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15 yr old daughter first episode psychosis

R

Reallyfree

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Mar 10, 2018
Messages
6
Hi, my daughter has developed psychosis following a year of depression, issues with sensory overload and anxiety. On the plus side, she has been started on medication within 24hrs of first recognising her symptoms, on the downside she thinks me and other family members are plotting to kill her.

She remains at home which is good because her room is her haven and I know she is safe but it is vey hard to support her because I am “the problem”. She just screams at me to leave her alone if I go in her room. She has taped over the ceiling lights, covered her phone camera and keeps all the curtains drawn so I don’t think it’s just me she fears. She mentioned I have friends who would hurt her and that everything I ever told her is a lie. She thinks her older sister is in on it and any strangers are too.

I am keeping interactions short and functional-just went in to give her her meds and opened to door to say I was checking she was ok a few times. I text her to tell,her I love her and understand she doesn’t want me near her at the moment as this is less threatening than direct contact.

Does anyone have any ideas as to how else I can support her whilst she feels this way?

I am not Getting myself upset or angry, this is what is is and we just need to find what works. Compared to her suicide attempt last year this feels less scary to me but clearly very scary for her.

She was on a pathway to diagnosis of autism as she had lots of traits but these may have been a prodrome to her current problems. My mother has schizophrenia and there is lots of autism in the family so she could have either or both.

I love her so much and wish there was more I could do to help her. Any advice gratefully received.
 
Kerome

Kerome

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It’s a very difficult situation... there are some good books written about this, like Living with Psychosis - Recovery and Wellbeing by Baker and Attwater, or First Episode Psychosis - A Guide for Patients and Their Families by Compton and Broussard. In Dutch there’s a good book called In conversation with Psychosis by Jules Tielens, but it hasn’t been translated yet.

The key thing is not to make her delusions worse by playing into them, or ‘collaborating with the delusion’. It is best to be non-comittal. To hear what she has to say, but not to approve or disapprove, except when she talks about doubt or the lack of evidence. Doubt and understanding the need for evidence are signs of insight and getting better.

Hopefully as long as she takes the medication, there will be improvements in two or three weeks. The most difficult problem is being sure she takes them... if she sees them as poison or distrusts them because they come from you or doesn’t want to take them, then you’re heading for either prolonged psychosis or eventually a section and forced medication on a psych ward.
 
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R

Reallyfree

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Hi, thanks for your reply. I have been doing a lot of reading to help me understand. I am delighted to say my daughter is taking her meds happily as she has really enjoyed the 12 hrs of sleep she gets from them. She is much calmer and seems not to be afraid of me now. She is hiding in her room most of the day- but that’s typical for her, she is fixing herself snacks and even played with the dog for a bit today. She has declined offers of food from me so I thinks hpshe is still suspicious but the improvement seems phenomenal already. Not sure how much is meds and how much is the fact I am not asking her questions. Either way we are off to a very positive start.
I really hope we can avoid an admission as she hates strange places at the best of times and rarely leaves the house. Psych nurse calling tomorrow and meeting early psychosis team on Thursday. I know we have a long road ahead but it seems it may be one we can manage.
 
Kerome

Kerome

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Sleep is often very crucial in the progression of psychosis... it is often brought on by a prolonged period of sleeplessness, and getting enough sleep is important for recovery.

But great to hear she is doing better, that’s wonderful. Wishing you all the best :)
 
Cazcat

Cazcat

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Hi, I support my husband who has episodes of psychosis. There have been times when he had believed that I am trying to harm him which has been really hard. It sounds like you are doing an amazing job with your daughter well done for catching this so early and getting her help. The evidence is that the earlier people get the correct help the better the outcome. My husband is under an early intervention in psychosis team and they have been amazing and supported both of us so well the last few years since his diagnosis.

Other books that I would recommend are "The centre can not hold" by Elyn Saks and " The boy with the topknot" by Satnab Sanghera

The best advice that I can give you is to put yourself first. This is a marathon not a sprint and your daughter needs you to stay well yourself so that you can support her. Make sure to take time out to do things for yourself that keep you well.

