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Self-harm: Parents' experiences

Telling others – reactions of family and friends to self-harm

There are many different reactions to the news that someone is self-harming. Some responses may be unhelpful and make things more difficult for the person who is harming themselves and those who care for them. Many of the parents and carers we spoke to chose to tell only family members and a few close friends about the young person’s problems (see 'Telling other people’).

Partners
Many of the parents we talked to had separated from their child’s other parent, and some were living with new partners. Thirty-five of the thirty-nine people we interviewed were women. They spoke about the ways their partners reacted to self-harm. One common theme was a perception that fathers and step-fathers couldn’t understand why the young person would want to hurt themselves.
 

Jane S was annoyed when her husband couldn’t understand their daughter

Jane S was annoyed when her husband couldn’t understand their daughter

Age at interview: 54
Sex: Female
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And then I got a bit annoyed because my husband was still saying, “Well, I just don’t understand it,” sort of when I’d moved on and that then creates a rift between the two of you because I’m saying to him, “Well, why don’t you understand it because I understand it better now? Have you talked to her? Why don’t you talk to her? Shouldn’t you be talking to her?” And I think it did create a bit of a barrier in their relationship.  
 

Ruth thinks her husband’s attitude to her daughter’s self-harm is too simplistic, but he makes an effort to talk to her and be supportive.

Ruth thinks her husband’s attitude to her daughter’s self-harm is too simplistic, but he makes an effort to talk to her and be supportive.

Age at interview: 40
Sex: Female
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My husband absolutely loves her and he is exactly like a father to her because, we’ve been together since she was 2. And he feels very frustrated as well that he can’t do anything. But I think he looks at it too simplistically. He often says, you know, “Why does she do this? It’s just attention seeking,” you know. He d-, he doesn’t mean to sort of  belittle her feelings, but he really does think that she just needs a bit of a shake or a bit of a talking-to and, and  that would sort her out. And it’s a modern cultural thing that because she likes certain types of music or likes to dress in a certain way that that goes along with it, and it’s just all nonsense that she should get over. Which is divisive that he thinks that, because it makes me feel quite alone in my thinking, you know, because I don’t see it like that. But he is supportive and he tries to talk, he does, he makes a big effort to try and talk to her about it. He doesn’t just sort of ignore that it’s going on, but he does see it in a very simplistic sort of way. 
Joanne said of her ex-husband: ‘He can’t cope with it. I’ve given him books to read and he can’t understand it at all. He can’t understand why she would want to hurt herself because it hurts. I’ve tried to explain that she doesn’t feel the hurt and it’s a way of relieving the pain that she’s going through but he doesn’t understand that. It doesn’t matter what you say, what books you tell him to read, he will not understand it.’ Alexis thought her daughter’s father didn’t understand mental health issues. ‘He didn’t really understand a very confused sixteen year old.’

Several women talked about the difficulty their husbands had in showing their feelings. Sharon explained how her ex-husband’s practical approach worked well alongside her own more emotional reactions. ‘He’s very good with the practical side of things, whereas I can get more of a handle on how she’s feeling emotionally.’ A few fathers were angry. Susan Z said, ‘He tends to get angry rather than upset. But I don’t think he ever expressed that.’ Liz’s husband was angry at times at how self-harm and eating disorders had affected the family. 
 

Liz describes her husband’s mixed reactions to his daughter’s self-harming and her eating disorder.

Liz describes her husband’s mixed reactions to his daughter’s self-harming and her eating disorder.

Age at interview: 52
Sex: Female
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And how about your husband? How did he react?

A whole variety of emotions, as you would expect. Initially, completely and utterly shocked. Totally, I mean literal shock. The cutting made him very sad because, obviously, it was leaving scars and to him, it was his beautiful girl. The overdose made him incredibly, incredibly desperate that she should feel that desperate. Anger, definite, definite periods of anger, as we’ve all felt I think. Probably me less so. I think I’ve felt the least, in fact, I don’t think I’ve really felt angry, if I’m honest. I don’t think I’ve felt angry. He has felt periods of extreme anger on how it’s affected our lives but, then again, this is all wrapped up with the eating disorder, which actually in practical terms, affected our life much more because on a day to day basis an eating disorder affects your life tremendously. Self-harm probably less so. I think he feels incredibly protective of her now.

To his relationship with her I think. So yeah, and shock that he, he thinks he’s produced these three beautiful girls and he can’t understand why they feel so awful, enough to not eat and to harm themselves. And it is hard to understand I think. I think it is hard to understand really, the behaviour.
 

