About Me

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.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Yet another assessment

This last weekend has been horrible.  I've watched my little girl rock in the corner of the sofa with huge clumps of her own hair in her hands.  Trembling, screaming, shouting and crying.  She says they are in her head.  She says she can feel it when they hit her, kick her and get her by the throat.  She doesn't feel safe anywhere.

CAMHS advised me to take her to A & E if things got worse, but I didn't.  Not because it didn't get worse, but because I knew it would be a waste of time. I need someone who won't just do another referral and will actually perscribe her the medication, that everyone says she needs,  and get her some therapy.  This isn't going to happen in A & E or on the ward.  They don't have the specialists, I know that from last time.

There was no way she was well enough for school on Monday, she stayed home with me and I tried my best to distract her.  Tuesday was the morning of the appointment with yet another person.  And yet again we have to go over everything.  Can these people not read file notes???

Emily disliked the Dr, even though I'd said nothing about my telephone conversation or reservations. She was pleasant enough, but just didn't seem to get what Emily's problem was, which in my mind is a bit fundamental.  She also kept calling Emily by the wrong name.

The Dr set Emily a target for school, not grasping that she spends most of her time trying to ignore the voices in her head.  How can you expect a child to concentrate on making friends at school, when all that is in her head is how she is going to kill herself?

I tried to point this out to the Dr.  At last she asked about the voices.  Emily said that they tell her to kill herself, that she is a coward for talking to people and trying to get help, that all this is her own fault.  The penny finally dropped with the Dr.  She decided that something more drastic needed to be done and suggested that it should come in the form of residential treatment.

Residential treatement will allow Emily to have intensive help and support.  This will cover medication, therapy and school work.  Unfortunately the residential is full.  I asked if we could start medication pending being able to look at the residential option.  I was told that Emily's needs are too complex for medication alone.  I understand this, but not why we can't start her on something to get her on the road to recovery.

And so now we wait, once more, for a further referral to residential, and a further assessment by residential, and as they are full we have no idea when this could even happen.  I really don't understand how we are supposed to carry on in the meantime.

Emily managed the morning at school today.  Despite this I kept receiving messages from her.  How ill she felt, how she was crying, how she couldn't carry on.  These messages continued after my Mum & Dad picked her up from school at lunch time ( I agreed a half day with school)

Emily was in a dreadfull state when I got home from work.  Not helped I think by her admission that she's made Nannan cry by saying she wanted to be dead.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Voices

Things have continued to decline.  Emily still has no one to call a friend at school.  I couldn't get her to school on Tuesday or Wednesday this week.

On Tuesday, she admitted to me that she was now hearing voices.  They shout her name and tell her they're coming to get her.  Her headaches and sickness have also started to get much worse.  I began to wonder if she was getting migraines.

A call to CAMHS yesterday gave me the information that they think all these problems are an escalation of her anxiety symptoms.  They promised to call me today to tell me when our next appointment would be.

When, by late afternoon, I'd had no call, I rang and chased up the appointment. Everyone has been very kind at CAHMS, which meant todays return phone call came as a bit of shock.  What I can only describe as an annoyed woman called me asking me what the problem was.  She ask me questions which showed she hadn't even opened Emily's file.  Basic stuff like what were school doing about the bullying?  Erm, she's not at the same school anymore.... In the end, I pretty much had to tell her why she was ringing me.  I was supposed to be getting an appointment.  She continued to be very sharp, saying they didn't know whose 'case load' Emily would be on yet.  I'm sorry, she's not a case, she's a little girl who's dying inside a little more each day.  She made it sound like I was forcing her to give us an appointment.  I was only going on what I'd been told, that there was going to be an appointment allocated.  Stupid, thoughtless woman.  She begrudgingly offered us an appointment next week, tell me it would be yet another assessment.  I'm dreading it,  with an attitude like that what hope have we got?

How many times does this poor child have to be 'assessed' before someone helps us????

