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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
"ll try to be brief. A girl in my dd's community orchestra who is the same age as she, (attends a different school) has called dd on a regular basis. Dd has never reciprocated. This girl tells her all her problems and they are severe. She cuts herself, starves herself, has a single mom who works all the time, is getting poor grades in school and doesn't have any friends. She's adopted and can't stand her younger sister, also adopted. I feel sorry for her.<br><br>
She's been absent from the orchestera for several weeks and the conductor announced Monday that she was hospitlized for depression. They all signed a card.<br><br>
She called dd today to tell her she was released from the hospital. She told dd she had been treated for a bone disorder. When my dd questioned her about this dx, she admitted that she had tried to commit suicide by slitting her wrists which are now in casts to hide the damage. She told dd if she told anyone she would cut her head off.<br><br>
I don't think she's a threat but obviously this girl is troubled. She does see the counselors at school. I believe she's crying out for attention and dd has been nice to her so she calls her. However, dd does not feel at all comfortable talking to her. She probably needs a friend but my dd is not up to the responsibility. This is beyond her years.<br><br>
Any advice?<br>
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If it were me the first thing I would do is change my phone number. I know that sounds mean but your dd isnt up to dealing with this. It sounds like you have a great dd who is very in tune with other people and wants to help but she shouldnt have to worry about something she cant do anything about. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"><br><br>
I strongly believe that we shoudl be there for other people but liek you said this sounds to complex for your dd to handle at this point in time. Stopping the contact unless your dd requests otherwise is the best way to go IMHO.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>MCatLvrMom2A&X</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7901375"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">If it were me the first thing I would do is change my phone number. I know that sounds mean but your dd isnt up to dealing with this. It sounds like you have a great dd who is very in tune with other people and wants to help but she shouldnt have to worry about something she cant do anything about. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"><br><br>
IMHO.</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/yeahthat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yeah that">: Maybe you can talk to the girl's mother? I dunno. Not knowing all the details it's hard to advise but sounds like maybe the girl needs an adult she can confide in whether it can be her Mom or someone else. Your priority though should be protecting your own dd though imo.
 

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Maybe you could talk to her the next time she calls, or contact the counselor at school. It's possible her mom is part of the problem.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>MCatLvrMom2A&X</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7901375"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">If it were me the first thing I would do is change my phone number.</div>
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how sad to suggest that! what if this girl kills herself if she can't find someone to reach out to. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
If your DD doesn't want to talk to this girl then she needs to tell her politely or get you to talk to her mother. This child does have a mother regardless of her problems inside her family, call and talk to her mother! I don't blame your DD for not wanting the hassle of a mentally challenged person in her life. She's too young for that and the girl might influence her negatively if she gets to be friends with her so as a parent I wouldn't condone it either. But there is a way to be nice about things and just changing your phone number would be mean IMHO. It does seem like this other girl is very mature for her age probably due to being raised by a single mom, but who knows. That's no reason to just write her off. If someone doesn't help her or reach out to her then what will happen? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
I agree with someone else about contacting the counselor at her school or whoever is in charge at this place they meet up at in the community. Tell them what is going on. The girl is taking time out to be part of an orchestra but has a horrible home life like this? That all sounds odd to me. Most really BAD parents don't even allow their kids to do anything at all and it causes them to become depressed or rebel. Perhaps her mother isn't the cause of it at all and this girl was just born this way.
 

