Thursday, October 20, 2011

Where to Turn When No One Will Help?

I've been very quiet about the personal issues I've been dealing with lately.

I've come to realize something though: while I'm dealing with them, they're not MY issues. They're LaGrande's issues. But they are plentiful. And I no longer know where to turn. Here's what's going on in my world at the moment. Hold onto your hats. It's a doozy of a ride; and here you thought the IF rollercoaster was something!

We're dealing with repeated self-mutilation. Some that has required hospital intervention.

Then came skipping classes.

Then it was lying to us and going to a rave with a friend.

Where she got drunk. Like TOTALLY drunk. So much so that she touted on Facebook in a private message, "I wasn't totally drunk. I still remember everything."

And took the next day to recover.

Next we found out about the drugs. It started with weed, then moved to speed.

And she is no longer taking her anti-depressants but states that she wants to die... just not to kill herself.

In the past two weeks, we've talked to her. Tried to get her to discuss what's going on. We're pretty open minded and fairly easy to talk to. But all this in one shot? Quite a bit to handle ain't it?

Then as a consequence of her actions, we grounded her for one month. She rebelled and said she refused to follow our rules. We handed her a suitcase. Then called Drug and Alcohol intervention. Who redirected us to the police. Who redirected us to mental health. Who redirected us to a shelter for women. Who redirected us back to mental health crisis intervention. Four hours later, intervention workers came. We reduced her grounding to 2 weeks; dependent on her actions in those two weeks it could be extended to the one-month original grounding.

That same night she asked to have a friend sleep over FFS!!! /boggle

This past weekend, her good friend tried to commit suicide. That was followed quickly by her own cutting (again). I had her mom come get her and take her to the hospital (I had to stay home with Petite). The hospital let her go. The next day, crisis intervention workers saw her at her mother's house.

No dice. We've spent the last two days shlepping her from hospital to intervention locations and everyone is passing the buck. No one will say, "She needs help. We will help her." Not. One. Soul. But we continue to try. Today started at a hospital; she got sent to another hospital... the same one she was at yesterday. They're saying she's not "serious" enough about her statements and she really doesn't mean it.

Next Hubby is bringing her to a walk-in mental health crisis centre. (Oh yes, Hubby has had to take a few days off work to deal with some of this too at this point. And I've been trying to schedule the family therapy sessions during my lunch hour.) While at that centre, La Grande will be told that she cannot come back to our home until we can get her some treatment, and she agrees to adhere to that treatment AND THEN MAKES THE DAMN EFFORT instead of flaunting it behind our backs, and telling her friends that she is "pretending" to be better so she can get off her anti-depressants.

Look, here's the long and the short of it: We have a two-year old. I work in law-enforcement. There are basic rules that must be enforced in our home to ensure job security and personal safety. We cannot continue to let her call the shots. Respect is paramount. I expect normal teenage crap. This shit ain't normal. Nor do we have to put up with it in our home.

What pisses me off though, what really gets me f*cking riled is this:

In this big, wide, supposedly great city, with apparently LOTS of resources, health care that is supposed to be stellar, and all that crap, the city where a teenager committed suicide last week because of bullying (LaGrande is bullied too; two days ago, another mom stood up for her to a bunch of teens... and their ignorant parents), no one, not one person, resource, location, program, whatever will say, "Yes, we can help her."


No one will help us. I need to ensure the safety of my family, myself, my home and my job. Enough.

I found out this morning she had a few hits off a bong with a friend on Monday afternoon. While she was grounded. And she knew that if she did it again, her bags would be packed for her.

Tonight we are packing her clothing and personal items. She will no longer be permitted to live in our home. When we see changes, real and pertinent changes, we may discuss reintroducing her to our family. Until then, for safety's sake, it just can't happen.

Bear with me everyone. It's been a very difficult few months and these last two weeks are really trying my patience. If you have experience with this sort of thing, feel free to weigh in.


Marc said...

Gillian, my heart aches for you and Denis. None of you including LaGrande deserve to be going through this.

My daughter had noticed the scars when she was there a few weeks ago and just recently told us about them. I was waiting for an opportunity to talk to you and Denis about it in case you weren't aware although I figured you were.

I so wish I had solutions for you. Pulling at straws... you could have a look at this list of resources in case you see something you haven't tried.

If there's anything we can do just ask. If you ever have an emergency and need someone to watch Petite, even in the middle of the night, give us a call or just knock on our door.

BigP's Heather said...

I have no advice. I'm so sorry you are going through this. I will be praying for all of you.

I'm so mad, mad that no one wants to help. Even if they think "she doesn't mean it", why why why would they risk sending her away??? I can't wrap my mind around that.

