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my daughters mental health issues - Carers UK Forum

my daughters mental health issues

For issues specific to caring for someone with mental ill health.
I am new to this group and also new to being a carer.

I feel a little lost at the moment as i have assumed a role im not sure im capable of!

My 15 year old has been having some mental health problems for over a year, she was self harming last summer and gradually became more and more reclusive, refusing to go to school , being very verbally and physically agressive and difficult to manage.
She had been attending an education group within the school grounds and wouldnt walk around the school with other students or attend the canteen etc. There was no actual bullying happening but she is a big girl and i think some students did make her feel uncomfortable with taunts however i dont feel this has been the root cause of her mental health issues.
6 weeks ago she attempted to take her own life. was admitted to hospital and then discharged the next day. we had an appt with CAMHs who told us it was a 6 month waiting list and then 2 weeks later she texted a friend saying she was planning to walk out in front of a car, luckily the friend told a teacher who called me and i was able to keep her in the house. we were then offered an immediate CAMHs appointment as she is now considered high risk.

Since the second suicide attempt i have been off work with a sick certificate, CAMHs, the school and i all feel that leaving her alone is a safeguarding issue as she may attempt to harm herself again .
I am now with her 24 hours a day , she even sleeps in my bed with me, she will not leave the house without me , in fact to be honest i dont think she would even get out of bed in the morning without my coaxing, She isnt sleeping well and most nights i am up with her until 2am. Her moods fluctuate between being so low and sad she just lays on the sofa crying to mad rages where everything in sight is flung around the room and im subject to a tirade of abuse and forceful psychical movements ( she has never hit me but will push, nudge and shout in my face) to elevated moods where she is loud, giggling uncontrollably, whooping and cant seem to calm down.
She will not interact in any social activity and needs encouragement and support to even complete the simplist thing such as paying for goods in a shop.
She is seeing a psychologist at CAMHs once a week she attends these appointments on her own and will not discuss things with me or with me present.
I am not sure as to whether we are lookign for a diagnosis such as BPD or Bipolar or if this behaviour is depression and anxiety? Does it matter?

I suppose the purpose of this post is for advice on how to move forward. I have suggested to her psychologist that medication may be needed to stabilise her moods and to help with the anxiety but he has said he would rather try to help her manage it with behavioural therapy- my argument is that she dosent seem in a frame of mind to challenge her own behaviours at the moment. I feel that although i am really grateful for their help that CAMHs are only addressing the behaviours that my daughter will allow them to see and that things at home are coming to a point where i cannot cope with her and that i never get a break from the constant mood swings- i dont feel they understand how bad things are but im worried to tell them that im not sure how much longer i can cope with the lack of sleep etc.
After a meeting with my manager yesterday we have agreed that i will hand my notice in , i cannot give her a clear indication of when i could return to work and as year 11 approaches i feel things will get worse for my daughter before they get better.
I am now faced with the maze of applying for benefits ( i am a single mum my older son has moved out)
I have no experience of claiming DLA and would be grateful to anyone who could share their experience of claiming DLA and whether we would meet the criteria for this?

Any advice, suggestions or sharing of similar experiences would be much appreciated.

Ann Marie
Hello Anne Marie and welcome to the forum :)

I have absolutely no experience of what you are going with through with your daughter, so can offer no advice on that score (I'm sure other members with experience will be along later to offer suggestions/advice) but with regards to DLA and benefits generally I'd suggest that you contact the Carers UK Adviceline for expert advice.
Need expert advice? You can talk to the Carers UK Adviceline five days a week, no matter where you are in the UK or how complex your query is. We do benefits checks and advise on financial and practical matters related to caring.

0808 808 7777
Open Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm

The Carers UK Adviceline also includes a listening service, there for you to talk through your caring situation with a trained volunteer who understands what you are going through. Available Mondays and Tuesdays, from 9am to 7pm.
The telephone lines are often oversubscribed so it's usually better to make your initial enquiry by email.
Dear Ann Marie - this is a desperate and frightening situation you are in - I do feel for you (as a mum of a young adult myself)

Firstly, I do know that there are quite a few members here who are looking after a teen or young adult with MH problems, some very severe, as your daughter's seems to be (ie, similar safeguarding issues), and I'm sure they will be here soon to offer you their hard-earned insight.

I just wanted to say that in respect of your job, would it be possible for some kind of 'gardening leave' to be agreed, whereby you take unpaid absence, but don't formally resign. This is in the hope that your daughter's condition will stabilise and you could resume your work. (That said, I'm not sure what happens in respects of benefits etc, but again, there are both experienced members here, and the CUK's own experts, to guide you.)

