the time. Trying to ban it if a person doesn't have alternative coping strategies is dangerous because it can lead them to take greater risks or cause themselves more severe injury if they're not able to manage without/their distress builds to a level they can't contain/they become desperate in the absence of their normal method and have to resort to something more extreme than they would otherwise.

You're going about this the wrong way, as much as it is driven by concern, it's not helpful.

If she's not subject to the MHA she's allowed to walk out of A&E if she wants to. Just like you would be. They're not going to falsely imprison her.

She has not been subject to detention. You can't keep treating her like she is or things will never get better.

MarcieBluebell · 13/10/2018 21:14

You need to take a step back. As someone who suffers with suicidal plans she needs space. It's seems highly pressurised.

I feel for you I really do but if she intends to die nothing you do will stop her. You will find a way. You cannot be there 24/7. If she lives on her own I understand a close relationship so what about a couple of times a week you phone her or if she wants you see her.

I don't know specifically her problems, for example if she hears voices ect but if she is sound of mind all you can do is set up healthy boundaries and routines. Show her by example self care.

atmywitsendrightnow · 13/10/2018 21:17

Thanks all, a lot of food for thought there

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purpleface · 13/10/2018 21:24

I'm so sorry you are going through this, and for so long, it must be incredibly draining. Please vent as much as you need to. I once heard when an individual is depressed the whole family must be treated, and small wonder as mh issues place a huge pressure on loved ones. It sounds like you have done everything possible to help, it is distressing to face the possibility that it may never be enough. Are you able to see your gp and ask for some counselling/help for yourself? 60 hours is a long week, is there any possibility of cutting back/taking a break?

My son (21) has had problems off and on for a couple of years now (depression). In June I quit my job so I could get him up consistently every day and make him attend his weekly counselling, etc, as it just wasn't happening while I was at work and his father and I were in a constant state of worry as he has been suicidal. Left to his own devices he stays in bed for days at a time. He has no involvement or connection to the outside world. He has aspergers and has always struggled with connecting with people, and at some point he just stopped trying.

He has improved with me being at home, and it has reduced our overall stress of course, but I can't stay off work forever. I had hoped if I spent a few months getting him into a healthy routine he would see the benefit, but I realise now I was naive. He knows keeping regular hours helps, but can't motivate himself to do it. He has no job or friends or life and has just retreated from the world. I need to find another job soon and can see he will likely just lapse when I do. I can't see an end to this at this stage, and your post really resonated as I can see myself writing something similar a decade down the line. Flowers for you, I hope things improve.

AnoukSpirit · 13/10/2018 21:26

On the self harm.... There is a blog by Keir Harding, I think, that explains what I was trying to above better.

I do understand why self harm would be distressing and frightening for you, I really do, but I'm not sure you really understand what's going on. Granted, I have less information than you here. im just trying to give you a broader understanding if it helps.

If you Google "Keir Harding ban self harm", there is a blog post about forcibly preventing self harm. I don't want to link to it because the title photo is grim (it was hosted by a different website to his own blog, and they overruled him on imagery - it was raised with him). I don't want to post the link in case anybody clicks on it unprepared. But the words may really help you understand what my previous post was driving at. Not sure if there's a way to open the link as text only!

His own blog comes up too, diagnosis of exclusion. There are some other posts on there that you may find helpful for understanding where your daughter is coming from, and reassuring yourself.

Also, on the same topic of reassurance. Some of the info you seem to have read concerns me a little as being quite off base. If you use Twitter, Keir and lots of other MH professionals are on there, including an AMHP @asifamhp I think, who are really good at answering questions and explaining things. If @DrEm79 is still posting, I hope she is, she writes very well about understanding and supporting people who self harm.

You might find it helpful to make some of your own connections. More knowledge could make you feel less powerless.

atmywitsendrightnow · 13/10/2018 21:40

Thanks Purpleface - yes your post resonates with me

He has no job or friends or life and has just retreated from the world - this is my daughter too...often I am the only person she sees for weeks on end

She has no friends, most have drifted off.

You say you were in a constant state of worry with him being suicidal, this is exactly how I feel. However some are telling me I am too controlling, and I can see that point of view too.

Thing is, if i take a step back, she wont attend her appointments. I have tried a few times to get her to go alone, paid taxis for her etc, and all she has to do is get up and get into the taxi - but it does not happen - then we have a right royal battle on our hands getting her seen again. She is on benefits, she would not attend her meetings and lose her money. I know these things will happen as we have tried before

You are right, you cant stay at home forever. You need some level of life too. Maybe part time work is the answer, I honestly dont know.

I have had a lot of time off work and I am sure my boss hates me, although I have explained everything to him - not everyone is understanding about MH issues

I do see my GP and am on anti anxiety meds myself too.

mental health is one of the worst possible things to suffer from. many people do not take it seriously and there is not enough funding. and it is so absorbing..completely..for the entire family as you say purple face.

My DD takes non stop about mental health. Non stop. I know she needs to vent but I have never known a person with any other kind of illness to feel the need to talk about it with every breath they take....and i dont mean that to sound as bitchy as it may come across, its just an example of how absorbed she is,,,,and that we are too

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atmywitsendrightnow · 13/10/2018 21:42

Im just reading that Anouk, will post back in a min

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madyogafan · 13/10/2018 21:45

This sounds very hard. What do you think would happen if you completely took a step back?

