It’s been a while, such a long while, since I last wrote and there is a reason for that: as you may recall, Maddy had a really rough time before Christmas; for the first time in her journey, I hit a real low and fear overwhelmed me. I finally faced up to the fact that she truly wanted to die and I believed her when she said she would. It was like starting to grieve. It was an awful, horrendous time.
However, whilst Maddy had begged me to believe her for almost 2 years, when I finally admitted to her that I did, it had the opposite effect on her than I think she thought it would: it felt to her like I had given up hope and that in turn, sent her further down into hopeless oblivion. It became clear that I am her barometer and that she can scream and shout at me as much as she likes that I don’t understand, that I don’t believe her, but she needs me to stay strong and to maintain hope.
Since Christmas, she has fought so hard to conquer this illness and to be “normal”. I knew she was struggling, declining again, but I was too scared to let her see that I knew. She reads my blog: I could hardly write about my fears if I didn’t want her to know I had them.
But actually, there is a difference between acceptance and hope: I accept that my beautiful daughter wants to die (I always have) and that she struggles with this, battles with it minute to minute, day to day. But I refuse to give up hope that she can win this battle.
So here we are. Her journey has taken on a different path in the past 2 months. She has fought hard and ridden the waves that hit her like a tsunami; she has battled on and through it. But she has done so quietly, often with a smile on her face. But I could see how it was breaking her. This new path scared me more than before: almost the calm before the storm. She made some brave decisions to keep herself safe but I could feel the momentum growing.
When Maddy took two overdoses before Christmas, CAMHS decided to try something they had never tried before: they provided us with a wrap around care plan that meant a daily programme of contact and therapy so that Maddy could recover in the community. It has been our lifeline and I can’t praise our team highly enough! They all genuinely care about my daughter and have fought hard to help her recover.
Last Monday, she went into crisis and decided enough was enough. Thankfully, her anxiety was so high, she couldn’t hold the blade and her suicide attempted was thwarted. But the intent was there and it was too high a risk to ignore. She spent a night in our local hospital to keep her safe. Everyone commended Maddy for being honest with me and asking to go to hospital because she couldn’t keep herself safe. Yes, it was a huge, brave step. But for me, it was a chilling one. My daughter’s desire to die is now so high that even she knows it will soon be uncontrollable.
Last night, I sat outside her bedroom door for hours in the middle of the night listening to my baby sob: her heart had been broken by a boy. But Maddy has faced bigger battles than this and won: the pain she felt, I felt for her, because there is nothing more painful than a teenage broken heart. Last night, she was not mentally ill, she was dealing with real pain. But I slept sitting upright on the landing because whilst teenage hearts mend in the blink of an eye (as Maddy’s has done already), she is way too fragile to manage what this triggers. The tsunami has hit.
We are packing a bag now, heading back to the general hospital where she will be kept safe until a bed becomes available at an adolescent mental health inpatient unit. The plan is that this will be a short admission of around 2 weeks, just to give her some respite from the constant battle and responsibility of having to keep herself safe. Five days ago, I almost burst with happiness at the normality of my baby and her best friend singing in the kitchen, dying her hair, as I looked on whilst cooking dinner: things change in the blink of an eye. We know that, we live that. I remain ever grateful that we still have a battle to fight, tired as we all are, we will never give up hope.
Stay strong x