Sandra helped her husband calm down when he was angry at their daughter.

Sandra helped her husband calm down when he was angry at their daughter.

Age at interview: 49
Sex: Female
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How did her dad react to her self-harming?

He was angry because men, obviously, they react to things differently. When I say angry, I mean he shouted at her, “Oh why the hell are you doing this to yourself?” You know, “You know we love you, we care for you. We’re supporting you whatever you do, you know. Why do you feel the need to want to do that to yourself?”

And that, you know, it’s very stressful for the family so then she reacted by saying, “Well, I’m stressed too and that’s why I’m doing what I’m doing. I need help. It’s is a cry for help. I I’m not happy. I’m sad.” So then I had to sort of calm my husband down, said, you have to intervene, and I said, “Well, you know, the way you handled it is not the right way. She is stressed. She’s hurting. That’s why she’s doing what she’s doing. It’s new to us. It’s new to me. Even though I’ve worked in it but it’s different when it’s home, when it’s applied to your family” and I said to him, “Just learn from me. Observe the way I deal with her and you can learn from that.” And that’s how we’ve handled it. So now if there’s a situation, he lets me deal with it and he observes but he will support me. 
Some men dealt with their feelings by withdrawing and refusing to talk. Wendy said her husband was embarrassed and ashamed by his daughter’s self-harm. He didn’t know how to deal with it so he pretended it wasn’t happening. Bernadette’s husband told her “I can’t take any more. Don’t tell me”. She found this hard because she then had no one to talk to. Jackie agreed that it was difficult for her husband to deal with.
 

Jackie’s husband didn’t understand self-harm and dealt with it by pretending it wasn’t happening.

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Jackie’s husband didn’t understand self-harm and dealt with it by pretending it wasn’t happening.

Age at interview: 40
Sex: Female
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A lot of the women who’ve spoken to me have talked about the men in their lives, their husbands, former husbands, fathers of their children, brothers of their children, sometimes reacting differently to self-harm from the way they react?

Yes.

Can you say a bit about that?

Definitely. Well, that’s why I couldn’t tell my husband, I felt I couldn’t tell him at first. I knew there’s a certain pride that comes with men, well, okay, I’ll say my husband, everyone’s different of course. I knew I couldn’t tell my husband at first.  If we hadn’t, if he hadn’t discovered it on holiday, the lie would have continued because I wasn’t in a good place myself. I knew he couldn’t cope with it because he couldn’t understand it. I knew that he’d maybe make the situation worse by saying, “Is this just for attention?” And he did say that. 

He still to this day never, just doesn’t really get it. I’ve tried to explain it to him. He shut offs it. Men, I mean he’s the only man that knows, who knows, who know, knows about this, so in my daughter’s life he’s the only man that knew about, that knows about this. He couldn’t deal with it at all, as I say, his reaction when we were on holiday. It was just, yes, he just, he, he, he just couldn’t cope with it. I could see him have a meltdown before my eyes. What, and then, he shouted at her and that made her feel worse. If that makes her feel worse, will she go and do it again? So I thought, “It’s best not to tell him because he’ll just make it worse. And you can sit down and explain it to him, how it works, why she does it.” But that never came, it never came. He found out before that, you know, which made it explosive. 

So ignorance, I think ignorance for my husband was his way of coping with it. I think he was almost, “I don’t want anything to do with it. What’s that all about? I don’t understand it. That’s just weird. What a weirdo, she wants attention and I’m not paying all that money. It’s just attention.” You know, initially, that was the initial kneejerk reaction.

It took a lot of explaining. And, and, and I’m just getting this information from a website, you know, that’s what’s stupid about it. It’s a very, it’s a very difficult subject because there’s no one there to help you, you know. I’m like, “Oh, my God, I’m explaining to you just from stuff that I’ve read.” And I’m, even I’m picking out bits that I think are right and wrong, so I might even be wrong, you know. It’s so, you know, so there’s that, but it’s that vicious circle. You worry about the dad not dealing with it, the kid feeling really bad about doing this to their family and then chopping theirself up even more, and then you’re even more anxious that they’ll make even more mess of theirselves. It’s horrible, yes. He, he just couldn’t deal with it. Even now he still doesn’t understand it. So his dealing with it was run away from it, pretend it’s not happening, definitely, right up till now, definitely. I mean he’ll talk about it now, still doesn’t get it or he doesn’t want to get it, doesn’t want to understand it because he thinks it’s weird. So, yes, there’s no, with him it was hard. And that makes it worse for the, the mother to deal with.
Other women talked about positive and supportive reactions from men. Gwendoline said her husband 'knows a good way to talk to people' and that when they had 'happenings' in the house, he was 'normally the one that calms it all down.' Vicki told us that her ex-husband was very concerned about their daughter's self-harming and was 'making an effort to change the way he interacts with her' when she visits him at weekends.

