My one and only post on Facebook this week made reference to being on a roller coaster and the wish to have a go on the tea cups instead. One or two people knew why I'd posted this, but most did not.
Not only do I feel the ups and downs of this ride, but I feel I'm on one that's really rickety, the turns are sharp and frequent. The ride is also in the dark and I can not predict what emotion I will feel next.
One moment I think Emily is making progress. Last Saturday we went out bowling as a family and, whilst it could have been better, she got through it and it felt like an achievement.
Then she goes back to the unit and doesn't turn her phone on so I can't contact her. When I visit on the Tuesday she's sullen. She tells me she seeing someone in her room. I'm bewildered as I thought the voices and visions had calmed down. Now she tells me they never went away. I find myself looking at my child and thinking, 'Is she telling the truth?' What scares me now is that she could be exaggerating her symptoms because she wants to stay in the unit. The unit is not the real world, the unit is not stressful, for her the unit is safe.
Her nurse is also concerned that not everything rings true, but what do we do? Is she telling the truth or not?
On Wednesday the unit called me and suggested Emily come home for the night. I was happy to agree and went straight from work to collect her. I was really looking forward to having her at home instead of a hour visit in an uncomfortable chair. As I drove to the unit my head was filled with warmth and expectations of cuddles on the sofa.
The understanding was she could go back to the unit at 9pm if she didn't feel able to spend the night, otherwise we'd take her back the following morning, just in time for family therapy.
She was strange at home. She put on some 'catch up' tv but then disappeared from the room. A little later she said she was going in the shower. She'd got home at about 6.30pm, by 8.00pm she was obviously in distress and I took her upstairs to my room so we could talk on our own. She talked about not being able to cope, seeing things and wanting to go back to the unit. She told me she'd thought about drinking nail varnish remover in her room. She told me she'd gone in the shower with a dinner knife and tried, in vain, to cut her wrists. Then, she admitted that she had hurt herself since coming home. I had thought I'd found all the hidden pencil sharpener blades. It seems there was yet another concealed in her room. Despite having worked hard to let her arms heal, she had now undone all that work. Pulling up her sleeves the cuts were all back just centimetres apart, her legs had not gone unpunished either.
I was numb. I'd been allowed my daughter for an extra night and I'd failed everyone. She didn't want to stay the night and, if the truth be told, I didn't want her to stay either. I didn't want the responsibility. I knew her room at the unit was controlled and she would be safe. I guess that was her point.
I called the unit and explained. My voice was quiet and lifeless, I felt lifeless. I couldn't keep her safe.
Social Services have been in touch following on from the issues around Emily's father. I spoke to them at length. They were satisfied that the children are now of an age to make their own decision if they want to see him. They felt the children were no longer at risk and I agreed with them.
None of the professionals working with Emily has spoken to her father, I asked this week if this was going to happen. I am struggling to explain to him why she is not wanting to see him. The unit advised I could talk to him as they had no immediate plans to do so. Deep joy.
The phone rang on Friday night. I knew it would be him so I got to the phone first. I had thought long and hard about what I should say to him. In the end I said that therapy had brought out unpleasant memories of childhood for Emily, which involved him. Because of this, she wasn't wanting to see him at the moment. I didn't want to get into the whole "she said you did this" charade. I told him that it was likely he would be invited to family therapy to address some of these issues. He said ok and asked to speak to our son. I'm not sure what to make of that.
I have to admit to very uncharitable thoughts on Friday night. If it was me I would be frantic, wanting to know what the memories were about, what I had done, how I could put things right. As I went to bed I really hoped he was worrying and feeling ashamed, but part of me thought it was just as likely, he wouldn't have a clue about the part he's played.
- 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.