Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

1 Bump

How do I handle the situation with my mental illness and his children?

I'm in my early 20s, and almost 5 years ago, I was diagnosed with PTSD, Bi-Polar II, Self-Injury, and Night Terrors. I do not take medications. Instead, I use coping skills to deal with situations that may cause mood swings, flashbacks, dissociation, and cutting. They worked for almost a year and a half now. Unfortunately, two nights in a row this week, I have gotten out of bed at some point and began cutting myself. I'm not sure if this is brought on by the night terrors, ptsd, or what. I don't remember doing these things to myself. My SO knows all about my mental health history. Neither of us knows how to handle this with his kids, or how we might handle the situation with his ex-wife, because it's bound to get back to her through one of the kids. They are little girls, ages 5 and 9.

If the cuts were in a place that i can hide, I would hide them so the girls wouldn't have a need to know. Unfortunately, they are in places that you can easily see them, and there are many of them. How would you try to explain this if your child came to you about it?

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 10:11 AM on Mar. 10, 2011 in General Parenting

Answers (10)
  • With children at that age I would not tell them that you did that to yourself. I think that is just too complex for them to understand and they don't need that worry in their young lives. Instead I would brush it off as "mommy did something silly and a had a little accident." Reassure the girls that you are okay and it is fine and it will heal right up.

    Answer by spottedpony at 10:19 AM on Mar. 10, 2011

  • Wow. That was pretty unnecessary. It's obvious that she doesn't *want* to be this way, and being a victim of mental illness myself, you can't just 'get over it'. Go be bitchy somewhere else, and let people who know how to be caring and considerate answer her question. Jeez.
    OP: I'd sit down with your dh and the kids if I were you, and discuss your mental illness on a level they understand.

    Answer by lovingmy4babies at 10:28 AM on Mar. 10, 2011

  • First, if you cango get intensive in paitient care - do it. The first poster is stupid. She is uneducated about mental illness. If you can't do an accute in patient three to five day stay for stabilization then do go to your primary care doctor right away. Ask for counseling. And this is beyond self coping medication. I have rarely met someone with PTSD and bipolar who can manage without ongoing support and managed care. Well, I did. But they hit bottom without care and now are desparate for help. It makes sense to cut now. Spring is the time for mania and risky behavior. So get professional help. Also get family counseling so the girls can age appropriately understand your illness. You may need to live with a friend or family member for a short time until medication kicks in, anxiety reduces, you can sleep, and feel more stable. This way they don't see the he'll stage. Or maybe they can spend time with mom or

    Answer by frogdawg at 10:32 AM on Mar. 10, 2011

  • @Anonymous - i've thought this exact thing. i'm scared to death that the 9 year old, who looks up to me, will start doing this to herself, especially since she's struggling so hard with the divorce.

    aside from locking me up, what do you suppose i do, since your feelings about this are probably how their mother will take this news.

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 10:33 AM on Mar. 10, 2011

  • a grandparent. The explanation would be that you are not well and need some time to get better. You explain you are not sick like your body is I'll but you are having some bad thoughts about you and need some help from doctors. Make it so you stay in touch and can reassure them. There are many tratment options but to avoid any of them is not going to lead you to the path if stoping risky self injuring and destructive behaviors. You deserve quality care and the kids deserve you to get that too.

    Answer by frogdawg at 10:36 AM on Mar. 10, 2011

  • I have to commend you on your response to the first comment. It seems like you are really aware and open to suggestions and help, even in the rudest form, and are seriously concerned with the childrens well being, which is fantastic. I too suffer from mental illness, and although its nothing that serious, I worry about the effect on my own child. What I typically would do in that situation is find a psychologist (even better if they specialize with children), and ask their opinion on how you should handle the children. I've never brought up a situation that severe to a child psychologist, but I HAVE talked to one about other different issues, like how to help her handle having two homes (Mine and her father's), and the advice I get is unbeatable, and has helped me tons. I think that would be the best way to figure out how to handle this delicate situation. Absolute best of luck to you!

    Answer by CollegeMommy121 at 10:53 AM on Mar. 10, 2011

  • @CollegeMommy121 - that is a great idea! we never thought of that! the best idea we'd come up with, so far, was to tell the 5 year old that the ferrets scratched me up, and to explain to the 9 year old that i have a problem with my brain and sometimes it causes me to hurt myself instead of hurting others and that we're going to do everything we possibly can to keep our life the way it is, but that their daddy and i are going to have to take some desperate measures around the house to prevent me from doing something like this again. it would kill her if i wasn't here for her everyday, and that kills me. she knows i understand her better than anyone else, and she knows she can talk to me about anything. my SO and i both know that just having phone calls would not work.

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 11:17 AM on Mar. 10, 2011

  • i've decided to call my psychiatrist today to get prescriptions for my medications, until i can get all of this back under control. the girls get here on friday evening, and they're here for spring break. they would just die if i couldn't go to Sea World with them next week. we're also removing all objects that could be used to cut myself with, including small mirrors, cd cases, etc. that could be broken and used, until the meds kick in. also, we're going to sit down with their mother on friday evening, when we pick them up, and explain the situation to her to let her know what exactly is going on and the history with all of it. i only hope that she is more receptive to it than i anticipate, and will help us in calming the fears of the children.

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 11:21 AM on Mar. 10, 2011

  • Thinking about you. Hope you get back to where you are comfortable and can function.

    Answer by frogdawg at 11:57 AM on Mar. 10, 2011

  • You need to see a qualified professional and get the proper treatment for your disorders. Telling BOTH girls the truth would be the best. If you need help, have a counselor help you. Don't worry about what someone else will think or say.

    The first poster that said the HORRIBLE things she did, is WRONG!!! She is cruel and uneducated about what mental illness really is. You can't just grow up, get a grip and be locked up. Her reaction is why people like you don't get help, because of cruelty, ignorance and immaturity.

    Answer by tyfry7496 at 2:05 PM on Mar. 10, 2011

Join CafeMom now to contribute your answer and become part of our community. It's free and takes just a minute.