My daughter is called Maddy. I used Lizzie as a pseudonym when I started this blog for anonymity: we are beyond that and she deserves to be known by her own name.
I’ve beaten cancer, lost my darling mum and had some pretty tough times in the past few years: the last 24 hours have been the most emotional, heartbreaking hours of my life.
My sweet gorgeous girl was hooked up to a drip following her overdose on Monday: her body is starting to scream out against all the drugs she has pumped into it, her liver in particular. But once she was deemed, medically fit, we were faced with the option of “What to do next”. Hospitalisation seemed almost inevitable and I sobbed my way through a phone call with one of the professionals from our wonderful CAMHS team because I knew I couldn’t fight it but it’s not what I want for her.
Then, to my total surprise, it was suggested we try again. That she comes home, with wrap around support. We discussed the options yesterday and CAMHS went away to have a team meeting: it seems they were split 50/50 on whether another hospital admission was appropriate and worthwhile and I was asked to think about it and speak to the rest of the family.
How do you make that decision?? My options were clear, my choice was not: agree to another hospital admission or bring her home and risk another suicide attempt, which could prove fatal, even accidentally so. The choice seems as clear as my options and of the few people I confided in, some saw it as very black and white.
However, another hospital admission, this would be her fifth, all but condemns my beautiful daughter to a lifetime of endless mental health units. It simply reinforces her own, now institutionalised view, that she can’t stay safe or cope outside of a hospital. At 14 years old, it would rob my daughter of her final chance of childhood. And for what? Her previous admissions have done nothing to stabilise her because even though she may be stable and seemingly making progress when she is there, she can’t survive in the real world. Add to that the issue that she is surrounding herself with vulnerable people and forming attachments that break her heart just a little bit every time she leaves, what is the benefit? And, probably most heartbreakingly for me, at 14 she is a baby still and to be taken away from all that you know and love for so many months is wrenching and tragic in itself. So what if? What if two suicide attempts in a week are her crisis point and if she can get her through this, we can break the back of it? Don’t I owe her that chance? The chance of an actual life worth living?
I tossed and turned all night: as a family, we were also divided 50/50. What I couldn’t resolve, in my hours lying awake, my fitful sleep, was that risk that she could die by suicide. At 8am, I told CAMHS I couldn’t risk my daughter’s life and however much I disagreed with it, she should be hospitalised for her own safety.
When CAMHS arrived at the general hospital today and told her that a hospital admission had been decided, she sobbed. She said that she would never get the chance to go to school, to be a “normal” teenager; that her future was written and that it was pointless. She said she wouldn’t go. Faced with images of my daughter being dragged out of general hospital screaming, under Section, and put in an emergency mental health unit, broke my heart even further and kick started my brain. CAMHS had already considered this and they too knew this scenario would break her once and for all and an emergency meeting was in the offing. By the time Maddy had finally agreed to go, dejected and sadly but willingly, I’d given up giving up and was back.
For the past two weeks, I have been an absolute wreck, which is not like me at all: I am strong, determined and positive. Maddy has begged me for two years to believe her when she says she wants to die and I have. But two weeks ago, I finally succumbed and not only believed her, I felt it too. I accepted the inevitable and it has nearly killed me with grief. The past 24 hours have broken me but I’ve emerged like the epic (all be-it corny) Phoenix from the flames: you know what, she’s not dead yet and I am not giving up on my beautiful, brave daughter.
I believe her when she says she wants to get better. I also hold true that she is mentally exhausted and we are taking a massive risk. But she deserves this chance, she deserves the choice. So we’ve discussed, we’ve agreed a plan…and I have bought her home. It feels right. The pain of the decision I made at 8am was fuelled by the fact that it was the sensible decision, but it wasn’t the right decision.
I may loose my daughter to this awful disease, I know that. But yesterday my best friend lost her darling dad and someone else very close to us lost his wonderful mum; living is a risk but my baby deserves the right to try, again and again if she has to.
Stay strong x