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Fearful mum

Hi there, my 16 year old daughter has borderline personality disorder, anxiety and depression. She has suicidal thoughts and has had one attempt. We've been going through this for about 2 years now with the suicide attempt just recently. I had taken the school holidays off to be with her as per her safety plan (and my anxiety) she can't be left alone at home. I am having anxiety about going back to work as we are going to have to juggle to have someone at home with her. My husband doesn't seem to understand that she can't be at home alone and that I feel the need to be the one with her as I don't feel the rest of the family will watch out for her like I do. I know it's silly and that I need to rely on the rest of the family because I need to work and can't leave early every day but it's just something I can't shake and it's causing me panic attacks. He says I should just stop but just doesn't understand that I can't stop the panic that comes when I think of leaving her. I know I can't physically be with her 24/7 and sooner or later as she gets better I will have to trust to leave her alone but I'm just so frightened at the moment. Smiley Sad


Re: Fearful mum

Hi @Starry72 - there's nothing like a mother's love. I can empathise with you. My daughter has suffered from depression at times, also when she was in high school although never any suicide attempts fortunately. Is it possible for your daughter to go to a friend's, neighbour's or relative's place after school at least for a couple of weeks? Or plan that she goes to a local library? I realise you may want to keep the situation private. I understand you have obligations at work so that may be a solution. Just wondered if the school was aware of what has happened and could offer help - perhaps getting her to do her homework or other tasks there until you've finished work and can pick her up. 

How is your daughter coping now? She could very likely be picking up on your anxiety which would compound the issue. 

Re: Fearful mum

Hi @soul the friend thing is an option, school is not as I generally get home too late. My close friends know so the privacy thing isn't an issue. My elder daughters should be able to fill in some gaps and I will have to leave work early other days. My work is currently very good and has said I can leave whenever I need to but I manage a busy unit in a hospital and feel like I am doing them a disservice. I feel as though I need to quit if I can't make the commitment because I don't know how long this will go on for (just my stupid work ethic I guess). I also worry about how long my bosses understanding will last. Then there's the actual thought of allowing my daughter to be home alone when her mood stabilises and she feels better. At this point I can't see myself ever allowing that as I am always on the watch for a change or a drop. I know that this is my own anxiety playing out but to me they are very real fears and they impact on my daily life. The worst part is that my husband just doesn't seem to get it. He thinks I am being histrionic and should just stop being anxious. He also doesn't get the seriousness of my daughters situation and thinks that she will all be ok as her mood is good at the moment. He doesn't get that when she had her attempt she seemed ok, no one even knew her mood was spiralling down except of course me because she came and told me that she was feeling down and I didn't even twig. I guess I'm carrying a lot of guilt from that too. So much is upside down at the moment I am struggling to deal with it all. Sorry I know this is all dramatic, it's good to get it out with people who understand.

Re: Fearful mum

Good morning @Starry72 - I can see your dilemma. I know it's a different situation but I felt a duty to look after my parents' medical needs because my siblings weren't sensitive to their needs (and too concerned about their own wellbeing but that's a whole other story) I used up all my sick leave, long service leave, went part time and then eventually quit my job. Suffering from it now but at least I can still put a roof over my head and food in my belly for the short term anyway. Caring for my parents was a privilege. 

Don't beat yourself up over your daughter's behaviour. You need to remember that what she did was her choice. She was in a dark place and saw her actions as a way to cry for help or end the pain. And so often these things can come out of nowhere at all. I attempted twice - both times saw me admitted to hospital but released after being treated for the medical symptoms so I can speak from experience.

There's no way you can know what's inside her head every second of the day. All you can do is tell her that she matters to you. Someone in that situation doesn't see the impact their actions have on other people. You can also let her know that you have her back. Don't force your help on her but offer it gently in little ways. Don't keep asking her how she is constantly. She will pick up on your paranoia and anxiety and this in turn will have a negative effect on her. 

Your husband sees things in a different way from you. That is normal. It doesn't mean that he necessarily cares any less but he is perhaps more removed from the issues at hand. 

Communication is the key. Keep those lines open not by interrogating her but by spending time with her doing some every day things and some special stuff too. Try to instill some positivity in your daughter. Let her see that there is value in living and things to look forward to.

