Getting to grips with self-harming or mental distress
Like most parents I didn't expect my daughter to develop a mental illness and I certainly did not expect her to self-harm - but the reality is she did and it was both.
Suzy was 17 when depression first entered her life and eventaully she developed a bipolar disorder and had suicidal thoughts, self-harmed and in fact you name it and she had it. With full blown psychosis she was not expected to survive - never mind recvoer and we all feared the worse. She was acutely ill and in intensive psychiatric care. It was to take many, many years and 6 hospital admissions before her condition was stabilised and she achieved 'recovery'. This doesn't mean she is cured but it means she leads a normal, active and fufilling life with only occasion periods of ill-health when she has to batten down the hatches and take care.
With 1 in 4 of us having mental distress at some point of our lives we need to be more open about it and with 1 in 10 teenagers self-harming that needs to be more open too.
Most people will only have one episode of mental distress - and if it is dealt with and helped sooner rather than later that will make it easier. Seeking help is not a weakness - in fact it takes courage to seek help for anything - we have physical health and seek help for it - so the same needs to apply to our mental health too.
16 years after developing her condition Suzy now writes and advise on mental illness awarenes and wrote her account of her experiences in The Naked Bird Watcher and then I wrote a little book about my experiences of being her mother/carer as we travelled this most hellish of journeys - To Walk on Eggshells. We wrote to give insight and in the hope that while we do not have the answers we would like people to see they are not alone and things can get better.
All those years ago I was frightened and isolated - for me there were no internet forums, support groups to turn to - I hope what we have written here will at least help and bring comfort to someone.