Tonight when I came home from work, Emily asked if she could tell me something.  She'd been hiding the fact that she'd started cutting herself.  Small stuff without much impact, but cutting all the same.  She'd also tried to burn herself with a match while Nannan popped to the local shop.  It's obvious that we now can not risk leaving her alone for even a short time.

She told me that there are so many voices in her head, she doesn't know if they are hers or not.  She says they are telling her to hurt herself, telling her to kill herself.  She also told me she'd been close to running away. But still, she doesn't know if its her telling herself or if its the voice of another.  I watched her clutching at her head, sobbing and screaming and I was thinking, should I take her to hospital again?  What am I supposed to do??  Should I bloody video it so I can send it the nasty woman who thinks my daughter is just another case.

I need them to help us, I can't do this on my own.  Normally I would be crying, but tonight I am calm resignation.  I feels like I will have to do this by myself.  I try, I counsel her, I question her thoughts and do my own crude version of CBT, I hold her and I try and keep her safe.  But how long can I do it?  She's getting worse, we're not even treading water.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Day of Judgement

Well the day arrived.  Our first real appointment at CAMHS, with a nurse and a psychologist.   Emily spoke some of the time and I filled in the gaps.  They feel that Emily would benefit from a combined approach, i.e. medication alongside therapy.  They mirror my concerns that this has gone on too long and is now too severe for her to get better with therapy alone.

Unfortunately, in order to do this, we now need to wait for a further referral to the medical team for the medication and the therapy team for the sessions.  They gave no indications of timescales.

Emily came out of the appointment in floods of tears.  She can not see how she will make it to the next appointment.  In her head she's turned it into months of waiting.  CAMHS want her to continue at school, but this means that I now have to go back to the school and try and get them to put other support in place for her.  As she has become so withdrawn, she can not communicate with children outside the classroom.  The possible friendships she was trying to nurture have fallen by the way side.  In fact yesterday she was laughed at and called a loner and an idiot.

I took her to KFC for lunch straight after the appointment as I knew this would be something she'd eat.  Back home she was clinging and wanting to give up, crying, angry at the lack of urgency.  She was going over and over the same ground to the point I thought I would scream at her.

My own brain was overloading, I'd brought work home to finish, I have a stupid Art exhibition to prepare for, I need to speak to school, the house is a tip, I feel crap and I can't keep saying the same thing to her over and over again.  I went upstairs to try and speak to school, but got voice mail.  I lay on my bed and before I knew it exhaustion had consumed me.  I woke up 2 hours later, thinking about the razors I was supposed to remove from the house and wondering which of the local supermarkets had the best price in Bacardi.

Having that bit of downtime seemed to give me enough to be able to speak again.  I talked to Emily, explained that my own illness needs me to have timeout.  She understood, and kept asking me if I was alright.

Having a text chat with my sister this evening has resulted in my niece making arrangements with some of the year 8 girls in her form to look out for Emily at lunch tomorrow.  I really hope this doesn't make things worse.  I recognise the situation Emily is in.  You can't talk to people, they assume you are stuck up etc and ignore you, and the cycle continues....

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Do we all Self Harm??

I'd never really considered self harming.  When my daughter started hurting herself, it seemed like this was unfamiliar territory.  But is it? 

Emily has hit herself with books, her ruler or her hairbrush.  She's bitten her own arm and she is constantly fighting the strong desire to actually cut herself.

But really is she any different to me??  I must also admit, that when I think it through, I am also self harming.

I drink, not until I can't see, but definately above the recommended amount and until recently, this was pretty much every day.
I withdraw from groups of people. Until the end of last year I was running my own little business as an Artist.  Suddenly I just stopped.  I decided I was crap and the whole thing was a waste of time.  I withdraw from all artist circles, I removed all but the closest arty friends from facebook, I admitted defeat.  I wanted to hurt myself, I wanted to feel the misery and wallow in it.

I binge eat, despite knowing that the more I do it, the bigger I get and the more I will hate myself.

