Jump to content
Lifesgood

Now what? DD14 self harming

Recommended Posts

Lifesgood

DD has had problems since we went into quarantine earlier this year. It’s been ongoing since then with anxiety and school refusal becoming more and more of a problem. 

Now we have discovered she is cutting herself.  

She is seeing a counsellor but not very often. Apparently she told the counsellor she was self harming and she also told our GP. Neither have told me or DH about this.  I’ve tried to find her a psychiatrist but they are all fully booked so far and not taking new patients. The school is being as helpful as they can in terms of removing pressure and providing additional counselling.

So what do we do now? I just want her to feel happy and confident.

  • Sad 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
amdirel

Oh no! I'm sorry to hear this after all the other troubles you've been having with her. 😥

I have no advice though sorry.

If you're in Sydney I could recommend a psychiatrist my DD started seeing this year; the wait was only a month or so.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BusbyWilkes

I’m sorry to hear this too. You have a lot on your plate at the moment.

Is she 14 or older? Medicare records/doctor patient confidentiality etc all legally treat 14 or older as an adult  🙄 It’s a tricky situation for parents to seek appropriate help in this situation. How did you find out? Did she tell you? Did you see it?

its not acceptable to have no access to a psychiatrist. Sitting on a waitlist is difficult, but not even being able to getting on a waitlist must be so frustrating. Have you tried Headspace? Or if she continues to self harm, present at ED of your state’s children’s hospital and don’t leave until she has been seen/referred on for appropriate assistance.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chicken Pie

Kids Helpline? Discuss with your GP without them present to start?

 

its very hard I know 

we tried talking about strategies of when feeling like that like shredding paper tissues etc

 

this is a current challenge for us too so you not alone 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mishu

I’m so sorry your DD is going through this. Is a clinical psychologist an option if you can’t get to see a psychiatrist? I’m not sure if there is a specific reason why you need a psychiatrist so ignore my suggestion if it is not appropriate.  My DS has been diagnosed with severe depression as a result of COVID and had some very dark thoughts at the start. He has been seeing a clinical psychologist and has told me that this has been really good. I’m  not sure if your history and what you’ve already tried, so I’ll share what we else have done with DS  in case something is helpful. 

Sleep (or lack of it) was a big issue for DS -is  your DD sleeping well? Our GP prescribed melatonin for DS (we had to up the dosage) and I can’t tell you the difference that getting better sleep has made for him. Devices off an hour before bed & the melatonin. And regular exercise -thank goodness soccer started again.

We are also looking at his gut health (DS was recently diagnosed with IBS) and from what I have read, there is a link between gut health and depression. So we are trying different strategies with his diet to address that. 

He has also called the Kids Helpline when he was dealing with some issues at the start of high school -he said they were great so they were also a back-up if he needed to talk to someone and we couldn’t get in to see his psychologist.  

it’s such a scary thing when your kids aren’t in a good place -I hope you can find something that helps your DD. 
 

 

edited for typos 

 

Edited by Mishu
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
kadoodle

Oh no! Any chance of her being admitted as a psych inpatient anywhere?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
CallMeFeral

Can you see a psychiatrist further away via telehealth if you think one is needed?

Is her counsellor a psychologist? Can she see her more often? Is she experienced in dealing with self harm type stuff? 

How old is she? Confidentiality doesn't kick in at 14 if someone is at risk, it can be fuzzy from 16 but still extend till 18. 

Edited by CallMeFeral
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ellie bean

I was thinking Telehealth too. I’m so sorry, you’ve had such a rough year, I hope you are seeing someone for yourself too to get you through this

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BusbyWilkes
53 minutes ago, CallMeFeral said:

Can you see a psychiatrist further away via telehealth if you think one is needed?

Is her counsellor a psychologist? Can she see her more often? Is she experienced in dealing with self harm type stuff? 

How old is she? Confidentiality doesn't kick in at 14 if someone is at risk, it can be fuzzy from 16 but still extend till 18. 

