Lovely and her family are reeling from their daughter's recent attempt at taking her own life. Many substances are in the mix. Trauma lies underneath. Her daughter is sending signals to back off… should her parents still follow their desire to help?
"Our daughter (30 years) is on 4 prescriptions (Opiate, Wellbutrin, Benzos and not sure what the other one is), plus marijuana. 2 days ago she tried to commit suicide and said she took a whole bottle of Methadone, but thankfully was not successful. She lives on her own and pays her way, but is struggling badly with finances. Occasionally I buy groceries but had not done that in 4 months. She was held in the hospital for 3 days and treated for possible pneumonia and they found a heart condition. She would not give us approval to speak with the doctor and nurse so our hands were tied. Amazingly she passed a tele psych eval and refused to stay any longer. They said they had to let her go. All she cares about is getting help with fixing her hot water heater so she can shower, and it appears that she went on Methadone to get help with getting off of the Opiates. She definitely is struggling a lot with mental issues and memory. She's accusing men of beating and raping her and 2 of them I knew personally and don't believe they did it. She knows she's dependent on the drugs and has told me so. She has isolated herself away from family and has blocked me on social media and phone calls even after getting home from the hospital. Her father, myself and our son are on board with getting her help even though she is not asking for it. We are researching on intervention (non confrontational) and residential recovery. We are pretty sure she will need a safe detox situation, but don't know where to find that and how it fits in with the residential recovery. Cost is definitly a consideration; she is on Medi-Cal (California low income insurance) and family can contribute some money as well. We love her very much and are so afraid she will attempt suicide again. I'm not sure how we can help her to realize that she needs to get help and that we are willing to assist with that."
Lovely, there are really no words that can do justice to the pain and suffering you are enduring on this soulful journey with your daughter. For all involved, it’s a time of feeling emotionally overwhelmed, traumatized by uncertainty, and searching for answers in the darkest of shadows.
She tried to take her own life: Putting this into perspective
I am not sure what to make of your daughter's attempting suicide, yet you say, “all she cares about is getting help with fixing her hot water heater so she can shower”… One is an existential crisis, the other is about just getting basic needs met.
Attempting suicide is never done by the soul, or the core self. It is an extreme response by a part of the psyche that believes it is the only answer to end overwhelming emotional suffering. She tells you she has been beaten and raped by multiple men, yet a part of you does not want to believe that those you know could do this. Whether it happened or not, your daughter believes it did, and the aftermath of whatever she experienced in part explains her use of substances. They are a tool to help her deal with overwhelming emotions for which she has no other tools at this time.
Your daughter clearly needs help. She needs someone that can compassionately help her understand her life experiences – particularly the nature of trauma and addiction – and provide her tools to make the changes necessary to heal. She also needs to understand how drugs hijack the brain, and have access to a prescriber that can explain the benefits and risks of medications that can help her. In short, she needs good treatment.
Looking more closely at treatment and ways you can help
Here are some things to think about as you consider your options:
This entire program is basically a response to your concern: "I'm not sure how we can help her to realize that she needs to get help and that we are willing to assist with that."
Countless families on this site have worked through the eLearning modules, gained the CRAFT skill set and embarked on a new chapter with their Loved Ones – communicating differently, rebuilding the bridge of trust, and shepherding them toward treatment. The CRAFT 101 topic on the right-hand sidebar will give you an overview of the basics.
Above all, let your daughter know you love and care about her, and that you will support her in whatever ways she needs (even if this means fixing her water heater so she can shower). In this program we make a distinction between enabling non-use and enabling use.
We have written extensively on working this program when a Loved One is far away. It's worth reading some blog posts for suggestions on finding the right balance with CRAFT at a distance (even if you're geographically not so far away; for now she is holding you at a distance). If she has blocked you on social media and phone, she may be sending a message that whatever type of communication was happening between you was too much for her, or she was unable to handle it. Can you put your reminder of unconditional love and promise of support in a (short!) card and mail it? Or email? Perhaps the next envelope after that will be an offer to help with treatment for the trauma, along with a list of treatment options (see Module 8).
Educate yourself about trauma and addiction, so you can talk with her in a way that she knows you have a sense of her suffering. This is how you help her realize that she needs help, by giving her hope that life can be different when trauma and addiction are appropriately addressed.
If you are going to assist in helping her access treatment, then identify programs that specialize in first working with trauma, and second addiction.
If she is struggling financially right now, consider telling her you will pay for basics – housing, food, etc. – directly, meaning you don’t give her cash, but you pay the bills directly. And that you will help pay for treatment to whatever extent you can. The goal is to stabilize her enough so she will enter treatment. Module 8 spells out how to do a non-confrontational intervention around the kitchen table, or if no "organic" opportunity arises, we explain how to set up a "planned conversation."
Lastly, consider the role grief plays in your daughter's life, and your own. When unrecognized, unprocessed grief fuels additional suffering. Read The Wild Edge of Sorrow as one way to deepen into this critical topic.
We are here for you, Lovely. It's a really positive thing that you and your husband and son are looking into non-confrontational methods of helping your daughter. We're so glad you found this site. Keep up with the eLearning modules and let us know when questions arise.