I don’t care about my daughter, that’s why I sent her to the hospital….

That’s what I have been told, several times.  I don’t care about my daughter, I mean, why else would I send her to be evaluated at the children’s psychiatric center?

Let me back up…..

This is not the first, but second time my daughter has been hospitalized.  I didn’t talk about the first time.  I was scared, I didn’t want to be judged, I didn’t want people to look at her differently if they found out.  I was trying to protect her….I was trying to protect myself.

hospital

Making the decision to put her in the hospital was the most difficult decision of my life.  The first time she went, I cried the entire week.  Yep, they kept her a whole week.  They released her on different medications and mentioned mood dysregulation.  I didn’t really know what to think of it, but they did put me in touch with a different therapy team (including a therapist, behavior management services and a case manager).

I had high hopes.  But the same day she was brought home, we had issues.  We found that a lot had to do with one of the medications they put her on….so within a few days we took her off and she got a *little* easier to manage.

We began working with this new team and I, again, had high hopes.  They came to our home at least once a week.  Yep, that’s a team of three people visiting all the time.

Within a few weeks, she had gotten worse, not better.  Violent outbursts were happening daily.  We were instructed that when she became violent we had to put her in a safety hold, for her safety AND ours.  The holds consist of us trying to manage her while she turns her hands to dig her nails into our wrists, bite whatever she could or band her head into our chests.

After several extremely violent days, her therapy team said we needed to admit her to the hospital.  I said no.  No way.  I couldn’t do it again.  I was miserable last time and didn’t think it would help.

In the new few days, we had some out of control nights…and for nearly nothing.  One day I told her to grab a book to read, she didn’t like the books we had, so she lost it.  I ended up with cuts all over my hands and my husband had four bite marks on him.  I begged her to stop because I didn’t want her to go back to the hospital, but I knew if she continued, that’s what she needed.

The next night I told her she had to do something nice for the people she had hurt.  She had to earn time with the family, that was part of our program with the therapists.  She wanted to color in her room, so I asked if she wanted crayons, she wanted markers.  Nope, you color all over things with markers and I don’t feel like scrubbing it off, so I took a box of colored pencils, pens and crayons.  She lost it.  She threw it across the room then started kicking her walls and door.  It was time for another hold.

She fought me more than ever and I had to put her face down on the ground with her arms behind her back and sit on her legs or she was trying to kick my back.  I couldn’t hold her any other way to keep her from kicking me or the house.  About this time my husband came home from work and hear the commotion.  He came up to help me and tried to talk her down.

She said she’d calm down.  We let her loose….and she tried to attack us again.  Back to a hold.

At this point it took both of us to hold her from kicking and scratching.  I called the therapist to tell her what was going on.  They said she HAD to go to the hospital and called 911 to come to our home.  I completely lost it.  I was crying hysterically, but knew it was what I had to do.

Within a few minutes we had a house full of paramedics and police officers.  As soon as they walked in, she calmed down and acted like nothing had happened.  We showed the police and paramedics our wounds, but they still gave us looks as if we were out of our minds.  My husband had a fresh, bright red bite mark on his hand from her.  They didn’t seem to care very much.  Because it was her therapist that called, they had to take her for evaluation.  She ended up going willingly in the ambulance to the be taken to the pediatric emergency room.  I followed closely behind and met her inside the hospital.  Driving across town, watching her through the window in the ambulance was the hardest thing for me to do.  I knew it was important for her well-being though.

Since she’s been in the hospital, I have been shown a lot of support and also been told that I either don’t care about, am a horrible parent, am never happy among a lot of other hateful things.

I’d let to set a few things straight:

First, I love my daughter very much.  That is why I have spent so much time and effort trying to get her help.  I know she needs help, more than what I can give her myself.  I have been to numerous therapists, counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists and at this point feel like we’ve talked to everyone in the city!  I wouldn’t do that if I didn’t care about her.

Secondly, it’s not that I’m not happy with the doctors.  It is that I’m frustrated that we’ve tried so much and are still searching for an answer.  I was sad every day that my daughter couldn’t come home and I missed her so much.

It was not my first choice to send her to the hospital, but she NEEDED it.  She was not safe for anyone, including herself.  It wasn’t an easy choice, but after being told by several therapists it was what needed to happen…I did it.

Am I bad mother for it?  I don’t think so…but you tell me…..

Comments

  1. says

    If you didn’t love your daughter, you would just let her be out of control.. you’d let her go live with her dad instead of you having to deal with her.. there are a ton of things you could do if you didn’t care about your daughter.. but getting her the psychiatric help she needs is showing that you DO care. <3

    • says

      I agree with Sadie whole heartedly! You know I’m in a very similar situation (without all the violence) and we’re working to do everything we need to do to get her the help she needs.
      You and I both can imagine what is going through their little minds all day long :( So they NEED all the help they can get, even if that includes hospitalization.
      HUGS to you, Amber!

    • says

      Thank you Sadie..and thank you for all of your talks…it was hearing your side of things that got me to understand that she needed more help and I needed to quit being selfish trying to keep her here because it was also effecting her brothers and wasn’t fair to them.

  2. says

    Sending your daughter to the hospital for help shows anything but not caring for her. Parents do NOT go to those lengths if they don’t care for their child….The fact that you were strong enough to send her says a lot for how much you love her….because it hurt you to see her go but did what was right for her!!!
    Don’t let anyone tell you different!

  3. Rebecca Parsons says

    You know I think you did the right thing. Who cares what other people say. They haven’t been there like you have, they haven’t been the one seeking help, they haven’t been the ones who spent hours crying your eyes out about how much you love her and are at a loss of what to do. So like I said who cares what they say. You don’t need to justify your actions to anyone, clearly they can’t see or know what love really is. I feel for you because I too have a daughter who is out of control. I can tell you I wish I had some compassion from family members or anyone. I am here if you need to vent or I will just continue to let you know that I understand your pain and that I know you care.
    Becky

    • says

      Thank you Becky. It is so hard to understand if you haven’t been here..I used to be quick to judge when I saw an out of control kid somewhere…my kid will never act like that….until I became that kid’s parent…..now I have others judging me. *sigh*

  4. says

    You are NOT a bad mother at all. And if I was in the same situation as you, I’d have done the same thing as you. The people making the not so nice comments have no clue what you guys are dealing with. It’s not a simple case of your daughter being a normal kid. Your daughter’s issues go far beyond that and you and your husband have tried everything to get her better. You did not send her to the hospital because you’re bad parents and don’t love her. You did it because you do love her and want to get her better before she becomes an adult with issues.