Perhaps it depends on the health professionals definition of “at risk”? If a teenager said they thought about suicide and had a plan, it is possibly quite different to one who cuts ( self harms) but not suicidal. I know of many kids in this age bracket where parents weren’t notified. I don’t agree with it (especially at the younger end of the range) but it does happen regularly. 
Telehealth is a great option, if it helps OP to access a psychiatrist sooner. @Mishu clin psychs are not able to prescribe medication, which may be why the psychiatrist is being sought. 

Edited by BusbyWilkes
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lifesgood
16 hours ago, amdirel said:

If you're in Sydney I could recommend a psychiatrist my DD started seeing this year; the wait was only a month or so.

Yes please, can you DM me the details?

@BusbyWilkes she is 14.5yrs. She told my mum, who told us straight away. DD seems relieved that we know. She says she doesn't want to do it and she says she would never consider suicide because she loves too many people and they love her. So there's that I guess.

I will look up Headspace / Kids Helpline and see what she thinks about calling them

@chickenpieI will also raise it with our GP that we know now and therefore we want to be involved in how to help her. I am also going to ask him to try her on ADs to see if they fix her anxiety they way they have mine.

@Mishu yes her sleep was a problem but our GP also put her on melatonin and this has sorted out her sleep. We take all devices away at 9pm, and she also plays soccer, although she refused to go to training this week which is a change - usually she loves it and goes no matter what. The psychiatrist is to consider medication if deemed suitable - as the psychologist is able to help with therapy, techniques, counselling but not medication. Both the GP and two psychologists are suggesting a psychiatrist for her.

@CallMeFeral good idea re telehealth, I just would like her to meet in person at least initially. But yes I will look further afield. So far I've only looked within 20kms. I do feel she needs more frequent counselling appointments and will arrange this going forward. Now that I know about the self-harming I will ask the counsellor about her level of experience with it. DD told me the school counsellor has already discussed techniques to use when she feels like cutting herself so she is obviously very experienced with it. Unfortunately yesterday was her appointment with the school counsellor and she truanted - this time I had switched her phone off airplane mode (she does this to save her battery / data) and activated location services so I was able to find her and bring her home. 

Thanks everyone. We had lots of tears last night but this morning was better. DD seems ok. My mum stayed over and has taken DD to her place this afternoon to hang out and go shopping. It gives DH and I a chance to decompress and talk. DS has gone to a friend's place thankfully.

I have to say I felt horrified and sick to my stomach to see the cuts on my little girl's beautiful skin. Will the physical scars every go away or will she and we be reminded of this forever? 

  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
AdelTwins
9 minutes ago, Lifesgood said:

I have to say I felt horrified and sick to my stomach to see the cuts on my little girl's beautiful skin. Will the physical scars every go away or will she and we be reminded of this forever? 

Light scars might disappear, but if they are deeper they’ll probably still be noticeable. There’s lots that can be done with lasers and I’ve also seen some amazing tattoos that cover scars beautifully.

I don’t have any other advice, but hope that you are ok and that your daughter feels better soon.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BusbyWilkes

A reasonable percentage of the teenage girls I know of who present similarly to your DD (unfortunately it is very common and too hard to get help In a timely way for many) have subsequently been diagnosed with ASD or ADHD (inattentive). The anxiety is caused by continuing to try and mask their difficulties. Around  13-15 seems to be when school work, social interactions and ability to self organise become more complex (and those who have previously been coping/masking start to not cope). No idea if that is relevant for your DD, but is definitely worth considering. 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
needs to get out

As someone who started self harming around that age (although not cutting, instead at that time I was gouging my skin) I think its wonderful that you are able to talk to her and that she has found people to talk to about it.

Self harm for me is a coping strategy, one of many poor coping strategies I have. What does work is finding other coping strategies that are less destructive, and acknowledging that sometimes coping strategies aren't perfect or available but generally I can find a better alternative than one which will leave a scar I don't want in the future.