Pat gave us a man’s point of view. He thought his ex-wife’s emotional response was unhelpful. Charles said his wife believed their son’s behaviour could be explained by normal difficulties of adolescence.
 

Pat thought his ex-wife’s response to their daughter’s self-harm was too emotional. He tried to hide his own distress.

Pat thought his ex-wife’s response to their daughter’s self-harm was too emotional. He tried to hide his own distress.

Age at interview: 43
Sex: Male
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And does her mum know about the self-harm?

Yes, yes, I’ve, [sighs] I would rather not get her involved but I, I think I have a duty, as a, you know, and you’re quite often forced by the social end of things to let mum see and that, irrelevant of what happens, so I, I have involved her  and she’s, but it’s sort of half supportive, it’s a rush over, which I understand, and it’s tears, which I sort of understand but I’ve hidden mine, you know. I’ve had a cry in a car park somewhere, and I’ve had a cry in the van and I don’t know what’s right or wrong. I haven’t cried in front of [my daughter] because she always blames herself badly and says, “I don’t want to worry you.” I’ve said it again, sorry. “I don’t want to worry you, daddy.” 

But we had, we had a rushed over visit, lots of tears, which were really unhelpful, and it, I’d had, I mean that might be odd and it might be a man thing but it was just really unhelpful. It didn’t, if, it wasn’t for [my daughter], oh sorry, it wasn’t for my daughter  and it didn’t do her any good but it made mum feel better, I’m guessing. And then we were very involved for a few days and then missing again, not missing, but then that weekend they weren’t due to see her and we didn’t see her or hear from her and I personally, would have been a little bit more hands on  and that, that’s it’s a bit like a roller coaster. It’s all or nothing and it’s patchy when it when it, you know, and then it’s nothing for months and I’d rather not manage that any more but I’m not allowed. If that makes sense. I think they’d be better off not seeing her because it’s like a mourning cycle.

She comes back in, promises them the world, delivers nothing and then disappears so they mourn and then she comes back in and I would like it to stop but, at the minute, I’ve got other things on my mind but nobody will ever turn around and say, it’s very difficult to turn round and say, “It’s actually destructive seeing your own parent.” When I think it can be, without a shadow of a doubt, it can be.
 

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Siblings
Parents told us how brothers and sisters reacted (see also ‘Impact on siblings’). Some were angry and felt that self-harming was selfish. Bernadette’s son was so angry with his brother that he humiliated him by telling people in the pub about the self-harm. One of Isobel’s daughters wanted to be supportive but the other was irritated by her sister’s behaviour. Some older siblings were understanding and supportive.
 

Vicki’s two sons were concerned about their sister and gave her support.

Vicki’s two sons were concerned about their sister and gave her support.

Age at interview: 44
Sex: Female
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We told her older brother, who’s actually living here. He’s twenty six. He was he was very concerned and there was this, you know, this moment where he went to have a little chat with her and, normally, he’s very, he just, basically, takes the mick out of her and normal like annoying older brother who just has a laugh with her. And he just went up to sort of basically say, “Look, [sister name]. I’m here for you if you need me. I love you very much and no matter how much of this banter we have between us, you know, I’m here for you.” And he came down, after talking to her in her bedroom, “I don’t know how long I can keep this sort of thing up. I need to go back to being the annoying brother.” And she came down after that and she said, “I hope he’s not going to be like this this all the time because it’s just a bit weird.” [Laughs]. So they both decided to, you know, just go back to their normal relationship and it’s all cool and…

I told her eldest brother who’s actually a GP. He’s quite, he’s very close to her, even though they, you know, they live quite a long way apart, but he will phone her and he will talk to her and, obviously, he was one of the first people I phoned when I when I realised. And he said he said, “Okay. Just bear in mind, when you do go and see your GP, that not all of them are tremendously sympathetic or understanding or. So if you if you don’t get any joy from this GP then come back and talk to me and we’ll, you know, think of another route and...” But luckily, the GP was very, very good and very understanding and, you know, got us there straight away but yeah, so he was, he’s a bit more, I suppose worldly wise than perhaps her other brother was and was able to think, “Okay. I do understand something about this condition.” And it was more about, you know, realising that she just needs lots of support and he chats to her regularly. He’ll phone up and come and visit and just being, you know, a great, great brother. 
 