There are so many ways to self harm, but the reasons we do it will always stay the same.  We are looking for something that takes the pain away, even if that means simply replacing one with another.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Is it Thursday yet?

Just when I think we're managing, suddenly we aren't anymore.  Emily managed yesterday at school, although she felt out on a limb, friendless and unable to concentrate in lessons.

Last night she was shouting about the pain in her head.  But she didn't mean a headache.  She said there was so much crammed into her head it hurt and she couldn't cope.

This morning she sat on my bed crying telling me she couldn't go to school. I am so weary, its taking eveything I've got not to shout at her, "just go to bloody school!"  I am so frustrated.  Nothing I do makes a difference.  We're pinning everything on this appointment on Thursday, but what if they send us away?  What if we have to wait for more appointments before they do anything?  I'm not sure I'll be able to hold it together and I'm almost certain Emily won't.  It feels like school life is ruined now.  She's missing lessons, she has no real friends.  I'm begining to wonder if I should have left her at the old school and taken better action?  At least she had some friends there.

I managed Saturday and Sunday nights without a drink.  Tonight I've not had one either, but that is only because there is nothing in the house.

A Saturday of two halves...12th May

I managed some disturbed sleep on the sofa.  It was so late by the time the rum had gone, I didn't want to disturb my OH.  I wasn't drunk, just numb.

Strangely I was wide awake by 8am.  Likely helped by the beautiful sunshine coming through the living room window.  But bizarrely, it made me want to pull myself up and change my habits there and then.  When Emily got up at a similar time I suggested we went for a walk.  It certainly couldn't do us any harm.

We are very fortunate to live near good transport links and woods and fields.  The three of use went out on a circular route taking around one and a half hours.

I took a couple of pictures, they made me think about life in general.  On one side a muddy mess and on the other sunshine and colour.

Muddy walk
Rapeseed


Later we all spent some time with my Dad. It was his Birthday and my Sister and her family called in too.  Emily coped, she was occupied. I asked my niece if she would have lunch with Emily at school on Monday.  I thought it might ease her worries about having no one to hang out with.  My niece jumped at the chance to help and Emily looked relieved.

The golden CAHMS appointment was drawing ever nearer. I finally felt that I'd had a bit of a kick up the bum and in response vowed to give my liver a break.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Fighting my Demons

I've had wine and moved on to neat rum this evening. I should have been going out with my work colleagues tonight, but I didn't.

I've over drunk and over eaten over such a prolonged period that my stomach is, not only huge, but now physically hurts.  This wouldn't be so bad if I wasn't getting married in a little over two months.  It's unlikely the dress will fit unless I really get my backside into some other gear.  At the moment any gear will be an improvement.

Today was my day off work. This morning I had to almost bully Emily into going to school.  We had the usual 'end of bed' conversation.  Her crying and me firmly stating that school was the best place.  And it is, but every day it gets harder to convince her.

After the school run I had to go to the wedding venue and sort out the arrangements, this is something that has been sadly neglected.  I threw a load of times and activities onto paper last night in the hope of making sense of them today.  I need to trade in my car and had a visit to the garage this afternoon to view the replacement.  In between times I was conscious that the boiler engineer was due, thanks to the combi freely dispensing water all over my utility room floor yesterday morning.

Good old Mum staying in my house to wait for Mr Boiler Man. Dad decided I needed some company to view the new car ( I don't, but its his way of offering me support)  They are both in their 70's and are worried sick about me and Emily.  What would we do without them?

The wedding planning went well, the boiler got fixed and the car was fab.  My spirits were definitely up.  Then Emily came home.  She needed me, she was crying.  As the evening wore on all the positive energy in me evaporated.  Replaced by tears.  I found myself almost resenting Emily.  It wasn't fair, I was actually excited about the car and the wedding and she'd slashed right through it all.  I couldn't look at her, my tears were resigned.

