Dealing with Depression & Suicide
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|Sat, 05-24-2003 - 11:21am|
I'm new to this site and am dealing with a very difficult situation. I apologize such a long posting, but I am really stuck with this situation. I really just need an ear to listen, but appreciate any advice offered.
This is my story:
I am a divorced mother of two teenage daughters, ages 14 & 16. I have been divorced for 11 years. I spent 10 years on my own following my divorce, determined to make it on my own. I returned to school and made a life for my girls and myself. I have a great job, which I love, own my own home and am independent. My daughters have a good relationship with their father and his wife, whom they have seen regularly since the divorce. I also have a good relationship with them; I even attended their wedding to wish them well in their new life. I resided in a large city for most of my life, but one and a half years ago, I moved with my children to a small town. It's 2 hours away from our hometown, but a very nice place to live. I moved here to take an exciting job opportunity, leaving behind my family and friends, basically all my support systems. I thought it would be a great environment for the girls to reside in during their teenage years. My eldest daughter decided last fall to return to the city and live with her father, which I supported, and she is doing quite well. My youngest daughter remains living with me. She is in her first year of high school. She is in on-going counseling since we moved to our new town, to assist with the transition.
My youngest daughter has a difficult time with the transition of moving, going to a new school, making new friends and her sister leaving. Shortly after her sister moved back to the city, my youngest daughter started to become quite depressed. She isolated herself, refusing to join any activities or programs, and resisted making new friends. Her sister is very outspoken and was always the leader of the two girls. She was always quite dependent on her sister, sometimes boardering on submissive to her. She has always been quite shy, which she found to be almost debilitating once she hit adolescence.
In November, her depression was becoming quite severe, so I arranged for her to see a pediatrician who deals with teen mental health issues. She was awaiting the appointment, which took 3 months to get, but in December she attempted suicide by taking an overdose. Fortunately, she told me of what she had done and I took her to the hospital for assessment and treatment. She remained at the hospital for 4 days, until the crisis passed. In January, she saw the doctor and was prescribed an anti depressant. The medication seemed to help and she began to make some friends and develop some interests. One of those interests was a boy whom she liked. He seemed like a very nice boy and I didn't have any red flags about this relationship.
In February, her depression seemed to be returning, so we sought further help from her counselor. At the beginning of March she made a second attempt at suicide, by drinking a poisonous household cleaning product. This time she did not tell me what she had done and went to bed after consuming the poison, with the expectation that she would not wake up in the morning. The next morning, she felt pretty bad and confessed to me what she had done. I, of course, took her to the hospital again, despite her resistance, and she was admitted into the psychiatric unit for 5 days. She then went to stay at a residence for troubled teens for 3 weeks. Needless to say, I was totally in shock following this attempt and ended up taking a stress leave from work. I sought out support and counseling for myself to assist with the crisis.
After she was released from the residence, she had a number of days that were very difficult for her. She broke up with her boyfriend and admitted to me that she had used drugs while at school. She was quite upset about using drugs and vowed not to do it again. She and her boyfriend remained close friends and he was quite helpful toward her, despite being very upset that she had used drugs.
Her medication was switched and this seemed to help a great deal. BUT, in March, I noticed some marks on her neck. When I questioned her about them, she was quite evasive. I came to learn, from her boyfriend, that she had attempted to hang herself in the shower. Upon hearing this information, I advised her I would be taking her to the hospital for another assessment. While on the phone to her counselor, explaining the situation, she climbed out her bedroom window and ran off. I contacted our local police, who apprehended her and took her to the hospital once again. The doctor at the hospital felt she was not a risk to herself, as she had made the attempt the day before, but did not appear to currently be in crisis, and advised he could not hold her at the hospital. I arranged to have her spend the weekend at the crisis residence nonetheless. She was very angry with me for taking her to the hospital once again, and basically told the doctors that I was losing my mind, which the doctor was rather hesitant to believe, considering her history.
Following this last attempt, I arranged for her to spend 15 days at the adolescent psychiatric facility in the children's hospital, for a full assessment. It was determined that she is suffering from severe anxiety disorder and her medication was changed once again. When she returned home, she seemed to be in good spirits. However, her relationship with her boyfriend has deteriorated due to all of these issues, yet she refuses to believe it is over and hangs on to him with all her might. He is beginning to become resentful, which is raising her anxiety level once again. Her schoolwork is suffering terribly due to all the interruptions in her attendance and I'm concerned this may lead to further anxiety and feelings of failure. Her father has been supportive, however quite a distance away, which creates its own difficulties.