    And as someone who has been on the phone with you when your daughter is having one of her meltdowns, I commend you and your husband for handling all of this as well as you do. You guys are great parents and I will not stand by and let others say things about you and not stand up and say they’re wrong and should shut their mouths. I’d like to see them handle what you’ve been handling. They couldn’t do it.

    Chin up. You guys are doing the best thing for your munchkin.

    • says

      Thanks Nik……you are one of the few that’s heard her meltdowns….although they have gotten much worse than you’ve heard….MUCH worse. Hopefully things will calm down now….we will see.

  5. Charlene Kuser says

    What you have done for your daughter comes from the heart.She needs to be safe from
    her outbursts and not to hurt others.You are dong the best you can.I hope you find
    the answers you need to help her get well.

  6. jeana O'donnell-Murphy says

    Have you tried cutting the corn syrup, food dyes, anything with aspartame,soda and things like that? Have you had her thyroid levels and other things for example like blood sugar levels ,magnesium levels and vitamin B levels or any vitamin deficiencies (because they can cause mood swings!) , or even allergies checked? Because those things can cause behavioral problems. Or even sometimes it happens when I know that different functions of the body that has a deficiency or blockage can cause people to act this way and once they found out what it was whether one thing or a few things- they were able to make it quit. I know that psych medications can cause worse symptoms like uncontrollable violent like body jerks or mask what is really medically going on as I have someone real close to me that had to quit taking them. Just some ideas- you may have already had some medical testing done?

    • says

      we’ve tried cutting lots of things out of her diet and it made no difference. I think I need to have allergy testing done…..I have been avoiding it because she is so deathly afraid of needles that I think it would be insanely stressful. To draw her blood at the hospital they had to bring in the crisis team….it was crazy.

      • Jeana O'donnell-Murphy says

        She may have a chemical imbalance. In which I read a reply of yours that they have her on lithium and that seems to be helping. I wish you and your family all the best. :)

  7. says

    You love her enough to do what needs to be done, in spite of the judgment and criticism of others. You love her enough to fight for her to get the care she needs (which I know first hand isn’t easy). You love her enough that you’re willing to admit she has a problem, and not live in denial about it. You love her enough that you’re willing to try and get her the help she needs before she seriously injures herself or someone else. You are a an amazing mom, ignore the haters :)

    • says

      Thank you Karen. It would be easy to just be in denial and let her just ruin the house..but I want her to be able to function in life. I want her to do well. I will do what I can now to make sure her life as an adult is good.

  8. cindy caudle says

    of course you are not a bad mother. No one that hasn’t been in your home 24/7 has any right to comment in a negative way when you are trying so hard to make a better life for your dtr.

  9. Donna George says

    I would not judge you for you had to do. I went through a similar situation with my adopted daughter. She ended up in a residential psychiatric facility when judge deemed her so out of control that she could not remain in society. She had attacked not just us, but also hospital workers, police officers, doctors. It took multiple hospitalizations, step down care a Girls and Boys Town, and a therapeutic foster home. She finally ran away for 6 months when she was 15, and lived as a prostitute on the road with truckers. She came home, got pregnant 6 months later, and ran to Georgia and got married. The state took away her baby when she tried to smother it.

    Now she is 29, married to a different guy, and calls me all the time telling me how much she misses me. She has gotten her act together now. But it took a lot of time, prayers, patience, love, and giving in to what might happen. I had to let it all go. I had no control, really. I could only do my best, and say Screw You to anyone who didn’t like what I felt I had to do.

    I will pray for you. Mental illness is horrible to deal with. Take care of yourself and the rest of your family as well.

    • says

      Thank you very much for sharing that story. It amazes me how many people are dealing/have dealt with mental illness and you never know. I’m glad she’s doing well now, but how scary for all that she went through to get to that point.

  10. Amber says

    You are a great mother for doing it! These behaviors can’t be ignored. Mental health cannot just be kept quiet and swept under the rug. They need to be brought to the surface and dealt with for your daughters safety and for the safety of your family. Obviously I don’t know all of the details, but I can think of a few diagnosis in which your daughter could have, and hopefully the doctors are diagnosing her correctly so they can help her. Please never question your mothering, you are doing the BEST thing for her. Any mothers out there who disagree obviously know nothing about psychology. I study psychology and can tell you that I believe you are absolutely doing the right thing. Your daughter needs to be in the hospital right now for the safety of all, and you’re a loving and caring mother for making SURE that she is getting help. If you need anything or any words of comfort, from one Amber to another…I’m here for you. Even though I don’t comment here often, I do read your posts, and this post definitely touched me because I have mental illness in my family also. Please stay strong and know that you are doing right by your daughter and the rest of your family. There have been so many instances of children and even adults NOT getting the mental treatment that they need due to fear or embarrassment, etc and then bad things happenings that could have been avoided. I highly recommend you the book “A Lethal Inheritance” it was written by a mother of a child who was in the hospital many times and finally found diagnosis and how other families can understand and deal with it.

    Hoping for the best,
    Amber

    • says

      Thank you very much, Amber. :) I am going to look up that book. I have been given a few different names of books to look up..I just haven’t had the time to go find them…things are a little bit crazy lately..lol…I appreciate your kind words.

      As far as diagnosis, I need to talk to them about this hospitalization and see what they say…last stay they said Mood Dysregulation, but since have said she is “very complex” and they started her on Lithium..which seems to help her and she’s happier than I’ve seen in a long time.