My partner has gone off to bed.  He was falling asleep on the sofa.  I was honest and asked him to go while I wrote this entry.  Today I'm ashamed of writing this.  I want to hide it.  I know Emily can't help the way she is and I do understand, really I do, and I love her.  But on days like today, that love and understanding is just not enough to stop me screaming on the inside

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Another day off school

Emily sat on my bed this morning telling me the sickness today wasn't like the normal one.  Usually she felt sick, but knew she wasn't going to be.  Today she was really having to hold it back.  She said she felt dizzy and couldn't see properly either.  Maybe a bug, perhaps a migraine?  Whatever it was she wasn't going to make school.  She seemed genuinely disappointed about not being able to go.  In view of this I didn't feel so bad leaving her home with Nannan while I caught the bus for work.

By mid morning I received the first suspect Live Profile message.  Emily told me she'd "wanted to do the thing she'd promised you I'd never do.  So I found a cat to cuddle instead"

The promise relates to me pleading with her not to cut herself.  I told her I didn't like the fact that she hurt herself, but I tried to understand.  I asked her to promise she wouldn't cut herself as I wouldn't be able to cope with that.  I cried when I said it.  She promised.

Still, seeing that she'd thought about it upset me. I phoned her and she seemed to be ok.  I sent a text to my Mum asking for her to keep an eye on Emily, especially if she disappeared to her room.  I didn't want to tell Mum what my concerns were, but it appears Emily told her herself later in the day.

Home from work I was struck by her pale appearance and empty eyes.  She'd been with Nannan to the GP for a repeat of her anti sickness pills.  As usual  the visit had left her angry and upset at the lack of understanding of someone who was supposed to help.

Clinging on to me she repeated, "its too hard, I can't do it anymore"  She talked about wanting to step out in front of cars, that she'd been so close to doing it. But she pulled her foot back and I was quick to point that out.

I'm very tired, I long for her to be in bed, so I can open yet another bottle of wine and lose myself in chocolate.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

What about me?

I didn't blog last night.  I was doing online puzzles they allow me to shut of my brain in a sense, to hold back all the things I don't want to think about. Yesterday I noticed a distinct change in my own mood and behaviour.  I wanted to be left alone.  I wanted some time to heal myself.


Sometimes just getting out of bed takes every ounce of strength. These are the days when you don't wash or clean your teeth and if you have to get dressed, it will be in yesterdays clothes. Having a conversation on these days is almost impossible, so imagine trying to support someone else when you feel you can't even keep yourself going.  These are not the worse kind of days, but they can be a warning of what might come if you don't do something.

Yesterday for me was one of these days. When Emily tried to hold my hand or lay against me on the settee it set off almost like a panic inside me.  I guess its my body's way of telling me I need some rest, but unfortunately I can't and won't abandon my daughter.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

6th May 2012

Emily's mood has deteriorated during the day.  We managed a couple of hours out as a family, but then she wanted to come home.  For the rest of the day she has been drawing pictures.  Her in a cage, her crying, her drowning.  She told me she really wanted to hurt herself but was trying not to.

On most days I dread bedtime.  It's the time I have nothing left to give and she needs more and more from me.  Inside my head screams, outside, I hug her and I talk calmly.

I feel very isolated.  As a big Facebook user I find I am in hiding. My status updates mention what the cats have been up to or some other pointless nonsense.  My daughter is on Facebook.  How can I possibly tell the truth??  So I hide in my real world and pour it all out here.  I wonder whether Emily would hate me for writing this.

I firmly believe that leaving Emily sat in the house all weekend is counter productive.  You can almost see the walls closing in around her.  In fact that was one of the phrases she used herself last night.

Its' Bank Holiday Monday tomorrow so I asked her this evening "Why don't you think of something nice you'd like to do tomorrow"  her reply was "die"

What the hell are you supposed to say to that?

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Sometimes you have to kick the door open

Friday 27th April started like any other.  Emily was no more anxious than normal.  She left for the school bus and I was at home about to leave for work.

My phone buzzed. Emily's messages were badly spelt and rushed, she was telling me that houses were moving.  Things had changed, things weren't right and people were watching her.

