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Dolly54
Casual Contributor

Self harm destructive 21

Hi guys first post but been dealing with daughter 21 who selfharms whenever she gets stressed or anxious. The slightest things can set her off, she had goals in life to live with Friends have a dog and a stable job. She's done this and still self harms when things are too much in life even the little things. 
we help her as much as we can. Communication was bad but it's better now we all know she harms . Been in and out of hospital put in mental health plan which is soo slow and useless . Now she's living with bf her dog snd making a home . She has started a new job . Her bf came to me recently said he needs help. 
He thought she was gonna dye and she'd told him not to tell me. Bf told her he needed help and had come to us. She took it well. We all chatted told her we are here fir her she's not a burden or let down which she thinks she is . Both her and bf have lost weight . I thought she was getting better until now my head is spinning I could have lost her . Looking at getting her proberky diagnosed she won't take any meds from doctors again but when on them is calmer. Help 

9 REPLIES 9

Re: Self harm destructive 21

Dear @Dolly54 ,

 

Thank you for sharing. I'm sorry things are so tough. I'm sure it is so challenging to see your child self-harm, knowing you can't help her.

 

I am glad that you are able to speak to her openly about it. This is so important. I'm not a parent, but I've worked with many young people who self-harm. I myself went through a stage of self-harming.

 

From experience, I make sure the person does not feel 'judged' by their self-harming actions. SH is usually a result of something, rather than the root cause. And as you've identified, your daughter SHs when she is stressed.

 

When I work with young people, I try and not focus on the SH. Rather, I focus on the cause. For example, for someone who SHs because of anxiety, I would try working with the anxiety rather than the SH. Young people often hide their SH because they think they will be seen as 'bad'. If we can reassure them that this is not the case, they will be more likely to open up.

 

Does your daughter see a psychologist to work with her anxiety? Perhaps this is something to work towards. However, she needs to feel ready - it is not easy.

 

@Dolly54 , I urge you to continue reaching out. Do you have supports for yourself, as a carer? Does her bf have supports? Mental health care plans can also support carers. 

 

All the best. 

BPDSurvivor

Re: Self harm destructive 21

Hi @Dolly54 I'm sorry to hear things are so stressful. It sounds like you're a caring and understanding parent to her, and it's really awesome you've found a way to talk about her mental health more openly recently.

I imagine it would be really worrying to find out that she's not okay when you thought she was? Sometimes people can be really good at hiding when stuff is getting bad, because when we feel bad we can sometimes feel less open to asking for help?

Sometimes when people we care about get sick and we don't know, we can feel guilty, and feel like there's something we should have noticed? It sounds like you are doing your absolute best for her, and as I said it can be really hard noticing when people are struggling because they can be so good at masking the signs. Plus it sounds like she's living away from home at the moment, which would make it harder to know how she was going? And it sounds like you thought she must be doing better because she has achieved a lot of the goals she wanted? That seems like a logical conclusion that anyone would make.

Unfortunately stuff like self harm can become a way of coping- and it makes sense that people would continue to use it as a coping strategy if it helps them feel less stressed and they haven't found anything else more helpful

It sounds like your daughter isn't open to trying medication again at the moment, and that's fair- do you know why she stopped?

It's great you are all trying to get help for her, it shows how much you care about her and I'm sure she appreciates it <3

It would be really exhausting worrying about if your daughter is okay, especially now that you thought she was getting better but it turns out this wasn't the case. I imagine it would make everything so much more uncertain and like you were powerless in helping her? Do you relate at all to that?

I'm really glad you reached out for help as this isn't something someone should go through alone <3 It's really important that you can look after yourself too. If anything, because it makes it hard to look after others if we aren't looking out for ourselves? Do you have any supports that you can talk to about everything that's been happening?

Re: Self harm destructive 21

Thanks for sharing this sensitive issue. I went through trauma and self harm at 21, I can identify with what your daughter is going through. 