  11. Sarah says

    Hi there,

    I have been thinking of you and meaning to reach out.

    I am 24 years old and began having mental problems similar to your daughters when I was 13.

    My problems have been a combination of childhood abuse and a chemical imbalance.

    You are doing the right thing. I wasn’t hospitalized the first time until I was 18 but always needed it much earlier.

    I am now on lexapro, lamictal, Klonopin and risperdal with a diagnosis of PTSD, bipolar depression and anxiety.

    I will never be completely stabilized and I have accepted this. I still cry a few times a week and have outbursts of violence against myself every few months. I honestly have no control over it and often can’t remember half of the events the next day.

    I can’t work and I just lost my dad (the one who took care of me) so things have been especially difficult lately.

    Keep doing what you are doing, maybe explore meds (I understand why you have some reservations) and realize that your daughter doesn’t have much control over this.

    On the bright side, I was able to earn a college degree since colleges are very flexible regarding schedules and absences at times. However, working has been a different story. My performance and attendance will be great until I have an episode .

    Will keep you in my thoughts and prayers,

    Sarah

    • says

      Wow Sarah, thank you so much for sharing! I am hoping that catching it early will get her on the right track so she can control it as she gets older. We’ve been searching for an answer for more than 2 years now. She was just started on Lithium while in the hospital and it seems to be helping some…only time will tell though.

      • Sarah says

        I think it’s important to remember that meds aren’t miracles. The doctors have always gotten my hopes so high over the years with meds. I would think my life was going to be so much better and then it wasn’t. I try to think of meds as something that takes the edge off of my mental illness. Without them, I would be in a very bad spot but with them I am by no means stable. When I was a teenager, I never really cooperated with therapists and doctors..I didn’t want to get better or something. I now look back and feel like mental illness has taken away so many years of my life. People say it’s up to me to grab a hold of it, but easier said than done. Your daughter is so very lucky to have you.

        • says

          I know that there is no pill that will magically fix everything…that’s why we have the therapist and BMS that work with her. They are trying to teach her skills to manage things…and teach us how to deal with her….it’s a long journey.

  12. Nikkie Cossairt says

    If you think you did the right thing, you did :) No one knows what you are going through unless they walk in your shoes. Who are they to judge you? I wish you the best of luck! Hopefully, she will grow out of it.

  13. says

    Well. This is a sensitive issue for me because I have been hospitalized in the Peachford in Atlanta, Georgia twice in my adolescence. Once when I was 12 and once when I was 13.

    It is not a nice place.

    The people who work there treated me and the other children like absolute shit. I mean, we had problems. I acknowledge that, and I’ve even seen girls exhibiting similar behaviors to your daughters who desperately needed help, but bullying children who were there to receive psychiatric help is not the way to go. It’s counter productive and all it taught me to do was pretend to be ok. Fake it so I can go home, and fake it at home because after the second time, I never wanted to go back.

    Now, I’m 28. I should be over this, but I have a really hard time letting go on this. I don’t want to blame my mother (who is bi polar and has her own problems) but she absolutely did not know how to handle my secretive moodswings or the suicide attempts. She didn’t know how to process information from teachers (who joined in bullying me!!! and encouraged it, in Georgia. The first fucking state in the country to have anti bullying laws. But yeah, I am pretty sure this was before 1999 when they were passed)that I was violent (I kept to myself and only fought back if I was cornered, which happened with disturbing frequency) disrespectful to authority (only in self defense–you can only be picked on so many times before you try to stand up for yourself which is a mistake and exactly what they want you to do) and a disruption to the class (by finishing my work before everyone else and reading quietly). I became surly and uncooperative because even if I behaved and did whatever they told me to do, I was still tormented. Best of all, my older brother (who is mentally handicapped and a royal pain in the ass–the two aren’t related, but he was raised to think he could do whatever he wanted and deserved a favor from the world because of his handicap) had gone before me. The school knew the name Olivares and they knew we were ALL trouble makers. They automatically assumed I was just making trouble, just like my brother Luis.

    Now all of this was coupled with a really bad home life. My mother (who again, I don’t want to blame) is bipolar and has been on so many medication combinations to find the one that makes her work that I cannot even begin to list them or pronounce half of them. My father died when I was 5 and my grandfather when I was 6 (car accident, my father was killed on impact, my grandfather lingered on life support for a few months). Then my great grandmother died when I was 8 and everyone just assumed that I could cope. I developed wrong ideas about death and was certain I’d never live to be a teenager, let alone to be 28 (a fact that still gets me every time I think about it). I grew up with a horrible step father who was extremely strict and two little brothers who loved to blame everything on me. Trying to explain that it hadn’t been you who did whatever was TALKING BACK and grounds for severe punishment. Saying “what” instead of “yes sir” was grounds for punishment. Crap, turd, fart, butt, etc were swearwords and were met with a belting and a dose of nasty ass lava soap (that didn’t work if you couldn’t already tell.)

    Worst of all out of everything was the fact that I was the only girl and my stepfather was very clever about finding ways to be alone with me. I don’t wish to spell it out here, but it should suffice to say he should be in prison for the things he did to me.

    Then there was the eating issue. I’m a picky eater I guess. I cannot do mustard, or most things with mayo. I cannot. Or yogurt for that matter. It all makes me gag. Baked beans give me horrible cramping diarrhea and have since I was a small child. I do not eat these things voluntarily. I *did* eat them (eventually) if I was served them. At home, there was a rule, that 5 minutes after everyone else finished, if I hadn’t finished, I got a belt spanking. Then I had 5 more minutes. Repeat until bedtime, then food is wrapped up for breakfast. Repeat until time to get on school bus. Etc. So when my doctors were telling me at the age of 8 that I was a little overweight and I should cut back on greasy foods (raised on fast food and TV dinners!!!) and eat less, I was helpless. Doctor should have told my parents, but whatever. I still have issues with food and I will attempt, even to the point of sickening myself, to finish any food served to me no matter how large the portion. Failure gives me at best a feeling of discomfort and extreme guilt, at worst a freaking panic attack. However, this is pretty mild compared to the sexual abuse mentioned above (and that is as much as I am going to spell it out because I’d rather not start remembering that shit.)

