Secretive teen

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Secretive teen

Our fourteen year old daughter has been struggling for the last 12 months with low mood, and I’ve been worried for most of that time. We had tried to get her some counseling early this year but she was adamant she was fine. We knew she wasn’t.Things came to a head a few months ago when she deliberately overdosed, but didn’t take enough to harm herself. She came and told us immediately, absolutely hysterical. She has been seeing a psychologist since, very reluctantly. We have just found out she is self
harming and she tells us she has been for a while but won’t say how long. Although she’s not been on medication we’re now about to go down that path, as she just can’t get going on getting better without it I don’t think. She’s so secretive and doesn’t want to talk but I don’t think she can recover otherwise. She talks to me, but chooses carefully what she says. For example she told me a year ago that she is gay but refuses to talk about the self harming. Her new friendship group at school has several kids with similar issues and I think they’re all bad for each other but of course can’t that in so many words. The school is aware. She has three sisters and the whole family is so worried about her and we need to look after all of them of course. Any tips for getting her to talk, not even necessarily to us, but the psych. Have people found medication helpful?

Parent Peer Supporter

Re: Secretive teen

Hi @So_worried welcome to the Reach Out Parents forum and thank you for sharing your story.  It is very difficult and distressing knowing that your kids are self harming.  It was good that you recognised that your daughter has not been well and tried to get her help, even though she was not open to it at the time. 

 

As your daughter has been self harming for quite some time and with the recent attempted overdose, I would take your daughter to your local GP as soon as possible so they can do a mental health / safety plan for her - they can refer her to receive extra mental health support if they feel it necessary.  If you believe at any stage that your daughter is at risk of further self harm, or self-harms do not hesitate to take her to the local emergency department.  I took my daughter to emergency department every time she self harmed. 

 

My daughter has been receiving treatment (both medication and therapy) for many years, and in our experience we have found the medication extremely beneficial.  In fact, she stopped her medication last year (without our knowledge and without medical supervision) and as a result her mental health suffered severely- so we know that it works for her. 

 

Please keep in touch and let us know how things go  

Parent Peer Supporter

Re: Secretive teen

Hi @So_worried 

I forgot to mention that Reach Out have some great resources available.  To learn more about self harm Click Here and here  Hope you find these helpful?

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Re: Secretive teen

Thanks for reply Zoespace. I left out some detail in my post. I took her to the emergency department the night she attempted to OD and she was referred to CAMHS immediately. We had an appointment a few days later and then went to our GP for a psych referral. I’ve made an appointment to go back to our GP this week for medication after the last week. The self harm thing really freaked me out for a couple of days. I’m a bit more philosophical about it now. I know it’s a symptom of the depression but it’s a very graphic one. And the fact that she’s been doing it for a while is awful.
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Re: Secretive teen

Also she has a risk management plan at her school. They have been amazing.
Mod

Re: Secretive teen

You sound like you've looked at the situation from a few different lenses @So_worried which is great. The graphic nature of self-harm is very painful to see - how are you feeling around that now? Have you had time to implement your own self care? Meditation, coffee with a friend etc?

Parent Peer Supporter

Re: Secretive teen

Hi @So_worried It is a terrifying and stressful situation when your kids self-harm, and I am relieved to hear that you took your daughter to emergency straight away and got a referral to CAMHS.  My daughter was also referred to CAMHS after her first trip to emergency and we were so grateful for the wonderful support that they were able to offer my daughter. 

 

You mentioned that you are keen for your daughter to talk - Is she still seeing someone at CAMHS, and is she able to open up and talk with them?  

 

I hope the medication has a positive effect for your daughter.  I recommend that you ask your doctor what can be expected when your daughter first goes on medication, and how long it may take for it to be fully effective.  Some medications can take some time to fully work. The doctor should also make regular appointments so they can check-in with your daughter in regards to her safety and to assess how the medication is working.  

 

Feel free to let us know how things go after you meet with the doctor.

Active scribe

Re: Secretive teen

I feel your pain.  Our daughter has self-harmed in the past.  We believe it's over now, but she continues to hang with the wrong crowd at school. The kids we'd ideally like her to hang with have all disowned her.  So not telling if it will pick up again.

 

You are fortunate that you can get her to the doctor and to counseling - our daughter simply refuses to budge and it would require us to physically drag her to the doctor/specialist/etc.

 

I would love to have some wonderful words of wisdom for you  but I don't.  I do believe in medication though, and that will hopefully bring some relief for you.

 

Depending on the meds, they can take a while to kick-in and going off them is not good - try and find a way to keep tabs on ensuring she takes them!

 

R.

Parent Peer Supporter

Re: Secretive teen

Hi @So_worried, I just wanted to check in and see how things are going with your daughter? Have you had any further appointments with GP or CAMHS since your last post? 

 

Medication has really helped my daughter, so I'm grateful we've had a good mental health team who I can put my trust in and communicate openly with. A good counsellor or psychologist will take their time to build a relationship with your daughter, and hopefully then she'll feel comfortable talking with them. 

 

For yourself, there's a great ReachOut resource here on communicating with teens that offers some fantastic information and things to try. I hope that can be of help Smiley Happy

Active scribe

Re: Secretive teen

Thanks for all the replies! Our daughter started on medication a week ago. She’s only had fairly mild side effects (tummy stuff). She seems more connected and a bit brighter already. Her councillor is seeing her weekly and she seems to have accepted that she’s got to go and has stopped arguing. Her arms are healing ok and the school is letting her wear a long sleeved shirt until the end of the year. I’d love to know how things got so bad though. Her dad and I really don’t know.