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Too scared to change things- what about me! - Carers UK Forum

Too scared to change things- what about me!

For issues specific to caring for someone with mental ill health.
Hi all,
I'm writing this because I really need to vent I am feeling so low and tired today and finding it hard to carry on. I am a full time career for my 15 yr old daughter who suffers from mental health problems. She is a frequent self harmed and very rarely leaves my side ( to the extent that she sleeps in the same bed as me) I gave up work last June to be home with her permenantly as she attempted for the second time to take her life and a year on and nothing has really changed. Over
the year she has tried a couple of different meds and now is on citaplram which seems to take the edge off of her anxiety and whilst we exist in our house she seems to be ok. She hasn't sat her GCSEs as she was too anxious to attend a medical tuition centre and and in August she will turn 16.
With the help of the LSA from the medical tuition and CAMHS we are attempting to get her into a small college course with only 4 students in September however I feel is not going to happen. She has recently started asking me questions about benefit entitlements and if when she turns 16 her DLA will be hers. It seems to me she has become accustomed to hiding away at home and doesn't want to confront her anxiety or change her life. Any attempts I make to encourage to go to the college for a visit or engage with people of her own age results in her verbalising suicidal thoughts or at A&E having stitches for deep cuts to her arms. I feel like my life is so hopeless I feel trapped and unappreciated and worn down by the fear that she's will take her own life. I'm scared that she will not only miss so many opportunities but will also expect me to remain at home for the foreseeable future looking after her which I absolutely cannot do for the sake of my own mental health.
Hi Anne Marie
My heart goes out to you for being in such a difficult situation. My son has anxiety issues too and we are working through them with a mix of 'firm love' and counselling. It took 2 years to get him into counselling.
His behaviours aren't as strong as your daughter's however, so may I suggest you contact the Parents helpline at young minds https://youngminds.org.uk/find-help/for-parents/

There's a lot of useful info on the site too, and your daughter may find it useful to know she's not alone.
The Mix is another good site for her too http://www.themix.org.uk

Hopefully you can find support to help you 'support' her rather than 'enable' her to stay the same. It's hard when they threaten or injure themselves but the sites I've linked should be able to help.

Couple of thoughts.

Can you fix up a bed BESIDE your bed? So she is not 'in' your bed, but adjacent. I used to do this when my son was little, so that he had (when he had night terrors) somewhere to come in the night and snuggle in, and I could hold his hand, but he was still in his own bed.

Second thought - this might sound a bit odd, but is there any chance you could do GCSE's WITH her?? Could you find some classes (small ones!) where you could BOTH go, and study together, and even take the exam with her?

Final thought - if she finds social interaction with her peers really hard, could she have someone her age come to your house, where she feels safer on her own territory??

Is she on any forums? It's so much easier to be 'un-shy' when on a forum, as no one knows who you are!

Even if GCSEs, or if not, can you and she do things jointly 'out of the house' - whether that's going shopping, or, better still, something like maybe craft classes???

I do undersand how crippling social anxiety can be. I was very shy myself, and other people in my peer group (espcecially male ones) gterrified me. My niece had chronic social anxiety, and although she got into art college she simply could not face going into class. Ironically, my SIL had also studied art and was deserpate to go 'back to college' herself, and was incredibly enthused just visiting her and going round the college. I think my SIL found it incredibly hard to understand WHY her daughter was so terrified by the things that SHE had adored. It's hard, hard, hard to be SO terrified to the world and everyone else in it.....

I would say, overall, the strategy has to be 'tiny steps' BUT 'steps' - as in, yes, they may be tiny steps, but tiny though they are, she must make them.....

If you read on this forum you will see a lot of correspondence about the vital difference between 'supporting' someone with mental health issues (which is about 'progress' to wards a better place, however slow the process) and merely 'enabling' the person to 'stay where they are'.

Our terror for our children can make us stick with 'enablement' ....

I'm only a lay person, so you must read this in that light, but I fear, that one aspect of 'suicidal thoughts' by the MH person is that they 'know' at some level that it is, at the worst level, a kind of 'blackmail' of their carer, in order to keep their carer in 'enablement' mode.......BUT, that's all very well if that is so, the really difficult question is what to DO in practice if that kind of 'don't make me progress! Or I'll do something appalling!'.....

What do her therapists say??? Any clues on what you should best do?

Wishing you all the best possible at such a worrying time. Kind regards, Jenny
hi, Thank you for your replies.

i totally agree with you Jenny both on the enablement point and also on the blackmail comment.
There is definitely an aspect of control in our relationship, she is the loudest voice in our house and has a lot of power. Sometimes i think she displays aspects of BPD but i think is too young for that diagnosis.

Her therapists say we should persevere with little steps towards college but says i may need to accept that isn't what she wants to do however i know she wont be able to work or volunteer so not going to college to me means not doing anything.
She can cope with other young people who she knows and spends time with my two nieces who are both a bit younger but her struggle is with young people as a population (so to speak) she was bullied quite badly in secondary school and then struck up a friendship with a man online who basically groomed her and did illegal things he has since been prosecuted and is on the sex offenders register so i totally understand why she doesn't feel safe in the outside world but my frustration is that she is point blank refusing to deal with this fear and address these issues and bad memories that she is carrying.
The good news is after 5 months on the waiting list CAMHS are finally offering one to one trauma therapy which starts in July, i am really hoping that this is going to help her
Ever such a brief and sketchy reply as it's so late.

Great re enablement/supportive -

BUT, re the power business, can you ever call her bluff? Or does that result in self-harming to 'show' you that you can't 'make' her (as she sees it!) change?

On here a while ago, another mum with a daughter (older than yours) with MH issues mentioned 'secondary gain'....I'd never heard of it but boy does it make sense! (My niece definitely definitely definitely gets a huge amount of secondary gain from all her physical and mental ailments - they are her total 'get out of responsibility free' card.......)

V. glad you are getting some attention from Cams....
Hi Ann Marie
I'd suggest putting college on a back burner for now. Once she's functioning better she can go to college or get qualifications later. Best now just to get her into therapy and then the outside world.
One step at a time.
Maybe small steps and slow, but she will get there.

While she is getting help, what are you doing for your own mental health and well-being? Do you get a break? Exercise? A period of calm? If you are tired and stressed you won't be able to support her as much as you'd like. Its important you look after you.