3 THINGS TO KNOW WHEN DEALING WITH ADOLESCENT MENTAL ILLNESS Part 1

In the beginning, unless you have dealt with this in any capacity in your past, you will know absolutely NOTHING! Not that it’s a bad thing, it is just what I have found out. A little background information is below and if you have ANY questions or comments please feel free to place them below and/or contact me directly.
Look back November 2013
My at the time 14 year old daughter Emily had come to me one day stating she had taken several Benadryl about 3 days before. Concerned, I asked why? She was telling me she didn’t really know, but that she wanted to commit suicide. I remember the day she was talking about. She was napping on the couch and when I tried to get her up she didn’t want to. Which is not unusual for her. She has always been a monster to get awake. So we talked, and she said she felt better. I felt she was trying to get some attention. This is something that she has always been good at doing and she was a teenager and she was recently REALLY showing her teenage muscles. So I kept a closer eye on things. About a week later I get a call from her school counselor. She stated that Emily has told her she tried to commit suicide and per their guidelines they had to call me and have her evaluated. I picked her up from school and took her to be evaluated. They recommended hospitalization. She was admitted.
Present
WHEW! A lot has happened between then and now. But I would like to focus on the beginning and then I will work forward.
1. You are human! You will be confused, frustrated, make mistakes and cry ALOT!
In the beginning I cannot express how many feeling, questions, what if’s, etc that I had going through my brain. But I can tell you that I beat myself up….ALOT In hindsight, you wouldn’t be a parent if you didn’t. You start to pick apart every little thing that happened up until then. You say to yourself I could’ve….I should’ve etc. That’s ok. But DO NOT dwell on those. I did. It was not a good time. I cried a lot, lost sleep, read a lot, and was physically and emotionally spent. I had to remember to take better care of myself in order to be able to help my daughter and my family. That is a very important part of this path.
2. Are they just wanting attention or is this a serious and real illness?
Let me say this first. I have always believed that Mental Illness is real. That is not the context of this question. I say this because teenagers are very hard to read sometimes. Teenagers, in a general sense, are attention seekers. This is where I had to really listen to the Dr.’s, nurses, social workers and mental health specialists. Then I had to ask a lot of questions. There were a lot tests that they were doing with Emily to try to gauge what they may be dealing with. Then I had to find a therapist and Dr. outside of the hospital to work with her and continue treatment. I was extremely fortunate to find a great group of support in my local area. Between the diagnosis that the hospital began with and the support team we were working with there was some pretty serious things going on. But part of this included attention seeking. Not on the teenager level but on the mental illness level. Talk about confusing!
3. Trial and Error
This is an important thing to remember in the beginning and as an ongoing aspect of treatment and living with a child that has Mental illness.
There is not one specific treatment, medication or Tah Dah! moment that will work or work for a long amount of time. This is my experience. That is why you ask questions, read, talk to others and even look for medical reasons as to Why. This will continue and evolve over time, but will never not be an option. I have always told my daughter Emily that I will do anything and everything in my power to help her. I will always support her. I will always love her!

I will leave you with that for now. I will continue with this soon. I do hope that I was able to help in any way to someone who is or knows someone who is going through this struggle. It is not easy. But it can help to have an outlet. Since the beginning I have always went to one website that has helped me. It gives me short, concise explanations for a lot of questions. I don’t get information overload and the knowledge is very helpful.
http://nami.org
Much Love,
Amber

http://www.crazygirlbrain.com/

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