    Second worse was the fact that he hated my older brother. Beat him, told him horrible things, excluded both of us and told us we weren’t wanted there. He caught my *mentally handicapped* older brother in the bedroom with his boyfriend (he’s gay as well) and went after him with fists. Not the boyfriend who was like “umm, I’ll see you at school” and bailed out the window, but my brother. My mentally handicapped brother. To me, this is worse than the things that were done to me. Luis moved out of the house when I was 13. He’s gypsied around from family member to family member, because like I said, he’s a pain in the ass. If he doesn’t get his way he moves out and takes his damn cats with him. But he never deserved to be beat on (on more than once occasion that I saw, and this does not include times that I was not around), especially not for being gay.

    Then there was the privilege my brothers had. Anything they wanted they got. Name brand shoes? Sure! Whatever clothes they wanted? Ok! Project due? Here’s $100 we’ll drop you off at Office Depot, call us when you need to be picked up! (me, “we can give you next weeks allowance, I’d hurry back because it’s fixing to rain”–seriously, I have ridden the bike my gramma got me home from the freaking eckerds (which is now a dollar general) in the goddamn rain balancing a poster board on the fucking handlebars). I wore my older brothers cast offs until I got taller and well, fatter than him. I got shoes for my birthday from my grandmother. I have weird shaped feet so they never lasted or fit me right and I fell down a lot because they didn’t fit right. No one noticed (or in my stepfathers case, cared). I remember wearing out shoes and being able to see my toes and knowing it was 2 more months until my birthday.

    Now, like I said, my mom has got problems. When I was 8 she spent time at the “hospital” which turned out to be the peachford. I imagine they treated her better because adults can hire lawyers and know they can. I didn’t find out why until I was 14 that she’d told her psychiatrist that she wanted to drown my little brothers in the bathtub (holy fuck!) and send me and my brother to live with my dad’s mom so she could be ok again and her husband would stop being angry at her all the time. He (the shrink) correctly hospitalized her and got her help and my brothers were spared. She slept the vast majority of the time and I learned very early on that complaining never got anything good so I just assumed everything was normal and that I was the worthless piece of shit I’d been told I was. And fat. Oh being fat. My brothers and step father would moo at me when I entered the room FROM THE AGE OF 6.

    So yeah. I grew up distant, weird, withdrawing, depressed and really really fucked up. Teachers don’t like it when kids act differently, and apparently they don’t like it when kids do things that are advanced for their age. I remember getting not quite in trouble, but I felt like I had done something wrong, in kindergarten for being able to read (that is on my mother’s mom and grandmother who taught me to read as a very small child. I have been able to read and reading for as long as I can remember). I understood complex issues like death a little too well. I wasn’t scared of insects or stray animals and knew a lot about them. I read advanced books for my age (lord of the rings in 3rd grade?, Dune in 5th?) and I was always reading because in books you are a different person and those protagonists don’t have to worry about their stepfathers coming into their bedrooms in the middle of the night and threatening to make them homeless if they say anything.

    Then, when I started to go through puberty the kids went from mostly ignoring me to tormenting me. And I had a teacher (Ms. Peacock is a fucking bitch. I don’t know what her married name is, but I hope she chokes on a dick.) in 6th grade who was particularly nasty to me. I didn’t have any friends in elementary school, so when one girl at least talked to me (she was not particularly nice to me) I accepted it as friendship (I never saw her after that year and only learned a few years back that she’d gotten pregnant when she strolled into my work with a gaggle of kids (6 or 7 of the little buggers moving too fast to count) and her mom recognized me and called her over. Anyhow, this teacher made fun of a few other girls, including a very unfortunate girl named Ciera who was african american and suffered from both very bad gas, and a hair line that started halfway back her head. Now, I’ve had long hair since 4th grade or so (mom cut it when I was 6 because it was too much trouble to comb–wavy hair and I used to hide under the bed to prevent it getting combed. I looked like a BOY and I never let her cut it again, my dad’s mom trimmed it periodically) this girl hated me and always wanted to fight me. I remember the teacher would talk about the girls unholy gas when she wasn’t around. Tell me *that’s* right. I can only begin to imagine what she said about me on my frequent absences. 7th grade came and while I had an absolute SAINT of a teacher (Beth Fitzpatrick) the kids were still little monstrous shits and I got to the point where I could not take it anymore and one day, after refusing to go to school, I felt so cornered and lost and overwhelmed (I had already been being seen by a therapist and a psychiatrist and was on prozac and I blame the prozac for this feeling). I never wanted to go to school again, couldn’t face it. Could NOT DO IT. Nothing was ever going to be ok ever again and I felt so trapped and lost and even being home was not safe (stepfather!) and with a sudden moment of clarity, I knew that there was a way out. And I tried (inexpertly) to do it. Fun fact, slitting your wrist HURTS A LOT. Hospitalization #1 where I got so dehydrated I couldn’t give a urine sample so they very roughly dragged me to a room and a (female) nurse cathetered me while the male orderlies stood around and watched (it felt very much like being raped and I will NEVER forget it) and then threatened to give me shots of water (which I was scared of) if I didn’t drink water (which I had not been offered up until this point–I had been in fucking goddamn isolation.)

    They kept me sedated and medicated and when their psychiatrist evaluated me I decided I wanted OUT so I lied and was a good girl and said the right things and they discharged me as not a danger to myself or anyone else. It was early spring (never a good time for me psychologically) and I was able to hide the cut with longsleeve shirts until it healed. School continued to be miserable and I was still unhappy but I survived through to summer when I decided that I did not like the way the prozac made me feel so I refused to take it while my parents and my little brothers were at the beach (My brother and I were sent to my grandmother’s house) and my Gramma didn’t make me take it because she believed it was making me worse (and she was right!)

