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Mental health chat

Last post 05-02-2014, 3:07 PM by Misseyismydog. 6 replies.
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  •  30-01-2013, 6:56 AM

    Mental health chat

    Worried about the mental health of the person you care for? Or maybe a friend at school?

    Or do you yourself struggle with anxiety, feeling low or self harming?

    Whatever the worry, if it's advice on mental health that you're after, then come along to our chatroom on Monday 18th February from 4.15-5.30pm to talk with Mona, a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, who'll be happy to listen and try to answer your questions.

    If you've got any particular queries then you can also post them up here and she'll either answer them in the chat or here on the boards.

    Look forward to seeing some of you there Smile

    Online support team

  •  18-02-2013, 7:13 PM

    Re: Mental health chat


    completely did not realize this was today/yesterday. :(  So, I missed it. But, I do have a question, so I am hoping that as other guests sometimes do Mona will answer questions on the boards all week. 

    I care for my mum, who has mental health problems, and combined with my own difficulties it makes life hard partiqually when mum is bad. I find mum is very unpredictable most of the time, I never know if she will be sleeping all day or she will be okay, and that is really hard for me. But, what I find harder is knowing what to do to help. I do not know anything about mums condition other than 'mental health problems', and I see her and can mostly tell if she is good or bad. (basically how much she is asleep or doing things)  What I do not know is what I should do, partiqually when she is asleep all day, do I just leave her? or do I try and talk to her, ask her how she is, or what?   I have problems with communication anyway, so talking to mum is hard when she is good. When she is asleep I just leave her, if that means I go without meals then I go without meals. I have learnt over time that is the easiest thing for me to do. But is their something I should be doing instead?

    Hope you can help. 


  •  19-02-2013, 5:12 PM

    Re: Mental health chat

    Hi Sillyflower, I am going to answer messages all week so not to worry you missed the chat.

    Thanks for your question; I think what you described will ring true for many others on this site - not knowing exactly what the problem is, unpredictable behaviour in the person you care for, not knowing what to do for the best, looking after yourself when you have to (or in your case maybe not being looked after as well as you might be if you are missing meals). And not knowing how to talk about it.

    I would tackle this on a good day to start. If talking to your mum is tricky - as it can be for lots of young people - how about writing her a letter? I can see from your post that you write really well. I would ask her what she would like you to do when she is having a tough day, what would she find helpful? I would ask her what you should do about meals on those days - mums would want to know their children are not missing meals so knowing you have to at the moment might prompt her to plan ahead with you for those days when she isn't managing. It might mean making sure there are always things in which would be easy to prepare for you if she can't.

     If she has any professionals involved in her care they may have put together a 'crisis plan' for her which should include who should look after you if she can't. If such a plan doesn't exist maybe you could write one yourselves - a practical list of what the warning signs are for your mum when she's not well for you both to notice and then what to do when it happens. It could include what to do practically about food, who you can call with their contact details (other adults you know like family or close family friends, any professionals involved) if you need to etc etc.

    would it help you to know more about her illness? What it is? How it affects people? What treatment she's having if any? Some people find this useful information to help make sense of behaviour or emotions they see in the person they care for. If you would, perhaps you could ask her in the letter if that's what you decide to do? If you get some information, but not as much as you'd like, perhaps you could ask your family doctor? They will be bound by confidentiality so will not give you information about your Mum, but they would be able to give you general information about the condition and how it affects people in general. Sometimes professionals involved are happy to see parents with older children together and will then be able to answer questions directly - your mum would have to agree to this though.

     You don't say how old you are. I would say if the above doesn't help make those bad days more manageable I think you should try to ask an adult you know and trust for advice and support. Teacher, mentor, head of year, tutor...? No-one should really miss meals, whatever their age (!) and the fact that you find yourself doing so makes me think this issue needs some thinking about and working on. I'm really glad you posted.

    Do come back to me if you need. Best of luck.

  •  20-02-2013, 9:45 PM

    Re: Mental health chat

    Hey Mona, thanks for replying. 

     I think writing a letter could be a good idea. I have been told many times I am good at writing but this is online. Somehow it is different and I struggle greatly with any communication offline. I have tried writing a letter in the past with disastrous consequences so I am scared of doing it again. I do not want to say too much about any of that here though. 

    When we miss meals it stars from her being too ill to go shopping. I can not go shopping or contact anyone who can. For me I am a young carer because I live with my mum who is ill and the consequences this has  such as missing meals. It is not about what I do to help mum which is very little because of my own difficulties. I always feel that anything I do would make her worse, which is why I always leave her. Although I do also struggle to tell if she is good or bad which is hard. It is even worse if I get it wrong! Like If I think she is good and go and ask her to make tea. If she is good she will do it, if she is bad she will get angry and start shouting at me because she can not cope and it is (apparently) my fault she has no-one to help. She shouts at me because I am there and someone to blame. Shouting really scares me. I will do anything to avoid shouting or loud noise. 

    Mum did have some professionals. I know her care like mine is all messed up at the moment. I think she has now finally got a new CPN (Is that right? I have no idea what that stands for either, I just hear it talked about) after her last one went on leave at the start of November. I do not know much about this other than she shouted about her care plan at my meeting. All she said was she did not get a copy of it and by the time she did it was irrelevant because things has changed so much. She still does not have a new plan because she only just got a new CPN.   