I really hope you can find a good support network for her, these are such challenging times.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lifesgood
2 hours ago, BusbyWilkes said:

A reasonable percentage of the teenage girls I know of who present similarly to your DD (unfortunately it is very common and too hard to get help In a timely way for many) have subsequently been diagnosed with ASD or ADHD (inattentive). The anxiety is caused by continuing to try and mask their difficulties. Around  13-15 seems to be when school work, social interactions and ability to self organise become more complex (and those who have previously been coping/masking start to not cope). No idea if that is relevant for your DD, but is definitely worth considering. 

I have a reasonable suspicion that she may be on the spectrum. DS is. And both DH and I have behaviours that could be attributed to ASD. Her counsellor has suggested it could be a contributing factor. Another reason to get her in to see a psychiatrist.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ThreeBananas

I'm so sorry for you and your beautiful daughter. It is so amazing that she was able to tell your Mum and talk with you about it. That is a huge deal.

I agree that a Clinical Psychologist could be a massive help. A regular weekly appointment or even twice a week at the start perhaps? And don't be afraid to try a few out if the first one isn't a good fit. I think you can get 20 medicare rebated appointments now with a mental health care plan from the GP? The GP should be able to advise on medication while you wait for a Psychiatrist.

My own experience with self harm is that it causes incredible shame to the sufferer. So the fact that your daughter is talking about it to people is just so good. Again only my own experience, but the purpose of self-harm can be to gain a physical release from the mental pain someone is experiencing. If it's anxiety, self-harming can turn that inner turmoil into a physical pain. It can also act as a  distraction when the mental pain gets too great. 

Scars can act as a great deterrent to self harm. Dealing with scars as they heal can be uncomfortable and itchy. They may look ugly and the sufferer may not like the attention they draw. Hopefully your daughter's cuts are shallow and the scars are not too bad. They definitely fade over time and there are creams you can get which might help.

I truly feel for you and her and I wish you both all the best as you work through this together xx

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
*bucket*

Can you find a paediatrician, if you can't get a psychiatrist? They can prescribe, and some have interest and knowledge in mental health areas.  Around me, child/adolescent psychiatrists are like unicorns, so lots of paeds are very experienced. Nurse practitioner counsellors can also prescribe (although the ones I know of generally prefer to be doing repeats rather than initial scripts).

My DD got a tattoo over her most obvious scars (on her thigh), but not until she was older.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ytt

I'm sorry you are going through this I know it's a battle but I wish I know now I knew then I wouldn't be so upset.... does that make sense? 

Cutting was the very start of our journey into mental health, at first I thought she was trying to kill herself which it is most definitely not. They just want to escape from the emotional pain by feeling pain. You need to rally a treating team around you, a good clinical psychologist is important, more important that a psychiatrist - the psychiatrist will come later especially if heavy meds are needed and a diagnosis. cognitive behaviour therapy is  a great start, talk therapy, exposure therapy, dialectical behaviour therapy can all be done through a psychologist not a psychiatrist. A psychiatrist just wants to hear symptoms and how it affects them and meds them up, psychologists will treat and change thought patterns.

Please PM me if you need help, I'm a wealth of lived experience and happy to pass on. I don't want to trigger anyone reading our experiences.

But in saying that DD accidentally cut herself so badly when she only intended to do her usual cuts (slipped with the knife) and I had to take her to ER to get stitches - I laughed when I had to explain that she wanted to cut herself but not cut herself!! actually DD laughed as well poor ER doctor she was young and such a lovely lady I had to explain how self harm can manifest, no wonder she sent in the psych team- and it was a b**ch to stich, so much blood and since then I've been diagnosed with a bleeding disorder and I think DD has it as well so DD is even more scared of blood!!! .... since then DD stopped cutting herself (she is scared of blood lol) but sadly moved on to other things but mostly now uses coping strategies.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ThreeBananas

Gosh @ytt you obviously get it 100% 

It is totally about changing the thought patterns. Self harm is the last coping frontier. It's like you hold it all together but finally it all spills out. Like trying to stuff a sleeping bag back into that tiny stupid piece of nylon!