    Then 8th grade started and it was HELL. I got into my worst (and last) fight in 8th grade–A boy named Ricky decided he was going to SPIT IN MY HAIR and then shove me and I grabbed him so he grabbed me by my long hair and I twisted his shirt over his head, threw him down the bleachers, and then jumped on him and pummeled him. He went home early and walked with a limp for several days. No one “saw anything” when the coach (Sanders, the asshole) came around to ask what happened (and I was so sure they were going to sell me out too. To this day I do not know why they, the kids who bullied me, didn’t rat me out. Fear?) so I never got in trouble for *that* fight (but I had been suspended in the past for fighting).

    My teacher (one Ms. Ogle, a fat mushroom haired cunt–and I don’t use that word lightly) took particular exception to me. She’s the chief teacher who tormented me, and everything I said above about teachers bullying applies. She also went through my personal effects while we were at lunch–I caught her doing it and she said she was looking for a “hit list” (columbine had happened a year or two earlier, but I hadn’t heard about it because I was not allowed to watch TV except friday afternoons and saturday morning cartoons and my parents didn’t buy newspapers. I didn’t have the concept of “shooting up a school” until SHE introduced it to me) and that she would continue to go through my things, including reading my personal journal with my personal short stories in it. She also routinely took my books from me in front of the class and made fun of me for reading “weird stuff” (most of it hard sci fi and fantasy, and all of it complex and challenging and engaging for my freshly teenage brain). She mocked me to my face and I’m sure behind my back and any time I stood up for myself I’d get sent to’ the office who would call my mom and tell her that one of her damn Olivares kids was causing trouble again. My mom always took the school’s side (a fact she recently apologized for) and the teachers knew it. Things were heating up at home too. My stepfather, who had been content to just touch and look was growing bolder as I was “growing up to be a big girl” and I didn’t see any way to fix that.

    So, I endured all of this until that spring. I missed so much school and would fake being sick just to avoid going. In about January, I was put on Serzone (an anti depressant) and dexadrine (for my adhd to hold me back and keep me on the same level as the other kids I’d known I was smarter than since 1st grade). By march, I was feeling just as lost and cornered and hopeless as before. The teacher was getting more and more aggressive and accused me of wanting to “pull a columbine” and the bullying got worse and worse (I realize now that she was afraid of me, but she went entirely the wrong way about expressing it). My mom had caught on to the whole put the thermometer in hot tea to fake a fever trick (she never did learn about the rub my hands together to make friction and then take my temperature there trick) and started watching me take my temperature most of the time. I had no way out. I should point out at this time that my mom had taken up cutting while I was in 7th grade and over the summer (she has been a miserable woman for as long as I can remember, she even looks miserable in old pictures I’ve seen of her). I got a (very dull and shitty–my parents have always had shitty knives) kitchen knife and I was hellbent and determined that I was going to succeed where I had failed in the past.

    It fucking hurt too much to try to saw through my skin with that shitty ass kitchen knife. The first time I’d used a pocket knife I’d been given by my surviving grandfather after admiring his (I’ve always liked blades and weapons in general–fantasy upbringing.) and they’d wisely confiscated it. I satisfied myself by trying my mom’s cutting thing out (she told us she’d gotten caught in the dishwasher the first time it happened, and on the rose bush in the back yard the second time) as best as I could with that crappy knife, finally resorting to using a sewing needle to draw deep scratches in my arm. My mom saw them and had “a talk” with me about it and how it was her fault and she was wrong to do it and she would stop (I learned a few years later that she’d just moved the cutting to her inner thighs where we couldn’t see it. She still has the scars to this day) and I decided it wasn’t worth it and didn’t fix the problem. It was sent to school wearing a longsleeve shirt and I remember sitting in the corner during recess and it was so hot and uncomfortable that I rolled my sleeves up (in middle school…I think our principal had novel ideas about children and sunshine we didn’t have a playground, but we did have a courtyard and we all went out there) and I just wanted to be left alone and I guess one of the other kids saw it and told the teacher and sure enough the harridan came over and started being patronizing and condescending to me about it. SHE called my mom and I was picked up from school and taken home. My mom called my therapist (Denise Black–notice how I never forget this shit. It was THAT damaging) and my therapist said I needed to be hospitalized (I would like to state that I got my medical records about 5 years ago, and what this bitch said about me on paper was not flattering at all. She called me a spoiled brat. That shows that she absolutely did not listen to a word I said and failed to notice the signs of horrible sexual and emotional abuse I was suffering at home) and that I would not go willingly and to LIE to me.

    I do not like being lied to. It makes me want to throw chairs. I have never thrown a chair, but it makes me want to.

    So anyhow, I was extremely fond of Japanese food at the time (and I still am, though I think I prefer Indian food now) and at that time I’d gotten so I’d refuse to go out to eat with them and would just not eat (because I was such a fatty fat fat) when they did this. Anyhow, they told me they would take me to this new Japanese restaurant that I had mentioned wanting to go to in the past (and been told it was too expensive) and I don’t quite remember how they coerced me into getting in the car. I’ll go ahead and be perfectly honest and say that if they had just fucking told me I would have cooperated because yeah, I’d rather not have the cops take me to the peachford, which had been brought up as an option when I was 12.

    Anyhow, we pulled up to the peachford and I was pretty upset. I got out of the car because when there are 6 big dudes standing out front you fucking cooperate and they took me to the entry evaluation room where I basically told my mother that she had lied to me and destroyed any semblances of trust I had in her and that I hated her and did not care to talk to her or have her do anything nice to me ever again (middle schoolers are shit heads. I was no exception). I felt betrayed and abandoned and sold out. So, after I’d taken my holey shoe off and thrown it at her and she’d signed me over to the hospital, I was put in an empty concrete room, escorted there by said big burly guys.

    After being in there for a few hours I guess (no idea how long, no clocks, just lots of graffiti, most of it badly spelled and inaccurate) a woman came in to talk to me about my angry feelings.

    At this point I’d been abandoned there, betrayed, lied to, bullied, harassed, unwanted, and alone and I snapped. I told her. I told her why I was so angry and strung out. More specifically I told her about my step father. They seemed less interested in the bullying I faced at school (which I suppose is understandable) and when I was discharged after about a week of sleeping in the hall of the women’s side of the peachford because they were over crowded and didn’t have a room for me to share with someone I was discharged.