Don't expect to be able to love your daughter better (I wish it worked that way) you can support her but you can't fix everything so don't put pressure on yourself to try to do this.

Don't underestimate how helpful a bit of normality can be. Just doing and talking about normal things can be really helpful.
 
R

Reallyfree

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Thanks for your replies. Things are so much better since she started the quetiapine. She is sleeping well and starting to engage more in family life-30 mins max but several times a day. She came willingly to her appointment today and was more communicative- but very guarded about her paranoid delusions.
I have read loads and feel very grateful for all the information here and links/ reading given.
I feel like this could turn out to be a good thing in the long run as if she has a good experience, and feels meds help her, avoids admission etc, she will be more willing to talk about concerns in the future.
I love my girl with all her extra layers of uniqueness. I know I can’t fix this for her but I can try to understand and give her time and space whilst making sure she gets any necessary care. Thanks for your help x
 
R

Reallyfree

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Just a quick update to say my daughter is recovering really well. She is back to her old self and it’s like the psychosis never happened to some extent. Her energy levels are up and she is laughing and happy. She has gone back to school part time after being out of education for 9 months. She is re-engaging with friends and life slowly but surely in her own time frame.
I have been very impressed with the speed of help we received and the speed of recovery she has had so far. I know things could change and this could be an issue again in the future but I am very Grateful for all the replies and advice about reading, which has really helped me see things from her perspective as well as my own.
We are meeting her CPN next week and then early psychosis team in 2 weeks. I have avoided talking about her previous psychotic thoughts as her behaviour suggests they are gone and she is settled, and particularly as they were about me, but I know that the professionals will probe her more. Can anyone tell me how that feels? I imagine it must be really unsettling. Do you forget the thoughts or do they feel like mistaken thoughts or do they still feel real to some extent- like I was plotting to kill her and poisoning her food but now I’m not, if that makes sense.?
Thanks
 
boudreauj4

boudreauj4

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I am so happy for you all that she is getting better. It is so wonderful to hear a good success story. The first time I was psychotic and got better, nobody ever talked about it again and I moved on with my life and it was all pretty much forgotten, even by me, until I got ill again after a ten year break. I don't know if it was good or bad that we never talked about my original psychotic experience. I know I didn't want to think or talk about it over those ten years that I was well. Now that I am somewhat well after my most recent psychosis, I can see that some of my thoughts were totally wrong and delusional, but I still have some beliefs that my wife doesn't believe in. She doesn't try to talk me out of them though. She just makes it clear that she thinks I am wrong, and we agree to disagree about certain things. To keep love and harmony in our household, I know I should not bring up certain subjects that I believe in. This works well for us. I discuss these things with my therapist sometimes if I feel a need to talk about them, and that works well for me too.
 
Cazcat

Cazcat

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I'm so glad that your daughter is recovering so well. My husband often doesn't fully remember things from when he was unwell, he does remember some things and other things if they are bought up he will remember them. For instance he has forgotten about thinking I was trying to poison him until I mentioned it. It seems that some beliefs are more enduring than other and with those very strong beliefs I have found that although his conviction on them reduces to a point where we can reason through that the beliefs are incorrect and he will realise that he was mistaken. There are other beliefs that he still holds onto more strongly that things happened the way he though that they happened, these tend to be the less bizarre and more plausible ones e.g. neighbours he was paranoid about in places we lived in the past. In terms of will she always think you were trying to poison her at this time, I suspect Not, certainly with my husband he now thinks these beliefs about me were ridiculous. I think though that accepting that the things you believed so strongly were not happening must be very frightening in itself. A realisation that your own mind can not always be trusted. Personally initially I let the CPNs lead the conversations and they did joint work with both of us at times which was very useful and last year we also had some family therapy through his team to look at how the diagnosis and psychotic episodes had affected both of us and our relationship.

