Dear Dr. W

You want to know how I feel when I feel like I can’t cope any more? Well, I tell you how I feel. I feel like I can’t lift me head off my pillow. I feel like there is no point. WHAT IS THE POINT???? I feel like it doesn’t matter how hard I try, how much I fight, how much I try to enjoy this stupid thing called life, it just throws more shit at me. It’s non stop. All I asked for was ONE WEEK to recharge my batteries, and even that’s gone to shit. There is a parcel waiting for me in the living room, waiting to be opened. My Mum sent it for my birthday. And I can’t even get myself to open it. Because I know I won’t be able to feel any happiness. And I want to be happy when I open my birthday present! I feel so empty. I feel, once again, that I have tried my absolute hardest, and it has made no difference. My step daughter is still ill, she is still trying to kill herself, she still goes through my stuff, and the people who feel like the only people who may be able to help her, are refusing to section her. The medical system is REFUSING TO SECTION HER. WHY???? If she did any of the stuff she is doing to herself to others, she would be arrested and sent to prison. I don’t know how to protect my children any more. I don’t know how to provide them with the happy childhood that I never really had. I don’t know how to give them a safe and happy home, when I don’t feel safe and happy in my own home any more. And I feel so helpless. And I don’t want to hate my step daughter, because I know it is not her fault. I know her illness is making her behave this way, but the destruction she is causing in her wake – both physical and emotional – to herself and all of us is like the devastation caused by a giant tsunami. Right now, I have a million things to do, yet, since last night, all I have done is stare out of the window. Slide down the kitchen cupboards to sit, rocking, on the floor when my husband begged me to get out of bed and come downstairs. I have cried. Cried tears of desperation, of emotional pain, of helplessness. I am not even dressed yet. I haven’t fed the dogs yet. And, right now, I don’t know how to knock myself back out of this. This is what it felt like all of the time, and it has come back. And I don’t want to feel like this, because I need to stay strong and be there for my thrown-together little family. Built on tragedy. And loss. And here I am, watching us all about to be thrown back into chaos. I CAN’T DO THIS ANY MORE!!!! And nobody. NOBODY! Is helping us. THAT is what it feels like. It feels like the professionals don’t care. Like all that matters is money, not souls. It was so easy for me to show my step daughter’s therapist last night in how much pain she really is, and what a disguise she puts on to escape the system. WHY DOESN’T SHE PROVOKE HONEST RESPONSES? Here we are, once again, having to look at our beautiful 21 year old daughter with cuts everywhere. Bleeding scabs on her hands, her face, and the rest of her body, where she has been scratching herself almost to the bone to make the pain stop. Screaming like a wounded animal. Scratching away at her face, whilst shouting ‘Oh my God! I just want it to stop!’, sitting with her legs up, suddenly hugging her knees, rocking, then disengaging, getting calmer, rearranging bits of herself that don’t need rearranged, picking at her trousers, her eyes suddenly filled with a vastness of pain and emptiness. No spark of life left. No spark of fight left. Yet they won’t section her. Because she is so good at hiding the true extent of the mess in her head away from the professionals who could make this happen. We have a ‘duty of care’ apparently, yet we care, but cannot get her the help she needs. The help WE ALL need. I feel like jumping out of the window. I feel like I want to fade away. I feel like I can’t take any more. Yet I will breathe. I will fight, and I will find a way to be around for my children. To find some morsel of resemblance of ‘normality’ for them to cling onto. I should be busy doing paperwork, then packing for a well-deserved two week holiday with our four younger children. But I already know that my step daughter is likely to be discharged from hospital before we leave. And then what? Come back to find her dead in our house? What is that going to do to the kids? And to us? How can we enjoy or even look forward to this holiday, when we know that our daughter won’t be in a safe place? We are damned if we do, and damned if we don’t. What is the right decision? We go, she makes an attempt on her life again and succeeds this time, we will not be able to forgive ourselves for the rest of our lives. We don’t go, and put our lives and the lives of our children, on hold, and it is all about her and her illness, we destroy our other children’s lives. THEY DESERVE A LIFE! THEY DESERVE ATTENTION! THEY DESERVE TO HAVE A CHILDHOOD! I can’t remember the last time I felt carefree. Actually I can. But it was only a fleeting moment. A fleeting moment of joy. Of hope that life could be good again. That was on a holiday after finishing cancer treatment. One. Fleeting. Moment. Of. Carfree… WHY ARE THEY REFUSING TO PUT HER IN AN IN-PATIENT EATING DISORDER UNIT when every second of every day she is consumed by food, how to avoid it, how to starve herself, how much she hates herself after a ‘binge’, how she then needs to cut herself until the blood flows freely. How it is driving her to attempt suicide, not once, not twice, not three times, but over and over and over again. I can’t cope any more. Yet I get no help. “I could give you some antidepressants” is the answer to it all. Apparently. I don’t even feel angry any more right now. Just tired. And empty. So empty. No joy. No hope. No point.

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