Sarah Y’s daughter was angry and couldn’t understand why her sister harmed herself.

Sarah Y’s daughter was angry and couldn’t understand why her sister harmed herself.

Age at interview: 42
Sex: Female
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How have the other children reacted?

The youngest is sort of not really said or done anything about it. She wasn’t affected in the same sort of way. The older one of the two younger ones has been quite angry. It’s like, you know, “Why have you done it? You’re not.” You know, she can’t see a good reason for it and she just saw it as, you know, “You’ve made life difficult for mum and the rest of us. Why?” You know, and to her it seemed a very, very selfish thing to do and, you know, we can all understand that perspective and so she’s quite angry about it, won’t talk about it, well, hasn’t really talked about it very much since. I mean I’ve tried to say, “Well, sometimes when people get down, that’s what they do. They’re not trying to be selfish but, you know, and we’re going to go and see somebody to see if we can get her some help so that it doesn’t happen again and, you know, we’ll maybe resolve some of her issues.” 

But I mean they didn’t have the best relationship beforehand so, you know, the eldest, you know, as I said, she is academically weak. She has difficulties with things. The younger ones both are academically very able and so there’s all sorts of issues that go on between them and the usual sibling rivalry of bickering and loveliness.
Wider family
On the whole people told us relatives in their wider family were supportive but many didn’t understand self-harm. Sarah Y said her brother ‘finds it really impossible to understand. He hasn’t got children himself’. Alexis told us her daughter’s grandfather and uncle ‘didn’t get it. They don’t understand it. ..It’s too hard for them.’ However, her daughter’s grandmother did understand and this was a huge support for Alexis. A few relatives, like Nicky’s sister-in-law and Jo-Ann’s family, were critical, especially when they had little experience of self-harm.
 

Although her family tried to help Jo-Ann found their responses very difficult.

Although her family tried to help Jo-Ann found their responses very difficult.

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I would say the most difficult are my family. They’re very judgmental of her and she knows that. My mum is trying really hard. My mum is seventy three and, you know, she is trying very hard but she still comes out with things, you know, my family used to say things to me like, “Give her to me for a week, I’ll sort her out.” And [laughs] you can’t imagine what that feels like a) As a mother, they’re saying, you’re doing, you know, and b) my most beautiful child has got these difficulties. They are, they say they’ll fix her and ah, the amount of times that people have said it and also, the other things that they’ve said to her is, “You’re making your mother ill. She’ll be back in hospital if you don’t stop.” 
 

Nicky’s in-laws were judgemental before her daughter explained things to them.

Nicky’s in-laws were judgemental before her daughter explained things to them.

Age at interview: 48
Sex: Female
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And that was very difficult and my husband’s, my husband’s a lovely man and his family are very lovely too  but they don’t talk, so all the stuff that goes on in the family, you kind of find out third hand via somebody else in the family telling you, you know, “Because we don’t talk about those sorts of things.” Which has made my daughter’s situation, actually, quite hard because I suspect that there, over the years, might have been some judgements made about things because people didn’t have the full, the full information.

But I’ve been able to overcome that, as my as my daughter has got better, she’s been able to engage with people about her illness and about her behaviours from her perspective and she’s been able to say things like, “Mum did x and actually it was very helpful.” Because one of, one of my in-laws, one of my sisters-in-law, was quite judgemental a few years ago, when things had been very difficult and my husband had said to his oldest sister, so the maternal one in the family, the matriarch I suppose, because they’re quite a big family, and she been a bit, “Well, do you really think that’s an appropriate thing to do.” She was quite judgemental about how we’d chosen to deal with my daughter about it because it had been very much a case of, “Sort yourself out or, you know, you need to leave because we can’t live like this anymore.” 

