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Found Out SD11 is cutting

Dogmom1321's picture

A lot of my previous blogs on here have been about SDs mental health diagnosis (plural). She has depression, anxiety, ADHD, and ODD. She has been going to therapy off and on for a couple of years. More recently, was prescibed medication about 6 months ago. Adderall for ADHD and a Nightly anxiety med. 

BM doesn't have SD take the meds. And DH is extremely lazy about it. He basically let SD decide to stop taking it during the summer to have a "break" and said he will have her start taking it again when school starts. When she does "take it" he doesn't even watch her. 

She is awful when she is off her meds. Extremely low self-esteem, body issues, terrible social anxiety and severe depression. It has gotten the worst I've ever seen it this summer. Her anixety is so bad she doesn't play with friends, spend time with family, etc. She is obsessed with her weight. She locks herself in her room with her phone all day and night. Awake all night and sleeping all day. Food is EVERYWHERE in her room. It's a biohazard. 

SD has told both DH and BM in therapy that she thinks about killing herself. Her parents are totally aware of how bad off she is. 

A few days ago DH took SD out shopping for her birthday. Brand new skateboard, clothes, shoes, backpack etc. SD11 kept gushing how it was "the best day ever" and is "totally stoked about her super sick" new skateboard and "so happy". I honestly thought she seemed better. Fast forward a few days and she has done a complete 180. DH has barely seen her in two days. She refuses to eat. 

Well I made dinner last night and everyone declined. I told DH it's fine if no one is hungry, but we all need to sit down together. He trudged upstairs and dragged SD out of her room.

She ate a couple of bites and then told DH she wanted to tell him something. SD said "I started cutting myself." DH wasn't visibly mad or upset. But he immediately started with a whole slew of questions. 

- Let me see

- What happened?

- Is this the first time?

- Does your mom know?

- Have you done it at your mom's?

Etc. Etc. 

I immediately thought to myself ...

"She shouldn't even know what cutting is" But her parents give her unlimited access to a cell phone they don't monitor.

"How can someone go from 'the best day ever' to another extreme in literally a couple of days?"

I don't have any experience with cutting but have tried to read up on something online.  My biggest thing I can't wrap my head around... I don't understand how a parent can watch their child suffer and not enforce boundaries to help them cope. I feel on some level the lack of parenting on BOTH parts is almost neglect. 

Does anyone have experience with this? I feel my hands are tied with the (lack of) parenting choices BM and DH have made. Without getting on the proper medication and CONSISTENT therapy sessions, I feel SD is set up for a lifetime battle with her mental health issues, 

IMO, I feel like at soon as these issues started coming up (around 5 y/o) they should have been intervened with then. SD should have never been given full access to a phone and been exposed to who knows what. The YEARS of DH and BM blaming each other for SDs problems, instead of facing them, has reared it's ugly head. 

Advice, feedback, and personal stories welcomed.

Gimlet's picture

I am so sorry you're dealing with this and you have no control over how it goes.  You are also getting a first person view of how things will go with your husband if your child has issues, so be prepared for that.

My own DD went through a bout of serious depression twice - once in high school, and once in college.  When she was in high school, I basically dragged her to therapy.  She HATED it.  She had been before (she saw someone when she was younger just to make sure she was adjusting OK) but this time, oh boy.  She was mad at me for months over it, but I didn't see any other choice.   Her father was zero help both times, as usual.

The college bout was scarier since she wasn't living at home, but we found a great therapist where she was and she started meds at that point.  I visited her just about every weekend until it passed.   She is doing well now, but does plan to find a new therapist when she moves again so in case she has another bout, she has someone lined up. 

I've lived all my life with PDD (used to be called dysthymia) and OCD (much more mild than it used to be, thank goodness) so I am empathetic to others with those issues.  YSS has issues with depression and anxiety but much like your SD, didn't get the help he needed early on.  Not because my DH didn't try, but because BM didn't want to deal with it and would cancel his therapy appointments (OSS too) and insisted that there was "nothing wrong" with her kids.  I would not be shocked if he was cutting.

The difference in the kids is that my DD got consistent, early intervention and the skids did not.  Skids are both adults and neither of them is functioning well.  Your husband is massively failing his daughter, OP.  He can ignore and pretend all he wants, but these issues don't resolve themselves.  She needs consistent therapy and she needs to take her meds on a regular basis.  What anxiety med is she supposed to be taking?

"How can someone go from 'the best day ever' to another extreme in literally a couple of days?"

Because she has mood disorders.  She's going to be up and down without help.

I wish my DH had pushed harder to get the issues addressed (and so does he) and maybe we wouldn't be living with this depressed adult child.  There are days it is a real strain, especially when I remember how many times I brought it up that YSS wasn't functioning at his age level and was told he was just a "late bloomer". 

I hope you can get your husband to see that he needs to get serious about stepping up because this isn't going away on its own.  I hope Lt. Dad sees this because she's been through a lot with her YSS and is seeing some success.

lieutenant_dad's picture

Yep, I'm here! And I agree with everything you said, Gim.

