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Sarah, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 143
Experience:  Chart'd Psych, 12 yrs exp. English prisons, Clinical Hypnotherapist, EMDR Therapist, BPS, HPC reg'd.
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I am a mother of a 17 yr old girl. She appeared normal

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I am a mother of a 17 yr old girl. She appeared normal through her childhood although she was a quiet. We were told when she was 11 that she was gifted & talented & went to a top grammar school where she excelled through to yr 10 when she started to get overloaded with the homework as she was such a perfectionist & homework seemed to take her all eve every eve. She had problems with relationships at school & could cope with people not being honest and nice to each other and the bitchiness amongst friends so withdrew bit by bit from social activities. She was diagnosed with severe depression 2 yrs ago & we discovered she had been self harming and slicing her arm quite severely with razor blades & has been receiving treatment from our local CAMHS unit since. She has received CBT, Family Therapy, been tried on 2 antidepressents which seemed to make her worse. It also came to light that she had been making herself sick from 12 which has escalated to her binging & making herself sick & now she has gone off food altogether but she is making herself sick all the time even with the small amount of food she is eating. She had a two month stay in hospital earlier this yr and has lived with all the family to see if that would help. When she moves each time she tries very hard to be ok, is ok for a week or two but then gradually over a week or two goes down then after a month or two is back to being depressed.   She has a very supportive boyfriend and family. She has severe difficulty in concentration and currently cant read a book, her energy levels are rock bottom, she has had difficulty sleeping and has horrendeous nightmares and always fees shattered even when she has a good nights sleep. She is very accident prone and bumps into people all the time, appears to be either very hot or very cold, very sensitve to light. If she goes out for a walk one day it can nearly put her in bed for a couple of days with exhaustion for 2 days. She tries so hard to beat it as she wants a normal life. I feel she just isn't receiving any help and we don't know where to go. Naomi feels CBT every couple of weeks would help a little but CAMHS have said that if this doesn't work in 8 sessions it doesn't work. She is such a clever, articulate, lovely person. I know she has lots of problems that all need dealing with but surely her eating disorder needs looking at which i don't think is apart from them telling her she needs to put 4 llbs on. Surely there is some therapy that can be specifically given for eating disorders. She has 3 weeks ago presented herself as homeless with social services as she says all she is doing is hurting her family and doesn't want to do that anymore. She is wasting away and is depressed. Camhs wont speak to me about her so the family can't help very much.   She feels she is never going to get better and no-one can help her. What do we do, where do we go. I just don't feel she is getting any help. Please can anyone help.
I'm sorry to hear about your daughter. She does seems to a a very talented, articulate and lovely person. It seems that her self-confidence level is currently suffering, and her faith in herself needs to be re-established. Talk therapy - especially solution-focused therapy can certainly help. I would also recommend trying the techniques of positive visualization, positive affirmations and a 5-15 minute daily practice of mindfulness or meditation. For the physical symptoms of fatigue, sensitivity to light etc. I would recommend consulting a doctor (GP). The above measures along with a strong support system and encouragement from family should help her to start healing again. The key is for her to understand that she does have control over her thoughts even though she may not be in acceptance of that right now, but as she learns and acknowledges that she is in full control of her thoughts, she will be able to regulate her thoughts towards more positive actions. Hope this helps. Regards, ***** ***** (NYU) LMSW (New York).
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Relist: Answer quality.


Thanks for your question about your daughter. The people that I know who need to rest in bed for 2 days after going for a walk are suffering from fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue or ME, but this sounds much more than this to me, given her eating disorder and other symptoms.

I am going to recommend to you that you find out more information about a 'trauma' therapy called EMDR - Eye Movement Desensitisation and Re-Processing. This therapy is based on the theory that the subconscious mind picks up messages from highly emotional situations and these messages become stuck in the subconscious mind as beliefs about the world, or about ourself. These beliefs go unrecognised but often cause symptoms such anxiety and depression, and whatever other symptoms are relevant - for example fears and phobias, or eating disorders. These behaviours are always supportive of the beliefs, so for someone who fears 'I will die if I get on a plane' then the anxiety, etc. is triggered when the person is going on a plane - this can be extrapolated to other situations, such as seeing a plane on the news or hearing one go overhead. They may not recognise that these planes are triggering the anxiety.

I wonder whether your daughter interpreted some of her childhood environment in such a way that she is holding beliefs that are affecting her life in a major way. Often, these beliefs can be wrapped up in the need to be perfect, for example, 'If I can't do it perfectly, there's no point doing it at all' or something similar. It really isn't worth discussing this with your daughter as consciously she may be genuinely unaware what the beliefs may be or where they came from. Asking her about them may encourage her to deny that they are there. A therapist will simply allow her, through EMDR, to explore her subconscious mind and find out the true cause. The belief that she will never get better will certainly not be helping her, but is understandable, given her situation.

It is important to state that no-one is to blame for these subconscious beliefs - often children interpret something in their own mind that they hear without having the adult skills to understand them better. It isn't your daughter's fault and isn't something she can control, although consciously she is trying, it is wearing her out. The beliefs are irrational and need to be removed.

The therapy processes away the emotional baggage that we can carry from the past, that is linked to the memories - the memories can then drop back in time and are much less important. Often these memories are currently extremely vivid, able to recall colours, textures, voices, noises, smells, etc. (If they are good memories, this is great - recall the time you got married or brought your baby home and see how much detail you can recall - the highly emotional experience is etched in your subconscious mind, but because it is positive, it causes no harm). Normally, we process away anxiety through REM (Rapid Eye Movement) during the night, but when the memories are emotionally high, they aren't able to be processed away this way. The brain may try to process them at night and can cause nightmares and unsettled sleep.

In order to simulate REM, EMDR uses a bilateral stimulation of the body in some form - often tapping, lights, eye movements or gentle electrical impulses - which encourages the brain to process the negative 'stuff' away. It is often quicker than talking therapies because the subconscious mind is able to tap directly into the problem areas. However, if your daughter finds it difficult to 'go to' some of the memories, the therapist will help her to do so slowly and safely.

Try for more information and local therapists to you. There are therapists who specialise in working with young adults - try and find someone who has worked with eating disorders before if you can, but don't worry if you can't be that specific in your choice of therapist.

I hope this makes sense. Please get back to me if you have more queries. Best Wishes, Sarah

Sarah, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 143
Experience: Chart'd Psych, 12 yrs exp. English prisons, Clinical Hypnotherapist, EMDR Therapist, BPS, HPC reg'd.
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