And she was quite judgemental about it and I’d tried to explain and my husband had tried to explain and she was still a bit sniffy and then we’d had a bit of a family get-together a few weeks later and I’d mentioned to my daughter and she said, “Don’t worry, mum. I’ll put her right.” And she sat down with her and she said, “You know.” And my so my sister-in-law says to [my daughter], “Oh, you know,” sorry, to my daughter, “Oh how have things been?” And my daughter goes, “Well, blah-dy blah-dy blah and Mum did this and so and so, my husband did that, and, actually, I know it seems like a bit harsh but it really was the right thing to do.” 

And she, so the in-laws have been, the in-laws have been much better about it since then but it is quite hard I think if people aren’t open about it to help dispel some of the myths about it and, where you’ve not had, and his family have had very little experience of, you know, mental health issues and behaviours like that and I think where you haven’t had much experience of those kinds of things, if you don’t talk about it, it’s very easy to make judgements.
 

Ann didn’t tell her relations everything. Some didn’t understand and some tried to help but her husband’s sister blamed her.

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Ann didn’t tell her relations everything. Some didn’t understand and some tried to help but her husband’s sister blamed her.

Age at interview: 47
Sex: Female
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And other members of your extended family who know. How have they reacted?

Differently. Only one set of grandparents and they’re fantastic and they’ve tried to understand but they don’t. They get books out the library and they’ll read and, you know, and they’ve spoken I think a couple of other grandparents who’ve got grandchildren and they try.

I’ve got one sister, who is absolutely fantastic and I can tell her anything and she just sits and listens, but I don’t tell her everything. Nobody knows the full extent of anything except me and my husband. And then I’ve got another sister who has been fab but I think she has found it a bit too much to cope with at difficult times that I’ve gone through and, you know, and I’ve relied on her and she sort of let me know that. So now I don’t, you know, I don’t, just say, “No, everything is fine.” I don’t divulge much at all, you know. We have good days. We have bad days. Let’s leave it there. So yeah. 

On [my husband’s] side of the family, his sister blamed me really. I have a wonderful three full page e-mail from her at the outset because, when my daughter was admitted, somebody rang up the next morning pretending to be me and got a lot of information. When I rang up and tried to get information, I couldn’t get any [laughs]. Now we can assume that there are huge issues between my husband’s sister and the ward that my daughter was on. There were a lot of problems that she created to the point that she said it was all my fault and did never want to speak to me again. Absolutely fine, okay. I can cope with that.

His brother, they’re lovely, a little bit naïve about the whole thing really. The thing with my daughter, and I think with a lot of people who suffer mental ill health, is you can’t always see when there’s a problem and they say, “Well, don’t they look fab? Don’t they look well?” Yeah, well, actually, just before Christmas they were on about sectioning her. That’s how, you know. Most our response now is, never take a book by the cover. You don’t know what’s on the inside just by looking, you know, at what’s on somebody’s face and doesn’t tell you what’s going on inside their head or their heart and what they’ve been going through the last twenty four, forty eight hours and that goes for the rest of the family really. So quietly supportive they all are and we would have been lost without them really but none of them know the full extent of anything, not by any stretch of the imagination. 
Friends
Apart from immediate family, many of the people we spoke to chose to tell a few close friends. They were often surprised by their reactions. One of Jane S’s friends was shocked and disgusted, while another treated it very casually, saying “Aren’t teenagers a nuisance”. ‘This was just so off the mark,’ Jane told us, ‘that it made me despair’. Fiona’s friends tried to help but they didn’t understand. She explained: ‘It’s very difficult because friends, the ones that know, try and come beside you but it’s too big. Unless someone has been through something like this they can’t really understand. You can’t really talk to them about the trauma of it because it’s almost like you’re making it up because it’s so horrific’. 
 

Some of Audrey’s friends were very supportive but others reacted badly to her husband’s self-harm.

Some of Audrey’s friends were very supportive but others reacted badly to her husband’s self-harm.

Age at interview: 30
Sex: Female
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And how do your friends react?

It depends. If it’s someone that knows, like knows what it’s like, they’re fully supportive, you know. They’re there one hundred per cent. They’re battering the door down to offer support and help and advice and all rally round. And if it’s someone who doesn’t have a clue, well what I mean is, they know obviously, that my husband is doing what he’s, well, has done what he’s done in the past but if they don’t have a clue in the sense of they’ve never lived through it, they’ve not seen anyone with it, they’ve they don’t even, they’ve not even researched it in the slightest, it can be so frustrating and so hurtful because all they want to do is shout at him and tell him, “How dare you do that, how dare you do that to your children, how dare you do that to your wife, how dare you? You know, I cannae believe you’ve been so bloody stupid,” and blah blah blah. 