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Some disjointed thoughts:<br><br>
Not all bad parents are bad in the same way. The diversity of dysfunction is truly astounding. What was that line from, I think, Anna Karenina? Something about happy families all being alike but unhappy families being unhappy in unique ways? Very true.<br><br>
Please don't say "just born this way." How very hurtful. Mental illness, especially cutting and EDs and similar problems are caused by combinations of lots of things, most of which are not well understood. Genetic factors may play a role.<br><br>
An overwhelmingly large proportion of people who cut, especially if they also have an ED, have been sexually abused. Her mother may not be willing or able to help. Also, it seems the school is already aware of the problems.<br><br>
Cutters spend a lot of time walking a fine line between hurting themselves enough to help them cope and not allowing themselves to actually be in danger. The whole issue of suicidality in cutters is very complex and is not well-understood by *a lot* of mental health professionals. This tension between hurting badly "enough" but not too badly can cause them to draw others into cycles of drama. If your daughter is a part of this cycle of creating crisis and the seeking an external person to alleviate the crisis, it may be essential for your daughter to get out before it escalates.<br><br>
Otoh, this girl may have no one else she can trust. Trust is a **BIG** issue with cutters and for very, very, very good reasons, only some of which are pathological. Many care providers, especially in emergency settings, are punitive and downright abusive and have the law (mostly) on their side. (I actually wrote about this inmy momspace blog a couple of weeks back. If y'all want I find a link.) Six years later I **** have PTSD troubles when I walk into an ER. Seriously. It's bad. I don't blame this girl at all for feeling she can only trust another teen.<br><br>
Finally, I hate the idea that mental illness is somehow contagious, but sadly, in the case of cutting, it can be. However I firmly believe that the underlying illness is not contagious. Cutting is like a drug and it really is an addiction. If a person is emotionally strong and has access to good resources, then being around a cutter will not turn them into a cutter. We really aren't vampires <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Stick Out Tongue">. The studies that show cutting to be 'contagious' were all done in juvenile prisons and psych wards.<br><br>
The best source of information is a website:<a href="http://www.palace.net/~llama/psych/injury.html" target="_blank">http://www.palace.net/~llama/psych/injury.html</a>. There are several books too, some of them not very good. The best one imnsho is called _Bright Red Scream_ by Marilee Strong. You should look at these resources with your daughter. Even if you decide you need to end contact with this girl, it would be wise to know the potential situations you are dealing with.<br><br>
Finally, please don't cut off contact permanently. If this girl can pull herself out of the downward spiral, then in a few months or years (years more likely) she will be in recovery and it will be very helpful to her to have people she can talk to who remember the bad times. I have gaps in my memeory and things I need to process that I cannot simply because the people are gone.<br><br>
Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for your thoughts. We need to get caller ID. That is the first step. I talked to my dd's guidance counselor and she suggested that dd set limits on conversation time. For example, tell the girl she can only talk to her on Thursday afternoons for ten minutes. If the conversation is making her uncomfortable then she'll give the family a signal and we'll provide an excuse for her to get off the phone.<br><br>
My dd is not seeking a friendship with this child. She was being friendly and kind to her and the girl saw an opportunity to have someone who would listen to her. They don't attend the same school and the only thing they share is the orchestra which the girl can't be apart of for the rest of the year due to her extended absence. Hopefully, the girl will continue to get help and improve.<br><br>
On a postive note, my dd said her conversation yesterday was much better than the conversations in the past. She didn't share about all her problems at least and she sounded better.
 

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wow.. just wow...<br><br>
I'm just stunned. I see more clearly now some of the things my late dd endured. I feel rather sick to my stomach right now...<br><br>
So much more to say here but I think I'll keep it to myself.<br><br>
Janis
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Janis - I'm so sorry for whatever you and your dd have gone through. Please use your experience to help others to help those who are suffering.
 

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My daughter has had a number of troubled kids confide in her in the last year and a half. Caller ID is great. I try to be very aware and to support my daughter (just turned 14) to have fun,her own intersts,needs,etc., to set healthy boundries. I have her limit the time (5-10 min.) I turn the ringer off. I am happy my daughter is so acccepting and open. I constantly tell her she can't "fix". Emotions are fine and try to model and support that self destruction is not necessary. Sallie
 

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I definatley agree with caller ID.<br><br>
ANother thing that is easier to deal with is to suggest that they IM or email each other.. Instant messaging is less personal, and it gives your daughter a chance to think a little more before answering a sensitive question. It also gives her the opportunity to go get you if she is in over her head. You can offer advice.<br><br>
I would not want my daughter involved with this girl at all. My dd is almost 15, but she isn't mature enough to handle this situation. Especially since this girl made threats to your daughter, I would want there to be a distance between them. This is scary for you as a mom. I understand your concern.<br><br>
I also wanted to say, that I CANNOT believe the band director TOLD those kids why she was in the hospital! How insensitive! She deserves more respect than that! THAT is the kind of attitude that makes kids with problems look like "They do this to themselves". So many people don't even try to understand what this child must be feeling and going through. I know it IS hard to understand, but for Pete's sake, you don't make an announcement like that.<br><br>
I will keep this girl and her family in my thoughts. I pray she finds the right people who are better equipped to help her.
 

