Mental health meltdown

For issues specific to caring for someone with mental ill health.
108 posts
Sadly, they can! And do!

But yes, fighting is the only way to change injustice - it was every so.

The trouble is, until these problems hit us personally, we just don't realise how dire the situation is -
Good morning
I have been trying to support a young lady who is suffering quite badly with her mental health issues. I thought she was doing so much better with this recent admisoon. She has been in hospital for 7 weeks now on this occasion and appeared to be beginning to manage her mental health. She was positive. ..responded well on her meds and seemed ready with all the planned community support for her to be ready to be discharged. The hospital had arranged her to be discharged tomorrow and she was happy with this. She was allowed home leave on Tuesday and was to return to the hospital tomorrow to be discharged and taken off her section. Yesterday she overdosed again and after treatment in A&E went back to the hospital this morning. It breaks my heart seeing someone in so much turmoil and battling with their mental health. She's telling me she's tired of trying to beat this and just tired in general. She has a little girl who will be 1 in a couple of months who is currently being looked after by her mom. I'm here for her at any time she knows that as her relationship with her mom hasn't always been the best. I'm finding it so difficult and extremely upsetting seeing her struggling so hard to try and battle with this. I'm so passionate about mental health but I'm beginning to wonder if a future career in this sector is for me. I have experienced people close to me struggling with their mental health and I feel powerless at times as to how to help. Sorry for waffling on I'm just feeling sad seeing a beautiful bright 20 year old young lady hurting so much. I have no easy answers for her and if I had a magic wand I'd take it away for her.
Christine
Christine, hi

Yes, very hard to see one so young so afflicted.

What is wrong with her?

What can't she cope with? (as in, why can't she cope with life?)

Tell us a little more...
Hi jenny
She has depression, severe anxiety and emotional personality disorder. It is difficult to witness and I'm struggling to understand exactly what it is that she finds hard to cope with. She tells me that she puts on a display for others showing that she's ok because she feels she has to get better for everyone else. She feels it's a expectation...that people will only accept her without her mental health problems. I've tried explaining that she has to get better for herself. She feels that no one will accept her as the person she is currently and she's tired of trying to please everyone else. It's almost as though whilst she is in hospital she's safe where as outside she isn't. This is why when she has been hospitalised when it approaches discharge she will take a overdose. I know there were issues in her early childhood and she was taken into care at the age of 13 after several attempts to take her life. Mom felt she couldn't keep her safe. She has had continous admissions over the years and does not seem to be able to get a handle on her mental health. She is currently on a section 2 and was due to be discharged tomorrow. I don't know what the answer is because she just doesn't seem to be able to cope outside. She did well for a time after her daughter was born but it crept back up on her and she knew it which is why she made the heartbreaking decision to place her daughter with mom whilst again she tried to cope with her mental health. It seems she can have small good periods but then just as quickly she can relapse.
Xx
It sounds like she needs a very 'sheltered environment' for the time being, not in hospital, but not out in the 'brute real world' as yet.

A kind of 'halfway house' Do such places exist? They need to, for the world is full of wounded people...

One thought - if she feels 'useless', then if SHE started to help OTHERS, she might realise that she is NOT 'useless' at all.

Many 'wounded souls' can find that helping to look after animals in need is the ideal thing for them. The animals aren't human, yet can respond to affection and care.

My niece, who, also, has 'inexplicable' (ie, sort of 'illogical', ie, 'no reason for it'!) depression and anxiety is a real 'animal' person. She is very good with them, and bonds 'instantly'.

If your charge could see that her skills are actually needed by 'needy animals' then she could start to improve her own self-worth, and realise she has 'work to do' in this world, and should not therefore remove herself from it....

I completely understand how 'coping with other people' is so, so hard for her. Animals are much, much easier!

Just a thought....
Thank you for your reply jenny
I will mention this to her. I think this would benefit her greatly
I would suggest it 'gently, gently'. Can you perhaps present it to her as something along the lines of:

'I help out at an animal sanctuary/refuge, and they can always use some extra hands. Do come along with me one day.'

You'll needt o set that up beforehand, obviously! Take 'sweet' photos of cute dogs and cats and bunny rabbits to lure her....??

It may not work at all (ask her mum how she is with animals in the first place - some people are 'psycho-allergic' - I have a friend who can't stand 'small wriggly furry things' - she's a bit phobic!)