OP, some backstory: my YSS moved in with us in January after he threatened suicide. We weren't sure if he meant it, but one crisis intake later and we found out he was. A little while later we found knives in his room that he intended to use to kill himself. Not long ago we discovered that he did, indeed, try to stab himself on one occasion (but the knife was too dull/he didn't fully commit) and had partially enacted a plan to throw himself from a window.

I have gotten rid of every knife that isn't in my knife block and I count the knives daily. DH checks to make sure scissors are put up. My home office is right next to YSS's bedroom. DH does random checks throughout the day on YSS, especially if he doesn't see him. YSS is between therapy at the moment (posted a blog about that yesterday), but he made great strides when he went, even though he HATES it. He has a safety plan in place that he admits to using.

So far we know he has anxiety disorders. We're not sure about depression. The problem is that he scores well on depression and anxiety assessments (maybe he lies?) but will admit to suicidal ideation and planning. We have a fairly strict routine when it comes to school work because falling behind in school is a big trigger. We're also going to get him into a physical activity and start getting him to the gym.

Most of these things YSS doesn't realize are for his mental health. He has no idea I count knives. He has no idea that going to the gym will help boost his mood. He has no idea that we pay extra attention anytime his mood shifts too drastically in either direction (teenage apathy actually is a blessing in this case). I can tell you, even doing all that, we're still slacking and it 100% wouldn't surprise me if I found out YSS was cutting himself.

I don't know that I have much advice for you if your DH and BM won't do anything. In my case, they both slacked on this until the suicide threat, but it was a hell of a wake up call for DH. For BM...not so much. She has asked very little about how he is doing, and she hasn't seemingly made any changes to her own behavior to support him. And we're only dealing with one or two issues, not the full complexity that your SD is dealing with.

All I can offer is sympathy and a listening ear. Until SD gets consistent, proper treatment, she's going to struggle. You know this, I know this, and she probably knows this. All you can do is keep pushing your DH to handle it. Is this a hill you'll die on? I think it's a very worthy hill to die on, because I wouldn't be able to watch my DH do nothing if I knew YSS was suffering that badly. I know that's a lot more meddling than most SPs would advise, but it speaks a lot to your DH's character if he won't step it up.

I'm here if you need to chat.

Dogmom1321's picture

Thank you! This is very helpful. I'm hoping this incident will jolt DH into reality and it's an opportunity for him to step up. I took her razors out of the bathroom and also all medications. It always seemed irresponsible to me anyway that DH let her "hold on" to her pill bottles. 

Gimlet's picture

Someone at her age, with her diagnoses, shouldn't be managing her own meds. 

Like Lt. Dad wrote with her YSS, your SD needs a safety plan.  YSS here has one as well. 

The crappy thing is that there isn't much you can do if he's not interested in stepping up.

Harry's picture

What do you think will happen.  Your DH and BM are the problem, they have there head in the sand. Hopping all this will go away and we will be one big happy family.  Until DH and BM actually do something,  this is life and it's only going to get worst 

Dogmom1321's picture

I agree. It's like watching a train wreck in slow motion. BM and DH have always been too involved with their own personal problems to be able to parent. IMO they had zero business having a kid. Sadly, SD is just a byproduct of their failed attempts. I have a feeling if there aren't major changes, she will be another COD statistic. 

I can see her attempting suicide when she's older. Either out of impulse from a turbulent event (breakup, etc) or just her depression becoming worse. BM has had atleast one attempt DHs knows of. BM also has boderline personality disorder. Since SD has so many conditions, I can easily see her getting a more "exact" diagnoisis with BPD when she is older. 

Mamabearof3's picture

Borderline is curable with certain therapies. BM has no business not getting herself help and setting a good example. It's a very selfish mindset that comes from being neglected. It's very ugly. They both need serious help. 

Esperanza's picture

I agree with everyone else but just wanted to add that being inconsistent with medication (such as having a 'break' during the summer) is extremely BAD! It causes withdrawn symptoms, from physical issues (such as feeling dizzy etc) to mood swings, sleeping disorder and was it called 'bouncy effect' on depression (meaning depression that comes back even deeper). 
I don't mean to sound offensive but your husband's  behaviour is absolutely appalling! It's extremely irresponsible and he is neglecting his own daughter's health. 
I would have serious issues being with a man that is failing his duty like this 

Rags's picture

I am sorry everyone is having to deal with all of this.  Not something I have much experience with.  I had a decidedly "normal" childhood without much exposure to behavioral, developmental, emotional, or psychological issues other than when one of my childhood BFFs was Dx'd with Schizophrenia.  That was after his family had moved and we no longer had regular interface with each other.  I would get periodic though regular letters from him, pieces of art he would send me from his travels, and the occasional safe deposit box key with coded messages directing me to wealth and riches that I could never decifer.

There could be all kinds of cool stuff out there somewhere. Who lknows.