I was told when I first asked about the long term prognosis with my husband that Some people only ever have one episode of psychosis, some people's symptoms remain with them constantly and most people are somewhere between the 2. The earlier the psychosis is picked up and intervention given the better the long term outcome (hence the early intervention teams) so it is great that your daughter is getting this support now. My husband's early intervention team are fantastic and have been very supportive of both of us. I don't know the details of what they discuss, but I know that everything has been done very gently and he spent a lot of time getting to know my husband and gaining his trust before starting any therapeutic work. One of the early pieces of work we did together looked at working back from the psychotic episode to look at what had happened in the lead up to help us to spot warning signs. I do feel though that the more concerted crisis prevention work didn't start until after the subsequent episode. I think they were waiting to see if there was a subsequent event and it's only recently he has been offered a referal to a psychologist, he has been under the early intervention team for 4 1/2 years now and his CPN is still saying he feels it may be too early for the psychology intervention as it may stir up a lot of difficult emotions.

I hope your daughter continues to improve, it sounds like you have handled this very well and minimised the stress and distress for your daughter as much as possible.
 
R

Reallyfree

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Thank you both for your really helpful replies. I can only start to imagine what it must feel like to have such unpleasant realities in your mind and then to be told it’s an illness.

I definitely want her to be able to understand what happened to her so it doesn’t become a weird secret we never discuss but also don’t want to see her stressed out by bringing it up inappropriately when she is feeling that it has passed.

I think letting it settle and letting the STEP team take the lead will help ensure discussions are facilitated by someone who knows what they are doing hopefully. It will be hard with her autistism to know how she feels about this as she doesn’t discuss feelings.

Thanks again for your replies, they really help x
 
A

alexolly2006

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Dec 8, 2012
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Hi,

How long has your daughter been on her medication?

It can take a few weeks for the medication to get into her system and bring a balance back to her thoughts and behaviour. I know medication is not always a silver bullet, however it works for most people and I am hoping your daughter is one of them.

I have schizophrenia and I have just supported my step son through a period of psychosis due to drug misuse unfortunately.

Take care...
 
D

demby222

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Feb 22, 2014
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8
Im so glad your dautgher feels better as i know what your going through . I am a mother of a son with chronic phycosis and mild asbergers he is 28 now and i have been looking after him all his life .
He first got phycosis when he was 18 and it was a very scary time he hid himself under the duvet and he too taped up all of the light fittings saying that things were listerning to him and herd things that wassnt there , He was under the mental health team and put on medication.
but as he got older he got worse he refused seeing the mental heath. I cant remenber the times i had to ring the crisis team becuse it was nealy every week. He use to live with me and his sister but his phycosis got so bad he was often aggresive and confruntational . Hes got his own flat now and i visit him and care for him there . He hasnt got a girlfriend and has never had a job. I do wonder were hel be has he gets older,has he cant seem to function with the stress of normal life .All i can say is im there for him now and always will be although i must say my life has never been normal and caring for somone with phycosis not only grinds you down it effects the whole family.
 
Cazcat

Cazcat

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Im so glad your dautgher feels better as i know what your going through . I am a mother of a son with chronic phycosis and mild asbergers he is 28 now and i have been looking after him all his life .
He first got phycosis when he was 18 and it was a very scary time he hid himself under the duvet and he too taped up all of the light fittings saying that things were listerning to him and herd things that wassnt there , He was under the mental health team and put on medication.
but as he got older he got worse he refused seeing the mental heath. I cant remenber the times i had to ring the crisis team becuse it was nealy every week. He use to live with me and his sister but his phycosis got so bad he was often aggresive and confruntational . Hes got his own flat now and i visit him and care for him there . He hasnt got a girlfriend and has never had a job. I do wonder were hel be has he gets older,has he cant seem to function with the stress of normal life .All i can say is im there for him now and always will be although i must say my life has never been normal and caring for somone with phycosis not only grinds you down it effects the whole family.
Hi, so sorry to hear about you and your son's experience. Psychosis definately affects everyone involved and supporting someone who is unwell is hard. We are lucky that my husband has responded well to medication, but it is still hard work at times. Your son is lucky to have your support. My husband doesn't have any family support.
 
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