15-year-old daughter might be the death of me

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Clay, Oct 4, 2016.

  1. Clay

    Clay New Member

    I'm happy to have found this site and hope to get some advice. I have a 15-year-old daughter who is very difficult for our family. She was born with a disposition that she is never satisfied. As a baby, she would cry that she wanted to be held, cry when we held her, cry again when we tried something else. As a little girl, she was prone to absolutely unreasonable meltdowns over the littlest things, such as if we set her milk cup 1 inch from where she actually wanted it. I should add that she's also extremely brilliant, very creative, likes to write and paint, is a musician, and is a beautiful girl. Almost 2 years ago, her older brother (2.5 years older) went through a bad stretch and ended up in the hospital after attempting suicide. Since our daughter is generally a copy-cat of her brother, we predicted she would end up in the hospital, too, which she did 3 months after our son. She started telling us some of the same things our son said he was struggling with, and we didn't believe her (although we did give her the benefit of the doubt). After a "suicide" attempt, which was followed by a trip to the emergency room, she was quite excited to learn she would be going to an in-patient mental facility. This experience actually made things worse. She didn't really take it seriously. When we visited her, she told us she was changing her name (and her new name was awful), she wasn't sure if she was really a girl or a boy (something another one of the patients was going through), and she wanted to cut all of her hair when she got out. When we had a family therapy session while she was in, she had gotten into trouble right before the meeting for trying to get another boy's phone number, and so she wasn't in the greatest frame of mind when we had this family session. It ended up being worthless and she walked out. Four days later, the hospital released her with no plan to how she was going to reintegrate with the family (our son's hospital had been great about this, and he actually used the knowledge he gained through his hospital experience to get better). She came home with newly-prescribed anti depressants, which ended up not working for her. She changed to another anti-depressant, which was working at first but recently seems to not be working as well. But in the meantime, she returned to at least seeing herself as a girl with the name she was given. She has shown incredible growth and maturity, and she's now in a high school that she really seems to love. But, we still have these episodes where a friend of hers will contact us saying she's threatening suicide, which she always denies. Today, the school counselor called to say some friends brought her in because she was threatening to take a bunch of pills. So my wife is on the way to pick her up. She won't talk to us about it, she refuses help (won't go to counseling because she says she is "fine"), and we have no faith in the mental health process. We've called the police when she's threatened suicide and all that happens is that she is taken to the hospital and put on watch. She almost ended up back in a mental hospital a second time but my wife said absolutely not because she won't use the opportunity to learn anything. (That and her in Colorado there is such a shortage of beds for adolescents that you have to take whatever they give you; hence, last time she ended up in a worthless hospital). She does these things for attention; yet, when she gets the attention, she shuns it. It's impossible to detach with her because her behavior drags us back into the drama in the form of tension, dealing with meltdowns, and having to take time off of work to go pick her up from school because she's threatening to take pills (which, by the way, just came out of the blue--last night and this morning she seemed absolutely fine). Like I said, she has shown tremendous progress and maturity but we still deal with these episodes. My wife and I are beyond our wit's end. Our daughter sucks all of the joy and energy we have out of us. I'm writing this hoping that we will find others who can relate and maybe offer some helpful advice. Because we have none. We feel like there is just no helping her. None. Thanks for reading.
  2. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    I am so sorry you are dealing with this. We are raising two late teen granddaughters. Each had had one half hearted attempt (pills) and were taken to the ER. Both had IVs, blood tests, interviews with mental health professionals and a short inpatient stay.

    They haven't tried it again. I don't know if it might be because we tried not to over react...or cater to them...tried to make sure they didn't receive any perks ...

  3. culturanta

    culturanta Member

    Seems to me that you could use some additional support. Has she ever been evaluated for an emotional disability? If she had an IEP, she might have access to additional support and resources at school that could help you manage her at home.

    I doubt she is doing all of these things purely for attention. I am sure she enjoys the attention as a byproduct of her actions but it does sound as if she is mentally ill from what you describe.

    I would also suggest that you seek counseling and support for yourselves so you can learn to detach with love from your troubled daughter. You cannot fix, control or change her. All you can do is stop allowing her to ruin YOUR lives. Al-Anon is a great, free support group that can be very helpful in these situations. It is designed for families of individuals whose dysfunctional behaviors are making the entire family miserable and unstable.