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Any parents dealing with teens w/mental illness?

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Old 03-30-2007, 11:36 AM   #1
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 1
StillHopefulx3 HB User
Any parents dealing with teens w/mental illness?


I am a parent of a teen (female age 14) who is mentally ill. (However, the health professionals have not given her a diagnosis, because she has a number of symptoms going on).

She has a learning disability which was noticed by the 1st grade; I decided to focus on her successful moments while assisting her with her challenges…even though I knew that her learning disability wasn’t just about what she learned in school; soon enough I found that no amount of praise or positive recognition encouraged a positive self image.

She has seen a counselor when first diagnosed with a learning disability for 3 weeks. She saw a counselor again at age 10 for about 6 months. And now she has been seeing a counselor for 6 months which I hope to continue for at least 9 months to a year.

At age 9 she began to focus on dark things, beyond what would be a healthy norm of interest. She would write about killing people and drawing pictures that related to her stories. By age 11 she began to experience auditory and visual stimuli (however she is not schizophrenic). Now she has a desire to harm herself or others most likely a family member. Currently she is taking 3 medications; her mental health is emotionally, mentally and physically exhausting. Unfortunately she was removed from a family members home before the age of 2; her mother and father where involved in activities that put her at risk. She herself believes that she is better off. But it seems that she resents….no loathes me greatly.

She is passive which is a nature that she uses to manipulate or deceive; everyone else does the work except for her. Her counselor described her as needy. She has a very good support system from family, a therapist, activities, her teachers, the school therapist and the personnel that is monitoring her medications. She reaches out but doesn’t seem to know how to use the resources at hand. It seems that she either doesn’t want to get better or know how to get better.

I don’t take the time to invest in the negativity anymore. She says that she wants to connect with me but I don’t ask her if she wants to talk, how it is going etc. etc. Because if I ask her how it is going; the next day she tells her counselor that her life is terrible and she wants to kill herself or a family member. If I don’t’ ask her…she tells the counselor the same thing (she has given the counselor consent to communicate with me). She will go in her room and walk in circle around and around, she smells even when she has bathed (I try and give guidance on that), she cuts herself, has panic attacks, talks to the voice in her head, checks out (blank look on her face) while when someone is trying to communicate with her (she was tested for a seizure disorder).

She says that she doesn’t now why she is unable to get better…and I belive that she doesn’t know. For the longest time she thought that it was a lack of activities (in which I feel would help her with her depression, but was not the key answer); so her activities where increased….
The mall
Sports events
…she has not improved as she had though.

I have become exhausted and have become somewhat selfish in trying to take care of my own needs; she is not the only challenge in my life at this time. So currently my plan is to continue giving her the resources that she needs but right now I am indulging in the other children in my home that will allow me to do so, without the need to go beyond the typical parent/child challenges.

However, I must admit that the brighter side of the situation is that she is receiving treatment at an early hopes that she will be able to manage her illness in her adult hood.

Positive input welcomed….

Can anyone relate?

Last edited by StillHopefulx3; 03-30-2007 at 11:46 AM.

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Old 04-02-2007, 02:09 PM   #2
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: IL
Posts: 472
CaringMom HB User
Re: Any parents dealing with teens w/mental illness?

My 15 y/o daughter is not mentally ill, but does suffer from depression/anxiety. Counseling and meds are doing wonders for us. Lots of positive feedback the past few months and she is doing wonderfully! I also have a nephew who is doing much better; he has ADDH, was into cutting, deep dark thoughts, etc. I know what his family went through!
Just wanted to let you know that I sympathize with what you are going through. It is mentally and physically exhausting as parents to help our children through something like this. I know what I went through and can only imagine what you are feeling. Will be praying for you. Take care of yourself! Best of luck.

Old 04-02-2007, 03:34 PM   #3
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Dover Tennessee
Posts: 605
emeraldeyes114 HB User
Re: Any parents dealing with teens w/mental illness?

I myself have Bipolar I and my son is also Bipolar as well. He currently lives with relatives do to both our illnesses. Prior to that move it was rough on both of us though he did communicate well with me how he felt about things and where he was mentally. He is still able to do this and that has benefited him more then he knows. His Bipolar illness he understands greatly and goes to great lengths to keep it in check. He knows when things are bad what he needs to do.

I know a lot of professionals tend to believe or pinpoint Borderline Personalty when cutting is involved. Which is another fun addition for myself as well. I started cutting at an early age. Many professionals tend to view it as either an attention getting act or that someone has not the ability to cope with the stress in life. So perhaps helping her to learn ways to cope with stress or emotions would also lessen her need to cut. There are also things she can do to help take the place of cutting such as: writing, placing a ice cube in the palm of the hand, snapping a rubber band against the wrist, listening to music.

There is nothing selfish about helping yourself when there are so many stress factors involved. If you don't take care of yourself then you are not in any position to take care of her either. She is lucky to have someone who cares so very much about her. She has a support system which is wonderful and many children or teens find they do not have. Plus she is in therapy which is an added bonus as well.


Old 04-05-2007, 01:22 PM   #4
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: coastal Washington State
Posts: 354
michael178 HB User
Re: Any parents dealing with teens w/mental illness?

If you reach out the State of Washington is very good at providing assistance. Look up the mental heath division for the state, and talk to someone in children services.

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