Finally, from what little knowledge I do have of MH in my family, what I understand is that counselling/therapy does NOT take place until the person has been on some form of medication to stabilise their state of mind! This is what my niece (in her thirties now, with life-long depression) was told when she applied for therapy. The rationale, I believe, is that while patients are at their worst, therapy can't 'take hold' so to speak, and the meds will bring the patients to an initial, relatively stable starting place from which therapy can then aid their improvement and hopefully their recovery.

Also, if suicide attempts are in the frame, then surely that must escalate her 'care status' and trigger more involved and indepth attention to her by the MH services?

Meds may well not be 'the answer', but they can be 'an answer', and provide a break from the torment in her head, the stress it is causing both her and you, and making her more receptive of therapy. If they don't actually do any harm (ie, in the short term at least), surely it would be acceptable for her to try them out, and see if that helps at all? What is clear is that the current situation is unsustainable. (In a way, it's very laudable that the therapist is reluctant to 'pill push' but actually, this may be what is needed at this particular stage????)

Wishing you all the very, very best, at such a distressing time for you and your daughter - kindest regards ,Jenny

PS There are quite a lot of postings on the subject of young adult MH, so maybe browsing those will give you some psychological support and ideas as well???
thank you for the reply.
Ive decided to keep a diary of her behaviours at home and give them to CAMHs. Hopefully this will help them see how her behaviour fluctuates and why I feel we need medication.
Living and caring for your daughter in her current state sounds very stressful. I have gone through living with some of this behaviour (for different reasons,) with S and understand the toll it takes on someone. Living on the edge, lack of sleep and lack of any break also affects your ability to cope and stay calm.

Keeping a diary is an excellent idea. Also, if possible is there anyway you could discretely video her to show the breadth of her highs and lows? When I was trying to get S's seizures recognised, it was the clip of him having one that made the difference and got my concerns taken seriously.

thank you Melly1
we have an appointment on Thursday this week, if I still feel they aren't listening then I will try to gather some evidence with a recording. that's a really good idea, Thank you
Hi Ann Marie,
Keep us posted.

Hello Ann Marie,my 17 year old daughter has had mental health issues for 5 years now,last year social services got involved due to the amount of hospital admissions she had had in a year,Self harm,suicide attempts,eating disorders (ignored because she is a big girl),social anxiety, hearing voices.She was at a high pressure Grammar school,and has been cyber bullied by peer group encouraging her to end her life.Camhs support is poor and patchy,we do have a good psychiatrist,and did have help from the intensive family support service.Be prepared to fight constantly.My daughter was admitted to a Tier 4 psychiatric unit last October til January this year,I was totally against this,but it did help her.Things at the moment are steadily improving, It's just an idea,but read up on Borderline personality disorder and see if ant of it applies,and please contact me for support
Clare cxx
Hello. I've been and still in ur situation. My husband and my son for many yrs. I had to give my job up. Plz keep on at the GP. They don't like prescribing tablets at a young age but if you keep going and tell them how things are they may listen. Sorry to say but it was only when my son turned 18 and left cahmms that he got better help. They never helped my son and he was under them for 9 yrs. Please get a good relationship with ur gp. I never asked for help with my husband until it was to late. Now I ask right away with my son even for a time y little thing. U gotta also look after urself good luck
Hello Anne Marie
How is your Daughter and how you are coping ?
I see you have been given some good advice here so I don't want to repeat.
I read your story and it very much resembles my own with my Son when he first began to display behaviour that I did not recognise.
We had a good doctor who first arranged an appointment with a psychologist, then a psychiatric nurse who arranged for us to see a psychiatrist.
He was given medication, different ones with the dosage being altered to suit. He had dreadful side affects from many but eventually we got it right but it took some years I have to say. Sadly he too tried to take his own life on a number of occasions and used to tell me he would walk out in front of a bus much to my horror. He too at times would sleep in my bed as he was terrified of his psychotic episodes, he'd be screaming! We tried to keep as much as normal as possible for our younger Son and my Husband and I did all we could to keep life going on as usual.
Like most parents our Son was and is our responsibility and we did and have always done our best to keep him as well as possible for everyone's sake.
His recent stroke has not helped him I have to say but once again we offer him our full support as a family.
With the benefit system we just took one step at a time and had help.
What I found over the years was to take things one step at a time and not look too far ahead. That's how we coped and we still do the same now.
I hope with time and experience your Daughter and yourself will do better.
Kind regards