    I was sent home. I don’t remember when exactly DEFACs got involved. I really do not. Actually, I think I do. My youngest brother went to school with a scratch on his arm. He’d refused to do something or another (I don’t remember what) and my mom had grabbed him and nicked him with one of her fingernails. The school called defacs for that. The peachford didn’t call fucking defacs for “alleged” child abuse, but the elementary school (a different one than the one I went to, a newer one) called defacs over a scratch.

    We were interviewed by a very nice woman who’s name I can’t remember who was Jewish and from Israel and showed me the scars on the back of her hand from the time she’d been cleaning her Uzi and it’d popped open and sheared off the skin on her knuckles.

    Initially I was pulled from my parents house. I stayed at my mom’s mother’s house for a few days, then my dad’s mom, while they investigated. I was interviewed, but shame and fear kept me from going into horrifying detail about everything that had been done to me, and despite all of it, I had managed to avoid actually being penetrated by him so eventually they decided I was angry over the peachford thing and had MADE IT UP.

    I *really* wish I had, because I am MESSED UP. Relationships are strained, I have a hard time trusting new men, I am SCARED of men, and oh man. At work, when an elderly white male starts going off on me, I see my stepfather and I go into fight or flight mode and I have to fight it down and force myself to stay calm and that is NOT healthy.

    So yeah, I was branded as a liar (betrayed AGAIN) and sent back home. Eventually I went back to school, they put me in special education because I was nothing but trouble (and that shit sticks, it lingers for years–I had to fight to get out of “sped” in highschool, and only succeeded after wasting two whole years in it. I was so far ahead of the other kids in the class, and the assignments were laughable. I had a bullying teacher my sophomore year (Mr. Brown, a man with a perpetually runny nose and bloodshot eyes that made him look high all the time) that got caught so I was pulled out of his class and made the student aide for the assistant principal in charge of the special education department. She had qualifications in psychiatry and determined I was wasting my time in those classes (seeing as when I wasn’t running errands I was sitting by a phone, reading those “advanced” sci fi novels I love waiting to answer the phone) and had me removed. It was THAT difficult to get out and I got lucky) and the kids in the sped classed hated me because I did work they struggled with easily and quickly, finishing 30 minute assignments in less than 5, reading my books. Went on for 3 damn years. Biggest waste of time ever.

    The only upside to all of this was that my stepfather NEVER tried to put his hands on me again (until I was 16 and we got in a fist fight, but that’s besides the point).

    I am still hurt that my mother took my stepfather’s (and I later learned, the judge’s–I never knew it went that far until right after my 2 year old was born when I brought it up again and said if I ever even get the suspicion that his 72 year old crusty ass has touched my child he will have to have a closed coffin burial) side and is still married to him. Especially since he treats her like shit. Still, she has her reasons I guess. I might never understand them, but she is an adult and I am mature enough to not challenge her decisions.

    So yeah, life story ^ (sorry). I wanted you to understand the emotional trauma and the abject miserableness I grew up with. I wanted you to know something my therapists and psychiatrists, and even my own mother never knew or understood. So that you would know why I reacted the way I did and ended up incarcerated.

    Now, from what you have described, your daughter needs help, and she needs help BAD and yall were in physical danger, so was she and you were perfectly right to commit her. I don’t know the situation, and I don’t know how old she is. I never became violent, except that very last time when I was lied to and betrayed (they went and got Japanese after they dropped me off btw, my little brother told me and got into a lot of trouble for it. I don’t even know why they bothered lying to me after betraying me, but meh.) I never kicked or bit or scratched anybody (except my step father that time I was 16 after he’d pinned me to the wall, headbutting is what got me loose btw) so her violence is alien to me. I do not understand. Is she autistic? Even high functioning? Is she bipolar? Is she being bullied at school? Is something horrible happening to her behind closed doors that you do not know about? (And I know that is scary, sorry).

    Not to say that any of those things has to be happening for her to be like that. Sometimes, in humans, a switch is hit in the brain and we lose it. It can be as little of a thing as having a migraine one day, and some vital brain chemical is diverted and things get…buggy I guess. Or a fever, or a bump to the head, or over heating, or just sitting in a room and something goes click.

    Life is not easy and it leaves its scars and people handle them differently. Part of me died when my great grandmother died and because of it I react to death…badly. I find myself callously wondering why people are getting so upset when a loved one passes away after a long time of suffering and disease. Don’t they want their loved one to be comfortable? How selfish is it that you wished for them to stay alive in agony and misery. So I keep my mouth shut on that one. We are all going to die eventually and I certainly keep my mouth shut on that one too. Generally I say “At least s/he isn’t suffering anymore” and leave it at that. I do not like being touched and sometimes I freak out when my fiance (really more of a domestic partner) tries to be affectionate. I am scared of men–all men, from about age 13 up (little kids don’t really bother me). I dread the thought of my current relationship ending and me having to be that vulnerable to another man ever again. I fear leaving my daughter with my mother because my stepfather (who is ancient, can’t walk, and 72) is still with her, but if I want to work and make a living and pay my bills, I have to rely on her because I cannot afford a babysitter. And you can be damn sure I ask my daughter specific questions and check for specific things every time she comes home from there. She has been to the doctor twice (he is not the doctor I had when I was a child, I went and got my own damn doctor and he sees my whole family) and the second time after checking her over and assuring me that she was ok and nothing had happened he asked me if something had happened to me when I was a child and was given a simple “yes, and I will kill anyone who does it to her.”

