Confused ... is this a sign of danger or attention-seeking?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by dashcat, Jun 7, 2012.

  1. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    Some of you know that my difficult child has not been diagnosed but that I suspect she might be bi-polar. Something isn't/hasn't been right for several years, in any case.

    I've posted about her moving in with me and, despite a few bumps along the way, it's going fairly well. She is now paying rent, is doing what I ask of her around the house, etc. Since I confronted her about pot two weeks ago,I've not seen any evidence of pot use, though I know she could be doing it away from home. Can't do anything about that.

    She's had episodes of over-the-top happy ...the kind of happy that really isn't happy (and I know most of you know what I mean). When she's like this, she's loud, dancing around, singing in my face, talking loud/laughing loud .... LOUD. Non-stop talking, singing, piano playing .... She has a new boyfriend ...nice (but clueless) kid. Lives with his dad and stepmom, is on summer break from school, is polite and helpful when he's here.

    But today she posted two things on her Tumblr. One is something along the lines of "I just want to thank you all for follwoing me (tumlr equivalent to facebook "friends"), I'm just really down about my life right now and the urge to cut is overwhelming. Thanks for everything." Underneath that is a gif of an ocean over which is printed "nobody likes a suicidal girl.".

    She doesn't know I know her Tumblr URL, though it is public. (please, please, no advice about not looking at her facebook/tumblr. I'm not there yet. I look.)

    She has lied about cutting since high school ...and only "cut" once (after I confronted her about lying about cutting!), a tiny set of surface scratches that could hardly have been called "cuts". I can usually get a glimpse of her arms and legs because we don't have airconditioning and she lives in tank tops and shorts. If she's cutting, it's well hidden.

    She isn't acting at all depressed around me, but I have noticed she's been sleeping more than usual and she isn't showering. The pattern is, though, that she doesn't show depression by acting depressed. My biggest clue is her not snowering and sometimes binge eating, but that's it.

    I know all talk of suicide should be taken seriously...what I'm not sure of is if she is really thinking this way or if the Tumblr thing is an attention thing.

    Sorry to ramble, I'm just plain confused.

    Any magic words?
  2. keista

    keista New Member

    Given that she's lied about the cutting in the past, I'd guess that she's lying now. HOWEVER this level of attention seeking is just as serious as actually cutting or pondering suicide.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    First of all, my daughter cut. I'm guessing your daughter kept on cutting even after you confronted her because it is something one feels compelled to do and it can get addictive (I actually know two people who were cutters). My daughter used to cut on the soles of her feet so that we couldn't see and we never did know how much she did it. Also, her "over the top" moods could be drugs and not just pot. Pot doesn't make you that silly. It could be bipolar too, but I'm guessing drugs. You may want to drug test her. Pot is a huge Gateway drug.

    As for the suicidal note, I will relay a story to you that is true and you can take with it what you like.

    A friend of my daughter's, who was a fifteen year old boy, started posting some dark stuff on Facebook. One night he posted "The only time anyone ever listens to you is when you're dead." Nobody paid any big attention to that post.

    He died the next night. He hung himself in his closet.

    I am not trying to scare you because people threaten suicide often and many times they don't do it. Sometimes, though, they do. And it may be a cry for attention, but that doesn't mean they aren't serious. Maybe she does need attention right now...or psychiatric help.

    Huggggz! Keep us posted.
  4. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    You're right. The attenioni seeking (and it is getting worse and worse) IS very scary. I honestly don't know how to address it. In the real world, populated by people who think difficult child stands for Guilt Free Gluttony ... or something like that, you sound like a complete lunatic in describing the crazy-happy difficult child, or the difficult child who isn't cutting. That's why I need you guys!

    I hear you loud and clear about your daughter's friend. It does scare me. It has always scared me. She's never posted/written anything quite like that ..and I'm not sure at what point to be concerned about what she's saying. Know what I mean??