Mo and Will said...


this is so tough - i can't even imagine. i am so sorry. as a psychologist - and a blog friend - I wanted to pipe in with a direction to take that could help tremendously. only problem is, i'm not sure if it's available in your area. there is a type of therapy that is very successful with situations like this and has v3ery strong research evidence demonstrating its efficacy for self-mutilation and other acting out. it is called dialectical behavioral therapy (or DBT). it is outpatient therapy - usually twice a week (one group and one individual session). can help lagrande learn other ways to deal with her overwhelming emotions without acting out - or acting in - as the case may be. I have my fingers crossed that you can find a program or provider that can offer it - i have seen it turn the lives of young people around.

my thoughts are with you. let me know if there is anything i can do to help.


foxy said...

Wow Gil - that is some really heavy stuff you are dealing with. I don't know the backstory, but had to chime in. My husband and I recently took custody of my 17 year old cousin (HBear) who had essentially been kicked out by her mom. There are so many issues to deal with and it has been a very interesting couple of months. DH and i are trying to figure out how to parent a defiant teenager who doesn't want to be here with us, while preparing for the arrival of our long awaited little one.

I am quickly learning how to navigate the mental health system here in my county, and am (at this point) impressed with the resources that are available. The catch is that HBear has to want to engage - and that is not something that we can force her to do. We've laid out very reasonable expectations for her, with the threat of sending her to boot camp in January if she doesn't comply.

The scary part is realizing that we have no control over the choices that she makes. She could run away, or defy us at any time and we have very little to hold over her head. All we can do is try to offer her love and guidance to make the best choices - the rest is up to her.

The sad part is that her life has been so complicated for so long. She doesn't have any of the basic life skills that I had at her age, nor the exposure to things that make life pleasurable and worth living. We are doing our best to make up for lost time, but if just makes me so sad that it has to be like this for too many kids.

I wish I had advice, but we are just stumbling along a best as we can. I do think that you are right to hold your ground on the expectations that she needs to follow in order to live in your home. Wishing you lots of luck as you figure out what is best for you, your family, and LaGrande.

Dtrini said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dtrini said...

Gil, as you know, we have been through similar; worse in some ways, not so bad in others, scary all the same. I pride myself on having a semblance of control in my own world; that is both the Trini and the Taurean in me. When my daughter started acting up, I honestly started losing it because there was no control and things were simply sliding out of my grasp. When she decided to steal our vehicle for the second time, and left her little video, that was it for us. We loved her but we could not have her with us any longer because the possibilities of what could happen kept escalating to the point that even I was starting to get scared.

So, you did the right thing. In this instance, you cannot sacrifice the good of the many for the good one of the one because one of the many is too young to have a say and MUST be protected. I can tell you that, thankfully, my niece was right and my daughter grew out of it, grew up and got some clues. We are slowly rebuilding our relationship but a part of me will always be sad that something will forever be changed, different, lost. Keep the faith that with time, the same will happen for you.

As for getting the right help, go see your local MP and B&M to the high heavens, respectfully demanding some real action. I hate the system but it does work and the squeaky, loud-ass wheel gets the most grease first. Get squeaking!!!

Our love and thoughts are with you always. Till next we are in the valley. Love you all.

shlomit said...

Ugh. Tough, tough stuff. If she wants help, please get her to call the Child Advocates Office (1-800-263-2841). They will take her case and advocate for her to get treatment. You guys can help her with the call but nothing can be done (from an Advocacy perspective) without her consent.

Private message me for more info!!!

Glad I popped in after a long absence! Thinking of you guys....

shlomit said... can access DBT in your area...either through your local Children's Mental Health Agency (Roberts/Smart or CHEO OR YSB, I think) OR through employee I said, message me, I might be able to help...

marilyn said...

I am so sorry you are going through this. Yes..right decision...the only decision. Do you have alanon is really helpful for partners and parents dealing with family members feeling helpless with drug addicts in their family. I am going through the heartache with my brother. I hope you and your husband find an alanon can really help you and it is a great communiyt..there is a bood too. Still..with your decision..I am sure you are emotionally drained..and just really pissed off. She is stuck in a disease full of selfishness. It is so horrible..and I am sorry you are going through this. i am here for you..and I really appreciate you bringing up such a hard subject that so many of us deal with..but do not talk about.

Sandra & Edward said...

I'm really sorry you're dealing with this. I wish I had something insightful and helpful to offer... You and your family are in my thoughts.

Don't know if you still have time for coffee, but once my MIL gets here, I'll drop you a line.

loribeth said...

I read this awhile back & thought I left a comment -- guess not. Just wanted to say how sorry I am that you have to deal with this. It's heartbreaking to see someone so young throwing their life away like this, & I pray that she'll get the help she needs & find her way back. But you're right, Petite has to be your first concern. (((hugs)))