    The other reason I have shared this is because talking about it helps. It does. I went my whole childhood in silence, withdrawing further and further inward and I maintain that I did not *have* a childhood, only pain (I’m sure there were good bits, but the bad bits sure do outshine the good ones until they’re impossible to recall). I was always responsible for both my older brother and my younger brothers. My mother was distant and chilly and usually asleep when she wasn’t in the hospital. I blamed myself for my father’s death (he died in a head on collision literally less than 5 minutes after he dropped me and my brother off at my mom’s house after his weekend–they were divorced and if I’d only stalled for time this that and another he’d still be alive. I used to dream about him all the time, but that stopped after a while, only to have me (recently)dream about him still being alive, but rigged up to IVs and all sorts of stuff just so he could be alive and having him walk around a specially designed home full of medical stuff etc and let me tell you that was jarring in the extreme I woke up thinking it was real for the first few seconds and then felt the devastating loss over again) and I learned, after I had moved out of my mother’s house, that she had also blamed herself for years. Some of his siblings still blame her. I have a manipulating grandmother who ruined my mother and made her the miserable shell that she is today that I openly defied and would not be bullied or guilted by, but I knew she was a mean old woman, and only realized what it had done to my mom a few years ago. I grew up in a home where I was not welcome, always one step away from being kicked out, even at the age of EIGHT.

    Like I said, it’s theraputic to share, even while it makes me shake to remember all those negative feelings.

    Anyhow, I hope that they can find a way to relieve her of those angry feelings she has. Antidepressants have always (even as late as 23) made me suicidal and put me in a bad way. It could be a medication they’ve put her on–some doctors get money for prescribing people drugs and some doctors think that throwing pills down a kids throat will make them all better so question everything they’ve been putting her on. Research the stuff, see if there are reports of erratic behavior from being on the medication.

    You have done the right thing by trying to get her help, but I suggest that you talk to her about the way they treated her at the hospital and see if you can detect any signs of bullying, etc from the staff (and get a lawyer if you do). My mom was never coherent enough when I was a child to stand up for me, and I didn’t know how to stand up for myself. You have the power, you wouldn’t be posting about it if you didn’t love and care for your daughter and didn’t want to help her become a healthy happy individual.

    As for my thoughts on your daughter, if you get a chance, tell her that she is not alone, and other people have felt the way she does now and that if you stick it out long enough, it really does get better and one day she’ll be in control of her life enough to become the woman she wants to be.

    ~irrational

  14. says

    You do what is best for your child not what pleases the critical masses. If your child gets so upset over the smallest things that she winds up hurting herself or someone then she needs help, sadly. You don’t have to ask us if you are a bad mother, we don’t know what you go through. If you were such a horrible mother, it wouldn’t hurt you so much and you wouldn’t be trying so hard for her. I think you are doing just fine. You’ll all be just fine. Best to you guys.

  15. says

    Amber, I am not going to even pretend I know what you are going through. We all have our burdens (as I’ve noticed several others in this comment thread mentioning theirs), and we have to deal with them the way WE feel is best for us. In the end we are the ones that will have to answer for our deeds. No one else will be able to do that for us.
    We recently signed our oldest up for counseling because of anger management issues he is having. His bio-mom is a drug addict and abandoned him when he was five. I’ve been trying to talk his dad into this for years. Finally I hope we can get some relief too. Selfish? Maybe. I’d rather see him in therapy – or the hospital if they deem necessary – than in jail. Do you love your daughter? I’d say yes. You love her enough to get her the help she needs, in spite of how others want to judge you. Lift your head, Girl! People who make those comments aren’t living for you, they wont be asked to answer for your actions. Tell them like I tell my husbands family – When I need your help, I’ll ask for it – until then butt out.

  16. says

    I am a mother of 6 w my oldest being 11. He has OCD ADHD and not sure what else. I’ve had him to different drs and shrinks. One tried saying he had tourretes but he shows no symptoms of it. It is extremely hard bc w him being oldest the other kids see him acting out and think they can do it too. It’s hard when you can’t ground a child for something they can’t control. Drs and shrinks always want to do trial and error w meds and I’m completely against it. He tried 2 meds and his grades went from honor roll straight to F’s. as he gets older he seems to be doing better or I’m just becoming more adjusted. He was the perfect baby he never cried. The kid would literally laugh himself to sleep, that was until he was 23 mos and he seized twice in his sleep. Drs won’t do cat scan but with all the technology I’d think there was a way to hypnotize a child to make them change their behavior. I mean heck they can make a smoker sick to their stomach just to look at a cigarette. At times it is very stressful and his anger gets crazy but I know god gave me him for a reason. You are doing the right thing but I’d look into different techniques as one may help. God bless you Hun and your precious child

  17. Michelle Bowers says

    You are not a bad mother, selfish, or any of those other things, You are doing what’s best for ALL your children. You are getting your daughter the help she needs and protecting the rest of your family. Having outbursts like this is dangerous for her and everyone else. She could really hurt herself or someone else. I think it takes a very dedicated and loving parent to say “OK, I can’t help her here at home, but they(the drs.) can help her at the hospital.” You are doing all that you can do to help her…Keep Strong.

  18. Erica says

    I work at a Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility for youth. I see things like this every day, and I know the parents love these kids dearly. Don’t let anyone tell you anything otherwise. The cost of the treatment you’re getting your daughter is so high, if you didn’t love her you’d have her sent to live with other family or have signed her over to the state. It’s obvious you love her, and with support and the right therapy – she will get better.

  19. says

    I simply cannot imagine how difficult all of this must have been for you. I imagine that this would have been an extremely difficult decision to make. Please ignore the stigma, and focus on the safety and well being of your entire family. Go with your gut and your instinct, and I hope that those two things and the answers that your doctors and therapists give you coincide!! Hugs for you.

  20. Tricia Igo says

    my daughter’s first hospitalization came before she was placed with us… at this point, I think she’s had 9 (I’ve honestly lost count) – BUT it’s been over 4 years since her last one! It’s taken many years, hospitalizations, doctors, therapists, medications, tears, fights, holds, etc…. she’s finally beginning to realize that her medication is there for a reason and it’s necessary – though she’d still rather be without it. She’s finally realizing our advocacy, increased level of supervision, involvement in her every day life is there to help keep her (and everyone around her) safe! I’m sorry you’ve had people say bad things – btdt – it’s horrible, but try to NOT let it get to you (I know, it’s hard). Keep being there for your daughter – as I’m sure you will be!