Prior to and during this time, I was involved in a relationship, which has now ended due to the on-going problems and my partner’s lack of ability to deal with them. Despite being sad over the loss of my relationship, I am glad that I found out he had little tolerance to handle the stresses in my life. I feel like I have become a prisoner in my own home though, fearing to leave my daughter alone, even to run small errands. She frequently refuses to go anywhere with me, as she is waiting by the phone in case her former boyfriend calls. I have had to give up a lot of things, including the time I spent with my partner, my volleyball team, attending my church and socializing with friends.
Last week, she was very angry and broke the door on our shed, took my bike and left. She returned later feeling very apologetic. She had ridden to her former boyfriend's house and he told her to leave. Naturally, she was upset when she returned home. She had done this same thing the day before and he had been more sympathetic at that time.
Recently, I was away at a conference for my work. I arranged for my daughter to spend the week with her father and his family. I advised him to take her medication from her and administer it to her so she did not have access to it in the event of a crisis. I also advised him of the safety plan that was in place. I checked in often and my daughter seemed to be doing fine.
I returned home yesterday, contacted my daughter and arranged for her to return to my care. Last night, at 2 in the morning, my daughter called advising she was upset. We talked briefly, but she would not elaborate on her concerns, except that she was upset about her former boyfriend because she had called him and the conversation was quite difficult. When I attempted to find out more information but she became angry and she hung up the phone. I called back numerous times but she continued to hang up on me. Finally, I spoke with her and advised her I was quite concerned about the situation and wanted to inquire about her safety. I asked about her medication, to which I found out her father had not taken from her. I asked to speak to her father, but she would not wake him up and she hung up on me again. I called again and advised her that I needed to talk about her safety either with her or her father or I would have to call the police. Again she hung up on me. I called a few more times, but no one answered. I was very distraught, as I did not know what was really happening, so I contacted the police in her father's city and had them check out the situation.
Following this episode, my ex called and said that she was fine and that the police had attended to assess my daughter. He did not sound too happy about the situation. AND, my daughter told the police that I must be delusional! Needless to say, I haven't had a wink of sleep since 2 am (which explains my ramblings).
I'm starting wonder if I'm going crazy, but I don't know what else to do to support my daughter. There are a number of professional people involved in this situation, to assist and support my daughter. A common thread seems to be though, that I must be doing something wrong. An example: If we argue (which we rarely do), I'm faulted for not being more understanding. So, when she's in a bad mood and raising hell, I tell her I will not argue with her. Her counselor then questions what it must feel like for my daughter if I won't fight with her???? Her counselor has even come to my home (not uncommon), on a day when my daughter would not get up for school, awoke her up and driven her to school. My daughter seems to have everyone jumping through hoops to help her, but I'm concerned she is not helping herself. She is very resistant to the counselor as well, saying she does not "like her" anymore and she is not being helped by their involvement.
There are constant suggestions about how I can change my style of parenting, which I am open to try. The problem is, my daughter is very resistant. She is focused on trying to work things out with her former boyfriend, even though every time they spend time together, she cries the majority of the time, and he becomes very silent and distant. She insisted they are still friends, but he's been telling her that his parents will not allow him to see her anymore. Despite this, she continues to call him at all hours of the day and night. I've tried to talk with her about this issue, but she is very defensive about it and becomes angry. I decided that the best thing I can do is let the situation play itself out and be there to support her in the end, but I am very concerned that it may lead to another suicide attempt.
Besides these issues (which are more than enough) she's a good kid. She can be very thoughtful and helpful. She's not hanging around with a bad crowd or doing a lot of things I don't approve of. She is usually fun to be around and has great sense of humor. She's usually open and honest with me, which I appreciate a lot. She has a lot going for her; she just can't seem to see this herself.
Anyway, I'm just looking for some thoughts or advice on this situation. Or even anyone to connect with to discuss it, because there seems to be few people who are dealing with this type of situation. I appreciate any support that is offered.