I can’t believe it’s been 6 days since Lizzie’s 4th overdose…time has flown by this week! So, all her tests were fine so no impending liver damage, which is a huge relief. When someone presents in hospital “in crisis”, the process is that they will be medically checked and cleared before any form of psychiatric review can take place. When the crisis is an overdose, they have to wait 4 hours before they can run blood tests to give the toxins time to work their way into the system. Most people who overdose on paracetamol, will remain asymptomatic for at least 48 hours – meaning that symptoms with the first 48 hours are unlikely. Lizzie was tacocardic and her blood pressure was raised and she had chronic pain to the right hand side of her abdomen; however this all settled down.
We duly waited 4 hours for the blood tests, then 2 hours for the results (they only take an hour but a&e was busy!). Once she had the all clear, we then waited for the on call psychiatrist. I’m not proud to say that we “played the system”: we have been through enough of these to know what we needed to say to be discharged. There was method to this madness though: I definitely don’t think another mental health unit admission will help my daughter and if we’d been admitted on to a ward that night, we were almost certainly facing admission to another mental health unit under a section 3. Lizzie has already said that if this happens, she will certainly not survive…and I believe her.
So we were discharged. Lizzie has agreed to start therapy to try and prevent this happening again. CAMHS have offered us CBT, which Lizzie has accepted, and I am also looking at private psychotherapy. CAMHS will not run CBT if psychotherapy goes ahead as it is not good practise to run two forms of treatment concurrently. My plan, right now, is to see how the CBT goes and then move on to more intense psychotherapy. I believe CBT will help Lizzie to cope right here, right now and the latter will truly address the root of why her issues have manifest themselves: attachment disorder due to the rejection by her biological father. I accept that she is probably not strong enough to tackle this in a deep emotional sense just now.
Whilst this is all very positive (accepting treatment is a MAJOR step forwards, even if it is only out of fear of being sectioned), the events of last weekend have also opened another can of worms: our support worker at CAMHS has agreed with me that we are treading a very fine line with social services. We don’t have a social worker and already have support from social services early intervention team; early intervention have the power to quash more concentrated involvement from social services and they also have the power to escalate. They have carried out a full review of our case including home life, attitude, approach, safeguarding etc. They have deemed us categorically low risk which means there are no concerns in terms of our ability to care for & protect our daughter. However, the frequency of her suicide attempts and my belief that hospitalisation is not a good route for her, seems to be increasing their concerns. There is also the concern of the impact this is all having on our other children, particularly our 10 year old…a concern we share and are only too aware of!
So now we are also juggling the politics of social services. I feel like we are in a scene from a spy film trying to negotiate invisible trip wires! Be under no illusion, this IS political and I am also very aware that it’s a very dangerous situation to be in: we only need one over zealous employee who is looking to make a name for themselves, to look at our case and things could take a very different turn. There is absolutely no question that my daughter should be in a loving family environment and to remove her into care, because that is what we are talking about here, would completely destroy her…and us. I keep it at the back of my mind with every step we take but I am under no illusion that we need to tread carefully and that our decisions and actions are not isolated anymore. The irony is, if we had the early intervention support we requested when this journey began, we may not be in this situation at all.