And it’s frustrating for me because I think to myself, why are you doing that? When you can already see that he’s suffering, why would you purposely come in and want to make him suffer more? He already he already is suffering. But they don’t fully understand, you know. They just think, “Ah, I can’t believe he’s been so stupid. How dare he?” And because they’ve not properly dealt with anyone with mental health issues with self-harming tendencies, they don’t have a clue. They really don’t and it’s hard because you can stand there until you’re blue in the face and tell them, “Don’t do that. Don’t speak to him like that.” And then you’ll get accused, “Oh, you cannae babysit him, you know. He’s old enough and big enough and ugly enough to look after himself.” And then it just opens a whole can of worms [laughs] and it’s just like what should be a an intimate sort of  an intimate array of friends coming together, turns into almighty war near enough sometimes.

Have you lost friends through those reactions?

We have. We have but, luckily enough, luckily enough, we we’ve got them back. They they’ve realised the errors of their ways it was it was very difficult because then you do get, you yourself get the whole guilt of, should I have let that happen? Should I have let it get that far? Should I have let my husband see that? Should have I put that on him? 

And then he feels guilty because he’s like, “I shouldn’t have let Audrey go through that. I shouldn’t have let  you know, my wife’s lost one of her best pals because of me and my stupidity and my own beliefs and my feelings and my fears and my hurts and my head” type of thing and it’s, you know, it’s a vicious circle. It is a vicious circle and you’re caught between a rock and a hard place but, ultimately, at the end of the day, you have to make a decision what’s more important? Your family, who needs you there and then, or your friends and it’s an easy choice for me. My family is always going to come first, always, doesnae matter, I wouldnae care who you are. You know, I’d fight the devil himself for my family. So if I lose friends over it, then I lose friends over it, you know, that’s just one of these things 
Several parents had friends who reacted in a helpful way. Tracey told us: ‘Talking to some people who you can trust, it can really help, just to help you get by, just by talking about it. They can’t do anything about it. This particular friend of mine, if she could wave a magic wand, things would be different. She can’t but she listens and tries to reassure and doesn’t judge and that’s really important.’
 

Sarah Y was pleased with the ‘brilliant’ support she received from some of her friends.

Sarah Y was pleased with the ‘brilliant’ support she received from some of her friends.

Age at interview: 42
Sex: Female
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Because, you know, who can I talk to about it because that’s a difficult one because you don’t want to share some of the issues because you want to make sure you only share with somebody, who’s not going to share it with all and sundry, because it’s quite personal. I wouldn’t want to sort of what do I say, break my daughter’s confidence, you know, because, you know, and you also have to judge somebody as to how they’re going to react to somebody having a mental health issue. Because some people are like, well, you know, I’ve heard somebody talk about, you know, suicide is a very selfish thing. Well, yeah, on the one hand it is a very selfish thing but to just sweepingly say, you know, “People only commit suicide if they’re being selfish.” Is something quite, you know, in my opinion, very wrong. There’s huge amounts more issues to do with it and, you know, to say that to quite a large crowd of young people, I was horrified when I heard somebody saying that.  So it’s not necessarily, you know, it it’s a very difficult thing to decide who you share it with and who you don’t because you have to know somebody quite well to share it with them. As a parent you want sympathy as to like, “Oh my god, I can’t cope with this.” And you do, I mean I’ve spent quite a lot of time over those few days crying [sniffs] thinking [sniffs] thinking, “What have I done wrong?” And really it is quite surprising the reaction from some people. Other people you think oh my god, you know, they’ve reacted exactly how I would have hoped and what have you. And some people I’ve had to tell because, you know, as I said, we were aiming to go away at the New Year and I said, “Would it be okay for her to come?” And I felt I should give them a reason why and I explained and it, they were brilliant and they were really supportive of me and her, actually, when she came, came with me, you know, to visit them and that was fantastic. 

But, you know, I as a parent am reluctant to sort of say too much to many people because you are, you are concerned about what people are going to say to you. Blame you, “Well, you’ve obviously failed them as a parent.” And you do feel that and it’s horrid. Excuse me. But, you know, I know really it’s not my fault and I know I haven’t done anything wrong as such, you know. We all make mistakes and so yeah, I’m sure I’ve made mistakes but, you know, at the end of the day if you find somebody who hasn’t, you know, I’ll be damned impressed. 

Last reviewed December 2017.
​Last updated December 2017.
 

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