But it might be worth a try, all the same.

Another good ''first volunteering' option is to help out at a charity shop. Choose carefully, but the back room where they sort the donations is often a quiet, but friendly and busy place. Full of oldies like me usually! Older women may be 'easier' for her. Her most 'threatening' group is probably her own age group - especially blokes. It will make her feel the most self-conscious about herself.

What are her own skills? eg, sewing, languages, maths, etc??

Is the father of her baby still involved with her at all?
Hi Jenny
I've had a brief chat with her and she seems keen so we will explore this some more. Thank you for the suggestion, this could be something that would benefit her. She likes Arts and Crafts and Hair and Beauty. I think a charity shop is a fab idea😊 baby's dad isn't around. .it was pretty much her doing the parenting although be fore she relapsed her mom had her daughter twice a week which she found a huge help. She cannot see a light at the end of the tunnel right now and feels she is always going to feel the way she is at the moment but I have spoken with her and tried to reassure her that things will get better. Her self esteem is pretty low and we have explored ways of helping her raise her self esteem which seem to be slowly showing improvement. She sees the girl who cannot seem to get a handle on her mental health. ...I see a intelligent. ..beautiful young lady that is just having a bad time lately with her mental health. She thinks she is a lost cause which is upseting to hear but I try to reassure her she is loved and valued and she will not always feel like this. I think voluntary work will give her the distraction she needs and will give her something to occupy herself with. I'll keep posted on her progress
Many thanks again Jenny
Christine x
That all sounds positive - well done!

I do think 'keeping busy' is key. Dark thoughts prey on minds that are not occupied, and far better she is occupied on 'busy-busy' things, especially practical manual ones, that are nice and 'ordinary'.

If she likes Arts and Crafts, can she start making things? I always know my niece is 'up' when she is joining her mum with needlework, or making hand made cards, that sort of thing.

As for health and beauty, I wonder if there might be any volunteering opportunities at, say, support groups for the elderly? My local church, for example, holds a fortnightly 'afternoon tea' session for elderly people, and it's a social event for them. Volunteers bring cakes they've baked and so on. I'm wondering whether she could do anything like hairstyling, or make up for them maybe (the women, I would think, not the men!!!)

Again, I say 'elderly' because by and large they are the age group likely to be least 'threatening' to her, and most 'motherly' and she might find that reassuring?

The other thing, of course, might be helping with special needs children?? Any opportunities there, do you think?

And what about her baby (I'm sorry the dad isn't involved, but at least that makes it emotionally simpler). I know this wil lbe hard for her, but we know, of course, that babies MUST bond well with their mothers, or problems are being stored up for ater life. I appreciate she isn't up to being a full time, hands on mother, probably far too stressful for her, and a stressed mother isn't good for a baby either, but I do hope she has enough 'contact time' with the baby.

I know this sounds odd, but maybe point out to her that in 'olden days' it was extremely common (if not usually admitted!) for children to be raised as if they were the children of their own grandparents. In other words, an adult or teenage daughter 'got into trouble' (ie, got pregnant unmarried) but to 'save appearances' etc, it was the pregnant girl's mum who 'had the baby', and so the baby was raised with what she thought was a 'big sister' who was actually her mother. (The author Catherine Cookson recalls how she discovered the truth - raised by her 'gran' in Newcastle). (In those days, middle aged women often got caught 'on the change' and found themselves pregnant in their fifties)(my own great grandmother was nearly older than her own youngest uncle!!!!)

I'm glad this young girl has you to help her. Wishing you all the best with her, and for her - Jenny
Good evening Jenny
She does maintain regular contact with her daughter and I also worry about later life effects due to bonding. At her best she is a lovely mother to her little girl and she misses her terribly. ...she struggles when her mental health takes a bad turn which then upsets her more. She feels a failure as a mother because she cannot look after her daughter right now and this just adds to her anxiety. I have spoken to her about your idea for maybe volunteering within a church group setting and she feels she is not in the best place right now to do this. I did say that this could be something that may benefit her as she begins to feel better and not right now. Her mental health team are going to reassess her and explore other possible options that can help her feel more able to cope with the outside world. It's a slow process which I have explained to her....she's anxious that she may never get better but I can understand that. She likes cooking also so we are going to see if there are any possibilities in that area
Xx
108 posts