I dropped what I was doing, jumped in the car and went to her.  She was pale and scared, she sobbed in the car and it was obvious that she wasn't well enough to go to school.

I brought her back home calmed her as much as I could and got my Mum to sit with her.  My mind was racing, we needed help and we needed it now.  Waiting for a Mental Health Service referral was going to take too long.  It wasn't only Emily who was scared now.

I went upstairs and rang the Childrens Hospital.  I spoke to a Doctor in A&E, I explained the situation and asked if there was anything they could do to help.

40 mins later we sat in A&E.  We had to wait a while, but that was ok, I was grateful that they were prepared to see us and try and help.  Over the next 4 hours they gave her a thorough examination, urine and blood tests.  They ruled out any physical problem.  I'm guessing they were looking for a brain tumour, although they didn't say.  They did tell me they were checking her thyroid as apparently this can give similar symptoms.

I was a bit shocked when she was admitted.  I really didn't expect that.  They were trying to get the Mental Health team to see her, but there was no one available that day.  I guess they felt they couldn't discharge her until a proper diagnosis had been made.

She was upset at the thought of having to spend the night in hospital and I was totally unprepared.  My partner came straight from work and stayed with her while I went home to get clothes and supplies.  I cried on the bus home.  I felt like I'd had her committed. It was awful.  I was texting a kind friend who was telling me I'd done the right thing.  Whilst I knew she was right, it seemed so much bigger than me, out of my control now.

Neither of us slept that night.  We saw the Mental Health people the next day.  Emily promised that she wouldn't hurt herself if they let her go home.  She stated firmly that she felt safe at home.

The quick diagnosis from them was low mood, anxiety and post traumatic stress.  A urgent referral was to be made to the Community Team.  Until then, we just had to hold it together, but the door was now well and truely open.

How did it come to this???

Towards the end of the Easter holidays, Emily started to have what I've come to call 'episodes'  She had become paranoid, adamant that people were watching her, following her, trying to hurt her. Her eyes would dart manically around the room or building.  At times she would be vague or confused.  Other times she would sob hysterically.

Emily found it hard to go out, one of the biggest problems being the fact that she felt sick all the time.  Add to the that constant headaches and it was unsupprising that she wanted to stay at home curled up in a ball.

My Mum took her to the GP for me, while I was at work.  His professional response?  "chill out with your friends, its just emotional stress"  I'd love to know how someone can do this, when they feel too ill to leave the house.

It wasn't long after that the self harming started.  At least she was able to tell me about it.  At the moment it has been limited to hitting herself.  Sometimes it's a hairbrush, an encyclopedia or a ruler.  At other times she bites her own arms or scratches her skin with a pin.

I got her a Bach's Rescue Remedy spray, I researched homeopathic remedies for sickness and headaches and gave her these to try.  I felt that if she could just get back into the routine of school after the holidays, we'd be ok.

During the first week back at school, it was tough.  On Wednesday morning, it all became too much for her.  She colapsed in a heap in the hallway and sobbed that she couldn't go to school.

I called work and told them I wouldn't be in.  I worked from home whilst trying to keep her calm. trying to get to sleep, trying to distract her, trying to heal the wounds.

I took her to the GP and was direct.  I told him that in my opinion she was depressed, stressed, anxious, paranoid and at times hysterical.

He advised he would refer us to CAMHS - Community Adolecent Mental Health Service.  I begged for something to help with the sickness so I could try and keep her in school.  The GP was reluctant, but agreed to perscribe anti sickness.

5th May 2012 - A typical evening?

I'd been lured into a false sense of security.  We've had 2 days of reasonable normality.  Emily had gone to school without too many tears and had stayed there.  She'd been quite animated and chatty when she came home, evenings were thankfully calm.  But today, today old fears raised their ugly heads again.

Emily showed me some writing she'd done along with a picture of a black hole and one of a boy with a scar on his cheek.  She told me that he was one of the people trying to hurt her. He's part of a gang.  Part of a gang who want to hurt her, a gang that only she sees.