My dd has a very severe and enduring mh condition which fortunately can be controlled well with medication and a healthy lifestyle.(She spent 7 months in hospital when first diagnosed) Its been a horrendous few years getting the medication right and I have had to be instrumental in fighting for her.

However now She forgets to take the meds and stays up all night overspends etc and then goes downhill again. Its never-ending.

I am taking a step much as possible. It means she's been discharged from the mental health team as she denies she has an issue or doesnt turn up to appointments and because of that she lost her pip benefit. She is upset about this as she now finds it hard to manage on the usual student budget!

However she is going into her 3rd year at uni in a different town and lives in a student house so must have managed at some level.

This is what I do now.
Basically we are giving her money weekly and she has a basic bank account with no credit facility so can't get into debt. She is extremely impulsive and literally cant appreciate consequences. She still runs out of money most weeks but at least it's not long til she gets more.

I remind her to order meds but that's it...Its down to her to take them or not.

Ultimately I won't be here forever and she will have to reach her own level of coping at some point whatever that is.

I do however still offer help with anything she asks me for e.g. organisation and checking uni work etc and I will also help her if she wants to find work after uni. She has struggled with motivation so we have bought more duvet covers and towels etc and plan to visit a bit more often to swap them over so she has clean bedding etc.

Have you tried having a conversation with your daughter to ask how she wants things to be and explaining your worries?

I must admit my daughter is always on my mind. I see whether she's been active on fb a few times a day and that way I know she's ok without actually contacting her!
Would this work for you?

Finally have you tried counselling for you? It might help to find a way through.

atmywitsendrightnow · 13/10/2018 21:49

Ive just noticed that she has posted something awful about me on Twitter ''OMG my mother has missed call me twice today'' and all her twitter friends are saying OH WHAT AN AWFUL SELF CENTRED WOMAN

I know she is ill, but really there is no need for that. Twitter friends arent going to be pcking up the pieces at 3am. Twitter friends arent in debt for her, twitter friends did not take four days off work in the last week to assist her, at her request. and twitter friends didnt send her £40 worth of shopping round yesterday I mean Fuck me .

This really pisses me off and makes me feel like a massive cunt. She seems to want me all up in her business when it suits her.

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atmywitsendrightnow · 13/10/2018 21:52

AnoukSpirit - thats a real eye opener. Beautifully and descriptively written ..horrific at times to think that is the reality of it, but thank you I think I hve learned something

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atmywitsendrightnow · 13/10/2018 22:01

I must admit my daughter is always on my mind. I see whether she's been active on fb a few times a day and that way I know she's ok without actually contacting her

Yes I used to do this a lot..and let it slip one day - so she blocked me - said i was being too intrusive. She literally wants me when it suits her. She rings when I am at work wanting to talk for an hour, but not possible, then gets the arses that I cannot sit at my desk talking about the latest episode of a drama that she is watching on netflix

I admire your attitude, I do need to take a step back, but I would feel so resposible if she was discharged and lost her benefits. I would feel it my fault, although obvs not

madyogafan Your post really resonates with me, it sounds like your daughter is doing very well being at Uni. My girl tried Uni once and left..all she does is sit in the house, alone, now.

I have tried talking to my dd about my concerns and what she wants,....and basically what she wants changes from day to day, one day she will want me to help and do pretty much run her life for her, and then the next she will want me to fuck off and be slating me on social media....and there is no warning of this shift...its a real head fuck for me

I think you are very good mum to give her money after all she has lost her benefits due to not attending appointments

My DD is impulsive with money, considering she is on benefits, she will buy a game, and go without food. so we end up buying the food. I guess we are enabling that situation but without us, she would not , literally would not care

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atmywitsendrightnow · 13/10/2018 22:03

My husband, and a mental health worker I see, both say that she has blocked me on social media in order to induce worry.

I dont now if if that is true

however it does. It completely stresses me out to the point i cannot focus on anything because i dont know if she is ok, during one of these 'black out' times.

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atmywitsendrightnow · 13/10/2018 22:09

I just feel the worst parent in the world right now. ive tried my best, but I hve a gang of strangers slating me on twitter for being a shit head

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Lalliella · 13/10/2018 22:15

OP do you think she may take drugs? I ask this because she sounds very similar to my brother who uses on and off. It is so difficult to help someone who won’t or can’t help themself. Your story sounds very much like that of my mum, but I can’t really give you advice except just to be there for her, hang on in there and cherish the good times. Flowers for you.

MarcieBluebell · 13/10/2018 22:15

Sorry to chime in but it seems quite a codependant relationship. You are dependant on her too, as she is your focus and stops you finding your identity again.

Obviously she is dependant on you but this infantalises her. Many people with mh problems become stuck in an almost teenager state. Thing is, we get self worth from taking some responsibility and doing her own shopping would be a reason to go out.

What are you doing to ease your anxiety? What fun things to you have planned? Don't let her become your excuse. You have to look after yourself and create a balance.

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