    I would love a list of signs to look for, to help me tell if mum is good or bad. Could you tell me some? Or tell me how I would find out? I really like lists, lists help me a lot but I never know what to do. Often when mum is bad about 2 weeks later she tells  me I am supposed to help her and not let her get bad. But I have no idea when she is bad or good and I do not know what to do to help. Like I said above mum starts shouting quickly and shouting is scary so I avoid it.  When we get to this point we have often not eaten for a few days/a week and parts of the kitchen is growing. So I am avoiding the whole part of the house after the kitchen. 

    I think knowing her illness would help. Then I could look online for information which could help with the list of signs above or help me know what to do to help her. I have asked my young carers worker in the past and she would not tell me. I do not know why though. Maybe mum does not want me to know.

    I am 17 now, but I often act with a much lower age (more like 10 or 12 sometimes I think although I have never had a test to tell me what age I act like) some parts of me are nearer to my real age than others. The issue of meals is annoying for me. I have gone most of my life with mum and her illness which she had before I was born. To me missing meals sometimes is normal, I do not know anything else. When people make a fuss like they do at collage every morning asking me if I had breakfast I get really angry. I can not show anger though and this just leaves me stuck in a circle. Collage offered to arrange with the canteen to get me some toast and tea bought to me in my first lessons if I had not had breakfast. I refused this, partly because I do not like toast and I am very fussy with drinks. But mainly because I am different and stand out enough as it is. Without having food bought to me and to be eating in lessons! Now every time anyone asks I just grunt and say yes if I have had or not. I do not really have anyone I trust anymore, other than a few services online like YC.net. I have no-one offline anymore though, I am very good at hiding things and keeping how I feel to myself and struggling alone. I have been ever since I left school, but I did it in school too. 


  •  21-02-2013, 4:59 PM

    Re: Mental health chat

    Dear Sillyflower

    Thanks for writing back - really helpful to hear a little more. I will answer what i can and hopefully give you some pointers of where to go with this.

    Firstly a CPN is a Community Psychiatric Nurse. They work in teams with other people like psychiatrists (like me but for adults), psychologists and social workers. They look after people who are not in hospital but who need a lot of support at home. I do not know what your Mum's diagnosis is so do not know what her signs of becoming unwell would be, but if she has a CPN, it probably means her illness is pretty disabling at times and is long term.

    Her care plan, even if it is out of date, should mention things like 'relapse signs' and 'crisis plans' and you will be mentioned on it too, or you should be, both as a carer, but also as a 'dependent'.

    It is possible, as you are good at putting a brave face on things to avoid standing out more than you do already, as you say, that people looking after your Mum have not realised you are not being looked after properly at times and that, because of your own difficulties, you cannot look after yourself when your Mum can't. They might be making assumptions based on your age and not realise you don't function at your 'age level' in all areas of life.

     There are a few ways forward I think. One, as we talked about, is writing to your mum. But I understand your reluctance to do this, given what you say about not being confident you can read her state of mind.

    You mention you have a young carers worker. And possibly other professionals involved in your care? You could ask one of your team to speak to your Mum's CPN on your behalf. This would not be breaking confidentiality if it is you giving them information about what it is like for you and that you need advice about how to help your Mum and how to read the signs of her becoming unwell. Carers often speak to the team looking after their family member, in fact it is encouraged as it helps the team, in this case, your Mum's CPN, know more about how she is doing. People with mental health problems often don't know they are unwell when they are, which is why information from people close to them, like carers, is so helpful. You should also be able to ask for a 'carer's assessment' which is a meeting for you with your Mum's team to go through your needs as a carer.

     The other thing worth mentioning is that many areas of the country have 'crisis teams' which work all day every day to manage patients with mental health problems in crisis. You should be able to get their contact details. If you prefer on-line contact they are likely to have an email address you could write to. As will the CPN, I'm sure you could email him/her rather than speaking on the phone if you find that easier.  

    I hope that's given you some ideas. It is clear that you care for, and about, your Mum a great deal. But you will be able to function much better as a carer and as a person in your own right, if you ask for a bit more support.

    all best wishes


  •  27-02-2013, 6:12 AM

    Re: Mental health chat

    For those of you who missed last week's chat with Mona, click on the link below for highlights of the session:

  •  05-02-2014, 3:07 PM

    Re: Mental health chat

    Hi! I have slime questions about mental health, seizures and the team.

    ok so when I was 8 my mum got diagnosed with epilepsy. However  after putting her on medication the fits got worst. Turns out they diagnosed it wrong. When I was 9 they said it was multi personality disorder  with seizures (forgot what type) When it was the last  parents evening she had a fit whilst standing up. I walked out of the hall and just burst into tears. My head teacher and deputy came out and took her into the office. She had parents evening and then she went of on one again. The head ended up calling 999 and a helicopter landed on he field. No one new about my mum until then. Now they finally know my teacher talked to the class because they heard about he helicopter and now this lady came into school and talked to the school about young carers. I had a feeling it was sort of aimed at me because every teacher in the school just looked at me. So at school they have started this young carers group that my teacher signed me up for. When I turned about 10 (how old I am) my mum had a nervous breakdown. Now sometimes my mum cuts her self and once she drowned herself (my stepdad walked in in her) and once tried jumping out the upstairs window but I found her just as she was opening the window. Social services visited my mum at the house today whilst I was at school and now she is coming to school to talk about therapy and that every month me and 2 other kids are going to have fun some where and get a chance to smile and be kids. I can't wait! Anyway I was just looking for some support and tell me about it.

    from ME!!! 

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