  21. says

    You are so brave and SO strong! I cannot imagine what you’re going through but I can safely say that while you may feel like you’re at your worst, you are doing what you need to do for your daughter. I wish I could give you a hug. I’m sending good vibes and support your way.

  22. says

    Please don’t ever let anyone put you down!! I have dealt with the same thing in the past, even from my parents before they fully understood the disabilities about my son who is 16 and dx with Autism, bipolar, AHDD/ODD etc.. As a mother it breaks our hearts to have to hospitalize them! I just had to do this again after approx 4 yrs to my son 2 day’s ago because he went totally out of control, ran away for over 2 hours, destroyed everything in site, was swearing like a sailor, physically threatened us, pretty much what you deal with. When he “rages” he is extremely strong! People don’t realize the strength that they have! He is seeing a wonderful Psych doctor that is adjusting and changing some meds. I woudln’t wish this on any parent but those who don’t have children like our’s just can never understand or feel our frustration, anger, pain and confusion over these conditions that steal away our childrens “normal” happy childhoods! You are a GREAT mom and doing the best you can, I wish I had people to share their stories with me when my son was little and I was doing all of this alone feeling like I was doing something wrong and made to feel like a “bad” parent also. I now know, I did exactly what he needed and although we still have some bumps in the road when he hits certain stages like now with puberty and his hormones changing and requiring a tweak in meds, I am doing what is best for my son, and he loves his mamma to pieces! Stay strong, her her the right meds and therapy and there is hope!! Please feel free to message or e-mail me if you ever need a freind to talk to!

  23. danielle august says

    Amber,

    Let me first say, I think you are incredibly brave and strong, and no doubt a good mother. How do I know this, because I am you, or at least a version of you. My daughter, who is now 16, has been in some form of therapy since age 5. She has been hospitalized (for suicide ideation); and yes it was the most gut wrenching 9 days of my life. I missed work, I could barely get out of bed, I was numb. Over the past 11 years my daughter has been on every medication, been given every diagnosis (Asperger’s, Bipolar, ADHD, anxiety, depression, ODD…) , and has been in individual therapy, group therapy, art therapy, received in home services through our county, I received respite, etc. etc. Most of the times , while receiving services, her behavior was worse. Most recently I found out my daughter cuts herself. There isn’t a day that goes by that I wonder why she is the way she is, what can I do to make her happy, will she be ok, will she be ever to go to college, live on her own…One thing I stopped questioning is whether I was a good mom. I know I am! And you should too. Any parent who endures a day to day existence with a special needs child (and our children are) and still goes through hell and high water to get them the help they need is aces in my book. You don’t stop loving your child because they have physically and emotionally abused you and the rest of the family or destroyed your home. Anyone who questions your love for your child or how you choose to deal with your situation isn’t worth your response. You do not need to defend yourself. But you do need to take care of yourself too. I learned, the hard way, that I can not care of my daughter if I am not well myself. I wish you the best, I know it is not easy.

    Danielle

  24. says

    I’m not there deep in the trenches of dealing with your daughter each day. So I have no right to judge the decisions you have made. I do know you are a caring person and I’m a 1000% sure you love her more than anything and have her best interests at heart. Sending hugs and prayers!

  25. Rhi says

    My heart goes out to you. I have a 17 year old son who has been hospitalized off and on since he was 11. People do not understand mental illness and are very quick to judge you as a parent. You have to do what you think is best for your child and cut out the people in your life who do not support you. This is a tough road and I wish you the best. We eventually found an amazing naturopath who worked with our psychiatrist and therapist. 13 years of searching and trying new things before we found peace in our home. Good luck and follow your instincts.

  26. says

    So sorry to hear what you are going through. My heart goes out to your family. My son has severe schizophrenia and I have had to have him hospitalized many times. It breaks my heart every time. After years on the same meds, the doctors decided to try something new and he seems to be improving a bit. Hopefully, they will find the right meds for your daughter. Good luck to all of you!

  27. Hilda Schmidt says

    All I can say is hugs to you and your family. You do what you have to do and to hell with anyone else. They don’t walk in your shoes, so until they do, keep their remarks to themselves. As for the emergency workers that doubted you, they need more instruction on how to deal with families in crisis. Keep your chin up and know that you are the only one that counts when it comes to knowing what is best for your child.

  28. Leanne says

    I just wanted to say hang in there! And that you are an amazing mom! The love you have for your daughter is clearly unconditional. You don’t want her to hurt herself or others so you put her in an environment that can help with that. It would be selfish to NOT do that! You’re doing what you can to keep her (and the rest of your family) safe. If that’s not love I don’t know what is!

    I have a friend who has a severely autistic son and I thought of him when I was reading your story. I say severely because he has had some violent episodes where they’ve had to do the safety hold on him. Most times, he’s highly functional, funny, and a sweetheart!! Has your daughter been tested for autism?

    I’m going to add you to my prayer list, most importantly that the doctors can find what is wrong and you can get some answers. I don’t know if you believe in God, but even if you don’t, I’ll believe enough for the both of us!

  29. lisa w says

    It does get better! I was your daughter when I was younger. Unfortunately for my mother, in the 70s there wasn’t much in the way of treatments for children with these issues. So she had to deal with me breakimg things, hurting my little sisters and hurting her. I was a horrible child and a sullen, moody, unmotivated teenager. I don’t know for sure if your daughter will have the same turn-around that I did, but I am now a fully functioning member of society and I have raised two beautiful children who (thankfully) never had to deal with the raging emotions and violence that I did. Keep doing what is best for you, your daughter and your family and never give up hope.

  30. says

    You are NOT a bad mother and well, anyone that says otherwise can shove it.

    I know it hurts more than anything else in the world to see your child turn so violent. No decision feels easy in a situation like this but, you are her mother and you will always do what is right for your child. Yes, this doctor might have that degree and so on and so on but she is YOUR CHILD. You know her more than any book will ever tell.

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