Through talking to therapists and observing behaviour, it is becoming more and more apparent that Emily is displaying some symptoms which may not be her own. One therapist suggested that she was 'collecting' symptoms from other young people on the ward. I am inclined to agree. Sometimes things just don't fit, they don't feel right. I'm not saying my daughter isn't ill, but I do feel her reluctance to rejoin the real world is making her seek out ways to extend her stay in the unit.
I'm told she has 'demonised' her father in therapy sessions yet last weekend, when he came to the house to see my son, she bounded in to him like an excited puppy.
After a weekend where I could seen a good amount of the 'old' Emily having a relaxed time, she informed me right at the end that the whole weekend had been terrible. The house had been full of people and animals that only she can see. It's hard. If she had seen them, why did she not say at the time or get upset? Why leave it until her last few hours in the house? I just don't understand and neither do the therapists.
I'm told I need to be stronger with her. That maybe she is trying to pull my strings. That she needs to realise that her symptoms are ones of depression and anxiety and to conquer them she needs to do some work.
They are so concerned about the 'collected' symptoms that the last review meeting recommended that her nights on the unit were reduced gradually to get her back to a day attender. They also want to get her integrated back into her mainstream school. I know this will be hard for her, but she is very lucky that the school will accommodate her in a small specialist unit until such time as she can re-join the main classes. In my mind this is what she needs. It will give her back some purpose, a reason to get up.
This weekend, she was totally engrossed in drawing. We managed a couple of walks during the weekend and to be honest I thought how much like a normal stroppy teen she was, laughing one minute and arguing with her brother the next. Then it gets to 9pm on the Sunday again and she is in her room. When I go in to see her, her eyes are angry and wet with tears. She has once more written "I want to die" on her arm. I challenge her. She shouts nastily at me, "you don't understand" "you don't believe me" "I've had a terrible weekend" "it's been horrible". I challenge again. She may be feeling bad now but it has not been the whole weekend. I remind her of all the things she has done and the times when she has seemed like a normal girl. I tell her she should be proud of her achievements. She can not see it, she doesn't want to.
She told me she wanted to ring the unit. It is a suggestion they made if she wanted to hurt herself. I leave her room and give her privacy.
Five minutes later the phone rings. One of the nurses tells me how upset Emily is and that she has tied something around her neck to hang herself. I go to Emily's room, there is nothing around her neck, nor are there any marks. The nurse is still on the phone and then says that Emily is upset that I don't believe her and they tell me I shouldn't leave her on her own. Why is this happening again? I ask her and she just shouts at me. I make her come downstairs. The tv is off and we sit in silence. I have nothing left to say. It feels like I am being punished.
She asks to go in the shower. I ask her for assurance that she will not hurt herself. When she returns from the shower it is like she's changed again. The atmosphere is frosty between us, but it is clear that she is feeling calm and ready for bed.
I am so frustrated. I admitted to my husband this evening that I don't know this girl any more. I feel like she is playing some game, but I don't know the rules. But its more than that because now I am so terribly ashamed to realised that I don't like her and I don't like how she is hurting me and the other members of my family.
I'm supposed to be her mum, but I'm not sure I'm acting like one
- Mum of 2, suffering my own mental health issues, I began to write this blog as a way to release feelings and emotions. At 13 my daughter was terribly bullied which has led to her having serious mental health problems of her own. She is now 16. I wanted to document our journey and hopefully be able to look back and see how far we have come.