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, 18 July 2012

Day One?

Today is a day of very mixed feelings, its the day Emily's treatment will start.  Part of me is relieved that we have survived and made it this far, but I know this is also the beginning of a hard path for her and one she has to take no matter what.

On Sunday morning we should have been running Race for Life together.  Sadly Emily couldn't face being out of the house with so many strangers. So our group of 3 became 2 and instead I gave her my medal when I got home.

By Sunday evening I had started with a nasty head cold.  The drawback to something like this, apart from obviously feeling rubbish, is that you don't want to pass it on.  This has made it very difficult to comfort Emily in the usual way of hugs, kisses and holding hands.  I was sneezing with alarming frequency and in between times constantly blowing my nose so we kept to opposite ends of the sofa. 

Monday I felt even worse and at a time Emily needed me I couldn't be fully there for her.  I knew she worried about going to the centre and as the day got closer her fear grew and she got more and more upset about it.  I could only offer her short hugs and words from a distance.

Feeling no better on Tuesday meant a day off work.  This is almost unheard of for me and especially not for 'just a cold'.  Its ridiculous, I am totally shattered, coughing and sneezing with a pounding head and even dosing myself up on whatever medication I can has made little difference. I'm beginning to wonder if the weeks of worry have just left my defences so low that there is no fight in me for stuff like this?  Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to feel sorry for myself, I'm just blooming annoyed that a) I'm ill b) I can't shake it and c) It's stopping me doing the things I need to do.

So back to today.  Admittance was 10.30am.  Emily flitted from being upset, doing practical stuff like getting showered, back to being upset.  I was surprised though that when the time came to leave,I got her into the car, with me and my cold, with no real problems.  I'd honestly thought I might not be able to physically get her out of the house.

She walked into the centre calmly, even going out and in again to retrieve my forgotten tissues from the car.

Once in the admittance meeting with four staff members it was a different story.  She wouldn't look at anyone and I became almost like an interpreter as questions were asked.  Her answers were barely audible and as her head hung down there was only me who could make out what she was saying.

All through the meeting she was crying and whispering that she didn't want to stay and didn't want me to leave her.  The staff left us alone for a few moments and then offered us a tour.

The centre is very well equipped, with school rooms, leisure room, quiet area's, dinning room etc and the staff are kind.

When the time came to part, Emily started to cry again and begged me not to leave her.  I held her face in my germ infested hand and asked her to look at me, really look at me.

I told her I loved her, I told her I was proud of how well she was doing.  I told her that those bully's were not going to win because she was going to get the help she needed to get better and get her life back.  I told her I would be there at 4pm to bring her home.  I opened her hand and pointed at the felt heart keyring and told her that the heart was proof I would still be with her and I would be thinking about her all afternoon.  I told her she was safe now and the centre would help her get better.

Through all this I did not shed a tear.  Not until I was out of the security doors and in my car did I sit and sob.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

What does the future hold?

We have a date for Emily to start as a day patient; a week on Wednesday. 

Emily cried when she read the letter.  She knows she needs the help, but the realisation that in a short time she will spend days away from me is hard for her to cope with.  There is also fear of the unknown.

Our daily routines continue much as before, managing anxiety attacks, whilst trying to fit in working, shopping and wedding organising.  My wedding, now just four weeks away, is also a source of anxiety for Emily.  My hope is that she will get caught up in her 'role' as bridesmaid and this will be enough of a distraction to at least get her through the ceremony.  After that, we'll just have to take it as it comes.  We will be surrounded by family and friends who will all understand and lend a hand if needed, I just hope it won't come to that.

News has reached us, for while now, that children at the new school are wanting to know where Emily is and why she's not at school.  Not much of a surprise given how long she's now been off.  Unfortunately, she has no real friendships so isn't able to confide in anyone there.  I'm also not sure if it would be the right thing to do anyway. 

