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Mental health/possible BPD

Discussion forum for parents in Australia

Casual scribe

Mental health/possible BPD

I'm new here and having some internal struggles regarding my daughter. I'll try to keep it short. My daughter is 16 and has struggled with frequent mood swings and depression a good part of her life. She is adopted - came to us as a toddler and was labeled at high risk for developing mental disorders. Without divulging too much, she has undergone a lot of trauma from the time she was born. She exhibited attachment issues as a toddler as well. Her dad and I divorced many years ago. She lives with myself, my husband and our other daughter.
She's always been in therapy and we are now going through a more intensive therapy. According to her new doctor and the therapy team we are working with, she exhibits signs of having BPD. We are awaiting the psychiatric evaluation and I know she can't be fully diagnosed at her age but it semi explains why meds and talk therapy have never really worked.
Things have gotten worse over the last couple years. She lies, cheats, steals and manipulates. There's no empathy, no regard for others and the behavior is destroying our family. It's a constant feeling of walking on egg shells with no idea what's going to set her off. I could write a book of all the things we've been through, the therapy, reward systems, positive parenting, contracts we've written as a family or for herself, the running away, outbursts of anger, self harming, stealing from us and her friends. Completely disrespectful to any authority.
I'm at the end of my rope... We are not disrespectful people and did not raise either of our kids that way . My other daughter is a completely different animal. The constant stress my husband and I are under are effecting us so deeply. I know she has been through a lot-more than most adults. We are trying to help her but she is resisting the therapy and says they're all stupid. I don't think I can do this anymore and am ready to send her to live with her dad. Has anyone ever felt this way? Like giving up? I feel like a failure for even thinking about this, but I am so exhausted and f*$&ing lost.


Re: Mental health/possible BPD

Welcome to the community @Seaside39 - I'm so glad you felt comfortable sharing your story with us here. I can see the pain and exhaustion you're feeling. But, you've come to the right place, and I want you to know straight off the bat that we're here for you. 


By reading through your post, I can tell that you are a loving and resilient parent. It's so reassuring to see all you've done to support your daughter. As you said, your daughter has been through a lot in life, but I can see that you have given her the stability and care that all children deserve. I just wanted to acknowledge that Heart


I'm curious to hear a little more about the kind of support you have and if there are any self-care routines you have that keep you going through all of this. I know that families in similar situations benefit from connecting with other adoptive families and carers - is this something you've ever looked into? 


It sounds like you and your family have been on a long therapy journey, and now that her new doctor is noticing signs of BPD, I hope that even more avenues for help open up to you all. As you said, talk therapy may have only scraped the surface for your daughter. Can I ask if she's tried any trauma-specific therapies? 


I can see that the past few years have been incredibly trying, and I bet it's hard to see her resisting therapy. I can imagine it brings up a lot of emotion when it feels like nothing is working - the good news is there are many modes of treatment that seem to resonate better for people with BPD. 


I'm aware that I've asked many questions in my response, but I did want to ask how you feel about your daughters' self-harm + if you have enough support with it? 


We hope to hear back from you, and if there's anything we can offer that you feel would support you and your family, please let us know. 

Casual scribe

Re: Mental health/possible BPD

Hi there and thanks for your kind words. As far as support, it's just my husband and I. We are actually working with an Intensive In Home Therapy team 3-4 days a week. I have already told them that I know she can't be diagnosed yet but we need to try some DBT or CBT.
As far as my outlets .. I knit, enjoy puzzles, walking and go to therapy myself. We are prison guards of sorts so we can't really leave the house together my husband and I.
We have never been put in touch with other adoptive parents. As far as herself harm goes, it's been a month or so since she last self-harmed. There is never a warning, she doesn't say anything and the smallest thing will set her off. A simple, can you please clean up your mess from dinner? could set her off. She then will say it's my fault she self harms, because I annoy her.

Super frequent scribe

Re: Mental health/possible BPD

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Hi @Seaside39 


That's fantastic that you are already getting some support from the Intensive In Home Therapy team. Do you find that they are helping?


Also really great to hear you are looking after yourself too and attending therapy, and have lots of hobbies you can do for some self-care. Knitting is a big one for me too, I find it so relaxing! Are you working on anything at the moment?


It must be really difficult when your daughter self harms, especially when there's no warning about what may trigger her. This article might be helpful for you to have a read over for some extra info on self-harm. I've also slightly edited your post to take out the description of the type of self-harm your daughter does, as it can be triggering to other community members. You can have a read of our guidelines here.


You've mentioned that you've never been put in touch with other adoptive parents. Do you think that is something you'd find beneficial? It looks like there are monthly support groups for adoptive parents in your local area here, in case you wanted to look into that a bit further as well.