I wonder if anyone has been in my situation and can give me advice? 8 weeks ago my 13 yr old daughter tried ,and very nearly succeeded , to take her own life. It was pure luck that I got her to a and e in time and they worked very hard for three days to save her. Since then she has been given weekly cbt sessions and now the doctors say this isnt working as she is too depressed and she is on antidepressants. I am now also taking them for the first time as I am not coping with this very well. The night it happened my daughter came in from Guides, smiling, chatted, kissed me goodnight and then went up to her room and after I went to bed she took 70 pills , mostly my painkillers and arthritis pills. If her wee brother had not had a nightmare and gone up to see her I would not have got to her in time. Nothing traumatic had happened but she has since said she has wanted to do this for years and still thinks it would be for the best. She is going to school, parties, choir, laughing and smiling as if nothing has happened, and when I start to think she is going to be ok she has a bad day and starts talking about death again. I had no warning that she was going to do this and now feel scared whenever she isn't by my side, I can't help feeling she is going to try again to kill herself and there's nothing I can do or say to stop it. I came to motherhood late in life, am a stay at home mum, seperated, and my life revolves round my 3 children, I feel I have failed at the one thing I love most(being a Mum), if my own daughter, who has been told every day of her life that she is wonderful and loved , thinks that life is not worth living. I dont know what to do , Im being supportive and encouraging, trying to show her the joy in being alive, talking and listening , but I dont think its getting through and Im struggling to keep cheery or sometimes even function. I would love to hear from anyone who has been through this and out the other side.
Subject: Re: depressed 13 yr old
Hello Kitty ,when my youngest daughter was 13 she was convinced she may as well end her life there and then as we were all going to die anyway ! Was a dreadful time as it was all she talked about .She too seemed happy and had lots of friends ,I worked part time but was always at home when she was .Her teachers said she seemed happy enough at school .
we asked her what would make her happy and she said guitar lessons ! It really did the trick for her and she now is 20 years old ,a qualified make up artist and has gone on to uni .
There is help for you both out there ,did she mean to end it all or was it a cry for help that went too far ? Perhaps counselling sessions where she could talk to someone in a way that she can't talk to you .You need to go back to your dr and discuss this with him .I hope you get the help you need .
Subject: Re: depressed 13 yr old
Thanks, we are fortunate that there is lots of help, she has been getting counseling sessions of an hour a week and her doctor also phones our home everyweek for updates, she has to fill in a mood diary every day too. She has said she tried twice before and given the severity of her overdose and the fact she had been stockpiling pills for some time the doctors have said she seemed very determined to die and this wasn't a "cry for help" or attention seeking as I hoped it might have been. She is very good at saying what she thinks you want to hear and I have lost my trust in her and find it difficult to tell if she is being truthful, she is also being really horrible to her wee brother because he "interfered" and saved her and she has threatened him and bullied him ever since. Since it happened she has had a room makeover, hairdo, lots of new clothes and trips out but when I told her I couldn't afford to buy her the ipod she wanted she said "you will make me sad if you don't buy it for me", when I pointed out she could buy it with her birthday money she said she didn't want it anyway! I am walking the line between making her feel wanted and loved and not letting her use the situation to get exactly what she wants. I also dont want her wee brother and sister to feel ignored.
Subject: Re: depressed 13 yr old
Kitty, I am so sorry you have got so much on your plate.
I'm no expert, but the first thing I'd say is that there is more to this than depression. Your daughter has planned this for a long time, and chosen to go through with it: it is a form of strength, albeit it a negative one, not a weakness in her that she made her choice and would have got away with it but for your son.
She is manipulative - not getting what she wants, after all you have given her, proves that she is not above using her condition as a form of blackmail. she shows you the face you want to see, which means she is intelligent and devious.
You say you are separated: could this be at the bottom of her behaviour? She couldn't control that, but can take full control of her own life, for instance. But having said that, I'd think that it is something inside her brain that is wrong - she seems too coldly certain that dying is what she wants to do, and that no-one can stop her from doing it if she so chooses. That is a power-play: it makes her stronger than the adults around her, in particular. What's more, she took 70 of your pills and you didn't notice: that again makes her think she is cleverer than you. You are not at fault - that is something you must understand. There is nothing you could have done to prevent it, unless you had found the pills - but with no warning, why would you even be looking? You must keep all your meds under lock and key; that is the only possible way you can prevent the same thing happening. She may well find another way, if she is determined enough: again, that is not your fault - but you will not blame yourself quite so much if you know you have done everything in your power to prevent it happening.
She is the eldest of your children: does she resent the others? Her attitude to her brother strikes me as anger that, in the end, he took her power away. Her emotional blackmail over the I-pod is another way of flexing her muscles and making you dance to her tune. She will be sweet and amenable so long as you continue to giver her special attention: say no to anything, and you will see the other side of her.
There is nothing anyone can say to take this away: your daughter needs help, and lots of it. It's possible that the experts can get to the bottom of it; but in the meantime you are living on eggshells, whist trying to give your children a normal life. Get all the help you can for yourself - you already have arthritis, and you are on painkillers; to add this to the mix is more than you can cope with alone.
If you are in touch with your ex, does he play any part in the children's lives? Maybe he could get more involved with all of them, and give you a beak. After all, he is their father. Your daughter's mental health is something that should involve both of you.
I do wish you all the best - it isn't going to be easy, for any of you, but I hope you can find the cause of her illness and her determination to take power into her own hands.