Avatar universal

Could you please send me some strength and advice? (first post) TW

I needed to find a place to vent outside my country.
Trigger warning: Suicide, self-harm, eating disorder, depression, anxiety

This is me:
* Single mum, 36 years old.
* Great connection with ex-husband, we're still good friends and my children's bonusmother + his wife and I get along well.
* My daughter is 14, my son is 11
* I am a fulltime student
* I work part time
* I live in a small community (5000 inhabitants), on a remote island.
* Both children have had the British Covid-19 mutation. I mention that due to its cognitive long-term effects.
* I have previously been struggling with a deep depression, was suicidal for ten years and had several attempts "behind me". Fully recovered today.

My daughter began "changing" in December. From the lively, playful, funny, outgoing, day-dreaming kid, to a secluded, depressed, anxiety-ridden, anorexic, self-harming, suicidal teenager. These five months have been rough. The last part I had a gut-feeling about the past weeks, and it was confirmed two days ago when, while fetching some plates and glasses in her room, I found a letter she had written where she had planned her funeral. It had been ripped out of her diary, and I took the liberty to read it. Sorry, not sorry. She had updated the funeral plan to a new one + what seems to be the beginning of a suicide note. She had finished it mid-sentence, which, in my logic meant she was still planning it.

During the easter we had already been to the E.R to get her help, which she wanted herself (a great sign!), After a lot backwards and forwards the school nurse contacted me five days ago telling me the only psychologist on the island is on sick-leave, they don't know when he will return. I guess this is when she wrote her new funeral plan.

So I called the E.R and demanded they help her. I told them all I knew, that I'd also started finding bloody toilet paper in her bedroom due to self-harm, and that I was worried she was going to off herself. They were able to admit her to a hospital and we left the same day. I stopped midway following my gut feeling to buy a safe for all medication in my house.

We were admitted to a closed psychiatric ward for teenagers. Here it is required the parent or guardian stays the first night. A doctor and nurse had a talk with the both of us where I mentioned everything again from my point of view, and she nodded or shook her head to some questions. We were given a room with two beds, they removed anything she could harm herself with and left us there.

Yesterday (day 2) we were told another doctor and nurse would evaluate her, and talk to me. They talked to her first, an myself ten minutes later. They said she had asked for me to stop coming in to her room and "glaring" at her. I told them its true that I do come into her room, but I am her mother and I know my daughter is not ok, that she is struggling and feels lonely. And I hope that one time those 10-20 seconds extra of lingering after I have told her it's dinner will be that one time she reaches out and says "mum, wait... can you stay". They told me my lingering had caused her to self-harm, though my gut-feeling tells me she is saying that to manipulate (it wouldn't be the first time). I promised I wouldn't linger, and she has promised not to do anything stupid.

We have something called "children and teenager psychiatric" here in Norway, aka BUP. We were told they would contact BUP and that they would get back to us first thing Tuesday so that she wouldn't get lost in the system. So we have promised not to do anything to cause a conflict until then. They discharged us, as they didn't believe (from what she had told them) she was in an immediate risk of harming herself.

Anyway, we got home and I "collapsed" in bed. Really short I have several autoimmune diagnoses + two trapped nerves in my brain which are triggered when I cry, and I had been holding it all in as to not bring attention to myself. I wasn't able to sleep so I downloaded tiktok to see if I could find any more answers. Back in March I had promised my daughter not to look at her account on tiktok, and I deleted tiktok to prove to her I wasn't "stalking her". Anyway, downloaded it again, found her open account pretty fast and discovered any gut feeling I had was true:
For 6 weeks she had been posting that she is planning to kill herself, how (jumping off a tall structure), self-harm, eating disorder, just anything- in detail. She has posted things like "next week I'm doing it.... bye". And the same "friends" have been commenting "don't you dare do it before me", "we can do it together", "don't do it, you can fight this" +++.
The latest video she posted she said she had been to the hospital and that she lied about everything to them just so she could get out. In a comment to someone else she wrote she will tell BUP everything (which, of course brings me hope that she's planning to last that long). She had also posted a video saying "mum just showed me where she keeps all her painkillers". I remember she complained about a headache this day. So my gut-feeling in buying a safe was right. (Guns isn't a thing here in Norway, so I don't have to worry about that)...
Also worth mentioning we live 1 km away from a very tall bridge, and the last person who killed himself in our county jumped off the bridge. It's the go - to place for those wanting to end it here.

So yeah, I'm really tired. I don't know what to do, and I know that anything I do and don't do is wrong or right.

I have tried confiscating her phone or turning off the internet, but then she has ended up self-harming, so that is not a solution.

I'm sure I have forgotten something, but I am SO tired. I have to go to work today, so I'm making a deal with her that I will send her a message which she MUST reply to, or I'll come right home. I work 5 minutes away from home.

Another short term solution I have made is that we have two budgies and have wished for another one for several months. My daughter told me the other day that "if we get a new bird I want to call it Quackity. So yesterday I found a woman selling a 7 week old budgie which we're driving to pick up in half an hour. She will be responsible for the budgie while I'm at work.

PS: My son knows little of what is going on apart from that she is struggling with food, as this is the most obvious one.

3 Responses
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Avatar universal
I've been where you are and I am so sorry you're dealing with this. My son is now 20. He also spent some time in a psychiatric hospital for being a threat to himself and to us (rages, threats of suicide, etc.). If you have a place there where she could go get longer term care, that would be my suggestion. It sounds like she may need a real change of environment and a separation from the family to get some perspective and to receive all day every day therapy. Are you familiar with the changes that occur in the adolescent brain? These changes make a huge difference in their thoughts, emotions and behavior. Also, depression and other mental illnesses can be hereditary so you have that aspect of it that may also be impacting her brain function (plus perhaps COVID). I would suggest learning all you can about emotional intelligence as well. My son and I both locked horns because neither of us had any awareness of our own emotions and no ability to regulate them. We both suffer from terrible anxiety. I started this research after my son turned 18 and have tons of stuff I could send you that I've written if there's a way to do that. The biggest thing I would say is that you need to make sure to stay as calm as possible despite the storm going on in your house. Telling her you understand how she feels - that you've been that depressed and you get it. Letting her know you validate her feelings and empathize is the first thing scientific research tells us to do with our kids when they are upset (read about emotion coaching and authoritative or positive parenting). You are very wise to get rid of anything that she could use to harm herself and I would want her under 24-hour a day watch if possible until this is addressed in therapy or counseling or a long term program. Please let me know if there's a way I can send you things to read - I know your pain and I hope you can find the right kind of help there.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
I havent been in your position but I hope you find a way to get through it.    I think just trying to keep her engaged and maybe immersed in new experiences if you can afford it.  She needs positive experiences to get her mind off things, anything to raise her mood.  But I am not an expert, its just what I might try until you can get her diagnosed and treated
Helpful - 0
3191940 tn?1447268717
I don't have any great advice for you, but I did want you to know I read every word of your post, and I am SO sorry for everything you're going through.  My daughter is now an adult, but struggled with addiction throughout her teens until her mid-20's.  along with some violent and other self-harming behaviors.  

I definitely don't know what the solution is, even still.  She went through years of rehab and therapy, and is currently on the right track in life, and is  stable.  I hope the doctors are able  to find a way to help her.  It is absolutely exhausting, I know.  Hugs and best wishes to you on this stressful journey, and please stop back and let us know how it's going.  
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