The urge to self harm can be so overwhelming that nothing feels like it can take its place.

With a lot of therapy it can change though. It is so crucial to find that fit with the psychologist though. Just keep auditioning until you find 'The One'! And I mean that. You owe them nothing. Spell out what you want before you book the appointment and if your daughter doesn't feel at least some hope after the first 2 sessions, move on to the next one.

She really needs someone she can trust completely and tell anything to without fear of upsetting/disappointing/shocking them. It might not be a parent. It's because she loves you so much that she might not be able to disclose it all to you. That is no fault on you. It's because she loves you that she might want to shield you from it.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ThreeBananas

She just so needs someone she feels like she can be 100% honest with. Without fear of disappointing, hurting or shocking them.

That's not going to be somebody she loves. She will try to shield you from her pain.

Obviously you probably want to stay on the waiting list for the Psychiatrist but all they will do is prescribe medication. The GP can also do that. The Psychiatrist will know more and tweak things and by all means, stay on the waiting list. But the Psychologist is the key, I reckon. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Not Escapin Xmas

My psychiatrist is fantastic. And absolutely does NOT go for drugs as a solution unless absolutely warranted. For instance I asked for sleeping pills and he said no, I could try melatonin instead. He’s in Sydney though. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lifesgood
16 hours ago, BusbyWilkes said:

A reasonable percentage of the teenage girls I know of who present similarly to your DD (unfortunately it is very common and too hard to get help In a timely way for many) have subsequently been diagnosed with ASD or ADHD (inattentive). The anxiety is caused by continuing to try and mask their difficulties. Around  13-15 seems to be when school work, social interactions and ability to self organise become more complex (and those who have previously been coping/masking start to not cope). No idea if that is relevant for your DD, but is definitely worth considering. 

I have been thinking about this a bit more and wondering if we can start to treat DD as if she may be ASD or ADHD from a therapy perspective. If we can give her some support to cope with her problems while we wait to find the right medical professionals.

she is overwhelmed by school work, can’t self-organise and has social anxiety

so what could we do to help her in addition to therapy?

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Not Escapin Xmas

How about a tutor to help her study? Someone who works with her each day after school (or before if she’s an early riser) to help her figure out what to study and then do the study. That way she won’t have to just figure it all out herself.

Edited by Not Escapin Xmas
Bonus points if you can find someone who specialises in teens with ADHD/ASD.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
sunshine_days

I can't give any answers as l have not been there myself nor with my kids. But just wanted to pop in and say that you are doing a great job with your children. And its great that your daughterr had someone that she felt comfortable to be able to open up to and get the help she needed. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lifesgood
3 hours ago, Not Escapin Xmas said:

How about a tutor to help her study? Someone who works with her each day after school (or before if she’s an early riser) to help her figure out what to study and then do the study. That way she won’t have to just figure it all out herself.

Yes we have a tutor two afternoons each week and she is always asking me to stop. But she gets on well with her tutor and I would like to have her more often if I could get DD to agree.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
CallMeFeral
4 hours ago, Lifesgood said:

I have been thinking about this a bit more and wondering if we can start to treat DD as if she may be ASD or ADHD from a therapy perspective. If we can give her some support to cope with her problems while we wait to find the right medical professionals.

she is overwhelmed by school work, can’t self-organise and has social anxiety

so what could we do to help her in addition to therapy?

ADHD-wise I actually find this series a fantastic one to learn about ADHD and to start on strategies. You can browse for the topics you think may apply to her. 

https://www.youtube.com/c/HowtoADHD/featured

There's another website which is frequently cited as a good resource but I frustratingly can't bring it to mind right now. However this one seemed to have a bunch of info and suggested reading. 

https://www.adhdsupportaustralia.com.au/

I think a lot of it will be helping her to organise and structure things, putting in place scaffolding and routines/cues to make her required tasks rely less on her memory. Helping her get into routines of say planning work each Sunday or whatever, then checking her diary every day after school to figure out what she need to be working on, etc. 

On the ASD side I'm not so sure, sorry. 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...