February 26, 2019, a day I will forever remember. It started as any other day. Mid-morning while at work I received an e-mail from my husband telling me to call my daughter ASAP. Thanks to AT&T, I have no cell phone service in my building. I called her and found her to be in hysterics. The mental breakdown that I was always hoping would never happen, happened. She was crying, talking, yelling. It was horrible. She told me she didn’t want to do life anymore. She was over everything. She knew she wasn’t doing her best work at school, she had no creativity, had lost her passion and the boyfriend was also mentioned.
We agreed she would drive home from her school apartment and we would deal with whatever was happening when she got home. I’m sure someone will give me grief for letting her drive. However, I do know my child and knew her waiting for me to get to her (about a 1 1/2 hours drive) would have been far worse than her driving to me. Trust me on this one.
I left work, got home and started making calls. About one month prior I had started researching inpatient facilities for depression and anxiety. I knew with what we had experienced over Christmas, my daughter needed more than just a monthly therapy appointment. I contacted an organization that was helping me with this search and since this was a situation that demanded immediate action, I was directed to a local behavioral health center. I called and made an appointment for my daughter to be seen when she got home. My husband got home before my daughter and when she walked in the door, we basically walked right back out and into the car. My girl had voiced the fact she knew she needed help.
Once at the facility, we were taken in to an in-take room. My daughter’s vitals were taken and some general questions were asked. This entire time my girl was sobbing. It was then time to sit down with an in-take specialist. Only two people were allowed. Of course my girl chose me and poor dad had to wait in the waiting area. There was about an hour of questions, which she answered very honestly. This was the first time she really told the truth about her self-harming to anyone in the therapy field. It was like a stab to my heart when she told him she now used scissors to make the cuts. There was a time when it was razor blades. He asked to see her arm and this was the first time I saw the “new” cuts. I’m not sure how I didn’t throw up. Yes, I have seen far worse self-harm pictures on-line. But seeing it on my girl was beyond words. There was one that was about four inches long and about .5 inches deep. She was also very open and honest with her thoughts of “not wanting to be here”. She no longer wanted to be alive as the person she currently was. She wants to live as the person she hopes to be.
After all the questions were answered, the in-take specialist took the answers to the psychiatrist to see what is recommended. I knew what the answer was going to be, but I don’t think my girl did. He came back in the room with papers to sign. The first being a 201 commitment paper. He was very clear with what it was and what she was signing. Since she was 18, she is now in control. She willingly signed the paper. As the in-take specialist was explaining more about other papers that needed to be signed, the realization that she would not be coming home with me hit her hard. We talked for probably 30 minutes about why this needed to happen and that at this point it was going to happen. She was begging me to get her out and not make her stay. At one point I asked if I could go get my husband. I left the room and went into the waiting area with the in-take guy. I knew when I walked out I would not be going back in. We talked about what to do at this point and I told the guy there was no way I could go back in or it would just get worse. We then left. We left our girl at that place. She was alone, scared, confused, hurt and now I left her. The first phone call came about 35 minutes later. She couldn’t understand why we would just leave, how could we do that, she can’t stay there, she needs to get out, I need to get her out. I think she ended up hanging up on me. That was the first of six calls that night. Each one was the same. The guilt was insane at this point. Wow. Not knowing what she was doing was the absolute worst for me, and the fact I was sure she would hate me and never talk to me again.
To make that evening even better, I got a Facebook message from “the boy” telling me he has been trying to call Hannah and can’t get her and she told him she was coming home to get help. After about an hour I replied “she is safe”. Then I got another message asking me to give him the facility information so he can arrange to visit her. My response “no visitors”. His response “is that the facility rule or your rule”. Seriously, dickhead? You are going to throw attitude to me? What the fuck? I replied “facility”. The next day the boy messaged asking for a number to call her. I never responded to that one. I can only assume that I hurt his feelings because I later received this message “I really appreciate your consideration you aren’t the only person who has an emotional attachment to her and is pained by what she is going through but I know my place now don’t worry sorry to bother” and yes it was just like that, no punctuation. Did I want to respond? Oh, I wanted to respond. I wanted to ask the concerned boy about the violent fights my daughters neighbors reported to the rental agency. I wanted an explanation for the odd bruises on her body. I wanted to know how many other diseases he was sharing with my daughter. I wanted to know why if he was so concerned did he not tell me about the cuts on her? I wanted to know why my girl suddenly was 30 pounds lighter if he was so fucking concerned about her. I wanted to tell him to get the fuck out of her life. However, I knew that would only make matters worse. So I said nothing.