Re: Self harm destructive 21

hi @Dolly45
I'm 27 and have dealt with suicidal ideation too
I have found that in moments where i need the most help the best thing is to be listened to - even if people disagree with what I say, they haven't been dismissive.
This is an unimaginable help. to just be heard out and listened to is a huge help.
I sincerely hope you find some answers for your daughter, but it sounds like you ar ein the process of doing that too which is encouraging
keep on keeping on

Re: Self harm destructive 21

Hi @Dolly54 

Thought I would share something as someone who has been self harming since 18. Its very understandable to be scared of it and obviously can be dangerous but sometimes that's actually something that is helping someone to live. Is for me anyway. And so when people freak out about it it actually adds to my anxiety. Definitely you want to encourage your daughter to get help to find other ways, because it's no way to live but also know that it's probably something that is keeping her going. I don't know of that's any comfort but something I wish people in my world would appreciate. It's a huge internal conflict

Re: Self harm destructive 21

Hi @Dolly54 

First of all, it sounds like you are a supportive and caring parent who really wants what's best for their daughter. Please don't lose sight of that where you might think you could be doing more or should have noticed she was struggling: you are doing a great job. The fact your daughter's partner turned to you in this moment is a great sign.  

As someone who self-harms, it can often seem like we are doing it over silly little things. And it can even feel that way for me sometimes. But when I learned more about self-harm I realised it was largely caused by a build up of things for me, not just the thing that set me off in the moment. This is why, whilst medication can be helpful, maybe supporting your daughter to understand why she self-harms and alternative coping strategies may be a more agreeable place to start? Especially as she doesn't seem super keen on the meds right now. 

Take care, 
- periwinklepixie 

Re: Self harm destructive 21

Hi bdp 

thank you for reply iam overwhelmed by the replies I have received and it seems we are doing the right things for my daughter. 
As a family we don't judge her and show our full support and after the bf came to us he says she is a bit happier and he feels relieved that he can speak to us and she didn't get annoyed. Although we realise this could all change depending on her mood. 
 My daughter seems to think everything always goes wrong for her and this is when she hates life. 
I try to help her with any thing that is troubling her from small things like getting her nails done to paying any bills  but my husband says she won't learn to be responsible if I keep bailing her out. But ism scared if I don't help when she asks then she will self harm .  
she's on a mental Heath plan but only seen someone once and spoke 3 times on phone as she can't make appt due to wirk. I said fir her to try get out of wirk hours appt. I don't know if she has tried yet  i feel scared to approach her sometimes but then I wonder if she is waiting for me to talk about it all  it's a fine line between smothering and caring. 
I have found the brain clinic where they try ti retrain the brain has anyone ever tried this? 
  Thanks everyone 

Re: Self harm destructive 21

Thanks Owen 

 Sorry to hear you have trauma in your life snd I hope you are coping with life better. 
I actually tried to sh myself because I wanted to know how my daughter was feeling but I couldn't go through with it . 
Dhe says it is like all her anger is released and she becomes calm after . This has been happing for over a year and we tried to get help last year but being 21 it's up to her to make that call. She did but never followed anything through thinking she would be ok. 
last time was the worst . My heart aches to think she feels she don't want to live at that moment. 
we call and text everyday snd Snapchat all the time snd try to meet up every week  . I don't push it though .   We as a family feel we can't let this time be dismissed but don't want to smother her. 
thsnk u 

 

Re: Self harm destructive 21

When I see these things I think of "rage rooms" and "scream therapy" and the like. I do it tentatively because you wouldn't want to over-ritualise such things. BUT I can't help but notice that these things affect women and sensitive people disproportionately. It looks like a symptom of a toxic cultures and privilege and other disgusting things like that. I think it's important to feel all feeling in the most healthy way possible. So, I'm a big fan of safety-raging. Maximum safety with no rage minimisation whatsoever. Big big fan indeed.

 

And yeah, also wouldn't make it a ritual, that's the big qualification. Most clinicians don't get too excited about rage rooms because they worry about the idea of forming new bad habits. BUT having access to safe expression of feelings is a human need and human needs are human rights.

 

Maybe instead of old tv setsand jackhammers, rage rooms rooms should made and filled with pillows or something. Less P.P.E. and more freedom of movement. Inflateable-rage-castles maybe.

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