Hope this helps and I wish you all the best. Keep sharing if you feel comfortable. 



Re: Fearful mum

Thankyou @soul I am trying all of that. We are at the snow at the moment just me and her and we often just hang out together. I'm hopeful that things will turn around and the meds will start working. Thankyou for your replies Smiley Happy

Re: Fearful mum

Hi @Starry72 and welcome to the forum

I unfortunately dont have any answers for you but I just wanted to touch base and let you know that you are not alone and that I can in some way emphasise with what you are saying.

My wife of almost 18 years has bpd, depression and anxiety, (along with a number of related symptoms). She has had a number of minor (if I can call it minor) attempts over the past 5 - 10 years and there have been times that I have been scared to leave her alone at home but had to go to work.   In the last 6 months I have had to skip classes at uni and delay group assesment for the same reason. 

In the last 6 months she has had 3 hospital admissions to a private mental health unit due to suicidal thoughts and plans and the fact that I could not watch her 24/7. And 5 admissions in the past 3 years. 

Until recently I have had no one to share my load with (my choice more than anything) and I regret that as it has affected how I have been able to support my wife. Being able to discuss thoughts and fears hear on the forums  has been a huge relief for me over the past 6 months. 

It is good that there are people that you can talk to and call on for support, I tried hard to hide my darlings condition and support her alone, she only recieved professional help after our first child was born and the midwives picked up her depressive symptoms, and I have only really opened up about our situation in the last 6 - 12 months.  I find it hard to talk about as I feel as though I am running my wife down 😕  

I think it is most important that you get adequate support for yourself and not try  and carry all of the load alone. I did not do this and now am suffering in my own health and unable to work.  

Re your husband, this may be a defense mechanism for him? My father in law is a little like this and dosent know the half of what goes on because he would not be able to understand or cope with it. My mother in law has been an enormous help and support but even she untill recently had the 'just snap out of it' mindset so as hard as she tried not very helpful. 

Happy to try and answer any specific questions that you may have. I find it hard to know what to say or how much to share but am happy to answer questions. 



Re: Fearful mum

Hi @Starry72,

Welcome to the forum.  I can fully relate to your situation being the mother of a now 18 year old boy who has struggled with major depression and social anxiety for the past 4-5 years.  I can't even being to describe how terrified I also was during those times when he was unstable and how his condition impacted on every facet of my life.  My husband (who we have since left) did not have the capacity to understand any part of my son's disorder and if anything added another layer of complexity to an already complex situation.  Even to this day his ignorance shines through in statements that suggest he just needs to be "snapped out of it". The problem with mental health disorders in a family is that they can be the source of a great divide in opinion about almost every facet related to the disorder.  It's important for you to do what you feel most comfortable with and to follow your own gut.  I'm wondering if you would be able to get your daughter to make a contract with you regarding her own safety.  Part of this contract could include an assurance from your daughter that she will not harm herself during your absence and that if suicidal thoughts/urges emerge she contact you immediately.  You may also wish to provide her with some numbers or links to online services which can help in a crisis, such as the suicide call back service and get her to agree to call someone before acting.  You may also find this post of mine useful

I hope I've linked it correctly.  If not you should find it by searching "Non Verbal Communication of Mood Safety".  In the meantime it is essential that you look after yourself as this ongoing anxiety will wear you down.  Ensure that you get some time out, even if it's just for 30 minutes, doing something enjoyable/relaxing.  Our anxiety/fear has a knock-on effect which can make matters worse.  Children perceive parents as being strong, protective and reliable.  If they see that mum or dad (their primary caregivers) are floundering and not stable themselves it can create fear and panic.  This happened to me with my son - my panic (and at times obvious derailment) made matters worse.  The stronger, more stable, more consistent and grounded I was, the better my son responded.  Please ensure that you get adequate ongoing support for yourself, either from professionals/friends/family, as this journey is not for the faint hearted.  

All the best and take care.


Re: Fearful mum

Thanks @Determined and @Janna good suggestions. Janna I will definitely try the contract with her, she has a safety plan but will add that on. And yes I know I need to take care of myself to be strong enough to take care of her xx

Re: Fearful mum

How are you feeling this week @Starry72? Hope things are okay and your daughter is in a good place and you are too.


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