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Topic: Teen's first psych ward stay - what now?

2 posts, 0 answered
  1. BElaine
    BElaine avatar
    5 posts
    15 August 2021


    I have spent this morning reading posts and replies and already feel reassured and not alone any more. I have admired the courage and resilience of those that post and the compassion and wisdom of those that reply. What a safe environment has been created here.

    My first enquiry is about how to support and encourage my 17 year old daughter after her confronting but apparently helpful experience of a 3 week residential in a youth program. She is highly intelligent but has managed to scoop the pool as far as diagnoses go - ASD, ADD, ODD, depression, anxiety and probable bipolar. She has spent years masking but found high school socially disasterous and academically unfulfilling or irrelevant. We've always been open and positive about her autism diagnosis but she resents it and resists any sort of help or therapy. When teenage insecurities kicked in things really got difficult, and confusing for her. She isolated herself on line, identifying as a man and a vegetarian on the same day - vegetarian lasted 2 days, being trans lasted 3 weeks. She projects all her issues onto her parents and will cut off anyone who disagrees with her, including her older sister who she used to admire so much.

    After a domestic violence incident her psychiatrist recommended a clinic stay as a circuit breaker where she had a built in social life, plenty of structure and few expectations placed on her and she also stopped communication with us because we "reminded her of her depression" - so no depression in the clinic either. She cut her hair off with scissors, shaved a slit in her eyebrow and ate a lot. She also met a lot of serious issues through the other patients.

    When we collected her she was manic - dropping out of school and enrolling in TAFE, her new friends at the clinic love her , she was talking like a machine gun whether we were interested or not, spent all her birthday money on line, watched Ru Paul's Drag Race relentlessly. 48 hours later came the crash - so down she couldn't eat.

    What do I do? or say? She was only doing 3 subjects in Year 11. Next TAFE intake is February and this is August in lockdown.....she sits on her bed all day dreaming of her fashion course at TAFE while bonding with drag queens on line. She only emerges to eat now. It's great that she's more positive than when she went to the clinic a month ago, so is this it for 6 months? How do we move forward?

    From what I read here, we have a long journey ahead. Any advice/ideas would be appreciated.

  2. Croix
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    Croix avatar
    11086 posts
    15 August 2021 in reply to BElaine

    Dear BElaine~

    I'm glad you are here and have been able to find others in similar situations, at least you can feel no longer alone.

    Several times you have said "we". I'm hoping this means you have someone such as a partner plus your other daughter in your life who, like you, feel as badly and would give anything to make matters better. Facing such adversity together is a boon.

    Sadly I can't see a straightforward path and my immediate concern is for you, and hte rest of the 'we'. There is a very strong force that makes one feel frustration, powerless and guilt. It can fill the world with 'if onlys' and simply leave one lost with small hope of better.

    So may I ask what support you all have? Family of friends to talk frankly with and feel cared for, medical support though a GP or psychologist, a parents/carers group who have the same problems?

    Also what do you do for yourselves -go to the movies, read quietly, play with pets ...? I'm only guessing what might attract you, give you enjoyment and respite for your situation. I'm in different circumstances to you but I try to have one thing to look forward to all day until evening arrives. My self-reward is reading.

    It really is necessary, even if you think I'm concentrating on you rather than options for her. You deserve reward and that can percolate in when you give yourself you-time. It result is (at least in my case) a more balanced and happier person.

    That person is in a better position to deal with your daughter's behaviour and illness, and while you are in a better calmer place this can have subtle influence on her.

    I do not know of great deal you can do to meet each form of her behavior, only show love -and be as vigilant as is practical that she is not in real danger. Her medical team may be better placed to assist her.

    I guess for me hope would rest with that calmer love, circumstances and her medical team.

    Please feel free to come here anytime, you'll be welcome


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