    As to the cutting, she doesn't cut. She told a boy in HS that she carved "Runaway" on her arm. He told his mom who told me. Her arm was spotless, but she insisted she'd done it and it healed. I called BS and the next day (my birthday), she made some very light scratches on her arm. I mean, she didn't even draw blood. Then she told her voice teacher (in front of her five year old) that she was cutting and she was on suicide watch.

    When I talked to her about what she said, she insisted her voice teacher "heard her worng".

    I don't wat to ignore something serious, nor do I want to feed the attention monster. Of course, I'm keeping an eye on her (glad she is living here).



    Also, there's a pattern with new boyfriends. She's always struggiling with something and then they move heaven and earth to comfort her. Can't tell if this is directed toward the new guy, J, or not.

    Double Ugh.
  5. keista

    keista New Member

    My FH did/does this. It's part of his "courting routine"

    Can you maybe up the regular attention you give her? Nothing major, just invite her with you for shopping or errands. Not to indulge the attention seeking behavior, but to satisfy the need for attention? Problem is I don't even believe that it would really help - just a logical stab in the dark.

    Is she currently in counseling?
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Im a former cutter. I still have a lovely scar on my right arm that says "I hate" which you can really see when I am sick and my skin gets thinner and paler. It stood out like a neon light when I was in the hospital and I was so embarrassed.

    I never cut anywhere else but on my arms so I dont know about that. If she is posting somewhere I think I would take her somewhat seriously.
  7. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    What happens if you take this as a cry for "attachment" rather than "attention"?
    Our difficult child did some pretty extreme things.
    When we went on the assumption of "insecure attachment"... (and ours isn't adopted, and was normally-attached until school age...) and got into relationship-building, specifically, it make a HUGE difference.
  8. helpangel

    helpangel Active Member

    I know what you mean about the overly happy thing, a few years back I was reporting it to psychiatrist and she was insisting Angel was doing well; apparently psychiatrist & I have different idea of well she had gone 48 hours on a couple hours sleep, was singing and vacuming cobwebs out of the corners of the house. Little sleep? singing? cleaning? I was scared to death didn't know who this alien who had taken over my daughter was???

    After that "too happy" stage she went into the sleep all day, not bathing, eating everything that doesn't eat her first stage. That went for a couple days before the close call that landed her in the psychiatric hospital. Cleaning her room while she was inpatient couldn't help but snooping because I kept finding the words "help me" written all over everything, open a journal and every page full of those 2 words over and over.

    I snoop under pretense of cleaning, I read text messages, face book posts & check internet history. I act like I'm ignoring kids that actually I'm not taking my eyes off them. All kids different but when mine are in the biggest danger they don't ask for help; I have to just pick up on the clues and get them the help. Knowing this is one area I can't count on a chance for a "do over" we usually swing thru the crisis center even when I suspect it's just an attention seeking thing.
  9. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Nichole was a horrible cutter. Keeping sharps locked up wouldn't have worked because she'd use anything when she felt the urge. I didn't see it as an "addictive" behavior, neither did her psychiatrist. It was more along the lines of "I can't express how I feel with" type thing. When she learned to express herself with words the cutting stopped. There has been only one or two incidents since. She has so many tats to cover the scars because so many were so terribly deep.

    Honestly? I'd be giving her some bipolar info and try to do some education. I realize she'll probably blow you off, but I'd be doing it anyway.

    Me? I don't take all talk of suicide seriously. Because frankly, it's not all meant that way. Now If I don't know the person or the situation/behaviors........yeah, then of course I would because you've nothing to judge by.

    I'd say based on past behavior, it's not serious, probably not even serious enough to cut. Sounds like, with the attention seeking, you may be dealing with Borderline as well as bipolar.

    Nichole threatened, but my gut told me she wasn't serious. For her, it was a cry for help.......the only way she knew to get the fact that she was in over her head across. When she was hospitalized it was more on the danger to others side of things than to herself. Depression tends to make her rage.

