I am not a practising professional on teenage depression or teenage suicide! I am just a mum who is living with a suicidal teenager.
We have 6 children. Our family structure has never struck me as complicated, although I know it is not conventional. My husband had two children from his first marriage, I had two from my first marriage. After my divorce, I was in what I believed to be a long term relationship and had Lizzie. The relationship ended. Then my husband and I met and we were very happily raising the 5 children when I became pregnant with our 6th child: our family was complete!
I have a degree in Psychology in Practise and whilst working on the London/New York Parent Child Project, was offered a fast tracked place on to a doctorate course in child psychology. I turned it down because I was learning that I could not detatch myself emotionally to children in crisis and I just wanted to take them all home and make their lives better! So I entered the corporate world instead and built a very successful career. When my husband and I met, I had a high powered career, was a single mum to 3 children under the age of 5 to whom I was devoted, and we had a stable, comfortable life. Today, my husband and I run our own healthy, successful company.
So what is the point in laying my life open like this? Well, it is important to me that I put our journey into context: we are not conventional or even perfect, but we are also not that unusual! Trust me, we did not see any of this coming! It was recently suggested by a family therapist we were seeing that I should have “seen this coming” because of my background in psychology (I know, shocking right??), but there were no indications that we had ever put any of our children at risk of emotional distress. And trust me, text book is never, ever the same as real life!
So, in short, I am not an expert. I have never tried to use my limited knowledge of psychology to understand my daughter…how can I, she is my baby not my patient! Apart from anything else, my brief experience in the field that we are now so dependant on, was over 20 years ago. True, I have an understanding, but I do not write this blog as a professional, I write as a mum. This is our journey; yours may be very similar, or it may be completely different. Whatever your story, I want to raise awareness. I want you to see that you are not alone in this; that you are not to blame and to demonstrate that mental illness has no precedents, and it does not discriminate. I welcome your comments and will always try to reply (please, no trolls: I am way too busy & stressed already). But please know I can only ever give you my personal opinion and support using my own experience, not a professional opinion. Sending much love to anyone needing this blog x