On day 2 of my daughter’s commitment she called me every few hours. The morning calls were much of the same. She wanted to leave, didn’t want to be there, etc. By the afternoon she had perhaps adjusted to being there and asked if we were going to visit her. Visiting is allowed every day from 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM. Yes, I lied to the boy. I told her I would love to visit her. My husband (her dad!), her youngest brother, his fiance and me all went for a visit. It was awkward at first. We talked about her day, what the schedule was like, what the food was like, etc. She did admit that she did like the group therapy and realized there were other people who had feelings like hers and there were people that were much worse. At the end of the visit she asked that we not visit her the following day. She said it was too hard to imagine what we were doing when we left without her. We followed her wishes and did not visit on day 3. However, we talked quite a bit on the phone throughout the day. I also talked to the social worker assigned to her. It was helpful to be able to give the social worker some input from my point of view. She felt very confident that my girl would be released on day 4 and set up a family meeting for 1:30 PM on day 4.
As my husband and I were pulling into the facility parking lot for the meeting, my phone starts exploding. The boy has now messaged my two sons (her brothers) and their respective girlfriend/fiance. The message was something about how concerned he was and he isn’t getting any help or response from “her mother”. The girls were the ones texting me at this point and I told them both to ignore him and that anything they said would be twisted and he would just throw it in Hannah’s face the minute she had her cell phone in her hand.
We had the meeting and were thrilled with what the social worker told us. The behavioral group felt Hannah would be much better suited for intensive out-patient therapy and that was set up for her. And out the door we went (yes there was other stuff regarding medication, etc). The minute we got in the car she wanted her phone. Before I handed it to her I showed her the exchange between me and the boy, just so she knew exactly what I said. She calls him from the back seat, my blood is boiling. Of course we can only hear her side of the conversation. I’m not sure how many times she apologized to him. Again, I am seeing red. She eventually hangs up and my only comment (right or wrong) was “you just got out of in-patient treatment and he is making you feel guilty and you have to apologize to him?” And that is all I said. Now, unbeknownst to me throughout the afternoon the boy and the brothers are messaging and it got UGLY. Very ugly. The boy threatened to kill my oldest and make sure his daughter grows up without a dad, just like him. This is the caliber of person we are dealing with. OMG – that night was just horrid. Even though she knew what was said in the messages, she still begged the boy to stay with her. All the alarms are going off in my head and the last thing I can do is scream at her that he is manipulating her, using her and abusing her. At this time I was also very disappointed in my sons. I know they love their sister. I know they were doing what they felt was best for her and protecting her and I appreciate that. I did not appreciate them then turning their backs on her because they felt she was choosing the boy over them. She is messed up in the head, just got out of the psych ward and is so confused about life she can’t see straight. She needed their support. Stop and think about it before you judge…………
It’s now been almost two weeks since she was in the hospital. We are learing to live with a new normal. She has been given a leave of absence from school. She will have five months to complete her final portfolio and have it judged. That is a huge stressor to cross off the list. Today, she returned the boys property (the usual t-shirts, sweatshirts). I can’t say they are officially over, but we are moving in the correct direction. I will occasionally send my girl links regarding domestic abuse, how it starts, what it looks like and I think she is finally admitting to herself that she was in a bad relationship. This boy treated her how she feels she should have been treated. She isn’t worthy of a nice guy because she is a piece of shit – her words, not mine. Therapy starts in two weeks (yes, the mental health system is amazingly fast), but in the meantime she is speaking with a life coach twice a week. I never thought much of the life coach crap – my opinion has now changed. My girl is learning to deal with and control her anxiety. She is relating to her life coach and enjoys every session. I think my girl reached her rock bottom. Now we do all we can to build her back up, support and love her the way she deserves.