  10. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Youngest cut for awhile in high school. She still has a small scar on her foot. What stopped her was being roommates with a girl during one of her psychiatric hospital stays, who was a horrible cutter. The girl cut her breasts so her parent wouldn't see her, and snuck cutting while Younget was her roommate (not sure what she found to do it with, but she did). It scared Youngest to death, and I think she stopped cutting shortly after that. Her therapist at the time told me he thought kids cut for all sorts of reasons, some for attention, some to express their pain, some just because believe it or not, cutting was the "in" thing to do (that one really threw me!)

    Both of my girls were very attention seeking when it came to suicidal threats. Youngest overdosed three times, but each time she counted the number of pills she took and told the doctors. She wanted attention, not death, but she still could have "accidentally" harmed herself pretty significantly, so it was still dangerous. Oldest would say vague things like "you'll be sorry" and I ignored a lot of that, or told her to call 911 if she was serious. But, she once wrecked a boyfriend's car into a small tree off the road, claiming she'd lost control (years later she admitted she did it on purpose, because she was mad at him). She wasn't really hurt, but still, the thought that she did that.. scary.

    I think you have to trust your gut with the posts. Giving her some bipolar literature is a good idea... she may ignore it, but you may spark something in the back of her mind. Can't hurt. Perhaps with that literature leave the number of the suicide hotline?
  11. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    She seemed ok today. The happy wasn't through the roof. She was up by noon (worked until midnight last night and was on the computer until God knows when) and helped me clean the garage before work.

    As I suspected, she isnot cutting. Or if she is,it's in a really weird place. She was cleaning with mein a very skimpy tank top and shorts. Before we went out, she was sitting barefoot with her feet up and I grabbed a foot (to get a look) and tickled it. Nothing.

    Keista, until you mentioned your FH, it never occurred to me that this weird stuff with new boyfriends might be part of her "courting" routine. Good gracious. She sure rules out a lot of the healthy ones this way. More than one has headed for the hills early on, telling her they just couldn't deal.

    In one situation, she took a real life tragedy and milked it shamelessly. A former classmate at her very small school (a year ahead and after they both had graduated) went missing after swimming off a party boat. It was all over the news and it took 10 days for her body to drift to shore. The boy at the time rushed to her side to comfort her when the body was found .. and even I beleived that she was deeply shaken. I certainly was. But she showed absolutely no interest in attending the calling hours or the funeral. The boy bolted a few days later, and difficult child never mentioned the girl again.

    I so appreciate your listening ear(s) and, especially, your understanidng. Where else but here could I find another parent who knows what it is like to be alarmed by too muc singing? I imagine, to the unitiated, it might sound like a good thing....
  12. helpangel

    helpangel Active Member

    I rushed posting before because had to run. Want to finish with I really had to listen to my "mom gut" on this one because when my girls really need help they don't ask for it (it's been close calls I didn't see coming) but they are teens so comments like "I just want to die" "wish I was dead" etc. are just like declarations of teenagers.

    I just hope your daughter doesn't do like my girls, had a couple close calls here.

    Adding on edit: Angel got suspended yesterday, too much energy goofy silly, was singing 4 hours after last nights medications kind of holding my breath over here right now LOL any singing out of that one scares me!!!
  13. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    It just seems so bipolar to me, but of course, I'm not a pro. The other thing is she seems definitely to be "overacting" to somehow be more dramatic and projecting that she "needs saving" to manipulate her new boyfriend. G-d forbid she's self medicating with drugs, too, then you have something very troubling.

    But Dash, if she's totally opposed to seeking REAL help, all our suppositions are useless. She's calling out for help on Tumblr, but won't get help from a real doctor? And her super highs followed by sleeping and not showering may be depression at the very least, and bipolar at most. You can't reveal that you've looked on Tumblr, but you can talk to her and tell her that you are observing some concerning behavior, and keep encouraging to seek genuine help.
  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    On the addictive behavior, I put it in there because both people I knew who cut used the word and said, "It's hard to stop." No clinical person told me, but I figured they knew something about it. And both also said they did it to relieve the pain.

    But...glad your daughter doesn't seem to be cutting! :)