The school are getting the children to do a GCSE next year in Y9, Emily had chosen History.  The more I think about school the more worried I get.  I know she is a good student, but I have this sickly feeling in my stomach.  Its not even likely that she will go back at the start of the new school year, how is she ever going to catch up?

Its not just the study side of things though.  There will be a day when she has walk back into that school and there will be questions.  Not only will she have to deal with this but she'll also still be fighting to control her fears.

What does the future hold?  I just don't know, I need to take the advice I give to Emily I think, one day at a time, just one day at a time.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Are we there yet?

Today finally saw myself and Emily waiting for our assessment at the residential unit.  Emily became more and more nervous so we tried to make light of our situation by laughing at theTV.  I'd never had to sit through an episode of 'In the night garden' before.  It seemed to revolve around lots of charactors with too short arms trying to use a ball, still it provided light relief.

We were taken further into the warren like passages by a Nurse and a Specialst Doctor.  They were both very kind and apologised for keeping us waiting.  Emily was very sullen and for while kept her head down and angled away from the Doctor.  I sat next to her and held her hand, the hand with the felt heart keyring in it.

The Doctor wanted to know why we were asking for help.

I started to speak about the 'episodes', the self harm, the voices, the people she thinks she see's, the fact that she can rarely leave the house and if she does, it needs to be with me.  I explained that she can no longer go to school or see the one friend she has left.  I described what its like when her legs are kicking out in pain, when she screams 'mummy they're coming for me!' 'mummy they're hurting me, make it stop!!'  I explained that these were the times you would see her with handfuls of her own hair tightly clenched in her clawed hands.

Amongst my input, Emily managed a few words of her own before the Doctor moved on to why this was happening.

Between us we told her story once more.  We told of the confident girl who left her junior school and unbeknown to me, was teased even on transistion days to the new Comprehensive. We spoke about the verbal taunts and name calling which started pretty much straight away.  We relived the pushing and kicking from boys and girls in the corridors between lessons, which happened several times a week throughout year 7. I told the story of things being thrown at her in the classroom.

I explained the additional problems resulting from a forced change in her friendship group, which resulted in people Emily had called friends being nasty and vindictive.  I talked about the facebook bullying, the BBM bullying and the liveprofile bullying. Finally Emily spoke about the year 11 boys who attacked her, got her by the throat and hurt her. It was clear to see the shock on the faces of the Doctor and Nurse when I explained school did nothing to help.

Emily was really starting to struggle by now,  through her tears she kept asking to go home.  I sat closer, explaining that we wouldn't be long, but we needed to talk if we were going to get her better.  I told her how well she had done.

They asked about suicide.  Emily has often said she had made plans but didn't want to tell me what they were.  Today she finally agreed to speak about them, but only after I said she could say in front of me and I wouldn't be upset.  Her preferred methods are taking an overdose, drinking something toxic or hanging herself in the local woods. I did as I promised, I didn't get upset.  To be honest I didn't feel anything, it feels like its nothing new, these are methods I guess are the most common, shocking yes, but still common.  In my heart I don't think she would do it, but I may be wrong.  I manage the risk by never letting her be alone, except when she's in her room and even then I'm monitoring the situation.

The outcome of the meeting was that they could take her as a resident, but felt that Emily was too dependent on me and to remove me so completely would be counterproductive.  I have to say I agree.  The Doctor looked me in the eye and said if I couldn't cope and needed her to go in as a resident this was possible.  I am struggling, really struggling, but I didn't want them to know that.  I couldn't put Emily through that just because I'm not strong enough, I will have to cope. 

So we settled on Emily going every morning and coming home every afternoon, a bit like school hours.  Unfortunately, whilst there is room in the residential side of the unit, there isn't in the day only provision.  We now need to wait for a place in the next few weeks.  So it is likely that when other children start their summer break, Emily will be starting her days at the unit. 

We left feeling drained.

Later, at home, I spoke to Emily about the outcome of people who overdose with the likes of paracetamol, she thought they would kill her, I explained the reality.

So are we there yet? No, not really.