Despite this, her spirits were reasonable this afternoon. But that changed this evening when she ran down stairs from her room, where she'd be watching tv.  The familiar sound of her hyperventilating hit me first and then when she enters the living room you see the fear in her face.  She tells me everything is closing in, she's sobbing and her eyes dart rapidly around the room.  I ask her what she's looking for and she says she doesn't know.  Someone is going to hurt her. Someone is biting her, trying to stangle her.  I stand up and hold her close, her sobs are ear piercing.  She grips me so tightly I almost gasp for breath.  This is how my daughter is these days, not all the time granted, but far too much of the time.

How Emily sees things
I talk to her, I try to calm her, the usual techniques of distraction, breathing exercises, reassurance.  It's so draining but its all I can do.

Eventually she's calm enough for me to leave her bedroom with her tucked up in bed.  She has a cuddly toy held tightly and the bedside light will be on all night.  I tell her how much I love her as I leave the room, the door remains open and the landing light stays on.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

End of term

Emily attended her new school for two weeks and then the Easter break was upon us.  Those two weeks had been reasonable.  Whilst she was a good student, she struggled in some lessons where the old school hadn't covered the things she now needed to know.

She had started to make friends, but no close friendships had formed.  This was partly due to the short time she'd been there, but perhaps more to do with her lack of confidence.  Emily told me later that she'd learned that keeping her mouth shut at the old school was the best policy.  Due to this, she found it hard to start talking to people again.  She was afraid of being ridiculed, so instead kept quiet and found it impossible to join in with general chitchat.

I had every confidence that, given time, she would overcome this. I also beleived that the Easter holidays would allow her to recharge her batteries and she would be able to return to school rested and ready for action.

Not for the first time, I was way off the mark.

A new start?

Day one at the new school arrived.  Emily had been assigned a couple of girls to buddy her and help her get used to the new routine. School were aware of the reasons she had moved and were sympathetic.

I sent her off to the bus with her brother, in her new uniform hoping that this would be the start of a new, better, chapter.

Unfortunately, one of the buddies wasn't in the same lessons and the one who was, had no intention of fulfilling the 'buddy' duties.  Emily had been left in the middle of a school she didn't know, with no buddy, no timetable and no idea where she should go next.  Her confidence was already as low as it could be, it was all too much.  The tears started.  Fortunately, she managed to follow the signs to student support and once there got a timetable and help to find the first classroom.

It was a tough day, with little guidance and no friends.  But by the end of it some children had chatted to her and there was a glimmer of hope.  I had to try and get to to cling to that when she sat sobbing that evening.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

New School

I cried when the appeal hearing ruled in our favour.  I couldn't help it.  I felt we had been on a long and bumpy road for a year and a half and finally we had reached the end.

I remember being so happy, and Emily was happy too.  We knew the new school had a fantastic reputation.  We knew they had strong anti bullying policies which were actively enforced.

When I talked to Emily about her feelings she was ashamed, felt she was making a fuss out of nothing and maybe that she'd deserved the treatment she received.

I talked to her at length.  Emily never told any of her friends about her feelings or what she was going through.  They all cried when she left her old school, they just had no idea how she had been feeling.

To begin with it was hard to get her to talk to me.  She would just sit, really quietly, withdrawn.  I knew something was wrong.  I cuddled her, talked to her, encouraged her.  Eventually, she would talk.  She found it very hard to put her feelings into words.  She just felt everything was against her and she would never be happy again.

If I'm honest I knew she'd been depressed for some time.  I could see my own behavour in hers.  For some reason I didn't want to give it a name.  I had this real hope that if I could just get her into the new school she would be ok.  She would be safe and the wounds of the previous months would begin to heal.  I talked to her about the bullies having chipped away at her.  How her confidence had been eroded and that it was understandable given what she had been through.  I told her it was like having a hole inside.  The bullies had dug away and made that hole.  I truely believed that the new school would begin to fill the hole back in.

