So, I wrote a few weeks ago that my gut feeling was that we were heading towards a cross roads and I was certain that Lizzie would be compelled to make a decision about which path to take: my instincts were screaming at me that she was getting desperate and I was scared she would break completely. Let’s not sugar coat it: I feared she would end her life.
We have had some pretty scary days and nights since then: nights that I didn’t think she would make and I now fearfully check her every morning to make sure she is still alive. It’s no way to live as a parent but it forces me to count my blessings and to put things into perspective. The most awful part for me is that if I am forced to do this, just how much is my poor daughter suffering? It’s totally heartbreaking on all levels.
Last weekend, my beautiful, brave daughter sobbed to me and told me she thought she should go back to hospital: she doesn’t feel like she can keep herself safe for much longer and she is tired of being so unhappy all the time.
So arrangements have been made and my little girl is returning to a hospital where she has had a previous admission, her last one in fact. The hospital itself was something I felt strongly about because I don’t want to waste precious time and cause more stress for her by her having to readjust, settle in and learn to trust again. This needs to be as seamless as possible and in a place where she feels safe. A bed has been “booked” for her and we expect her to be admitted within the next two weeks.
If I’ve learnt anything in the past 12 months, it’s a certainty that I should trust my instincts where my children are concerned. As parents, our gut feelings are there for a reason: they are primal and exist to protect. Listen to them! I knew we were heading towards breaking point & I am truly devastated that she is returning to hospital and I have been ridiculously tearful. But I am also so bloody proud of Lizzie for being the amazing person she is and realising that she needs this, because the alternative for her is to give up and die. She told me she knew that if she killed her self without first trying, that I would never forgive her. We laughed at that….there is an irony there if you look hard enough.
I believe that my daughter needs medication, even temporarily, to soften the effects of her heightened emotions whilst she deals with suicidal ideation and typical teenage hormone surges and that she needs therapy: proper, deep rooted therapy to help her address her issues and recover. But first, she needs to accept herself and believe she deserves to get better. As she refuses treatment at home (“in the community”), then sadly, hospital is her only option right now. I see that I don’t like it, but I see it.
What seems like a lifetime ago, we worried about the effects of these units on our daughter: we were warned by our CAMHS support team that she would learn new “techniques” and would be influenced by the other young people she was around. I can’t deny this happened (Friction burns….who knew???) but as she says herself, when you are in the state she is in, then she will find the information she needs and wants anyway. The influence of others is great, but it can also be hugely supportive: young people in this situation are already isolated by their peers and often by society itself, so to be with people who truly understand, can be a massive relief to them. And let’s face it, the exposure to detrimental factors can’t be any worse than what they can search up, unsolicited, on the internet or through social media.
We have experienced a mediocre mental health unit, a shockingly bad one that caused more damage than it was worth and one that I felt could help her, given the right length of time, the right length of admission. Our problem has always been that Lizzie fights to be discharged: she focuses all her energy on getting home and she’s smart, she’s really smart’ she has put foxed some truly educated people! They have ignored my prostestations and denied that she is manipulating them’ they have failed to see that she is smarter than them! But this time, this is her choice and this hospital were the only ones who saw through her “plans” before, and the first ones to listen to me! Let’s just hope she doesn’t change her mind after a week or so. If she does, she is either home and back to square one or she is forced to stay for treatment, under section. One day at a time, one day at a time.
So we weigh all that up and as we do, we pick out the positives and make the choice to focus on those: Lizzie chose not to die but to go to hospital. she will receive treatment that she refuses at home; she will be with like minded individuals and have a team of professionals to guide her, keep her safe and help her recover. Of course there are worries and concerns, but let’s save those for another day!
Stay strong x