Mother’s Day

Well, yesterday was Mother’s Day. I was spoilt rotten by my children and had the most wonderful day. I got heartfelt cards and presents and much love from my beautiful kids! I didn’t get a card from Lizzie; in fact, she didn’t even wish me a happy Mother’s Day. The others were really upset by this and whilst they try so hard to understand their sister, they can’t help but be angry with her.

It was fine, absolutely fine. I know she loves me and that I am her rock, and it’s only a silly, commercialised day. OK, sensible, rational grown up bit done….of course I was a tiny bit upset! I mean, it wouldn’t have hurt to have made me a card and said “thank you for putting your life on hold for me mum; for caring more about me than your own recovery when you recently went through chemo and radiotherapy”. But what I can’t explain to my other children is that I’m just grateful she is alive; that she spent the best part of the day with us. That to me is really enough! And as a sensible, rational grown up, I know that each day is a struggle for her so even being here is enough of a gift for me. So I put my hurt aside, bury it deep.

Lizzie doesn’t have a clear diagnosis but it is clear to anyone with a brain that whatever causes her mental illness, she also suffers from depression. One of my friends (ironically, one of those who really doesn’t understand her illness!) reminded me a long time ago that depression is a very selfish illness and she was right: it takes so much effort just to function when depression hits that you can’t focus on anyone else and their feelings. So my little girl’s blatant rejection of the celebration yesterday wasn’t what it seems externally and the fact that I “get it” is all that’s needed.

So, knowing she suffers from depression, why don’t we just treat that element of her illness at the very least? Well, Lizzie rejects any form of help; she won’t consider medication and she refuses to engage in therapy. She has a key worker through CAMHS, who is very cool & whom she adores, and she is the only person Lizzie will talk to, although I have noticed she has started to hold back from her too. She says there is no point; that nothing will help so why bother. A psychiatrist recently concluded that she won’t accept help because she is scared it will work; that her place of safety now is ‘Lizzie in crisis”. This is spot on but incomplete: it suggests that she actually enjoys this state of mind; the missing piece to this conclusion is that if she tries and it fails, then where does she go with it? It’s easier just not to try than to fail completely.

Forcing her to have treatment for her own good is an option but only under Section 3 of the Mental Health Act. This will mean an enforced return to hospital and is a course of action neither Lizzie nor I want to happen. I am so desperate for her to start to make progress because if she does not, this decision will be taken out of our hands. I will loose all control and more importantly, so will she. She can be held in an adolescent mental health unit for a minimum of 6 months under a Section 3. Whilst these places are not as scary as we first thought, they carry huge negatives too and quite honestly, a little part of my baby dies every time she is admitted to hospital. So each day, I push a little bit more to see if she is getting better; every time she smiles or laughs, I get hopeful! But the reality is, nothing is changing; my beautiful daughter is still adamant that she wants to die.

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