I visited him for the first time in 30 years a couple of years ago.  He is doing well, lives in a garage apartment in his parent's home, keeps their grounds and pool maintained, and he and his dad pretty much experience life together since his mom passed several years ago.

I did have a cutter in my Company at Military School my second year when I was First Sergeant.  I had to drag him out of a 5th floor window he was threatening to jump out of while bleeding like a stuck pig from multiple cuts to his wrists. I cleaned him up in the infirmary, drove him to the ER, where the young ER Doc complemented me on his clean wounds and dressings and for not letting him jump. Sadly he commited suicide a couple of decades later.  I am still in touch with his twin sister.

I am absolutely all in on team :"parental intervention".  This BM and Dad are both the poster morons for parental idiocy and failure where this troubled kid is concerned.  Meds are not something you take a break from.  As much as I would dearly love a break from being a T-1 diabetic and to not stab myself a dozen or so times a day..... there is is not a snowballs chance in hell my parents would have allowed that to happen and as an adult, I would never do that to myself.

Mom and dad need to get this kid under control, consistently medicated, and in therapy.... regularly.

IMHO of course.

There is a reason why kids do not get a choice in complying with what is best for them as directed by their parents.  Few kids are capable of knowing what they want from minute to minute on completely trivial things... much less servious considerations of life, death and health.


Dogmom1321's picture

Thanks Rags! DH and BM came to the agreement that "it's about time" SD got back on her meds. Seriously? It takes something like THIS for you bozos to realize that?

SD was the POLAR opposite today. Playing music, singing around the house, talkative, etc. Someone above mentioned mood disorder and I'm thinking this with SD could be so much more than just "depressed". The highs are high and the lows are so incredibly low. **P.S. - SD also went back to BMs early this afternoon. I'm honestly not sure what to make of the constantly leaving "our time" early. 

Rags's picture

This is his time. He is the parent.  He needs to parent. He needs to make it absolutely clear that his time with his kid is inviolate. The kid and BM both need that message.

Dogmom1321's picture

DH told me the rest of the conversation he had with BM yesterday. Here were some highlights I wanted to share.

- BM claimed that SD told her she was cutting because he won't allow her to attend middle school in BMs district. SD would basically move in with BM because it's so far away. I honestly think SD is trying to guilt trip DH and let her move in with BM. I've had lots of previous blogs about the school situation. 

- BM sent a video of SD later in the day. She was laughing and playing outside. BM actually suggested that maybe SD is bipolar (I was shocked to hear this.) BM has been in denial about SDs mental health for YEARS

- DH said some of SDs actions are manipulative (YA THINK SO?) with how she plays both sides with her parents

- Both agreed the cell phone was a big issue. BM said she took it away. DH didn't say anything about her using it at our house still, but he thinks the phone "consumes her." They should have thought about this before handing over a cell phone to a pre-teen. It's so hard to establish new rules when their weren't any to begin with. 

- Agreed SD needs to start back up on meds. BM used to be extremely high conflict with me. To a point where I had a restraining order on her because she threatened to kill me. Anyways, she was coming to pick SD up. DH was at work. They drove off and SD "forgot" them. I texted BM directly and asked if they were coming back for her meds.  I put them in a pill box, ran them out to her car. And told her 10 were in there. She said thank you and actually seemed appreciative. BM has blamed me for everything wrong with SD in the past, so it was nice to not get the blame from BM for once. 

I guess my thing is that it's NICE after 6 years to feel like everyone is in agreement about SD. And heads aren't buried in the sand though. I find it incredibly sad though that this has gone on for SD from ages 5 - 11. The most formative and developmental years of her childhood. I feel like her parents have done her a diservice and has set her up for a lifetime uphill battle now. 

DH is a "yes" man and has zero backbone. Which is why he lets her leave early every visit. He thinks he is making SD "happy" in the moment and doesn't realize all of the damage it causes in the long run. I wouldn't be surprised if he caves on the school decision, maybe not this upcoming year. But definitely by the time is is 18. 


Kisanmisme2's picture

I myself had problems with suicial ideations and self injurious behavior, the cutting started around 13. It was a sign of deeper issues. Fast foward 13 years, come to find I am bipolar and have BPD. I am on very good medication that help with my emotional lability, but there is no medications for personality disorders because it is engrained maladaptive behavior patterns that are picked up throughout our pasts. I go to DBT for that and therapy. My mom, when I was 14, sent me to a "boarding school" for rebellious teenagers  because I was also engaging in impulsive and risk taking behaviors. (Joyriding her car and using drugs) My mom had a business and we were latch key kids. Dad off till the weekends. This school was a lockdown facility for teens so like full time babysitting. I guess all this to say, for myself the school did wonders, but my problems were the same (school and home wise) when I returned from school soon after my behaviors reverted back. My parents were unaware of my desperate need for medication(this was over 20 years ago now) and a diagnosis didn't fully come together until I was 26 and experienced a manic episode. Mental illness is serious. I pray for you all.