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My 16 yr old daughter has severe low self image, engaged in self harm and been hospitalized twice

My 16 yr old daughter has severe low self image, engaged in self harm and been hospitalized twice

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heather1974

My 16 yr old daughter has severe low self image, engaged in self harm and been hospitalized twice

I really don't know what to say right now with everything that has been going on the past several months. I discovered that my daughter has been engaging in severe self harm. I have had to bring her to the hospital twice and she has been hospitalized twice in inpatient facilities. I was aware of her struggling with depression and anxiety and I have been taking her to a therapist and psychiatrist this past 6 months. My family has a history of bipolar, ptsd, depression and anxiety. I am so devastated that my daughter is experiencing this. When I viewed the psychological report from her recent inpatient evaluation, it report that she has a very low self image, bordering on self hate, along with issues with her father leaving and coming back into her life (We have been divorced for 10 years). I work in mental health and I have done everything I can to support her that I know to do. I have locked up all the medicine and anything dangerous in the house. This second time she had hidden some objects in her room. Both suicide attempts, she came and told me in my room that she had "messed up" so I was at least grateful that she came and told me and didn't get any worse in her room for hours, although I always check on them (she has an older sister) but I was in my room working on the computer. Its so scary to me because she will be fine one minute and then her mood will plummet to horrible lows that are frightening. I am going to pick her up today from her second hospitalization. They have changed her meds and she seems to sounds better and the dr is confident she has a good support network. Meanwhile I am stressed to incredible levels. I don't know what to do. I have tried to encourage her hobbies and get her supplies (art, poetry), engage her in family activities and use positive self talk and praise to show her how wonderful she is. Here it is Christmas and I only want my daughter to feel confident and have a desire to live and engage with the world. I guess I just need some support and ideas and something beyond what I have set up for her and help with processing all of this. I am worried about her coming home so soon. Although she will have weekly therapy and med management I can't watch her every single moment after I go back to work after the holidays. I have family that has offered to help but I know she will be resistant to being carted around to family to be supervised. I have a schedule set up to help her maintain a good sleep routine, take her meds, do her hygiene and eat regularly. I never thought things would get so desperate and scary. I don't want to lose my daughter. I never criticize or ridicule her for any of her thoughts. We have honest conversations about how she feels. I encourage her love of music and the other things I mentioned and I have worked with her on coping strategies. But the reality is that she is not well. This is breaking my heart. I haven't been able to talk with anyone about how this is affecting me and I wonder if I will just crack apart at the seams at this point. I am on medication myself, but even the medication is not satisfactory for the level of stress I am going through. I am trying to stay hopeful and positive, but as I take this drive to get her today, from yet another facility, my heart will be heavy and worried. What else should I do? Her father is not involved enough and she resents him for leaving her at a young age after our divorce. My family is supportive but 2 hr away. I don't have many friends because I have been so focused on my children and have struggled being laid off this year because of coronavirus. I am finally back to work and do a lot of work from home, thank goodness. But being a single mom splits you so many ways. Its hard to juggle it all without dropping all of the balls.

For anyone reading this, I just needed to vent and get some help to brainstorm some new ideas. I have done everything I know to do as well as what the professionals have guided me to do. I have read books, done research and tried to talk with her about my own struggles with anxiety and depression. I have been able to stabilize as I have gotten older, but I was much tougher to deal with when I was her age. I was hoping my children wouldn't have to inherit this part of me. I am so overwhelmed and feeling so much I can hardly concentrate. This is so difficult and painful. I just want her to get through this and feel good about herself. 

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Sophia-RO

Re: My 16 yr old daughter has severe low self image, engaged in self harm and been hospitalized twic

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Hello @heather1974 , I am so sorry to hear about what you and your family have been through. I can't imagine how tough it must have been. I thought I might pop in and offer some support until some other parents can offer their advice. It sounds like you have been so supportive of your daughter and that you have considered lots of ways to support her. That is really amazing and shows how much you care about your daughter Heart

 

Great to hear that you have already connected your daughter with professional supports, I hope that she has found them to be helpful over the last 6 months. Hopefully they have been able to work with your daughter and help her manage the intense feelings and thoughts that she has been having. It is also so great that you have been trying to reintroduce some positive coping strategies into your daughters life. Re-sparking her interests in music and art and allowing her to express herself in those outlets can be quite helpful. From the sounds of it, you have a supportive relationship with your daughter, so I am wondering if you have had discussions with her before around safety and self-harming? I think that you might have before as your daughter had approached you when she was concerned, but just in case, you might find having a discussion with her around staying safe and the best ways to manage her thoughts of suicide (whether that be calling a local helpline or talking to yourself) to be helpful. Having a discussion like that might also help you feel a bit more at ease once your daughter comes back home.

 

From what you have described, you are going through something really tough at the moment and mentioned feeling overwhelmed, which is understandable. If you don't already receive support from a professional, you might find talking to a professional therapist or psychologist to be really helpful. We are an Australian service so unfortunately our local support options won't be suitable, however I did find this service that offers telephone counselling to parents. It looks like it could be useful if you ever feel like it would help to talk to someone about what you are going through. Heart I also just wanted to quickly let you know that I have had to edit some parts of your post to make sure that it fits with our community guidelines. You can have a read of these here if you would like Smiley Happy

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VesnaPicc

Re: My 16 yr old daughter has severe low self image, engaged in self harm and been hospitalized twic

I feel for you as my 12 and a half year old has already done self harm and has been in hospital twice not for a lengthy stay but just ED. I am so afraid of her and what is happening. When she spirals she can be extremely violent and abusive. I have a younger daughter who is 7 who is being exposed and seeing all of this.
Casual scribe
heather1974

Re: My 16 yr old daughter has severe low self image, engaged in self harm and been hospitalized twic

I didn't realize I violated anything. I was just trying to share and be honest. I dont understand what it was I said. Well thanks for your suggestions. I was trying to find some where to express myself. I wish you guys the best
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TOM-RO

Re: My 16 yr old daughter has severe low self image, engaged in self harm and been hospitalized twic

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Hi @heather1974,

 

It's great that you have reached out here for support and that's what our forums are here for. Your honesty is really appreciated, but we do also have guidelines around no posting explicit details about things like methods of suicide as they sometimes can be triggering for other people to read. 

 

We hope that offers a bit more clarification, and you might also find giving National Parent Helpline a ring helpful, too.