I won't go into our story because it's in the sig line. Summary since last year: In late 2014 d then 18, had a traumatic brain injury due to a car accident. This triggered a series of mental health related behaviors which were new to our experience with her. At the same time, she started dating a guy with mental illness who ended up being emotionally and verbally abusive. She ended up in Children's Hospital of Atlanta and was given a plan for TBI recovery. Specialists felt that she had had several prior concussions due to sports related injuries.
She graduated last June and moved in with the guy and the bottom fell out. She ignored every advice that had been given by CHOA (to live at home, to have support, to rest, to only have a PT job and maybe start with 2 courses at Community College, to take her meds and to go to T. Instead, She worked 60 hours a week, was in a harmful relationship, didn't sleep more than 4/5 hours per night, cut us off as her support, quit T, quit meds, started B&Ping, etc. She became B&P for several months, her mental health deteriorated profoundly and dangerously. We attempted to section her and that backfired so badly that she cut us off for about 2 months. Slowly, we rebuilt the relationship and she started trusting us a bit more. She did start with comprehensive DBT last fall and that helped saved her life It also helped her not to B&P as her first reaction to stress.
FF to the beginning of February. She broke up with her boyfriend and the next night took off in her car, with all her belongings, across the country. This is like a 3 day trip which she did by herself with her cat. She contacted us when she had arrived in the southwest , 5 days from the time we had heard from her. We knew she was alive because she would respond with "can't talk now", "TTYL" etc. Then, she started talking and telling us the story of the past 15 months but completely shut us out regarding what she was doing outwest.
Her (very boundaried, parentectomy and triangulating) psych reached out to us because she had blown 3 apts. He got consent via text to talk to us but she refused to be a part of the meeting. He told us there was definitively a personality disorder but he couldn't say if she was bi polar or not. The advantage and disadvantage that she has is that she is SO resilient, that she could be in profound suicidal mode at night but pull herself together by the morning to make it to work and to therapy and appear articulate and put together to the whole world. Hence, why sectioning her won't work, period. She had gotten off her SSRIs because she wants to go on the Navy and has to be off meds for a year. I don't think it's working and I don't think she can or should do it. But, there's nothing we can do about it.
In God's providence she ended up, unbeknownst to her, 30 minutes from my husband's step brother and his family. For 2 weeks she refused to connect with them but we agreed with aunt and uncle that they would not be our reporters unless she was in danger or in trouble. So, she has met with aunt twice, loves her and is opening up to her. We feel SO much better to know what she has family nearby and support on the ground.
We still don't know exactly what she is doing, with whom she is living, how she is surviving financially and exactly how she is doing mentally. D knows that she is not all there and has tremendous insight into her mental health condition. However, she insists that she can take her of herself and that she MUST do this alone as she is tired of blaming other people for her problems. She says she is putting into practice her DBT skills. But, she is not doing well. However, she will talk her way out of any attempt to section her and she is so brilliant and articulate that no judge would see her as unstable. So, we stay in very close contact via text and WhatsAp, we wait and we pray and pray and pray some more.
- Our kids are very vulnerable, especially during the transition from the teens to adulthood. They can't make it alone.
- Know when to hold them, know when to fold them. Sometimes you have to let them go and support yourself so that you can be ready when they come back
- The previous ED stuff can morph into other manifestations of mental illness
- Insight is overrated. D has insight oozing out of her but the insight doesn't translate into understanding or accepting that she needs help and support.
- Be prepared that trauma to the brain (physical, emotional, mental, times of high stress) can trigger a relapse to ED, a different type of ED or other mental illness
- There can still be joy and even peace in the midst of the chaos.We have had to let go emotionally while continuing to love and support from a distance.
- Don't forget the other kids! Our son is getting the very well deserved attention he couldn't have because his sister sucked the air out of the family.
- Practice self-care.My husband and I both see our own Psych about twice a month. I walk, go to the gym, get massages, go out with friends, etc.
- Life goes on but mental illness still SUCKS!
21 year old daughter who was DX with RAN at 9 years old. The work of recovery is ongoing.