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First educate yourselves about mental illness. One of the primary things is not calling the her a mentally ill child. She is a child *with* a mental illness.<br><br>
Second, a child or adult who cuts is typically not a risk to anyone but themselves. Cutting is a sign of deep emotional pain. The cutting is how they release the pain in a way that feels safe to them. They can't cope with the emotional pain but the physical pain they can. The cutting allows them to release the emotional pain in a way they can handle.<br><br>
In order for cutting to stop, the person needs to learn the proper skills to deal with the emotional pain without hurting themselves in a physical manner.<br><br>
My child lost many of her friends because parents were afraid and uneducated. This further added to her sense of being an abnormal freak unable to live within society. It alienated her further from her peers.<br><br>
Some were aghast that she would be open about her hospitalizations and treatment. It was comfortable for them to deny reality and say things like she had XYZ wrong instead of what it was. Again, this only fuels the belief that having a mental illness is bad or something to be afraid of.<br><br>
If your child has a friend with an MI, how about equipping them with some knowledge and skills on how MI's work, how to help in a positive way that empowers both your child and the child who is struggling? Teach them the warning signs of trouble and when it's okay to break confidence and tell a trusted adult if those signs show up.<br><br>
Having a mental illness does not necessarily make one a danger or a risk. Those of us living with an MI (myself included) are often very normal people, we have struggles, we try to find the proper treatment and medications if warranted. We stumble, fall down and hopefully get back up.<br><br>
We aren't all so unbalanced that we take guns to schools and start shooting. The reality is, we are our *own* worst enemy. We harm oursleves before we harm others.<br><br>
The stigma that exists is amazingly rampant and destructive. Look how hard many here try to educate and advocate for breastfeeding, homebirth, UC, no vaxing etc. Try then to turn those very strengths you have for educating and advocating towards mental illness. If more people would let down the barriers and fears, we could work wonders.<br><br>
My daughter struggled for so long with her illness. She faced the ignorance and at times, outright cruelty from others. She was beautiful, had many talents a heart so tender and loving that she could never have hurt anyone.<br><br>
In her final letter to us, she said she was tired of being a burden and didn't want us to have to fight for her anymore. In her final journal entries she wrote about how hard it was to see her family hurting because of her illness. How hard it was that others did not understand her struggles. How hard it was to go to school and be known as the "crazy girl." The finger pointing, the whispers, the stares, the harsh words.<br><br>
These children aren't freaks. They aren't a risk to you, your child, your family. They are ill. Would you keep your child from someone with cancer? Diabetes? Muscular Dystrophy? Then why segregate them from someone with an MI?<br><br>
I can see it if the child is lashing out at others, making threats towards other kids or adults. But for the most part, again, these kids fight their own inner demons, not others.<br><br>
This is a picture of a normal 16 year old girl.<br><a href="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v481/jlb/Rissy.gif" target="_blank">http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v481/jlb/Rissy.gif</a><br><br>
She just happened to have a mental illness. Sadly for those who loved her, she lost her battle.<br><br>
Maybe, just maybe if there had been a little less stigma, more education among her peers and family, society in general, she'd be here today. Maybe she'd be in college, married? Who knows... But she isn't. She's dead. She lost her battle. I pray this other young girl doesn't....<br><br>
Janis
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>oregongirlie</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7908363"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Your daughter has no responsibility nor obligation to this girl. I would not allow her to access my child.</div>
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Why? Because she is "crazy?"<br><br>
Janis
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>kamilla626</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7908414"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Janis - you rock.</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"><br><br>
Thanks...<br><br>
Janis
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>JanisB</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7907966"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">This is a picture of a normal 16 year old girl.<br><a href="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v481/jlb/Rissy.gif" target="_blank">http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v481/jlb/Rissy.gif</a><br></div>
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<br>
I am glad you posted her picture. She was lovely.<br><br>
I hope you continue to tell your story. Most of us cannot understand this from your side. We only see this from the outside looking in.
 

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I admit that the threat " to cutting off your head" would startle me. I'm freaky like that. And while I think that their is a bad stigma against those with mental illnesses, I don't think anyone ever has an obligation to be friends with anyone. I wouldn't make my kids be friends with someone, anyone for the matter, that they didn't want to be friends with. If my child felt uncomfortable with a friend, we'd discuss why and how to deal with it. I'd treat this girl the same as any other girl or boy that my child was having difficulty being friends with. And while my heart truely and utterly goes out to this girl, my daughter would be the first priority. NO, I don't think she will "catch" the mental illness ( and I KNOW of what I speak...I have a LOT of experience with people with mental illnesses) but if MY daughter is not equipped mentally and emotionally to deal with what this girl brings to the table, what do I do then? Let her suffer? SHe is my child and I will protect her if I have to.<br><br>
That said, I think the OP is doing well by setting reasonable boundaries for her dd and this girl. And as long as her dd is doing well with the arrangement, cool. But it needs to be discussed ( which it is) together regularly so that you can ensure that your dd isn't taking too much on herself. Her talking to the counselor is good too. I had a friend in highschool that caused me MUCH emotional trauma. She did NOT have a mental illness, but her actions, the way she treated me as a friend was BAD for me. I luckily sought help from a counselor, and then I reached out to my mom. SHe helped me get a handle on the relationship where I was able to not let this person drown me in her emotional roller coaster. Eventually, the friend dropped ME as a friend because I wouldn't let her control my life as she had before. Thank GOD my mom stepped in and made me realize that I didn't have an obligation to be friends with anyone. I got to make those choices, and I wasn't responsible for what she did as a result.<br><br>
And I think that this is important to say....Nobody is responsible for another person's actions.<br><br>
Thanks for sharing your feelings JanisB. I've seen your siggy many times and always wondered how your dd passed away. I can't even imagine what your family has gone through since her passing. I agree that the Op's dd should always be kind and polite to to her friend. Everyone deserves this. And hopefully the OP's dd can be a friend to this girl, but on her terms.
 
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