03-23-2018 01:35 AM - edited 03-23-2018 01:40 AM
My daughter suffered a big disappointment a few weeks ago, which sparked a pretty rapid decline in her recovery and a halt to the fabulous progress she'd made.
My daughter has bipolar, anxiety and ptsd, and stopped going to school a couple of years ago, living in the darkness, shut in her room. She was finally enrolled in distance ed middle school and half way through last year started putting the effort in. She also got a casual job and started seeing a couple of her old friends again.
This year she enrolled at tafe and gained enough confidence to do an acting course and performed at a showcase where she didn't do as well as she'd hoped - the big disappointment. It took on a life of its own and took over.
She missed two weeks of tafe. She ran away one night until after midnight because I was annoyed after she'd refused my requests for her to wash up after she'd baked. I located her via her phone but she wouldn't get in the car. She sent me a text before she came home, saying amongst other things, that she didn't know what was wrong with her. Poor kid. We're back again next week for a medication review and I know my daughter's wanting a change.
Two nights later police were here at 1am as she was suicidal, and she spent the night in hospital. It's been 4 years since they were here. A few days after that she resigned from her job.
Our story's 8 years old, so I'm pretty exhausted and feeling haggard. Things haven't been good, I haven't been good. It's a huge drop from the heights of seeing your childs future looking promising, to it looking like it might have just disappeared in what feels like the blink of an eye.
My daughter did go back to tafe this week though and seems to be back on track (still not helping out, but that's another post!). We've had two counselling appointments together and I saw her counsellor on my own which was what I needed.
It's been a big lesson for both my daughter and me. I've realised that next time I just need to remember that it will pass and my daughter will get herself back on track as soon as she's able. She's shown herself that as well. We just need to work out a plan as to how we manage during these times when she's really unwell.
So, I'm taking each day at face value at the moment, but things have improved greatly. I've been told to keep the emotional scales very balanced at the moment because it's a much harder fall from higher up and I need to look after myself.
How do other parents manage that balance? Any techniques or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
03-23-2018 09:38 AM
03-23-2018 07:58 PM
Thanks for your awesome tips @Sister and for your kind thoughts.
Is there anything you do that helps you from not getting too hopeful as you see things improving? I think that's my biggest problem, which makes the falls even harder to deal with.
03-24-2018 09:22 AM
I'm glad to hear an update, I've been wondering how your girl is going.
Having to start again after a fall was the hardest thing for me. It's made me distrustful of success. Right now my son is doing better and better, and we celebrate that, but in my mind I've got this little voice: "it could all fall apart today". So I wish I could give you the answer, but I don't know it.
All I do is pace myself and look after myself, because I know it is a hard journey. You already know that! I don't think I can improve on Sister's list.
The key, for me, is to make our kids well, and make them resilient. Then everything falls into place.
Best wishes to you and that girl of yours
03-24-2018 01:17 PM
Through all that you have been through you need to really congratulate yourself for maintaining hope and positivity for your daughters welfare.
Please look at all the positives. You have come a lot further than you realise. Life is full of ups and downs.....unfortunantly our downs are way down there because of the struggles with our poor kids.
The positives for your situation are that your daughter has managed to have a job, go to TAFE, see a counsellor, go on medication, have friendships, do an acting course, go in a showcase and get out of her room. It mightn't be perfect, however she has done them! With your help and persistence! But what about YOU, @taokat, what are you doing for yourself? Give nurturing to yourself......lengthen the list of supportive things you can do for YOURSELF because you need strength and support to assist you especially during the down times.
Hope is something that we cannot give up. Even when we feel despair and disappointment, I feel the key is to lower our expectations. If our kids slip back, so be it......its not the end of the world (although it certainly feels very uncomfortable in the middle of a crisis) and we do get through these times.
When things improve, relish in those moments but don't despair when things don't work out. We cannot control what is to be, but we can control our reactions. I'm sure you know these things already but hopefully, this reminder may help you...as I will need help dealing with my stuff too.
03-24-2018 01:36 PM
Hi @Schooner and All,
That's such encouraging news about your son and how right you are about looking after ourselves!
I am really grateful for this forum because it has got me through some really rough patches.
My son was due back at mine after school yesterday but I ended up having to drive an hour away to pick him up from hospital after being taken there by ambulance. He had panic attacks after smoking pot with a group of teenagers. My heart was racing as I drove through fog and rain to pick him up, but what kept me going was thinking about all you other parents out there who have been through similar times.
My question to others is "how do you deal with a teenager who acts on impulse and is a follower and doesn't seem to learn by mistakes"? Does this just come with maturity or is it an individual trait that will not change?