Home School

Whilst Emily was relieved to be out of school and wanted to work on her studies, she missed her friends and being part of the whole school environment (with the exception of the bullying part)  I bought a load of GSCE revision and exercise books.  I researched as much as I could and tried to come up with fun ways to learn.  I got in touch with other Home Ed parents, they were so supportive.

I took a risk when I decided to do Home Ed.  We were awaiting the outcome of an appeal and there was every chance that we wouldn't get a place.  I'd been able to move my son straight away, and whilst I hoped this would be in her favour, it did add additional strain on the whole family waiting for the decison for Emily. I made the Home Ed decision fully prepared to continue providing for her Educaton should our appeal be unsuccessful.  Despite this I was worried about my ability to be able to support her in all the ways she would need.  I was working three days a week.  This meant that on my days off I needed to work 1-1 in order to prepare her for working under her Grandma's supervision on my work days.  Evenings were spent lesson planning and researching.

Whilst Emily had been relieved to be out of her old comp it was clear that she was still very unhappy.  Home Ed was not the answer to everything

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Emily

When she left her Junior School she was a confident, happy girl who had a small group of close friends and a large number of other friends.  September 2010 saw her move to the catchment Comprehensive along with the majority of her friends.

Things were rough from the start, children from two different area's coming together.  Emily was studious, intelligent and well spoken.  We realised quite quickly that all 3 of these things were an immediate source of ridicule to most of the other kids.

During year 7 she faced verbal taunts on a daily basis and physical violence every few weeks.  School seemed to think that a bit of bullying was 'one of those things'  They played down events to the point that Emily said there was no point asking for help.  She tried to sort things out herself.  She tried ignoring things, she tried fighting back.  Nothing helped and despite me voicing my own concerns to school, nothing improved.

I talked to her about changing schools, Emily wanted to stay with her friends, she'd tell me it wasn't that bad, that she was ok.  But she wasn't and I should have done something sooner.

Moving into year 8 it was obvious that the confident and happy young girl was a definite thing of the past.  Instead I had a tearful withdrawn child who found little pleasure in anything.  Attempts to ask school for help were pointless.  They made us both feel that we were making a fuss over nothing. Bullying continued in the classroom, while teachers pretended not to notice.  Pushing, kicking and hitting happened in the corridors. Nasty Facebook and BBM messages outside school. She no longer went out with her friends for fear the bullys would be out and about too.

Emily getting her feelings on paper

In January 2012 I couldn't bear to see her so down.  I looked into the possibility of moving her to another school.  It seemed this was something I was within my rights to ask for.  I filled out the forms and we all waited miserably for 2 weeks waiting for a response.  Emily could see light at the end of the tunnel, although the thought of leaving her few good friends upset her, she anxiously waited to see if she could move.

Sadly, the year was full.  I filled out an appeal form and was told this would take a further 6 weeks.  Emily was devestated.  We felt in limbo.  She didn't want to go to school, but I didn't want her attendance or education to suffer.  Ridiculous really, under those conditions how much can you really learn??

Then the final straw arrived.  On 2 consecutive days year 11 boys assaulted her, the first day she was pushed and kicked for no apparent reason.  The following day a different year 11 boy pushed her and hit her in the face.

Creative writing after the event - Emily


Schools response? "Well if she didn't know who they were, then it wasn't personal"  What can you say to that?  Within 2 days I looked into Home Schooling and made the decision that regardless of the appeal outcome, she wasn't returning to that school.

Who am I?

I'm a Mum of 2 kids, living in South Yorkshire.  Suffering with Mental Health problems for over 20 years, I've forgotten the names of the therapy's I've been through during that time.  CBT, CAT, Depression Management, Group Therapy and 18months of someone looking at me and not speaking... Working my way through various anti depressants, I now seem to be settled on something that gives me neither highs nor drastic lows.  Middle of the road, flat, thats me.  Panic attacks, severe depression, anxiety just for starters.  Tough enough, but nothing could have prepared me for the pain I experience watching my 13 year old daughter suffer the same and worse.