The worry, concern, anger, sadness, despair and all the other roller-coaster of emotions my sons behaviours have brought up in me are sometimes just too much! However, I am at the stage where I just try and work around my own anxiety with not knowing what each moment may bring.
It's definantly an extremely tough road and one I wouldn't wish upon anybody. Has affected my entire families lives and the directions we are travelling.
None the less, @Schooner....you must feel so relieved at your sons progress and that is an indication of all the hard work and persistence you have applied.
There is always hope and I intend to carry it as much as I can for my own situation.
03-26-2018 04:43 PM
I welled up reading your latest post. I haven't posted for a while but we have also had some setbacks so was looking for support and encouragement. I agree with the other posters - you are doing a fabulous job!! And the fact that you are an incurable optimist is a major positive - if you could bottle optimism and sell it it'd be worth more than gold. I am the same. The issue for folks like us, is that it means life is a constant roller coaster... especially when our kids are having such a difficult time.
We started the year on a high as my daughter was refreshed after school hols and all gung-**bleep** for year 11. There was a quick decline not long after as she found herself not coping (but also not willing to accept any help in terms of getting organised etc.).
I do have question in terms of diagnoses etc. While her psych/counsellor has said she has depression anxiety, and she is now also under the care of a psychiatrist who says her main issue is anxiety with depression secondary (and he is prescribing her both anti-depressant and mood stabilisers for her self-harm), we have no written reports as such, and the school has requested something in writing - presumably so they can get funding for her?
Does anyone have any experience with this? Mental health professionals generally seem disinclined to write formal diagnostic reports?
In terms of looking after ourselves, I have booked some time off work and am trying to arrange counselling for myself and possibly for my husband too. Has anyone had experience of family counselling and if they have found it helpful?
03-27-2018 07:21 PM
@taokat wow your Daughter does incredibly well for any young person, let alone a young person managing the complexities of PTSD and bipolar. I also work in the acting world, sometimes we invest in characters and character development so much that it can be hugely dis-empowering when the narrative doesn't pan out. Sounds like this was a fairly decent trigger for her. It must have been so difficult for you to go back to that place you thought you'd put behind you with the police and hospital visits.
Have you noticed any growth this time around? I.e. shorter stay at hospital or quicker recovery and cognitive processing on your daughter's part? I know working with adolescent's sometimes it's easy to not see the changes during crisis. I have definitely seen in the adolescent's I work with that, whilst crisis still happens, the managing of that distress by the adolescent is so incredible. And they are so young. By the time they're in their late 20's and 30's I can only imagine how self-sufficient they will be
Look forward to hearing from you.
03-27-2018 08:46 PM
Hey @Breez-RO, my daughter's done so amazingly well to have achieved what she has after where she's come from. I think that's what made her crash so hard, as I just saw all that progress falling away. You understand the disappointment, and it was a major trigger for her.
I have noticed real growth this time. She did resign from her job but she wants her enrgy to focus on tafe. It did take a couple of weeks, but she did get back to tafe which we weren't sure she would. She'd kept it quiet from myself and her counsellor, but she was actually keeping up with the tafe work online, and just had a prac assessment to catch up on today. So even in her tough time she still was studying. Her last bad slip saw her stop going to school! I think she has learnt to manage her way through without throwing the towel in completely. That's massive, and I need to remember next time that she'll come through it. It's scary going back, and her mental health team and I weren't sure which way it was going to go, but my daughter's shown great courage and determination.
@Sister, I'm so sorry to hear about your son's homecoming. That would've been so stressful and worrying for you. How is your son now? That's a good question about being a follower and is it something your son will grow out of? I think teens are quite often influenced by peer pressure, and definitely at an age of experimentation. Have you been able to talk to your son about why he wanted to try pot or how he feels about that experience? It must've been quite frightening for him which may be enough for him to decide to not use it again.
How are you managing your anxiety? I've been throwing myself into the gym which I'm finding really helpful in keeping stress more manageable. Tai Chi is my favourite class. Some days it's hard to get there, but I always feel so much better mentally afterwards. Thinking of you.
03-27-2018 09:39 PM
Hey @coco821, thank you for your positive and encouraging words.
I'm sorry to hear about your daughter struggles after a good start to the year. Life is a constant rollercoaster isn't it, and frustrating when we can see ways to help our kids but they won't accept the help.
The school would be asking for something in writing from her mental health team so they can be given extra funding for supports. We used to get reports but changed services so haven't had one for years, however my daughter's mental health team were more than happy to put something in writing for the school, so I'd just ask them to do that for you. It's likely to be something they've done before, but either way, don't be afraid to ask for what you need.
That's awesome that you're arranging counselling for yourself to give you some extra support. And that'd be great if your husband went too. I'm on my own so haven't had counselling with a partner, but my daughter and I have had family counselling which was really productive. Let us know how you get on.